Posted on 12/14/2023

Holiday Vacay: The Best Holidays to Visit Costa Rica, What to Do & Where to Stay

The holidays are a joyous time in Costa Rica. From spending Semana Santa (Easter Week/Spring Break) to Christmas and New Year's Eve in Costa Rica, there’s a celebration, a festivity, a food, an adventure, and a Costa Rica holiday rental with your name on it. So, let’s explore!

Christmas & New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica

If you're seeking to spend Christmas (the predominant December holiday in Costa Rica) and New Year's Eve in Costa Rica, you'll be thrilled to discover that the country's festive holiday season is a lively spectacle of color, lights, fireworks, and culinary delights, extending from well before December 25 into the new year. It's a vibrant, exciting, and joy-filled period to experience Costa Rica, not to mention enjoying some of the year's best weather.

For those fortunate enough to be here during this festive season, be aware that our celebrations sweep through December and continue with unabated joy and enthusiasm well into January. Whether your interests lie in cultural events, activities, or immersing yourself in Costa Rican end-of-year holiday traditions, consider this your official invitation to discover the top places to be, ways to celebrate, and things to do in Costa Rica for Christmas and New Year's.

Further Reading: Christmas and New Year’s traditions in Costa Rica

Semana Santa / Spring Break

After Christmas & New Year's Eve in Costa Rica in Costa Rica, Semana Santa marks the year’s longest celebrations. For many, this is a well-deserved respite from the winter blues and the lengthy first quarter on the corporate calendar (or the second semester for the younger members of your family). Spring break in Costa Rica offers an elevated retreat to ocean-view infinity pools and world-class surf, tropical forest hikes, and all the luxuries you dream of infusing into your getaway.

While the days of wild bacchanalia and late-night spring break parties may be behind you, a new type of adventure awaits: Welcome to a vacation that embraces sunset sails, leisurely walks on the beach, poolside relaxation, and the enjoyment of breathtaking sunsets. It’s also some of the best weather of the year!

Further Reading: The Complete Guide to Semana Santa/Easter Week in Costa Rica

Guanacaste Day (July 25)

Each year, if you find yourself in town on July 25, you'll notice a distinctive change in the air. Schoolchildren stay home, and banks, government offices, and businesses close their doors. The streets come alive with people, especially young children, donning traje típico (typical dress), almost exclusively in Costa Rica’s hues of red, white, and blue. Today marks "Guanacaste Day" or, more formally, the celebration of "la Anexión del Partido de Nicoya" (the "Annexation of Guanacaste").

The festivities are particularly grand here in Tamarindo, situated in the province of Guanacaste—the heart of the day's celebrations. However, Guanacaste Day is a significant holiday across Costa Rica, extending beyond Guanacaste's borders. Today is an official holiday observed in all seven provinces, commemorating the day when our peninsula, now a province, became a part of Costa Rica. It's a day dedicated to celebration and reflection.

Further Reading: What is Guanacaste Day?

September 15 / Independence Day

September 15, also recognized as Costa Rican Independence Day or "el quince de setiembre," is one of the most festive days in a Costa Rican year.

Alongside its arrival comes jubilation, marching bands, a symphony of horns, whistles, and batons – all amidst a cascade of blue, white, and red. You’ll notice a profound sense of pride in the air, paired with an abundance of joy, and a complete day-and-a-half dedicated to national revelry and bombastic celebrations. Welcome to Costa Rican Independence Day!

Further Reading: 7 Fun Facts About Costa Rican Independence Day (September 15)

What to Do:

Honestly, this is more a question of what not to do. There’s so much to do in the Tamarindo area and, during many of these holidays – whether it’s Spring Break, a mid-year escape, or New Year's Eve in Costa Rica – you’ll be visiting during some of the best weather of the year.

The county is your oyster. Whatever you dream – do it! But if we had to pick, here are a few standouts we’d recommend to almost every visitor:

Enjoy Holiday Festivities

Costa Rica love a celebration, so we’d start right here. For any of the above holidays, there will be a celebration in store. (Scroll up and click through on our “Further Reading” links for full details).

For example, during Christmas and New Year’s, there will be parades and holiday lights and brass bands and masked events. During Semana Santa, there will be parades and, in many towns, road carpets: flowers and sand interwoven to create intricate designs on the streets. During both Independence Day and Guanacaste Day (at least, here in Guanacaste, where we are!), there will be more parades and music and celebration. And, of course, through it all, there will be food. So. Much. Delicious. Food. Enjoy!


Tamarindo boasts a variety of attractions but arguably, our most renowned feature is our fantastic surf. Nestled right in the heart of Guanacaste's renowned Gold Coast beaches, our sandy little town experiences swells from both the north and south, delivering both sizable surf and gentle waves, impressive breaks and mild crests. For decades, these conditions have captivated seasoned surfers and newcomers alike.

Whether you're seeking beginner surf spots to ease into the waves without getting in over your head (literally) or you're ready to conquer Tamarindo's advanced surfing locales, celebrated for their massive waves, impressive barrels, challenging rights and lefts, our town is ready to offer some of the finest experiences in Costa Rica and beyond. And that's no exaggeration.

>> Reserve a Surf Lesson <<

Restaurants & Nightlife

Tamarindo is almost synonymous with a generous serving of great food, delightful drinks, and live music, whether in moderation or abundant. A haven for food enthusiasts, our town offers dozens, if not hundreds, of noteworthy restaurants and eateries, ranging from beachfront spreads and charming holes-in-the-wall to food trucks and fine dining. From gooey melted cheese and freshly caught seafood to wood-fired grills and sizzling brick ovens, open kitchens to dining with your toes in the sand – we've got it all. (Be sure to check out a traditional BBQ grill for New Year's Eve in Costa Rica.)

And so, it's for just this reason that we publish our Tamarindo restaurants guide (updated version, coming soon!), to help you draft your list of must-eats and must-views while you're here. Want to drill down a little? Check out our guide to the best pizza in Tamarindo, the best seafood in Tamarindo, the best dinners in Tamarindo, the most romantic restaurants in Tamarindo, and even our intro to the famed Costa Rican casado (a traditional dish). We just want you to have options.

Expand your canvas for culinary exploration and refine your Tamarindo palate a bit more. Find additional inspiration to venture into new flavors and savor novel tastes, or give in to a craving and revisit cherished classics – because the allure of Tamarindo's restaurants is undeniable. As they say in Costa Rica, ¡provecho! Enjoy! (If you're still on the hunt for that perfect meal, don't worry, we've got you covered! Get in touch, and we'll gladly guide your palate in the right direction.)

Ziplining/Canopy Tours

We promise we're not exaggerating: canopy tours genuinely feel like soaring through the air. Because you are. And so, before you dismiss them as commonplace in Costa Rica, be aware that the country's canopy tours are continually pushing boundaries to deliver an elevated adrenaline experience. We have two favorite canopy tours in the area – one perfect for families and first-timers, and another that involves words like “free fall” and “upside down”. Your choice.

>> Book a Canopy Tour <<

Kayaking (Ocean or Mangrove)

For those craving an adrenaline rush with a touch of saltiness, we highly recommend an ocean kayaking tour. Paddle leisurely near the shore or elevate the adventure with a paddle to Capitan Island: a challenging 40-minute journey one way, offering stunning scenery, snorkeling, and a half-day of exhilarating physical activity.

Yearning for a more tranquil kayaking experience? Look no further than mangrove kayaking, commencing at the estuary near the river mouth, guiding you through the wilds of Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. It’s highly likely that you’ll spot monkeys, iguanas, and an array of birds during this two-hour tour.

>> Book Ocean Kayaking << >> Book Mangrove Kayaking <<

Volcano Explorations

If we had to pick just one volcano to explore, it would undoubtedly be Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. This 1-million-year-old andesitic complex volcano, located approximately two hours from Tamarindo, offers an array of adventures. From swimming in cool lagoons and traversing waterfalls to soaking in mineral hot springs and indulging in volcanic mud treatments, the options are endless.

>> Read About Volcano Day Trips <<


While Tamarindo's surf is our claimed #1 fame, our beaches give the waves a run for their money. Picture warm waters gently lapping at the beach, powder-soft sand beneath your toes, and the warm sun caressing your skin – it's paradise.

Our very own Playa Tamarindo stretches over a mile of soft, sun-kissed sands and renowned surf. It's a do-whatever kind of place, whether you prefer a beachfront picnic or dining at an oceanfront restaurant, sipping a soda from the cooler or enjoying a beachfront cocktail.

When you're in Tamarindo and contemplating what more to do, a beach-combing day trip is a must. From Sugar Beach (Playa Pan de Azúcar) down to Playa San Juanillo, our coastline unveils some of the most pristine, spectacular beaches and vistas in all of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica, and Tamarindo specifically, are renowned for sport fishing for good reason – we're one of the world's top sportfishing locations. Our oceans are teeming with black, striped, and blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, grouper, roosterfish, jacks, wahoo, sailfish, and other prized specimens.

We'll take you to the best sport fishing waters with the finest boat and crew in Tamarindo, offering half-day, 3/4 day, and full-day tours for near-shore to deep-sea fishing experiences lasting 5, 7, or 8 hours.

>> Hook a Big One <<

Sunset Sail

If there's one experience we'd emphatically recommend – a feeling rather than something seen or done – then sunset catamaran cruising would unquestionably top our list. Lounging on a catamaran hammock under the warm sun, snorkeling in secluded coves, and witnessing the world's best sunset up close are moments that define life in paradise. Seize the opportunity!

>> Take a Pacific Cruise <<

Further Reading: Discover more things to do in & around Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Where to Stay:

Here’s the bad news: The holidays – especially Semana Santa, Christmas, and New Year's Eve in Costa Rica– can be a popular time in Costa Rica, which means this can also be a challenging time to find a Costa Rica holiday rental. You’re in luck, though! A few of our villas still have availability for the upcoming 2024 holidays. Choose your favorite before they book up!

Villa Motmot

Tamarindo | 6bedrooms | 4 baths | 14 guests

Villa Motmot, named after the stunning motmot bird that frequents Guanacaste, stands as one of Tamarindo’s most luxurious vacation rentals. Nestled atop a secluded hill, it offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, a rooftop deck, and an unparalleled vantage point for witnessing magnificent sunsets.

Situated a mere 10-minute walk from Tamarindo's beaches, this eco-villa possesses a green soul with a compelling story. Its builders, dedicated to protecting and reforesting Costa Rica's rainforests for over 25 years, have now crafted an extraordinary home with a minimal carbon footprint. The villa incorporates eco-friendly features such as solar-heated water, solar-powered energy, water recycling, and a richly biodiverse garden designed to support local birds and mammals.

Villa Motmot is a Costa Rica holiday rental that exemplifies a commitment to both modern luxury and environmentally conscious design, inside and out. Each of its six bedrooms boasts a king bed, smart TV, and air conditioning. The tropical gardens not only provide a haven for wildlife but also house a 12 x 7 meter Boule court for Boccia and Petanque enthusiasts. The expansive rooftop deck spans over 100 square meters (1,080 square feet), providing an exquisite space to revel in the natural beauty that surrounds this exceptional retreat.

>> Book Now <<

Villa Estrella Azul

Playa Langosta | 8 Bedrooms | 6 Baths | Sleeps 18

Designed both to deliver the amenities of a private boutique hotel and the expectations of a warm, private home, Villa Estrella Azul is a home both expansive and intimate, at once luxurious and cozy.

Named for its blue-and-sun-bleached beach palette, the “Blue Star Villa” is a beacon for luxury travelers. Here, no comfort is spared, no amenity is overlooked. And that’s part of why we’ve named it as one of our best places to travel in 2022: Here, you can wrap yourself in the indulgences you crave on vacation, without sacrificing your privacy, your health, or your standards.

Because this unparalleled home is a destination unto itself: Just two minutes’ walk to Tamarindo’s most desirable stretch of beach, Casa Estrella Azul offers a custom infinity pool, gourmet-ready chef’s kitchen, brick pizza oven, and expansive outdoor living, including a pergola, verandas, and your very own private yoga pavilion. Add to that, tropical colors, abundant natural light, and catered daily breakfast (every day except Sundays and holidays)…

>> Book Now <<

Villa Brisa del Mar

Playa Grande | 5 bedrooms | 5 baths | 12 guest

Envision experiencing Spring Break amidst the tranquility of a wildlife sanctuary. This fantasy becomes a reality at Villa Brisa del Mar, an exclusive Costa Rica holiday rental that serves as your private nature reserve adjacent to a national park and one of the globe's crucial turtle nesting grounds. Dreams truly do come true!

Secluded at the edge of the beach, Villa Brisa del Mar, meaning "Sea Breeze Villa," combines a private pool with the potential for turtle sightings. Its ocean-view patio allows you to witness pelicans, gulls, and other seabirds in their graceful flight. Take a moment with a refreshing drink in hand and simply bask in the unique beauty of this locale—an incomparable slice of life and a window into a distinctive world. Immerse yourself in the extraordinary experience of a nature-centric holiday in Costa Rica.

Being one of the original beach bungalows in the area, Villa Brisa del Mar, now tastefully updated, seamlessly blends the charms of old Costa Rica with contemporary aesthetics. Revel in a chef-ready kitchen, a spectacular master suite, and recently redesigned interiors, all complemented by breathtaking views and iguanas as your friendly neighbors.

>> Book Now <<

Need Planning Help?

If you'd like help finding a Costa Rica holiday rental or making the most of your time in Costa Rica or planning your day trips from Tamarindo, please get in touch with our concierge, Cris! Her services are free and we promise, she'll hook you up with the best option to match your day-touring, make-the-most-of-it adventure style.

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