One of the best things about Costa Rica’s Gold Coast? The sheer variety of our Tamarindo daytrips! Tamarindo day trips take you to active volcanoes and turtle-nesting beaches, historic sites and wildlife refuges – to the depth and breadth of Costa Rica’s natural, cultural and historical offerings.

Tamarindo Day Trip: Las Pumas Rescue Center

jaguar Panthera onca-min

Jaguars, Costa Rica’s biggest wildcats, are just one of the five big cat species you’ll find at Las Pumas Rescue Center

We like to say that in nature, there are no guarantees. What that means is that, while Costa Rica is an incredibly biodiverse country where more than 25% of all land is reserved for national parks, wildlife refuges, and reserves – habitats to some of the densest wild animal populations in the world – there’s no guarantee you’ll spot a specific animal. Especially if that animal is elusive. Enter Las Pumas Rescue Center, or El Centro de Rescate Las Pumas.

Las Pumas is a wildlife rescue center, taking in the injured, the orphaned, and the illegally captured. Their goal: To provide necessary medical care and rehabilitate these animals, hopefully for release back into their natural habitats. What this means for us: Guaranteed animal sightings and a feel-good, do-good kind of day, where you not only see some animals but put your tourism dollars toward a worthy nonprofit. 

Need to Know:

Location: About 2 hours east of Tamarindo and 4.5 miles outside of Cañas, on the Interamerican Highway en route to Liberia

Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Sunday

Cost: $8 children & students / $12 adults

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Spotlight on: Tamarindo Day Tours to Make the Most When Time is Short (Part 1)

Tamarindo day tour to Monteverde cloud forest

Welcome to a world very different from our own. Swap sand for epiphytes and sun for misty cloud forest in Monteverde, a favorite Tamarindo day tour!

You’ve made it. You’re in Costa Rica. You’ve arrived at Tamarindo. The sun is shining. The waves are crashing. Your feet are buried in sand. There’s probably a cold drink in your hand. Life feels pretty perfect.

And then, you overhear someone talking about that trip they took yesterday. You know – the one to the volcanic hot springs or the tropical cloud forest, to the roaring river or to hike on once-active lava flows, to an incredible waterfall or a birding paradise. And suddenly, the sun doesn’t feel so warm and the sand isn’t quite as pleasing.

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a very real thing when you’re on vacation. After all, when you’ve traveled all the way to Costa Rica, you want to pack it all in. You want to see and experience all (or, at least most!) of this spectacular country. We get it. And, we’re here to help. Because, the last thing we want is for you to miss out. Don’t miss out. Do it all – or, all that you want – with these time-saving Tamarindo day tours. (Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!)

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Off the Beaten Path: A Visit to Guaitil, the Pottery Capital of Costa Rica

Guaitil, cradle of Chorotega pottery

Guaitil, the cradle of Chorotega culture and pottery, is lined with samples of the craft | Photo courtesy of Lydia Chow

Guaitil – pronounced, more or less, wy-teel – is the Costa Rica you’ve probably never heard of. And yet, you should have. Everyone should have. Because Guaitil is one of those special kinds of places that you cannot experience anywhere else.

This is your invitation to step back into a thousand years of tradition, to experience the Costa Rica of another millennia – before the conquistadors, before modernization, before Costa Rica even was Costa Rica. Guaitil is living, breathing history.

Guaitil is a Chorotega indigenous village, named for the dye-giving Guaitil tree and situated in Guanacaste and less than an hour from Tamarindo. It is a complete escape from the norm and exploration of tradition – a dusty, rugged town known best for its pottery. And, in our opinion, just as deservingly for its food. But we’ll get there in a moment.

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Tamarindo Overnight Trip: Explosive Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano is Costa Rica’s most famous volcano – and one of our favorite day trips (even better: overnight trips!) from Tamarindo.

On slopes where once flowed destructive red-hot lava, now grows an explosion of rainforest riches: soaring palms, dense foliage, and jewel-toned tropical blooms. And, lest you forget its origins, the occasional (yet tamer) belch from a mostly-sleeping-sometimes-rumbling active volcano.

Indeed, while a nightly lava show used to draw visitors to the region, today Arenal Volcano relies on much more than Mother Nature’s red-hot fireworks. This is a town dedicated to diversion, relaxation, and a full suite of adventure: soaring canopy ziplines, exhilarating waterfall rappelling, frothing white-water rafting, volcanic hot springs, shadowy cave spelunking, and so much more.

Oh, so very much more.

Because, this is Arenal Volcano. And this is one of our most popular overnight tours from Tamarindo. Trust us, it’s worth the drive.

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Costa Rica Turtle Watching: Ostional Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica turtle watching at Ostional

Looking for the best Costa Rica turtle watching tour? There’s no better place than Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

When was the last time you visited one of the world’s most important anythings? Welcome to Ostional Wildlife Refuge which, according to the World Wildlife Fund, is “one of the two most important areas in the world for nesting of the olive ridley turtle.” Indeed, this is the place for nearly guaranteed Costa Rica turtle watching. The place in the world, specifically.

Every year, millions of sea turtles lumber onto the beaches of Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Every year, millions of sea turtles are born on the beaches of Ostional Wildlife Refuge. And every year, thousands of lucky visitors come to these beaches to witness this spectacular event.

And it’s not just that. While olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are most common at Ostional – up to 150,000 (yes, you read that right!) can come ashore during a single nesting event – leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) are also known to nest here.

Alert, alert! As of this post (September 2018), it’s high turtle season and we’re experiencing one of the largest arribadas of the year.

So, who’s ready for some Costa Rica turtle watching?

Ostional Wildlife Refuge At-A-Glance: 

Location: 65 miles south of Tamarindo

Founded: 1982 (declared a protected area) and 1984 (refuge formed)

Maximum Altitude: Sea level

Area: 180 acres; the refuge is part of the greater Tempisque Conservation Area (= tens of thousands of protected acres)

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Telephone: 2682-0470

Entrance Fee: $15 adults / $5 children

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Looking for a Major Adrenaline Rush? Don’t Miss this Combo Tamarindo ATV Tour + Canopy Zipline!

Tamarindo ATV tour to secluded beaches

You are here: On the best Tamarindo ATV tour, 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!

Imagine this: You’re clinging to the side of a mountain, racing up a country background. The wind’s in your hair and the ocean’s at your back. A cloud of dust billows out behind you, a puff of earth to trace your progress up the bumpy dirt road.

Or this: You’re teetering who-knows-how-high above the jungle floor, your toes curled over the edge of a treetop platform. Behind you, your guide chants, “One, two, three – JUMP!” Suddenly, you’re flying.

Or this: You’re speeding through arid countryside, cutting a swath through scrub and sand. It’s your own secret passage – an off-the-road shortcut to a no-road-access nearly deserted beach.

Welcome to the world’s best adrenaline rush, as only Costa Rica can offer it!

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Tamarindo Day Trip: Guide to Diria National Park

Howler Monkey

How about a howler monkey welcome to Diria National Park?

Guanacaste is home to eight national parks, each known for their vast habitats, natural beauty, and varied wildlife. You’ve probably heard of many of them: from leatherback turtle beaches at our own Las Baulas National Marine Park to the canals of Palo Verde National Park, Guanacaste is famous for its parks. Except one. One that flies decidedly under the radar.

Welcome to Guanacaste’s best-kept secret. Kick off your flip-flops and get out your hiking shoes. We’re going to Diria National Park!

Here, what was once a protected area is now a national park – an upgrade courtesy of Diria National Park’s varied ecosystems, strong conservation efforts, and entertainment value. That’s right, Diria is not only beautiful but also a fun place to visit: Filled with crystal-clear river waters, a majestic waterfall, interwoven trails, and an abundance of birds, mammals, and other animal species.

Diria National Park Overview: 

Location: 10 miles south of Santa Cruz

Founded: 1991 (became a national park in 2004)

Maximum Altitude: 5,905 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level

Area: 13,410 acres

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Telephone: 2686-4968 / 2686-4970

Entrance Fee: $6 adults / $5 children

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Guide to Santa Rosa National Park

Witch's Rock at Santa Rosa National Park

Witch’s Rock, a famed surf site, is located within Santa Rosa National Park

Where isolated beach meets rare dry forest, where rushing rivers flow into lush mangrove forests, where epic waves crash onto rocky islands – this is Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica’s first national park and an untouched beauty still far off the nation’s beaten path.

Rough and wild, Santa Rosa is a place where white-tailed deer still frequent drinking holes and the jaguars still meander along parched landscapes. Where one of the world’s last tropical dry forests meet endangered sea turtle nesting sites, where howler monkeys hoot in the tees and bats flutter through the air.

Here, amidst waist-high scrub grass and the veil of Guanacaste trees, Santa Rosa National Park protects critical habitats and prized Costa Rican history. Here, Santa Rosa National Park cradles ocean-view hiking trails and two of the world’s most beloved surf sites. Here, Santa Rosa National Park calls you to outdoor adventures and inner reflections, to heart-pounding thrills and tranquil afternoons.

Santa Rosa National Park Overview: 

Location: 22 miles north of Liberia; about 2 hours north of Tamarindo

Founded: 1971

Area: 91,926 acres and 192,660 maritime acres

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; extended hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during high season

Telephone: 2666-5051 / 2668-1045 / 2668-1150

Entrance Fee: $15 adults / $5 children

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6 Brag-Worthy Fish You Could Catch While Sportfishing Tamarindo

sportfishing Tamarindo for roosterfish

Rooster fish are hard-fighting (and make for a great photo op!)

When it comes to sportfishing Tamarindo, there’s a lot of thrill. Not only do many local boats practice hook retrieval – a true test of skill and mettle, as well as ocean stewardship – but the fish that populate our waters are what angling dreams are made of: sailfish and marlin, rooster fish and mahi-mahi – sun, sea, and hours of hard fighting are in your future. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular things to do in Tamarindo.

In what promises to be the first of a few posts about sportfishing Tamarindo, here are six of the most oft-caught, most brag-worthy specimens you can hope to catch off our Pacific coastline:

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Tamarindo Day Trip: Guide to Palo Verde National Park

roseate spoonbills inhabit Palo Verde National Park

Palo Verde National Park is famous for its birdwatching (pictured: a roseate spoonbill)

One of Costa Rica’s seemingly greatest contrasts, spectacular Palo Verde National Park is home to a resounding dichotomy: rich and vibrant wetlands that simultaneously house one of the world’s foremost examples of tropical dry forest.

A contradiction, indeed, and one that works beautifully.

Palo Verde’s unique setting is owed to the Río Tempisque, which ebbs and flows over this otherwise arid region. The result is somewhat other-worldly, with sun-drenched dry forest unfolding over parched limestone, which then cozies up to rushing river and muddy habitats.

It’s a major watershed, a protected wildlife sanctuary, and an important dry forest, all rolled into one. And it’s absolutely fascinating.

Palo Verde National Park Overview: 

Location: 16 miles south of Bagaces

Founded: 1978

Maximum Altitude: 879 feet (267 meters) above sea level

Area: 45,492 acres (divided into two sectors: Las Pailas and Santa Maria)

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Telephone: 2200-0125 or 2661-4717

Entrance Fee: $12 adults / $5 children

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