Destination Overview: Tamarindo Travel Guide

Tamarindo travel guide

You are here: Paradise!

This Gold Coast mini-metropolis is one of Costa Rica’s hottest tourism hotspots, packed with everything from golden sand and cerulean sea, to incredible restaurants and hopping nightlife. Our Tamarindo travel guide gets your planning started on the right foot.

You will appreciate how well-equipped our beach town is, and you will love how spectacularly beautiful it is: epic sunsets and breaching whales, underwater worlds and nesting sea turtles. Undoubtedly, Tamarindo is a hotspot for family reunions, destination weddings, relaxing retreats, and everything in between.

Tamarindo Overview:

Location: North-Pacific Costa Rica, aka The Gold Coast

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

Landscape: Lots of tropical ocean, dry and wet forest, and desert-like 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, Las Baulas Marine Park (turtle watching), Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge, Catalina Islands (scuba & snorkeling), Nightlife

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

We Recommend: Surfing is a Tamarindo must, even for beginners! Ask us about surf lessons or just rent a board on your own, and hop right on in. Everyone should tick Surf in Tamarindo off their bucket list!

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Tamarindo Nightlife: The Best Live Music in Town

Pangas hosts live music in Tamarindo

Though chill by most international standards, Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s most bustling beach towns. And in Costa Rica, that equates to great entertainment! Specifically, great food, craft beers & cocktails, dancing, and other Tamarindo after-hours amusements. Including live music in Tamarindo, our focus for today.

Local and visiting musicians flock to Tamarindo, where local bars, restaurants, and clubs host live music events almost every night of the week. From reggae Thursdays to acoustic Sundays, there’s always something – and often, many more than one something – happening in Tamarindo’s nightlife. Here’s our guide to some of the best live music in Tamarindo. In no particular order:

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How to Plan the Perfect Tamarindo Vacation – For Free!

Customize your Tamarindo vacation planning for the perfect trip

Tamarindo vacation planning, done right, looks almost as good as Conchal Beach

So, you’re planning your Tamarindo vacation… You’re scouring the Internet, googling this, that and the other thing. You’re [maybe] flipping through guidebooks. You’re [definitely] reading online activities & attractions reviews, which swing from too-good-to-be-true to one-star rants because someone saw a mosquito. In the tropics.

You’re now going a little crazy.

And, you’re wondering – is there a better way to plan your vacation?


There is, at least, one foolproof way to plan a “perfect” Tamarindo vacation – a trip that’s tailored to you and your wish list, whatever it may look like.

Her name is Cristina. And her services are 100% free. Yes, free!

(And, we promise – Cristina does NOT fit into the too-good-to-be-true category.)

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Tamarindo Packing List

Tamarindo packing list items

You are here. But, what did you forget?

Your bags aren’t packed and you’re not ready to go. In fact, you feel like you’re scrambling a bit: What do you need to pack for Costa Rica? Is there a specific Tamarindo packing list you should know about? (Yes! Hi there! Welcome!)

Do you need a raincoat? How much sunblock should you bring? Will your favorite insect repellent do the trick? Do you need any special shoes? And, even more importantly, what are you forgetting completely? Because you know there’s something. Definitely something. You just have no idea what.

Breathe. Packing for your Costa Rican vacation is pretty straightforward. We’re going to assume you already know the basics: shirts, shorts, pants (yep, a least a nicer pair for going out to dinner), travel toiletries, and a digital camera, to start. These essentials depend on you and your family.

So, let’s move on to the stuff you may not know you should bring (like a dry bag), or don’t know exactly what kind you should bring (waterproof sunblock, for sure!). From rain-resistant wildlife guides to floating camera straps, we’ve compiled our very own Tamarindo packing list, packed (please don’t hold our puns against us!) full of all the things you don’t want to forget and a few extras you might want to bring along on your trip to Costa Rica, depending on your travel style.

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7 of the Best Tamarindo Advanced Surfing Spots

Tamarindo Advanced Surfing Spots

Tamarindo surf can be monster!

Many guests come to Tamarindo for one reason: our incredible surf! More specifically, the Tamarindo advanced surfing spots world-renowned for their huge waves, big barrels, hard rights and lefts, and other serious challenges tailored to intermediate and experienced surfers.

The big question for skilled surfers is not so much where to go, but rather how to fit all the wheres into your stay. In and around Tamarindo, there are dozens of beaches, breaks, and frothy nooks and crannies that thrill while they challenge your skills (and help you build new ones).

So, what Tamarindo advanced surfing spots really, truly deserve a slot on your schedule? We have a few opinions. Seven, in fact. (Or eight, if you’re getting technical.) Surf’s up!


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How to Get to Tamarindo: 5 Options (and One Favorite!)

airport transportation - get to Tamarindo

Airport transportation is our favorite way to get to Tamarindo, in part because it minimizes arrival stress

You’ve bought your airline tickets. You’ve booked the perfect vacation rental in Tamarindo. You’ve started researching where to go and what to do.

And then it hits you: How are you going to get to Tamarindo from the airport?

No worries, we have you covered – all the myriad ways to get to Tamarindo, whether you’re flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) outside San José, or the conveniently located Daniel Odúber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia.

(Note: All schedules, routes, and costs are accurate as of late 2017, but are subject to change. Please email us or call 754-222-1884 us for up-to-date information.)

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Tamarindo with Kids: 24 Family-Friendly Things to Do

surfing in Tamarindo with kids

If you’re visiting Tamarindo with kids, you’re probably scrambling for what to do. Aside from swimming and surfing, what are the most family-friendly activities in Tamarindo? Because, as our kids are happy to tell us, a single canopy tour just won’t cut it anymore. (Kids these days!)

Well, not to worry. We’re pros at Tamarindo family vacations and, even more importantly, we have kids ourselves. Kids who spend all day, every day in Tamarindo. We KNOW of what we speak.

So, here’s our list of the best activities and can’t-miss experiences for visiting Tamarindo with kids. From the things your guidebook tells you (surfing! ziplines! ATV tours!) to everything it doesn’t (pottery making! the waterpark! picnic spots!), we’ve built a list of our favorite things to do, activities, and suggestions for enjoying Tamarindo with kids.

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Honeymoon in Tamarindo: The Most Romantic Things to Do

Sunset sails are a great choice for your honeymoon in Tamarindo

Don’t miss a sunset sail during your honeymoon in Tamarindo!

If you’ve settled on a honeymoon in Tamarindo, congratulations! Obviously, we think you’ve made an excellent choice: Tamarindo is just cosmopolitan enough to offer the fine dining and intimate accommodations you seek, while being quiet enough to afford privacy and romance.

The question is, what will you do while you’re here? Yes, you’ve scoured the guidebooks. Yes, you’ve asked the internet. But, what you really want to know is – what are the most romantic experiences Tamarindo has to offer? This is a honeymoon in Tamarindo, after all, and if there’s ever a reason to be a little cheesy and a lot romantic, this is it!

So, without further ado (or, should we say, I-do!), here are a few of our favorite romantic activities in Tamarindo:

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Lucky Seven: 7 of the Best Beaches in Tamarindo

girl doing yoga on Tamarindo beach

Tamarindo’s beaches are incredibly scenic, especially at sunset!

Tamarindo is a beach town on Costa Rica’s north Pacific – the world-famous Gold Coast, best known for its white-sand beaches and spectacularly azure Pacific waters. The question is, when you’re surrounded by all this beachy beauty, where should you go? What are the best beaches in Tamarindo?

The good news: There are several. Seven, in fact. Seven beaches where you can spend your time surfing or swimming, sunbathing or sandcastle-building. Spend your time doing whatever you please, however you please. Welcome to Tamarindo!

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Turtle Watching 101: Costa Rica Turtle Nesting – Where to Go & When

leatherback turtle in Costa Rica

An endangered leatherback sea turtle crawls toward the sea at Playa Grande on the Northwest coast of Costa Rica. Leatherback hatchling survival is closely tied to temperatures within the nest and a new study indicates that rising average temperatures over the course of the century could reduce hatching success by as much as 60 percent.

The official log may record about two million visitors to Costa Rica every year, but that number doesn’t include the additional tens of thousands of sea turtles that grace our beaches. Indeed – Costa Rica turtle nesting is a Big Deal here on the Rich Coast.

Year after year, five species of sea turtles – olive ridleys, leatherbacks, loggerheads, hawksbills, and green sea turtles – come to shore every year. These gentle sea giants, which are classified as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species, lay hundreds of thousands of eggs on Costa Rican beaches. Weeks later, their tiny hatchlings emerge from sandy nests, to make their way to the sea.

Whether you’re a fierce animal lover, a wildlife conservationist, or just your average tourist, sea turtle nesting is a must for your To Do list. The sight itself, not to mention the environmental significance, are not only incredible to witness but also deeply moving – something everyone should see for themselves, at least once.

Costa Rica turtle nesting happens year-round on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, although your chances of spotting turtles increase during the green season months of May through November. So, where and when should you book a turtle tour? We have all the info you need.

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