Our comprehensive Tamarindo travel guide explores Costa Rica’s Gold Coast – an iconic travel wonderland of cerulean sea and golden sands, tropical dry forest and hidden waterfalls, beachfront restaurants and ocean-view nightlife. In other words, paradise.

From things to do and budget advice, to attraction information and places to stay, our travel guide to Tamarindo uncovers some of the world’s best surfing, most beautiful beaches, and most epic sunsets. Welcome!

Costa Rica Group Travel: 9 Tips for Planning the Perfect Vacation

Golfing - Things to do in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Group travel – be it a family reunion, friend groups, couples, or multiple families traveling together – can be an incredibly enjoyable, unforgettable experience. It can also be a tad (sarcasm alert!) tricky to plan. Luckily, we’ve pulled together the 9 expert tips for your Costa Rica group travel planning:

Tip #1: Give Yourselves Time to Plan

To minimize planning stress and maximize your available options, ideally, you’ll begin planning your Costa Rica group trip at least a year in advance.

We know – someone, somewhere, is reading this and saying, “but I’ve planned a group trip just three months out!” And, you’re right: Given the right circumstances, the right conditions, and just a bit of luck, you can plan group travel on a tight timeframe. We just wouldn’t recommend it.

The benefits of planning in advance are several, but they mostly revolve around your stress levels and getting everything you want: The narrower the timeframe, the harder it is for your entire group to plan for time off of work or other commitments, the fewer group-sized vacation villas are available, the more booked are your desired tours and excursions, the higher the airfare (typically), and so on. And with all that on your plate, you’re more likely to feel pressured than excited. And you want to feel excited!

So, if you can, start planning group travel 9-18 months (preferably 12+ months) in advance.

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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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What You Can Expect From Your Tamarindo Vacation with Stay in Tamarindo

aerial view of Playa Avellanas

The internet is full of Big Promises: Best-of this and once-in-a-lifetime thats – so many superlatives that they lose their meaning. So, by the time we say that we offer some of the best Tamarindo vacation rentals and that we are dedicated to the highest quality everything, you’re already numb.

What does “best” mean when it comes to vacation rentals? What does high quality even refer to? We’re glad you asked.

Because, truly, this is important to us. For years, Stay in Tamarindo has worked to not only create high traveler expectations, but to fulfill them. We really are best-in-class, and we have the non-superlative, long(ish) answers to explain it all:

Quality of Service

At Stay in Tamarindo, we are dedicated to the highest quality of service. This is the beating heart of what we do: In all things, our services – your experience, joy, and satisfaction – are always our top priority.

It’s a complicated promise to summarize, because “quality of service” infuses absolutely everything that we do. Here’s what we mean:

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The Best Months to Travel to Costa Rica: Planning Your Visit

Reserva de Golf aerial view Hacienda Pinilla

Travel today means prioritizing open spaces, fresh air, plenty of sunshine. Luckily, the best months to visit Costa Rica deliver all those things!

If travel planning weren’t a challenge and a job to itself before – and we all know that planning a vacation could absolutely be a challenge and a time-intensive proposition before – then arranging travel today is a whole new ballgame. Which is how you found yourself searching for the best places to travel this year – and now, narrowing it down to the best months to visit Costa Rica.

Welcome! You’re definitely in the right place.

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2022 Resolution: Dream Big Dreams + Plan Healthy Travel

whale watching in Costa Rica-min

Does travel run through your veins and fuel your soul? Us, too. Prior to 2020, travel was a priority for so many of us. We craved it. We planned it. We looked forward to it. And then, like that – gone. No more plans, put a hold on your anticipation. Until now. Because now, the world is looking forward – is craving, planning, and anticipating healthy travel in 2022.

The world is slowly but surely opening back up. Sometimes, it’s two steps forward and one step back, but we’re pushing toward our goal – toward the great wide world and all its wonderful promises. Again.

Here in Costa Rica, our borders have been open since mid-2020. There’s no COVID test required to enter the country. And we’re naturally (literally and figuratively) one of the best places to travel in 2022. Hello, open spaces. Hello, sun and fresh air. Hello, outdoor everything. Hello, healthy travel.

As you solidify your resolve for this new year – as you dream your dreams and plan your plans – make yourself one more promise: Let yourself be free again. And as you plan for that freedom, consider Costa Rica. With our vast wilderness and miles of coastline, spectacular scenery and long list of outdoor diversions, we’re a perfect choice. We’re waiting for you! 

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Costa Rica Spring Break 2022 – Best Places to Stay & Things to Do

Costa Rica spring break in Tamarindo

You’ve come to the right place – literally (Tamarindo) and figuratively (this blog post)! Your Costa Rica spring break awaits. (Photo courtesy Tamarindowiki, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ah, spring break – a much-needed escape from the dregs of winter and a long Q1 in the company calendar (or second semester of school, for the younger members of your family). Ah, Costa Rica spring break – an elevated escape to ocean-view infinity pools and world-class surf, tropical forest hikes and all the amenities of your own, private resort.

Because, while long gone may be the days of bacchanalia and spring break parties into the wee hours of the morning, a new kind of adventure now awaits: Welcome to a vacation that leans into sunset sails and long walks on the beach, lounging by the pool and savoring a spectacular sunset.

If you’re planning your Costa Rica spring break 2022, then you’ve come to the right place: Tamarindo, where you can carve out your perfect getaway, whether you’re a relax-and-do-nothing-at-all vacationer or a bucket-list traveler seeking to go big and pack it in.

Costa Rica Spring Break: What to Do

As we so often say, what you do in Costa Rica is largely a function of what you want to do. The truth is, we’ve lived here for years and still haven’t done it all – there’s just so much to do that, as soon as you’ve done it all, there’s another new thing to do!

So, we say, you do you: Are you an adrenaline junkie? Relaxation royalty? Family traveler? Nature aficionado? Because check, check, check, and check – Tamarindo has you covered!

That said, here are a few things you should at least put on your radar:

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8 Reasons Why Travel (Especially to Costa Rica) is Good for Your Health

benefits of traveling to Casa de Los Monos

Destination Costa Rica: Step into the myriad benefits of traveling. (Pictured: Casa de Los Monos

Everyone looks forward to travel, right? We crave a break from our everyday almost as much as the opportunity for new adventures and choose-your-own relaxation. But, did you know? There are many tangible benefits of traveling, especially to Costa Rica, where the sun is so often shining and new experiences await around every corner.

Discover some of the many scientifically proven (and personally verified!) reasons why travel can be good for the body, mind, and soul:

Reason #1: You’ll Get Outdoors & Get Active

tamarindo zip line

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

There’s just something about an outdoor activity; it’s just different from its indoor cousin. It’s something we feel, something we know – like that there’s no real comparison between putting foot to pavement and foot to treadmill: One, we do because we need or want the exercise; the other, we do because we love how it feels.

One of the greatest benefits of traveling, at least to Costa Rica, is the latter: You’ll love spending your time outdoors. You’ll surf in the sea and hike in the rainforest. You’ll white-water raft down river rapids and swim in the Pacific. You’ll spend your sunsets on a sailboat and your evenings grilling by an ocean-view pool.

And all those things – well, you’ll love them just as much as your body loves doing them. Because getting outdoors, especially when traveling, has been found to really, truly keep you healthier, even in your retirement. In fact, the study found that regular travel can significantly impact your overall health. For example, women who travel twice a year (or more) had a statistically significant lower risk of heart attack, while men who vacationed at least annually had a reduced risk of death and especially of a heart attack.

So, go on – travel. Do it for your health!

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Level Up Your Vacation: Top 7 Day Trips from Tamarindo

Costa Rica red-eyed tree frog

Red-eyed tree frogs – the world’s cutest amphibian? And one of the frogs you could spot, on these 7 day trips from Tamarindo!

Tamarindo is a destination unto itself, famed for its powdery beaches and raucous surf, rolling hills and splendid sunsets.

That doesn’t mean you’ll never want to adventure past the town’s limits, though. (After all, Tamarindo proper occupies less than a square mile!) So, for all those times you crave stretching your legs, for all those moments you can’t experience with your toes in the sand, for all the must-sees and must-dos that lie just beyond our borders, we offer…

7 Incredible, Memorable & Worth-Your-Consideration Day Trips from Tamarindo:

Sloths & Frogs

two-toed sloth in Costa Rica

Can you really say you don’t want to see this face, up close and personal? Can you? Can you?? We thought not.

If you’ve ever dreamed of a close encounter with a smiling sloth or a colorful frog – and, let’s be honest? what nature lover hasn’t, really? – then we’ve designed this adventure just for you.

One of our most popular day trips from Tamarindo, this unique experience takes you hiking 90 minutes into lush landscapes and tropical forests. On this special half-day, you’ll not only take a dip in waterfall pool, but will enjoy close encounters with sloths and spottings of toucans, butterflies, and frogs in their natural habitats.

Round out the day with a typical meal at a sodita, or homestyle diner, for a typical lunch and a true taste of Costa Rican tradition.

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Costa Rica Private Villa & Travel FAQ: 2021 Version

Costa Rica private villa & travel FAQ 2021

Questions? We have answers! And for anything you don’t find in our updated Costa Rica private villa & Tamarindo travel FAQ, just get in touch! We’re always happy to help.

So, you’re thinking about traveling to Costa Rica this year? We’ll bet you have questions. Luckily, we also have answers.

We won’t cover the standard FAQ fare – where is Tamarindo? (northwestern Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste) or do Costa Ricans speak English? (not as their first language, but English is widely spoken) – but rather, we’ll touch on all those things that can and do frequently change – especially after the 2020 we all had.

Jump to:

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