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!

Planning a Costa Rica Surf Vacation? Start Here.

Tamarindo surfing

Planning a Costa Rica surf vacation? This guide will help you narrow down where and when – and where to stay, after you’ve figured out your where and when.

So, you’re planning a Costa Rica surf vacation. You’re excited! You’re hopeful. You’re already shopping for special vacation surfboard wax.

The only problem – you’re not quite sure of where to go. Or when. Or where you’ll stay. Or, well, any of it. Because Costa Rica’s surf is legendary and, whether you’re a beginner who’s only popped up a few times or an advanced surfer looking for your next-greatest challenge, all you’re sure of is that you’ll soon be surfing in Costa Rica.

That’s an exhilarating thing to be sure of. This guide will fill you in on the rest.

Popular Costa Rica Surf Destinations

The good news is that you’ll find both beginner-friendly and good surf almost everywhere Costa Rica. The great news is that you’ll find world-class surf in a few of those areas.

The not-quite-as-good news is that you won’t have time to surf it all. (Well, unless you’re here for a few years.) So, you’ll have to prioritize. At least, for this trip.

Here’s our rule of thumb: Stick to one major surf region per each 7-10 days of your trip, so you have plenty of time to explore, enjoy, and surf every must and many of the if-you-cans. And, be sure to identify all a region’s bucket-list breaks that meet your skill level and preferences.

So, about that where:

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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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Don’t Travel with the Big Guys: 7 Reasons to Book with a Local Vacation Rental Company

Tamarindo Tours and Activities

Call us biased, but we know there are plenty of reasons to go local – to work with a local, in-the-know company to choose your vacation home, Tamarindo tours, experiences, and other details of your trip. Here are seven of them.

As you plan your Costa Rican vacation – the Tamarindo tours you want to experience, the flavors you can’t wait to taste, the accommodations that inspire your dreams – one of the very first decisions you’ll make is all about the logistics: Where will you reserve that vacation?

Usually, that decision comes down to two major players: The Big Guys – major travel agencies, publically traded companies, etc. – or The Local Guys: small companies, rooted in their communities and overflowing with local know-how.

At the outset, we’ll cop to our bias: At Stay in Tamarindo, we’re firmly in the latter category. We are firmly a local company. The Big Guys don’t throw their weight behind us. We don’t have huge marketing departments or major advertising dollars to throw around.

We do have heart. And, therein lies the truth behind our bias: We know local and, therefore, we understand its distinct advantages. After all, we live in Tamarindo. We visit our rental homes. We do quality checks on all our recommended Tamarindo tours, excursions, and attractions.

So, yes, we’re biased. But if you’ll give us a chance, we’re pretty confident you’ll end up biased, too.

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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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4 Tamarindo Tours & Activities You Can Only Experience Here

Tamarindo Mangrove tour

Looking for some of our favorite, only-here Tamarindo tours? Mangrove kayaking definitely makes our list.

Every vacation, every trip, every escape is a new opportunity. The chance to see something new, experience something different. Your invitation to explore, enjoy, and endear yourself to fresh places, spaces, and activities.

Travel is your path to enjoying the world, as it is. The world, as you don’t yet know it.

And that’s why we always encourage travelers to try something new – to step outside your comfort zone and tick another item off your bucket list.

Enter these Tamarindo tours: four opportunities to do something you probably haven’t done before. Four chance to experience the world, as only Tamarindo can deliver it. These tours and activities are unique to us, unique to right here. And we can’t wait to introduce you to them.

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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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