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.

Planning a Costa Rica Surf Vacation? Start Here.

Tamarindo surfing

Planning a Costa Rica surf vacation? This guide will help you narrow down where and when – and where to stay, after you’ve figured out your where and when.

So, you’re planning a Costa Rica surf vacation. You’re excited! You’re hopeful. You’re already shopping for special vacation surfboard wax.

The only problem – you’re not quite sure of where to go. Or when. Or where you’ll stay. Or, well, any of it. Because Costa Rica’s surf is legendary and, whether you’re a beginner who’s only popped up a few times or an advanced surfer looking for your next-greatest challenge, all you’re sure of is that you’ll soon be surfing in Costa Rica.

That’s an exhilarating thing to be sure of. This guide will fill you in on the rest.

Popular Costa Rica Surf Destinations

The good news is that you’ll find both beginner-friendly and good surf almost everywhere Costa Rica. The great news is that you’ll find world-class surf in a few of those areas.

The not-quite-as-good news is that you won’t have time to surf it all. (Well, unless you’re here for a few years.) So, you’ll have to prioritize. At least, for this trip.

Here’s our rule of thumb: Stick to one major surf region per each 7-10 days of your trip, so you have plenty of time to explore, enjoy, and surf every must and many of the if-you-cans. And, be sure to identify all a region’s bucket-list breaks that meet your skill level and preferences.

So, about that where:

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4 Tamarindo Tours & Activities You Can Only Experience Here

Tamarindo Mangrove tour

Looking for some of our favorite, only-here Tamarindo tours? Mangrove kayaking definitely makes our list.

Every vacation, every trip, every escape is a new opportunity. The chance to see something new, experience something different. Your invitation to explore, enjoy, and endear yourself to fresh places, spaces, and activities.

Travel is your path to enjoying the world, as it is. The world, as you don’t yet know it.

And that’s why we always encourage travelers to try something new – to step outside your comfort zone and tick another item off your bucket list.

Enter these Tamarindo tours: four opportunities to do something you probably haven’t done before. Four chance to experience the world, as only Tamarindo can deliver it. These tours and activities are unique to us, unique to right here. And we can’t wait to introduce you to them.

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Humpback Whale Watching near Tamarindo, Costa Rica

whale watching in Costa Rica-min

Hey there! Love nature? Then, you’re going to love humpback whale watching near Tamarindo.

When you think of Costa Rica and wildlife watching, you most likely think of monkeys and sloths, toucans and jaguars. It’s easy to forget that Costa Rica is also home to two oceans – okay, technically one ocean and one sea – teeming with wildlife. And you don’t need to be a snorkeler or scuba diver to enjoy it, either.

Did you know that Costa Rica is home to the longest humpback whale-watching season in the world? ‘Tis true: Over two appearances and eight awe-inspiring months, these gentle giants make their home in Costa Rica waters. In Guanacaste waters. Which brings us to the subject of whale watching near Tamarindo: where, when and how?

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Dance, Music & the Pura Vida: The BPM Festival Comes to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

BPM Festival Tamarindo Costa Rica

The best month of the year just got better: This coming January, Tamarindo will welcome the legendary BPM Festival, an underground electronic music festival that offers a perfect complement to our powder-soft beaches, sunset vistas, tropical dry forests, and Pacific Ocean escapades.

It’s a sweet new start for BPM, which has alternately hosted in Bali, Barcelona, Playa del Carmen, Portugal, and Toronto. This will mark the first time the festival heads south of Mexico.

From the press release, “Surrounded by national parks with an abundance of lush jungles and white sand beaches complemented by warm blue water and breathtaking sunsets… the surfing town and beyond offers the perfect opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica.”

Aww, shucks. [Blushes.]

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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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