Post-COVID – How Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica is Thriving

fire dancers on Tamarindo beach

Every night when the sun goes down, Playa Tamarindo lights up with markets, nightlife, and fire dancing

It was a long haul. But we’ve made it from there to here and today, Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica is thriving in our post-COVID world. From new restaurants and newer entertainment to memorable moments and returns of old favorites, our vibrant beach town is once again ready to party. And boy, are we ready.

Since we’re here on the ground, living in the Tamarindo area and soaking up every chance to thrive, enjoy, and have a blast, we thought we’d fill you in on all the fun that awaits in 2022. To start, know this:

April 1, 2022: Costa Rica Drops COVID Entry Requirements

As of April 1, 2022, Costa Rica has eliminated its COVID travel requirements. Tourists are no longer required to take a COVID test before entry, or show proof of vaccination, or purchase COVID health/quarantine insurance, or fill out the Costa Rican Health Pass. Entry to Costa Rica is exactly as it was pre-pandemic: Show your passport, get your entry stamp, and enjoy!

(Note that, depending on your country of residence or return, you may be required to take a COVID test before your flight home. Please check your home and/or transit country’s COVID requirements!)

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica: What’s New, What’s Thriving

Pangas Beach Club

There’s so much to love about Playa Tamarindo right now! Here are a few of our favorite things. (Pictured: Pangas on the beachfront)

Tamarindo Night Market (Every Thursday)

The Tamarindo Night Market is now reopened and again one of the town’s favorite weekly events! Open every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., the Night Market is one part market, one part dining, one part entertainment.

We’ll start with the market: dozens of 100% local vendors offer their wares, goods, and products – everything from glass-bottled kombucha to handmade jewelry. When you’ve walked and shopped up a good appetite, dig in! Because the market also hosts an array of restaurants and food vendors, who serve up treats-on-a-stick (kebobs and etc.) and pizza, empanadas and arepas, pulled pork BBQ and ooey-gooey pizza. And then, there’s the entertainment, which comes in many iterations, including DJs, first dancers, and traditional Costa Rican dancing.

TamaOnda Fire Show

While there are many things that may define your experience in Tamarindo, perhaps the one to “spark” the most awe will be the nightly fire show at TamaOnda. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. every night, the bar & restaurant hosts an incredible fire dancing show on the sands. Paired with phenomenal food and an incredible ambiance, it will definitely go down as one of your favorite nights of vacation!

Sunset Drinks at Panga’s Beachfront Restaurant

For the sunset lovers among us, we can think of no better spot for a cocktail, a lingering meal, and one of Tamarindo’s best sunsets.

Sitting beachfront near the estuary crossing to Playa Grande, Pangas is an absolute must during any visit to Tamarindo – and not just for the sunsets, but for the food, too! We can recommend their incredible prime beef cuts, served rare on sizzling volcanic rock that’s been heated to 500º, so you can cook each slice at your table, to your desired temperature.

Sunday Funday Pool Party @ The Grateful Hotel

If you’re looking for your fun with the side of party, then you cannot miss Sunday Funday. Held every Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the even includes a free boat and shuttle (reservations required) in and out. It’s a pool party, it’s live music, and it’s a great time!

Stay Here: Casa Leo Loco

Tamarindo | 6 Bedrooms | 4 Baths + 1 Half Bath(s) | Sleeps 12

Casa Leo Loco ocean view

You are here: a spectacular getaway with incredible views of Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Open-air and designed around its landscapes and environment, oceanview Casa Leo Loco is built in the style of a classical tropical beach home, Casa Leo Loco sources warm touches and exotic details – local hardwoods, terracotta tiles, flagstone floors, and massive glass doors – to make you feel at home in Costa Rica. To invite you to cool off in the pool, luxuriate in the breeze, admire the view, and create unforgettable Tamarindo memories.

For this is a home where memories beg to be made. Every night, the sun sets over your private infinity pool. Every morning, the eastern sunset streaks the sky in pale fluorescents. And in between, you’ll check the surf conditions from your window. You’ll luxuriate on your private pool terrace. You’ll feel the breeze in your hair and the sun on your skin. And you’ll know that you’re vacationing somewhere in the middle of the jungle and yet, surrounded by comfort and luxury.

This is the promise of Casa Leo Loco, one of Tamarindo’s most select vacation homes: 6 bedrooms, perched above a coastal slope and overlooking downtown Tamarindo, Tamarindo Bay, and the blue Pacific. Enjoy the ocean views from many rooms, including the pool and pool terrace, the outdoor dining area, and several bedrooms.

And, trust us (but only until you’re here to see it for yourself): The view from Casa Leo Loco is intoxicating. This sense of altitude and soaring height will literally take your breath away!

>> Inquire Here <<

Pool & Beach Crawl (Every Sunday)

Another Sunday event, the Pool & Beach Crawl begins every Sunday for a pre-party at Sharkys (12-1 p.m.), where you can mingle and party with your fellow crawlers. Then, board an old U.S. school bus (the kind you rode as a kid) and head out to crawl the coast.

As the tunes blast and you get to know your seat neighbors, you’ll also explore three little-known spots – and enjoy a free drink at each stop. Round it out on the oceanfront with DJ tunes, beach volleyball, live entertainment, plus happy hours specials and a beach bonfire. For many, the after-party bus ride home is one of the best parts!

Farmer’s Markets (Friday in Playa Grande | Saturday in Tamarindo)

For foodies and the adventurous, the Costa Rican feria, or farmer’s market, is one of Costa Rica’s must-experience cultural attractions: Here, amidst artisan goods and hard-working farmers, the stalls are stacked high with fruits and vegetables of all sorts.

Sure, you’ll find some of your tropical favorites – the watermelon and the mangoes, the pineapples and the starfruit – but you’ll also see, sample, and hopefully purchase marvels you’ve never even heard of: rambutan (mamón chino) and star apple (caimito), sour guava (cas) and soursop (guanábana), mangosteen (mangostán) and sour passion fruit (maracuyá). Learn more about the fruits you have to try at the farmer’s market.

Bike Craft Mountain Bike Guided Tours

Switching it up from after-dark parties to daytime delights, Bike Craft promises some of the most high-octane, delightful, family-friendly adventures in the Tamarindo area.

You’ll head a few miles south of Tamarindo and onto the trails of Hacienda Pinilla, where the community’s rugged and incredible mountain biking trails – you can choose a high-end, full-suspension mountain bike or e-bike, depending on your skill and endurance level – take you into ocean views and forest habitats home to howler monkeys, parrots, and more. Great for all ages and ability levels!

The Alley @ Calle Dengue (@ Sharkys)

An exclusive night center and event center, located at local haunt Sharkys, The Alley @ Calle Dengue promises a full event roster that delivers reggae parties, DJs, game competitions, and other events.

Swing by and check out the calendar (easily available via QR code) and then, set aside time for your favorite. Among their current events (early 2022), you’ll find Girls’ Night Out (Mondays), Karaoke (Tuesdays), Latino Night (Thursdays), Bombs Away (Fridays 2×1 on all Classic Bombs), Ladies’ Night (Saturdays), and Beer Pong (Sundays).

Water House Floating Tiki Hut

If you’re planning an event or just an eventful evening in Tamarindo, we can highly recommend one of our area’s newest places to be: the Water House Tiki Hut, a floating bar and tiki hut that’s all yours!

Located up the road in Potrero, the floating Tiki Hut offers a chance to turn off the world, float away, and enjoy the silence – all, starting at a very affordable $25!

Luxury Picnic Experience (Ask Us)

One of the Tamarindo area’s newest experiences, a luxury picnic can be anything from an intimate meal with a view to an all-out event, complete with add-ons like birthday cakes, professional photography, a professional drone photographer, videography, and more.

It begins with your choice of picnic package  – the Romantic Picnic, Mediterranean Picnic, Sweet and Savory Picnic, Luxury Picnic, and more – and then, choose your beach location. You can also combine your picnic with surf lessons, a beach horseback ride, or almost any other activity you set your heart on.

Food Truck Park

Tamarindo’s new(ish) food truck park, known as the Jardín de Tamarindo or Tamarindo Garden, offers a fun opportunity to switch it up and level up your Tamarindo food game.

There is so much to enjoy here and you’ll have your pick of many cuisines. Sample Asian stir fry or Costa Rican ceviche. Enjoy breakfast for dinner and dig into crispy waffles and sweet crepes. Dig into cheesy tequeños and vegan casados. There’s something that everyone will love!

Stay Here: Crystal Sands 104

Playa Langosta | 3 Bedrooms  | 3 Baths  | Sleeps 12

Crystal Sands 104 vacation condo Tamarindo-min

Can you imagine eating dinner here every night? And walking out with your surfboard every morning?

Located beachfront on Playa Langosta, Crystal Sands 104 is where oceanfront, ocean-view, ocean-everything vacations begin. This picture-perfect condo is a perfect spot for families, surf enthusiasts, and everyone who loves the sand and yearns to dip their toes in the ocean. Because here, you can walk out the door, directly onto the sand, and right into the water!

You’ll love this warm and welcoming condo for its spacious common areas, which invite spending time together and making memories. When you’re not gathering, dining, or conversing, you’ll be finishing for your dinner, rocking a surf lesson, or lounging at the resort’s pool.

And that’s another thing: Crystal Sands 104 is located within the Crystal Sands resort complex, an upscale condominium community on the south end of Tamarindo Bay, in the quiet area of Playa Langosta. In addition to its ideal Playa Langosta location, the complex offers access to a refreshing pool and sun-splashed Jacuzzi – the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon or an entire vacation! The choice is yours.

>> Inquire Here <<

Did You Know? We Promise Complimentary Travel Planning in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

There’s a big difference between an in-the-know local with serious expertise helping plan your vacation and reading the latest Frommer’s– and it’s probably not what you think.

To start, reading Frommer’s will probably cost you more (unless you borrow it from the library). We’re serious. At Stay in Tamarindo, our concierge services are absolutely and always free. What we mean by that is, if you can direct-book a canopy tour for $XY, you’ll pay $XY via our concierge, too.

The difference is that our wonderful concierge, Cris, knows which is the best canopy tour in our area. Not the one that the internet says is the best, but the one that’s best for your 8-year-old, or for someone who’s unsure of heights, or for the adrenaline junkie in your travel group. Because Cris knows Tamarindo like the back of her hand, and her job to get to know you almost that well, too!

Think of Cris as your Costa Rica real-life guidebook, best friend, and confidante. Tell her everything and she’ll align your needs and wants with the Tamarindo reality. She will build your custom itinerary and suggest activities, tours, and attractions tailored to your specific interests, activity levels, and wish lists.

It all starts the moment you reserve one of our Tamarindo vacation rentals!

Top Tamarindo Instagram Must-Visits & Must-Stays

Soul House

When it comes down to it, your Tamarindo Instagram must-visits should be about your priorities, your vacation style, and however you define “perfect”

When it comes down to it, your Tamarindo Instagram must-visits should be about your priorities, your vacation style, and your however you define “perfect”

There’s something so very appealing about framing a perfect photo or snapping a shot at just the right moment. It’s more than a rush; it’s the kind of vacation alchemy that imprints on your soul, forever tying this one perfect moment to that one perfect photo. And that’s where our favorite Tamarindo Instagram spots and vacation rentals come in.

Because these are the kind of places where alchemy sizzles in the air. They’re almost begging for you to shoot your shot, in both the literal and figurative senses. So, give yourself over to the feeling. Be a little daring. Wade into the water and kayak out toward the horizon. Chase that next photo, not for the ‘gram but for the moment, the memory, and the feeling that you’ll then immortalize through your Instagram.

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A Guide to Costa Rican Microbrews, Craft Beers & Artisan Alcohol

Costa Rican microbrews and craft beer-min

Have a yen to quench your tropical thirst. We have a few (okay, many!) Costa Rican microbrews, craft beers, and other brews for you to try.

In the land of sun and fun, you’ll likely to crave an ice-cold one. That’s our motto, at least.

It’s true – if you’re like many of your fellow travelers, you’ll often be on the hunt for some chilly refreshment. Luckily, craft beer and Costa Rican microbrews are readily available and pairs perfectly with Costa Rican fare and the warm tropical sun.

You’ll quickly discover that there’s one MAJOR player in Costa Rican beer: the Florida Ice & Farm Company (FIFCO), which produces all of Costa Rica’s more mainstream, standard brews, including those that maraud under the brand names of Imperial, Pilsen, and Bavaria.

Since you can find those everywhere and on every menu, we thought we’d highlight a few of the harder-to-find, you-may-have-to-ask-for-them Costa Rican microbrews, craft beers, and artisan lagers that we’ve grown to know and love.

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7 Costa Rican Christmas Traditions for your Holidays in Tamarindo

sand-man for your holidays in Tamarindo

Don’t throw a sand-ball at us, but we’re saying it: we prefer sand-men to snowmen! Because, there’s just something special about lighted palms, roasting pork, and the holidays in Tamarindo.

Look out your window. If you see anything but sunbeams, palm trees, and blue skies – okay, maybe there’s a wispy cumulus cloud in there, somewhere! – then we’re guessing you’re not in Costa Rica. You’re not spending the holidays in Tamarindo.

At least, not this year. But, there’s always the promise of 2020!

Because, here’s the truth: the holidays in Tamarindo – Christmas in Costa Rica, generally – are a festive time of year. A special time of year. A twinkling, joyous, and inclusive time of year.

There are the lights and trees and carols, and then there are the only-in-Costa-Rica holiday traditions – all the making-some-memoriesnever-forget-your-trip details that transform December into such a fun month to travel abroad. You’re going to love it.

And so, with fun and festivities in mind – and in the spirit of inclusion, all sans creed or doctrine – we present seven of our favorite Christmas traditions. So, no matter what you celebrate (or don’t) back home, you can join in the joy during your holidays in Tamarindo.

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How to Keep the Beach Clean on Your Tamarindo Vacation

help keep Costa Rica beaches clean

Want to help keep Tamarindo’s beaches clean? Here are 14 easy ways to do your part.

Ahhh, the beach. The glorious beach.

Can’t you just hear the sound of lapping waves, each tiny crash on wet sand? Can you see the pelicans diving, in search of their next meal? Can you feel the warm sun on your face, your neck, your back? Can you imagine your feet or hands, finally (and perfectly) connecting with a soccer ball or volleyball?

A day at the beach is a day like no other. It’s joy. It’s a rush. It’s total freedom. It’s probably why you chose Tamarindo, a beach town located on Costa Rica’s famed Gold Coast.

The beach has a special appeal. It makes us feel things. It makes us want to linger a little longer, enjoy a little more. The beach is everything.

And that’s why it’s our job to help keep it clean. To not only keep our sands free of garbage, but to help make our oceans that way, too. From small lifestyle changes – changes you can make before your trip, and continue long after – to the everyday habits you can adopt while you’re here, we’re sharing a few of our favorite ways to help keep our beaches clean.

We hope you’ll join us in our efforts!

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15 Restaurant Recommendations We Haven’t Made Before

Shrimp Hole Tamarindo-min

Looking for some new (and tasty) inspiration? Look no further than these 15 fresh recommendations for restaurants in Tamarindo. (Pictured: Shrimp Hole)

Jumbo prawns, classic lobster thermidor, crispy falafel, Mongolian barbecue, gluten-free pizza, sizzling hot wings, and frothy milkshakes – if you crave it, chances are that one of our favorite restaurants in Tamarindo can satiate that hankering.

The Stay in Tamarindo office is full of foodies. That’s probably not much of a surprise, given how often we write about food. That’s also one of the reasons we have all found ourselves in Tamarindo: With all of Costa Rica to explore, what brings us here? The food scene, in part!

Tamarindo has one of, if not the best restaurant scene in Costa Rica: From finger food at the bar to a splurge-worthy seafood grill on the sand, our town-by-the-sea serves memorable cuisine around almost every corner. And so, we thought we’d highlight a few of those corners we’ve never showcased before (or haven’t mentioned in years): 15 fresh recommendations – restaurants in Tamarindo you really should try.

Not enough meals in your trip? No problem. You’ll just have to visit us again, soon!

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Dance, Music & the Pura Vida: The BPM Festival Comes to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

BPM Festival Tamarindo Costa Rica

The best month of the year just got better: This coming January, Tamarindo will welcome the legendary BPM Festival, an underground electronic music festival that offers a perfect complement to our powder-soft beaches, sunset vistas, tropical dry forests, and Pacific Ocean escapades.

It’s a sweet new start for BPM, which has alternately hosted in Bali, Barcelona, Playa del Carmen, Portugal, and Toronto. This will mark the first time the festival heads south of Mexico.

From the press release, “Surrounded by national parks with an abundance of lush jungles and white sand beaches complemented by warm blue water and breathtaking sunsets… the surfing town and beyond offers the perfect opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica.”

Aww, shucks. [Blushes.]

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July 25: The Annexation of Guanacaste

Guanacaste Day typical dress

What is Guanacaste Day? Well, we’d call it a celebration of democracy, of peace, and of patriotism.

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again – one of the many times of year that we ask ourselves, “What’s that noise?” Well, folks, today is July 25 and in Costa Rica, that means today is “Guanacaste Day” or more formally, a celebration of “la Anexión del Partido de Nicoya,” aka the “Annexation of Guanacaste.”

In Guanacaste province, including Tamarindo and surrounds, today is what we consider a Major Holiday. We’re talking parades and bombetas (like sound-only fireworks – all the boom, none of the color), history and celebrationbombas (traditional rhymes) and food. Lots of food.

So, yes, that’s that noise. But, Guanacaste Day is so much more than what you see (and hear) today.

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Property of the Month: Pacific Soul

Pacific Soul catamaran rental Costa Rica

You are here. Enough said? (Oh, you’re serious? Then feel free to inquire now about Pacific Soul!)

You’ve just awoken. There’s a hint of sunlight streaming in your window but, that’s not what woke you up. What was it? It was something completely beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. Or, at least, anything you’ve ever experienced upon waking.

You’re… rocking. It’s a gentle lap and ebb, lap and ebb. Oh, that’s right! Yesterday, you ditched your landlubber card and today, you’re waking up in Pacific Soul, a spectacular 45-foot private-charter catamaran. A 4-bedroom, 4-bath private catamaran. Floating on the aquamarine Pacific. Your only neighbors: dolphins, sea turtles, and the occasional octopus or two. This. Is. The. Life.

Welcome to the lap (and ebb) of luxury – a true, elusive luxury that only a few will ever have a chance experience. Will you be one of them?

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Treat Yourself: Hiring a Tamarindo Private Chef

mahi mahi from private chef tamarindo costa rica

Relax. Indulge. Treat yourself. Our favorite Tamarindo private chef is here to serve. Literally.

Sometimes, you just don’t want to eat out. You don’t feel like getting dressed up, or piling into the car for dinner, or any of the restaurant routine. You’d much prefer sunset drinks on the balcony, appetizers by the pool, and a low-key evening. You’d prefer the luxury and bespoke services of our favorite Tamarindo private chef (and surrounds).

Welcome to paradise. Truly. Because, if there’s anything more indulgent than a vacation in Tamarindo, it’s a vacation in Tamarindo, upgraded with the luxury of your own private chef – a personal chef who visits your vacation home, understands your palate, and crafts fabulous meals from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

In other words – yum. All the yums. Whenever and however you want.

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