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!

Our Top Costa Rica Family Vacation Rentals & Group Activities in Tamarindo

take an extended family vacation in Costa Rica

The family that plays together, enjoys vacation together!

When it comes to group and/or family vacations, success often boils down to balancing your group’s varied activity levels, interests, and travel styles. You’ll probably start by looking for Costa Rica family vacation rentals that meet at least your basic needs and hopefully fulfill many of your wishlist items. Then, you’ll transition into what you’ll do and where.

It’s a lot but it’s exciting. Quick reminder: We’re always here to help. (Concierge Cris is a literal pro at balancing everyone’s needs and would-love-to-haves!) But to get you started, here are a few of our favorite family and group-friendly activities (jump down for Costa Rica family vacation rentals!).

Tamarindo Activities for Group & Family Vacations

As soon as you go down the rabbit hole of activities, adventures, attractions, and all other manner of things to do in Costa Rica, you’re almost immediately overwhelmed. The sheer variety – and then, the variety within the varieties – is staggering.

Don’t let yourself fall prey to FOMO (fear of missing out): It’s great to say “no” to the activities that won’t suit your family or group, whether due to travel style, interests, physical activity levels, or age (many high-adventure tours have lower age limits for kids). To help guide you in the right direction, here are eight of our favorite family-friendly activities that are high on fun but not too extreme to please the majority.

Catamaran Sailing

Tamarindo bar-restaurants offer excellent sunset views

There’s nothing quite like a Tamarindo sunset, and that’s why we know there’s nothing quite like our Tamarindo sunset tours. Don’t let your family miss out!

There’s almost no easier way to please your group or family than booking a catamaran sail. Available as private or standard cruises, in the morning or afternoon (sunset sail), these Tamarindo mainstays are popular for a reason: they’re a lot of fun!

Gather together and board the catamaran, to set sail for your snorkeling destination. Your skilled captain will choose the day’s secluded beach and cove, where you’ll anchor for a few hours. Grab your snorkel gear, your noodles, and off you go on a guided snorkel tour, where, with just a bit of luck, you’ll have a chance to spot puffer fish, starfish, octopus, manta rays, and other undersea life.

Snacks and meals are included, and usually include tropical fare of guacamole, refried beans and chips, fresh fruit, veggies and dip, and other refreshments throughout the cruise. If you choose the afternoon/sunset sail, you’ll snack and sip as you watch a blazing sun disappear over the horizon. It’s an unforgettable moment to spend together!

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Zip Lining

Zip Lining

If you polled most people on what comes to mind when they think “Costa Rica” and “adventure,” chances are excellent that zip lining would be in the top-3 responses. There’s a reason for that.

One of Costa Rica’s original adventures, this high-adrenaline (9 cables stretching as long as 600 meters!) tour offers views into thick forest canopies and sky-high treetops – spots that we humans rarely frequent. Add to that the sensation of flying paired with excellent views and wildlife sightings (including red macaws, falcons, howler monkeys, iguanas, and more!), and you have the recipe for a quintessential family travel experience.

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Buena Vista Adventure Combo

Waterslide in Costa Rica

Have you ever seen such an exhilarating and once-in-a-lifetime waterslide?

If your group is game for a two-hour drive, then this adventure combo tour is more than worth it. Head inland and into the wilds of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and National Park, where scenic cattle hacienda meets volcanic foothills and a mountain retreat. These panoramic views alone are worth the trip…

Of course, you’re in for a lot more than scenery. The exhilaration begins with a zipline canopy tour(appropriate for kids through kids-at-heart); be sure to take in the sweeping panoramas from your treetop perch! Then, you’ll horseback ride through a traditional Costa Rican hacienda, before heading out on hiking trails that lead to a pristine waterfall.

And that’s where it really gets good because, right here, you can all ride the 400-meter jungle waterslide that you may have seen featured online. Yes, it’s as exciting and as fun as it looks! What an adrenaline rush. After all the excitement, your entire group will appreciate recouping in the onsite thermal hot springs, fed by mineral-rich waters and heated by Rincón de la Vieja volcano. There’s also a sauna and mineral mud bath!

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Sport Fishing

playa junquillal fishing

There’s a reason Tamarindo is world-famous for its sports fishing! Can you say “billfish” five times fast?

Did you know that Tamarindo is one of the world’s most famous sportfishing destinations? That’s because our warm ocean waters host some of the best sport and fighting fish in the world – and the season lasts all year long. Whenever you’re here, there’s something to catch!

Let’s start with what’s on the hook: mahi-mahi, red snapper, yellowfin tuna, jacks, roosterfish, rainbow fish, sailfish, and a lot more. Nearshore, offshore, half-day, full-day – hey, even a 3/4 day! Because sportfishing in Tamarindo is extremely versatile and it’s all about what you want to do, catch, eat, and conquer.

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ATV Adventure

Tamarindo ATV tour to secluded beaches

You are here: On one of the best Tamarindo tours, roaring through dusty backroads, carving out your own secret passage to three of Costa Rica’s most beautiful and secluded beaches. It doesn’t get much better than this!

If you’re in the market for an adventure activity that almost anyone can enjoy, welcome to the wonderful world of ATVing! Instead of hiking, trekking, or horseback riding – all, highly physical activities – you’ll board an all-terrain vehicle and head out into the Guanacastecan savannah. Welcome to Costa Rica’s cowboy county!

Ride through rolling fields and spot today’s working farms, filled with cattle and horses and steeped in Costa Rican tradition and lore. We’ll then take these same roads down to the country’s newest tradition: the beach! Explore our white-sand beaches and discover the joys and secrets of Playa Minas, Playa Conchal, and Brasilito Beach. And at the end of the two-hour trip, there’s no better way to relax than with water and fresh fruit with a view!

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Snuba Diving

Snuba Diving

We freely admit: This one has even us excited! A mix of snorkeling and scuba diving, snuba requires no dive license but still manages to pack in a lot of the underwater thrill of scuba diving (minimum age: 5 years).

The magic comes down to your equipment: Instead of strapping it all onto your back, you’re simply attached to oxygen to via a long hose and mouthpiece, giving you the freedom to move around while breathing underwater. (Max depth: 6 meters/20 feet) Think of it like scuba diving on a leash – only a lot more fun than that mental imagery!

Once you’re down there, and depending on your snuba site, you can spot everything from old coral reefs and colorful fish to manta rays and reef sharks. It’s a wide underwater world down there, and your group or family is going to love it!

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Tamarindo Mangrove Tour

Mangrove Kayaks

Read any list of Costa Rican activities, and you’ll find a lot of the same suggestions. That’s because the country is incredibly biodiverse and its natural highlights should not be missed. And yet, amidst the high-flying canopy tours and sloth watching, the ATV rides and the world-class sportfishing, there’s one truly incredible, awe-inspiring, wonderfully educational natural wandering that is too often forgotten: our mangroves.

Mangrove forests are truly incredible ecosystems – coastal wetlands that often house a combination of fresh, salt, and brackish water: a one-two-three punch that welcomes a huge variety of flora and fauna. And that makes it one of the coolest destinations for nature lovers and wildlife lovers, so if your group wants to “see animals,” then this is a great start!

We’ll take you on a family-friendly, serene boat ride inside the Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge, itself a part of the famed Las Baulas National Marine Park. As you float down the estuary, you might spot everything from crocodiles and monkeys to iguanas and waterbirds. Not to mention, the mere five species of mangrove that comprise an incredible 95% of the refuge’s vegetation! 

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Sloths + Frogs + Waterfall Nature Tour

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.

Ok, raise your hand if someone in your group mentioned “sloths” when you finally decided on Costa Rica.

You’re not alone. These seemingly always-smiling mammals – of course, they’re not really smiling, but it’s a lovely thought! – are a big draw. They’re cute, they’re fuzzy, and they’re slow enough to observe for as long as you’d like. But mostly, they’re cute. And that’s why this tour is a forever favorite: it offers you and your group or family the opportunity to have a close encounter with a sloth. Yes, seriously!

And for the less sloth-obsesses wildlife watchers in your group, you may also spot toucans, butterflies, and tropical frogs in all their many vibrant hues. It’s a hike, it’s a wildlife encounter, and it’s a day that you’ll all remember fondly for years to come. And, did we mention? The tour ends with a stop to swim at a waterfall. As we said, forever memories!

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Costa Rica Family Vacation Rentals near Tamarindo

Looking for the absolute perfect vacation home for your group or family? We have two!

Casa de Luz

Playa Langosta | 8 Bedrooms | 7 Baths | Sleeps 23

Casa de Luz oceanfront vacation rental in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

If you’re traveling with a large group and searching Costa Rica family vacation rentals, then you may think that you’re staring down a decision: this or that, his preference or hers, and who will you have to disappoint? Welcome to Casa de Luz, where you don’t have to make compromises.

This luxury, fully solar-powered vacation home is tailor-made for large groups and families – and it’s everything you imagine about an upscale tropical retreat. Let’s begin with its unsurpassed location: beachfront, literally steps to the sand. (Almost impossible to find in Costa Rica, by the way!) Enjoy strolls, swims, and sunsets, every day.

Then, there’s the showstopper infinity pool and poolside bar. Which, by the way, is where your dedicated housekeeper will serve your favorite vacation drinks and cocktails. (They’ll also clean, do laundry, and prep your breakfast, six days per week.) So go ahead, spread out, relax, and take in the good life. Here, there’s not a compromise in sight.

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Casa Puros Dieces

Tamarindo | 8 Bedrooms | 8 Baths + 1 Half Bath | Sleeps 20

Casa Puros Dieces for you business retreat in Costa Rica

Can you imagine bonding with your coworkers every night, over this view?

When you’re looking for the perfect Costa Rica family vacation rentals, it’s not so much size but space that matters. By that, we mean plenty of space for everyone. And that’s exactly what you’ll have at the spectacular, ocean-view, Balinese-style Casa Puros Dieces – the “perfect 10”!

Families and groups gather here to create unforgettable memories: days spent in the ocean-view infinity pool and jacuzzi, lounging in the indoor-outdoor living spaces, reading by the koi pond, and simply enjoying, together, this luxury home’s open-air spaces. But you’ll also find your own space, thanks to multiple lounge and living areas, 8 bedrooms and 8.5 bedrooms, and ample corners where you can disappear and enjoy a quiet moment.

What’s more, Casa Puros Dieces includes dedicated housekeeping, six days a week: cleaning, laundry, and meal preparations, including breakfast, snacks, and cocktails. You’ll also appreciate the 100MB internet, so you’ll never have to argue over who’s hogging the bandwidth – even if there are teenagers in your travel party.

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Bonus: Costa Rica Family Vacation Rentals with Free Concierge Services

At Stay in Tamarindo, we really are different. We really do care about you – your entire family or group. And we really will go the extra mile.

We’re going to work hard for you. We’re going to follow up with you. And we’re going to do everything we can, to ensure that this is not just your Best Vacation Ever, but also Everything You Want It to Be.

We have successfully hosted numerous family and group vacations in Costa Rica – everything from large families to families traveling together to massive family reunions. Our team will partner with you to help you find the right accommodations – many of our large group properties are suitable for family retreats! – and venues for meals, sessions, activities, and/or transportation around Costa Rica.

We hope to transform the way you travel together. We want to deliver the best everything you’ve ever experienced – including the best value. And we want you to go home completely fulfilled, whether you came to relax and bond for a week straight or packed your days full of every adrenaline-soaked, high-adventure activity you could fit in.

So go ahead, give us a try. Embrace the experience. Live your best life. And now, book your best-ever vacation. It all starts with getting in touch with our concierge, Cris!

Best Days Trips from Tamarindo: 6 Ideas to Inspire Your Planning

One of the greatest (and yet, often unsung) advantages of staying on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast? There are dozens of incredible day trips from Tamarindo, many within just a two-hour drive.

From active volcanoes and their medicinal hot springs to Class III-V river rapids and some of Central America’s most incredible birdwatching, here are six of our favorite things to do near Tamarindo:

Day Trip Idea: Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Drive Time: 2 hours

Waterfall View at Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Yup, totally worth it. | Photo courtesy Miguel Vieira

As day trips from Tamarindo go, Rincón de la Vieja is one of the best. This ancient volcano, wreathed in legend, is as incredibly scenic as it is high adventure. And there are three ways to enjoy it!

Option #1: Buena Vista Lodge

This scenic cattle hacienda and mountain retreat is one of our favorite destinations in the foothills of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Here, within the thick foliage of rainforest-covered slopes, panoramic vistas unfold onto breathtaking views of Costa Rica’s northwest plains, rolling cattle country and, on a clear day, two sister volcanic cones – all the way in Nicaragua!

In shorthand, we like to think of this one as Option Adrenaline-Packed Fun: This is a great choice if you want to combine sightseeing with some seriously action-packed fun. It begins with a horseback ride or hike to a refreshing waterfall, followed by a 400-meter water slide built into the mountain and powered by a freshwater stream.

Then, relax in Rincón de la Vieja-heated thermal hot springs. Indulge in the sauna. And treat yourself to skin-pampering, therapeutic mineral mud.

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Why Costa Rica Should Be Your Pick for Travel in 2022 & 2023

Costa Rica spring break in TamarindoAs you begin to plan your upcoming travels, we have a few compelling reasons why they could (and even should) be trips to Costa Rica in 2022 or 2023. ¡Pura vida!

It’s not because Costa Rica deserves it. It’s because you deserve it.

You deserve to stroll, lounge, and fall in love with some of the world’s best beaches. You deserve a destination that fulfills your every sloth-loving, birdwatching, monkey-must wildlife dreams. You deserve a vacation where you can just relax. You deserve to go somewhere that exemplifies the values you hold most dear. And you deserve a place that takes only a few hours to reach and won’t make you jump through hoops.

You – yes, you – deserve Costa Rica. Welcome to the best decision for your 2022/2023 wanderings. You’re going to be so happy you came. And we’re going to be so happy you visited!

Reason #1: We Have Some of the Best Beaches in the World

pink sands of Playa Conchal

It’s no surprise that Playa Conchal, a beach famous for its pink sands, which come courtesy of crushed seashells, was voted the World’s Best Beach in 2022. Just check out that turquoise water!

A nation fortuitously placed between two oceans – the Pacific and the Atlantic/Caribbean – it’s no surprise that Costa Rica is home to at least 300 incredibly beautiful, incredibly diverse beaches. And, specifically, some of the planet’s most incredible, beautiful, and best beaches in the world.

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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!)

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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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