The best part of your Costa Rican vacation? Planning all your activities, attractions, and things to do in Tamarindo. Well, and all your things not to do, too.

Because as far as Costa Rica is concerned, beach-bumming, pool lounging, and hammock naps are as much things to do in Tamarindo, as are surfing, zip-lining, hiking, kayaking, turtle-watching, and sport-fishing. That’s how we roll.

Our Favorite Tamarindo Tours on Water

Pacific Soul catamaran rental Costa Rica

Tamarindo tours on water offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, if not in Costa Rica (or, really, the world… I mean, just look at that!). Here are a few of our favorites, for every age, every pleasure, and every adventure quotient. Enjoy!

If there’s one thing we can state as absolute fact, it’s that greater Tamarindo is a haven for all things aquatic: Whether you’re a surfer seeking the ultimate barrel, an angler in search of the next big catch, or your little pirate has professed a desire to pursue underwater treasure, the best Tamarindo tours on water promise to fulfill your dreams (and probably stoke a few new ones). It’s just that kind of place.

That may be a big claim, but it’s one we’re pretty sure Tamarindo can fill. After all, where else can you kayak into quiet estuary, swim beside octopuses (fun fact: that’s the correct plural form – true story!), learn to surf on legendary waves, and then sail off into the sunset – all in one day, one week, or one vacation. You set the pace, be it fast or slow, wanton or lackadaisical. Because Tamarindo is the kind of destination happy to let you decide.

And so, we bring you a few of our favorite Tamarindo tours on water: from record-breaking sport fishing and 12-foot white-water rafting drops, to swimming with 20-foot rays and snubbing with starfish, these activities get you out onto the water, into the water, and under the water. Exactly the way you like it.

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Day Tours from Tamarindo: Make the Most When Time is Short (Part 2)

whitewater rafting in Tamarindo

Ready to up your adventure quotient AND make the most of your time? One of our favorite day tours from Tamarindo could be just the ticket!

Think you don’t have enough time to do everything in Costa Rica? Does your bucket list have holes in it? Then, think of these day tours from Tamarindo as both putty to fill those holes and the magic fairy dust to give you more time. Or, at least, to squeeze more from your time. Welcome to the 25-hour vacation day.

Okay, okay. We’re exaggerating a little bit. But, not much. Because, while Costa Rica may be a small country, it is vast. There is so much to see and do, even in our beachy neck of the woods. And so, when time is short – when you’re here for just 7, 10 or even 14 days – well, you find yourself crossing items off your wish list. And with each item you eliminate, you wonder: Is there any way to fit it in? Because, you really don’t want to miss a minute, if you don’t have to.

Enter the second half of our favorite day tours from Tamarindo: one-day trips and jaunts to maximize your time, whether you’re in the mood for birdwatching or country-hopping. (See Tamarindo Day Tours, Part 1 for more inspiration.)

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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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Spotlight on: A Tamarindo Mangrove Tour

Tamarindo mangrove tour

Come with us on an adventure of watery proportions! A Tamarindo mangrove tour promises a special morning or afternoon.

You came for the beaches but you’re now enthralled with the wildlife. After all, how often can your toes be in the warm sand, while a howler monkey hoots above or a prehistoric-looking ctenosaur scurries into its next sunny spot? This is Tamarindo, this is the glory of our natural wonderland, and this is the primary draw to a Tamarindo mangrove tour.

Yes, it’s high time we shared with you the secret of this floating boat ride, set amidst the Tamarindo National Wildife Refuge and Las Baulas National Park. Yes, it’s time we let you in on the adventure just minutes from town and a paddle away – in on the estuary, the mangroves, and the entirely different habitat (with its often hereto-unseen residents) that wait to welcome you.

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Sunset in Tamarindo: The Views You Didn’t Know You Were Missing

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 miss ’em!

Once upon a time, there was a Costa Rican sunset…

Okay, okay – that’s a corny opening line. But, the thing is, a Costa Rican sunset really can be spectacular enough to warrant its own story. Sometimes, the sun descends slowly, smearing an entire paint palette across the sky. Other times, it disappears before it even hits the horizon – a blazing orb of mystery.

And almost every night, the Tamarindo sunset sets our world and emotions on fire. It is a sight to see, over and over and over again.

With our love of tropical sundowns, it’s no surprise that we highly recommend Tamarindo sunset tours: adventure and relaxation, nature-watching and ocean activity, all in combination with a beautiful and fiery bow.

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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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18 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica

Playa Flamingo sunset

Working on your list of things to do in Playa Flamingo? We have 18 suggestions.

Stretching a mile long, Playa Flamingo is crescent-shaped proof that paradise exists: pristine white-sand beaches, shade-lined coasts, and turquoise sea, teeming with spotted rays, dolphins, humpback whales, and endangered sea turtles.

And those are just four reasons to visit. In fact, the list of things to do in Playa Flamingo is delightfully rich. From wildlife sightings and adventure tours, to beach combing and smooth sailing, Flamingo Beach is one of Costa Rica’s most action-packed hidden gems.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget our EASY BUTTON! If any of these activities pique your interest, we’re happy to book it on your behalf – absolutely no upcharge or fees! And we promise to make sure it’s the best tour of its kind. Just name the day and our in-house concierge, Cristina (send her an email), will make it happen.

And now, 18 of our favorite things to do in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica:

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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: Snorkeling & Scuba Diving the Catalina Islands

manta ray underwater

Costa Rica’s Catalinas Islands are one of the world’s top sights to spot giant manta rays

Every year, divers from around the world make their pilgrimage to Costa Rica’s Catalinas Islands – a haven for a spectacular variety of marine life, including giant manta rays with jaw-dropping wingspans up to 20 feet.

Indeed, the Catalina Islands are a special place. A sprinkling of 20 rocky islands, this scuba paradise invites divers and snorkelers to mask up, jump in, and break through the sparkling surface of an indigo Pacific. To dive into these warm and clear-watered depths, in search of devil manta rays, humpback whales, white-tipped reef sharks, angel fish, orcas, spinner dolphins, sea turtles, and so much more.

To discover “the Cats” and their incredible secrets. To explore one of Costa Rica’s most sought-after dive sites. To experience just a hint of what lies beneath the surface of this eco-paradise. And, what lies above.

The Catalinas Islands: At a Glance

Location: 2 to 15 miles offshore (west) of Flamingo

Altitude: Sea Level

In addition to its neighbor, the Bat Islands (Las Islas Murciélagos), the Cats are considered one of the top scuba-diving spots in Costa Rica. We’re talking warm waters that teem with life – life that easy to see, thanks to clear visibility up to 75 feet. And, since this scattering of 20 “islands” – some are more like rocks – are located directly off the shores of Tamarindo, we’re perfectly located to all your underwater diving dreams.

Indeed, whether you’re a casual snorkelers or die-hard diver, if you’re in Costa Rica, you cannot miss the Catalina Islands. But, you’ve already found your way to this article, so we’re guessing you already know that.

And with that, off we go. Here’s everything you need to know about the Catalinas Islands.

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