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.

What to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica: 23 of the Best Activities

manta ray underwater

Costa Rica’s Catalinas Islands are one of the world’s top sights to spot giant manta rays. No wonder it makes our short list of what to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica!

So, you’re wondering what to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica? You’ve picked a good place to ask yourself that question: Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s beach hubs, offering a blend of urban convenience – and by urban, we mean a single mile(ish) of sandy road that borders the Pacific and dozens of excellent restaurants, bars, and activities – and Costa Rican charm.

This is the best of all worlds. So, it’s no wonder that we have 23 answers to what to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica .

  1. Go Surfing

Witchs rock surfing

Wondering what to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica? Surfing certainly tops the list of options.

Tamarindo may be known for many things, but we’d argue that spectacular surf is probably our greatest claim to fame. It’s also a point of pride, as our massive waves , huge breaks , and pounding surf  have tested, bested, and inspired surfers for decades. Surfers make pilgrimages to Tamarindo and our surrounds. Yeah, we’re that  good. So, that’s #1 on our list of what to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

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Our Favorite Tamarindo Tours on Land

Half Day ATV Tour

And now, you are here: On secluded Playa Fill-in-your-Favorite, inaccessible by road but accessible to your ATV. Thankfully! This is the perfect welcome to our favorite Tamarindo tours on land…

When you come to Costa Rica (and especially Tamarindo), you’re probably thinking about the beach, the ocean, and the sun. You’re probably not thinking about all the Tamarindo tours and things to do on land – away from the sand, the sea, and the sun.

But, here’s the thing: You should be. You should absolutely, positively be thinking about all the things that Costa Rica’s dry forests, savannah lands, mountains, and volcanoes have on offer. Because, we’re talking high-octane adventure and sunset horseback rides,wildlife explorations and breathtaking mountain biking. We’re talking Tamarindo tours that will stamp indelible memories onto your time in Costa Rica.

While we’re on the topic (and if you’re still in sand-sea-sun mode), check out our favorite Tamarindo water tours, volcano tours, and all our favorite things to do.

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Top Costa Rica Volcano Tours & Day Trips from Tamarindo

Rincon de la Vieja National Park trails

Rincón de la Vieja, our all-time favorite Costa Rica volcano, may be as close as you ever get to a real, live, honest-to-goodness active volcano. So close, you can smell the stank!

Did you know that Costa Rica lies at the crossroads of two tectonic plates? And, did you also know that the theory of plate tectonics states that volcanoes are birthed from shifting tectonic plates? It’s no wonder, then, that there are roughly 200+ Costa Rica volcano formations – some more than 65 million years old!

But, let’s back up for a hot second (get it?!). Specifically, let’s start with the basics: Costa Rica’s volcanoes are many, but they all belong to the nation’s three volcanic ranges: the Guanacaste Volcanic Range (home to the Rincón de la Vieja, Orosi, Miravalles, Tenorio, and Arenal Volcanoes, among others); the Central Volcanic Range (comprised of the Poás, Barva, Irazú, and Turrialba Volcanoes, among others); and the Talamanca Volcanic Range (home to El Viejo Volcano).

Geography lesson, complete. And now, a fun fact: Of the 200+ Costa Rican volcano formations, just seven volcanoes can be considered active: Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, Poás Volcano, Arenal Volcano, Irazú Volcano, Turrialba Volcano, and Tenorio Volcano, with an honorable mention for the not-so-active-but-don’t-count-it-out-yet Miravalles, which clawed its way onto the active volcano list when it emitted a single puff of steam… way back in 1946. Somebody was feeling a little neglected, clearly.

Okay, okay, by now you’re thinking, get on with it! You want to hear about our favorite Costa Rica volcano tours. We promise we’ll get there. But, before we do, we think you may want to know a bit more about Costa Rica’s volcanoes – and the ones you can easily visit from Tamarindo. No? No problem. You can skip straight to the tours!

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Tamarindo Day Trip: Beach Hopping

Playa Conchal near Tamarindo

Playa Conchal is famous for its pink sands, which come courtesy of crushed seashells. And check out that turquoise water! No wonder it’s one of the most famous Tamarindo beaches…

There’s something special about doing nothing – or, almost nothing – when you’re on vacation. For at least a day. Live a little! Because you deserve the relaxation. The sand between your toes. And the joy of a day at the beach. Ten of them, actually. Beaches, not days, that is. Because we’re beach-hopping on another Tamarindo day trip!

We’ve mapped our favorite Tamarindo beaches from north to south, starting a little more than an hour north of downtown. Along the way, if you see any stretch of sand that calls to you, stop! Make it eleven, or twelve, or twenty beaches. And, be sure to bring your camera!

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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 snubaing 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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