Costa Rica Itinerary: Tamarindo Family Vacation

surfing in Tamarindo with kids

Tamarindo is an excellent choice for your family vacation

If you’re traveling to Costa Rica with kids in tow, chances are someone has recommended a Tamarindo family vacation.

After all, we’re one of the most well-equipped towns in Costa Rica, with a wide selection of restaurants, tours, and attractions. And then, there are our incredible Tamarindo vacation rentals, which run the gamut from oceanview 2-bedrooms for small families to palatial 8-bedroom luxury villas, with every conceivable amenity to fuel memorable family reunions. Tamarindo is that perfect blend of services, amenities and natural beauty.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve pulled together a Tamarindo family vacation itinerary: some of our favorite family-friendly activities and experiences in the area. Make some memories!

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Destination Overview: Playa Langosta Travel Guide

Playa Langosta travel guide - beachfront sunset

Sunset at Playa Langosta. Can you imagine yourself here?

This Gold Coast paradise is close to all the action (namely, Tamarindo) and yet just far enough off the beaten path – that perfect combination to yield seclusion and tranquility, but with all the conveniences of a larger town. Our Playa Langosta travel guide gets your planning started.

This usually sleepy, always awe-inspiring beach town defines the best of both worlds: spectacularly beautiful and at times wild – breaching whales and feisty monkeys, nesting sea turtles and epic sunsets – and yet just minutes to some of the finest dining, nightlife, and attractions in all of Costa Rica. Indeed, Playa Langosta is a prime choice for quiet getaways, family reunions, destination weddings, relaxing retreats, and everything in between.

Playa Langosta Overview:

Location: About 1.5 miles (2.5 kms) south of Tamarindo

Average Temperature: 75-95º F (23-35º C)

Landscape: Tropical ocean, dry and wet forest, and savannah landscapes (inland)

Closest Airport: Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) – about 75 minutes

Top Activities: Surfing, SUP, Catamaran Sailing, Turtle Nesting, Snorkeling & Scuba Diving, Wildlife & Nature Tours, Sports Fishing, Swimming, and Golf

Top Attractions: Beaches, Surfing, Las Baulas Marine Park (turtle watching), Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge & the Catalina Islands (scuba & snorkeling)

Great for: Families & Family Reunions, Couples & Honeymooners, Destination Weddings, Surfers, Nature Lovers

We Recommend: Spending at least a day doing almost nothing at all. Swim in the sea. Walk over ocean rocks. Take a dip in the pool. Dig your toes into the sand. Build a sand castle.

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Weather in Costa Rica: A Month-by-Month Guide

weather in Costa Rica

Weather in Costa Rica hack: If you’re traveling during the rainy season, choose the Tamarindo area, one of the sunniest spots in the country

The country may be smaller than the state of West Virginia, but the weather in Costa Rica goes big. Sure, we’re a tropical nation. Of course, we don’t have snow. And yes, our seasons are often simplified down to “dry season” and “rainy season,” but Costa Rican weather is a lot more interesting than that.

We’re close to the equator, which means we get 12+ hours of sunshine all year long: the sun rises and sets at the same time every day (around 5:45 a.m. and 5:45-6:30 p.m., year-round). We’re in the northern hemisphere but there’s no winter here; in fact, Costa Ricans typically refer to northern winter (December-March) as “summer” since this is the sunniest time of year, not to mention local schools’ “summer” break.

There’s plenty of diversity to the weather in Costa Rica, too. For most of the country, December-April marks the “dry” season; but in the Caribbean and Arenal, the seasons are flipped. Sticking to generalities, Guanacaste province (home to Tamarindo) is the driest in the country; this means we have drier rainy seasons, making Tamarindo a great choice for the best weather during May-November travel.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from the weather in Costa Rica, month by month:

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4 After-Christmas & New Year’s Traditions in Costa Rica

Tamarindo on New Year’s Eve brings fire dancers onto the beach!

Costa Rica’s holiday season is unabashedly festive: color, lights, fireworks, and food abound! Happily – and as you may have already noticed, if you’re visiting this season – the celebrations don’t end on December 25; they continue, and continue, and continue, well past New Year’s and straight into January! You don’t want to miss a Costa Rica new years event!

Here’s the rundown of what to expect (and seek out), if you’re visiting Costa Rica and Tamarindo over the holidays:

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Costa Rica Beach Weddings: The How, The Where & The When

beach wedding venues in Costa Rica

Costa Rica beach weddings can be everything you dream

There is something irresistible about the promise of a wedding on the beach: the warm sun, the soft sand, the tropical flowers, the harmonies of crashing waves… Indeed, Costa Rica beach weddings are the stuff dreams are made of.

So, congratulations! You’ve made it this far. You’re in love. You’re probably engaged. (Congrats, again!) And you’re finally researching your dream wedding. On the beach, in Costa Rica. It’s a wonderful dream.

We’re here to stoke your excitement and fuel your plans. And to make every step of your wedding planning just a bit easier. We’ve hosted many weddings (and wedding parties) in our villas over the years. We’ve worked with many area wedding service providers, from photographers to caterers. And, we’ve welcomed thousands of travelers to Costa Rica. We understand what you and your guests need and want.

Starting with the most basic of all considerations – the legalities of getting married here – and moving on to the where of Costa Rica beach weddings. So, let’s get started!

(Tip: Don’t forget to check out our entire Tamarindo Wedding Guide series, for all the dreaming, planning, and details you need!)

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7 Picture-Perfect Spots to Hold Your Wedding Ceremony in Tamarindo

Casa de Luz wedding venue

Picture-perfect, indeed: Casa de Luz is one of our favorite area wedding venues.

What’s the most stressful part of planning a destination wedding? Picking the venue, most likely! Because, while you may have chosen your where, now you’re narrowing down the where of your where: what Tamarindo wedding venue is best suited to your personalities?

It really comes down to your wedding style: Do you want to exchange your “I dos” with your toes in the sand, or do you prefer a more formal space for your ceremony? Would you like to host your ceremony and reception in the same space, or are you willing to caravan between your ceremony venue and reception locale?

It all comes down to you and your future spouse: What do you dream? While you narrow that down, here are a few ideas to get you started:

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Tamarindo Destination Wedding: 7 Luxury Villas to House Your Guests

sunset views from Casa Puros Dieces

Casa Puros Dieces is a popular choice among Tamarindo destination wedding guests

If you’re planning a Tamarindo destination wedding, you’re likely researching (and researching, and then researching some more!) where to house your guests.

You have priorities: You want luxury. You’d like Pacific Ocean views. And you require upscale amenities – five-star extras like an infinity pool, private chef, daily housekeeping, ample entertainment spaces, and privacy for all your guests.

We can handle all that – and more! We’ve curated this list of some of our most popular vacation rentals, homes and luxury villas for Tamarindo destination wedding parties: spacious and well-equipped to accommodate your entire guest list, and luxurious enough that you’ll never want to leave.

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Costa Rica Travel Costs: Activities, Restaurants & Transportation

a private pools saves on Costa Rica travel costs

Wouldn’t you love to lounge near this private pool?

Look, we’re realists. And we know that budgeting is a big part of any vacation: How much will it cost? Where can you save money? And, what’s worth the splurge? The good news is, your Costa Rica travel costs are largely dependent on you; of course, you can splash out on luxury digs and fine dining, but you can also save a fair share by planning carefully and budgeting well.

As we mentioned in our Costa Rica accommodations budget breakdown, your lodging (hotel or vacation rental) will account for a large portion of your overall budget. So, we handled that separately. And now, we’re digging into the balance of your Costa Rica travel costs: activities & attractions, food & drink, transportation, and miscellaneous.

Here’s the breakdown:

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‘Tis the Season: Traditions to Celebrate Christmas in Costa Rica

sand snowman celebrates Christmas in Costa Rica

It’s beginning to look a lot like… a tropical Christmas in Costa Rica!

There’s no Thanksgiving in Costa Rica so technically, we are go for festivities any time after Halloween. That said, while stores often start promoting Christmas as early as August (we know ­– ugh), most official Christmas events don’t kick off until late November.

Here are some of our favorite Christmas in Costa Rica traditions:

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Tamarindo Nightlife: 6 Bar-Restaurants You Won’t Want to Miss

Tamarindo bar-restaurants offer excellent sunset views

Enjoy drinks and a view at the best Tamarindo bar-restaurants

There’s something about Tamarindo life that lends itself perfectly to the bar-restaurant vibe: Order up a frosty drink, dig your toes into the sand, and watch the sun go down as you sample some of the freshest seafood, juiciest pub-grub, and other tasty delicacies Costa Rica has to offer. So, what are the best Tamarindo bar-restaurants?

The good news is that many of our favorite Tamarindo restaurants offer a decent drinks menu: bottled beers, fresh fruit cocktails, and at least a few red and white wines. But, if you’re looking for a more robust bar menu, then these six Tamarindo bar-restaurants will pull double-duty to quench your thirst and sate your stomach.

In alphabetical order:

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