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!

Humpback Whale Watching near Tamarindo, Costa Rica

whale watching in Costa Rica-min

Hey there! Love nature? Then, you’re going to love humpback whale watching near Tamarindo.

When you think of Costa Rica and wildlife watching, you most likely think of monkeys and sloths, toucans and jaguars. It’s easy to forget that Costa Rica is also home to two oceans – okay, technically one ocean and one sea – teeming with wildlife. And you don’t need to be a snorkeler or scuba diver to enjoy it, either.

Did you know that Costa Rica is home to the longest humpback whale-watching season in the world? ‘Tis true: Over two appearances and eight awe-inspiring months, these gentle giants make their home in Costa Rica waters. In Guanacaste waters. Which brings us to the subject of whale watching near Tamarindo: where, when and how?

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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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Planning a Family Vacation? Tamarindo Vacation Rentals: The Cozy, the Spacious, and the Massive

Puros Dieces luxury vacation rental Tamarindo

Indulge in total luxury for your Costa Rica family vacations, at Puros Dieces.

Planning your Costa Rica family vacations can be one of the most exciting – or stressful – parts of your vacation planning. Finding the right home is a challenge. Pleasing everyone is hard. And doing that all within your budget? We have two words: Hoo. Boy.

Luckily, Tamarindo’s family vacation rental market has just the home(s) for the best Costa Rica family vacations! From cozy two-bedrooms with ocean views to downright massive family complexes, perfect for a family reunion, our town and surrounds are eager to please the young and young-at-heart. And today, we’re serving up some of our favorite homes for your family.

EASY BUTTON! Back up a few paragraphs, and we may have said that planning Costa Rica family vacations can be a stressful, challenging, and/or difficult task. That’s true – until you hit our epic easy button: Book one of our vacation homes and you’ll have access to our free concierge services. From activity planning and childcare, to private chefs and transportation, we eliminate your stress. At no added cost!

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Costa Rica Travel with Kids: The Best Family Experiences

Family trip to Costa Rica

Costa Rica travel with kids? You’re going to need these [awe-inspiring, kid-thrilling] family tours.

Today, Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s Day. It’s one of the Big Holidays here in Costa Rica – a paid day off work, universally celebrated, and much beloved – and so we thought we’d celebrate in the best way we know how: by sharing our favorite family tours, travels and family experiences, to enhance your own Costa Rica travel with kids.

Because, we’re realists. We know that traveling with kids isn’t the same as traveling solo or with adults. There are special considerations and accommodations to be made. Because, even the littlest of kids have big personalities.

We want to keep them happy. Nay, thrilled! We want all travelers, both big and small, to have the time of their lives. To finish every tour entertained. To say, “this was the best trip EVER!” Because it was.

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Tamarindo Restaurants Guide, 2019 Version

Pangas Tamarindo by night-min

Pangas is forever one of our top choices in Tamarindo restaurants, not just for the food but for the beachfront ambiance.

Tamarindo is a veritable foodie haven: Dozens, if not hundreds of worth-your-time restaurants and joints, beachfront spreads and tiny holes-in-the-wall. If you don’t know where to go, it can all be a little overwhelming: everything just smells so good! Seafood and melting cheese, brick ovens and wood-fired grills… But, we’re getting distracted. (It’s easy to do, around all this excellent food.) And so, it’s for just this reason that we’ve updated our Tamarindo restaurants guide for 2019: to help you draft your list of must-eats and must-views.

Note that this latest interation of our restaurant guide doesn’t overwrite or cancel out any of our previous suggestions; they’re still delicious and highly recommended. We just wanted to give you a few more options. A little more room to experiment with your taste buds and hone your Tamarindo palate. A few more inspirations to try new things and taste new tastes. Or, to revisit old favorites. Because, you’ll want to. You really will. Tamarindo’s restaurants have a certain temptation.

So, as we say in Costa Rica, ¡provecho! Enjoy!

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How to Plan a Carefree Tamarindo Vacation (with very little effort)

Pacific Soul catamaran rental Costa Rica

Planning a Tamarindo vacation? Hoping for a carefree planning experience? That’s our wish for you, too. Here’s how to get from Point A (planning stress) to Point B (totally chill, toes in the sand, not a care in the world).

There is just something about vacation: No matter how relaxing, how soothing, how perfect it promises to be, the planning stages are anything but relaxing, soothing, or perfect. More like demanding, time-intensive, and detail-rich. Unfortunately, your Tamarindo vacation planning will probably be no different from the standard. Oh, except that it’s in Spanish. Goody.

Costa Rica is a small country but a big place: Smaller than the state of West Virginia but home to more than 5% of the world total biodiversity, Costa Rica is the kind of vacation that can be overwhelming to plan. How can you see it all, when you have only 5, 7, 10 or even 14 days in country?

Well, Cliff’s Notes on that one: you can’t. Costa Rica is definitely the kind of place that demands a repeat visit. Two, three, ten times… You’re going to want to come back. But, in the meantime, while you’re planning this visit – be it your first or your fifth – you want to keep your stress low and your anticipation high.

You want to plan a carefree, unicorns-and-rainbows, #BringOnTheBucketList kind of Tamarindo vacation. But, you don’t want to stress out while doing it. And, if that sounds like a catch-22, you’ll be happy to hear it’s not. You can have your Costa Rica cake and eat it, too. Here’s how:

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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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Getting Around Tamarindo & Surrounding Areas

Tamarindo shuttle

Travel tip: Save the headache and grab a Tamarindo shuttle into/out of town

Have you ever found that there’s often a big difference between trip planning and tip execution? When you’re planning, everything seems important. OMG-this-is-serious-why-can’t-Google-find-the-answer?!?! serious. And then, you arrive and suddenly, you’re on vacation and nothing feels quite so important as it once seemed. Because, Costa Rica.

Getting around Tamarindo is one of those things: It feels really, really important – and, to some extent, it is important! – when you’re planning from back home, but then you arrive and you see our 1-mile long stretch of town for the first time, and all your transportation stress melts away. You could walk it, if you wanted to.

Key word: Wanted. Because, walking is a valid option. You’ll see that many tourists and residents do just that. But, if walking beneath a tropical sun isn’t quite your speed – and if you don’t want to rent a car (or, at least, not for the whole trip – then, you’ll be happy to know that we have a ton of other transportation options.

Starting with the most important and the one you should absolutely, positively plan in advance: how to get to Tamarindo. And then, beyond that, how are you going to get around town? Without a car. We have the answer. Six of them*, to be precise.

*All costs are sample prices and current as of mid-2019.

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