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.

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 rocking 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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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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Wildly Fun: Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge

Mangrove Kayaks

Take a kayak tour into the wilds of Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge

Saltwater jungles. Lumbering leatherback sea turtles. Otherworldly mangrove estuaries. Winding canals. Lizards, running on water. Behind-the-scenes boat tours. Yes, Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge is fascinating and often, a bit magical.

We admit it freely: We love our wildlife refuge! Even more so because it encompasses our entire coastline. Indeed, almost anywhere you walk on Tamarindo’s beaches, you’re walking through the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge.

But it’s about a lot more than just the beach. Indeed, while – in wildlife refuge terms, at least! – the beaches serve as important sea turtle nesting sites, there’s more to see here. More, to the tune of incredible mangrove forests, connected through winding saltwater and brackish canals. It’s wildlife central and it’s right in our backyard, if only you know where to look.

Overview:

Location: Tamarindo

Size: 953 acres (385 hectares)

Altitude: Sea Level

Contact (Tempisque Conservation Area): 2686-4967 / 2686-4968

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9 Ways to Upgrade Your Tamarindo Vacation

Tamarindo vacation upgrade private sailing tour

This moment can be yours. All yours. Welcome to our favorite upgrades to your Tamarindo vacation!

So, you’ve done it. You’ve finally booked your trip to Costa Rica. You bought the airfare. You reserved your Tamarindo vacation rental. And you’re thisclose to your dream Tamarindo vacation.

You have just a few details to iron out. Well, maybe more than a few.

Because you have no idea what you want to do while you’re here. Or rather, you know exactly what you’d like to do. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough time to do it all. Well, not unless you’re here for six months.

So, what’s a traveler to do? Prioritize, that’s what. Because, as difficult as it may be to narrow down your Tamarindo vacation preferences, it’s an unfortunate necessity. Your trip (and your sanity) deserve it. (And don’t worry, whatever you can’t fit in now will be perfect for your next visit!)

Luckily, we’re here to help. We’re here, on the ground. We’re here, doing it all so you don’t have to. We work with delighted travelers every day. And so, we know – we know the best upgrades, must-book tours, and other activities you can’t miss on your Tamarindo vacation.

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Only in Costa Rica: 5 Incredibly Cool Things to See & Experience

Tenorio Volcano waterfall

Only in Costa Rica: Rio Celeste. And yes, it’s as beautiful as it looks!

Costa Rica is a special place where dynamics flip-flop: the reality is greater than the expectation, and photos always pale in comparison to your real-life experiences. Indeed, there are so many things we could dub “only in Costa Rica” experiences, and yet we’ve done our best to narrow it down to just a few. Five, to be exact. At least, for now.

And sure, “only” might be a bit of a stretch, as you can experience some of these things in other parts of the world. But we challenge you to find all of them in one place, especially in a place as tiny as Costa Rica. Because here, you really can fit your entire bucket list into one vacation.

You could, although we bet you won’t want to; you’ll prefer to come back. And back. And back! Costa Rica is just that kind of place. To whit:

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Off the Beaten Path in Costa Rica: Guide to Rincón de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano

Costa Rica’s Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a favorite!

Known as the park with a watery skin and a fiery heart, Rincón de la Vieja National Park is one of Costa Rica’s steamiest and coolest attractions, in every sense of the words. Here, still-active volcanoes and boiling mud pots meet cold-water cascades and misty cloud forest – a startling and striking combination of many natural wonders, conveniently distilled into one awesome national park.

And yet, for all its delights, Rincón de la Vieja National Park remains one of Guanacaste’s best-kept secrets. On any given day, you’re likely to meet only a few other tourists at the park. The reason? Access. Located a hop, skip, and more than a few bumps up rustic gravel roads, Rincón de la Vieja is not the easiest drive in Costa Rica. But is it worth it? You bet.

Rincon de la Vieja National Park Overview:

Location: 17 miles northeast of Liberia; 62 miles (2 hours) northeast of Tamarindo

Founded: May 10, 1974

Maximum Altitude: 6,286 feet above sea level

Area: 34,908 acres (divided into two sectors: Las Pailas and Santa Maria)

Hours: Las Pailas: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday; Santa Maria: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Sunday

Telephone: 2666-5051

Entrance Fee: $15 adults / $5 children

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