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.)
You haven’t rafted until you’ve tackled frothing, whitewater in a tropical setting. The rollicking rapids of Guanacaste’s Upper Tenorio River are just the medium to test your mettle and determination: About a two-hour drive from Tamarindo, this adventure plunges you into the twist, turns and drops along eight miles of intense and challenging rapids.
Yeah, we said drops.
The Tenorio River has everything a high-adrenaline rafter craves – including an incredible, heart-pounding, we-dare-you-not-to-scream, exhilarating class V, 12-foot drop. This is themust-run river for daring rafters.
And now, you don’t have to miss it. Even if you’re short on time. Even if you don’t rent a car. Because, we take you there – to a 2.5 to 3-hour run, including a fuel-up snack of fresh fruit, cookies, juice and water, served on the river bank. And, at the end of the trip, we’ll circle back to serve you a delicious lunch. We got you.
And we’re not done yet. After you’ve finished lunch, it’s off to Las Pumas Animal Rescue Center: Get up close (but not too personal) with some of Costa Rica’s big cats, including jaguars, ocelots, and margays, plus a full roster of scarlet macaws, rainbow-billed toucans, spider monkeys, and white-faced monkeys.
Today, we’re taking a ride down the Tempisque River, a major watershed and life-giving ebb-and-flow in an otherwise arid environment. The result is almostother-worldly, with rushing river and marshy habitats neighboring parched limestone hills and sun-dried forest. It’s no surprise that Palo Verde is a protected wildlife sanctuary, important dry forest, and one of the best bird and wildlife-watching spots in Costa Rica.
Indeed, this remote sanctuary houses one of Central America’s largest concentrations of aquatic birds, and is also the most important migratory bird site of the Mesoamerican Pacific. It’s a superlative kind of place, we guess you’d say.
And today, you’re exploring via a safari boat tour, during which you’ll have the chance to spot dozens of bird species, plus crocodiles, white-faced monkeys, iguanas, peccaries, armadillos, deer, monkeys, and coatis that may be roaming the trees and thickets. After your boat tour, indulge in a typical Costa Rican lunch – the perfect fill-up after an exciting day on the river.
Rincón de la Vieja isn’t the only volcano in town! Just two hours from Tamarindo, the impressive Miravalles Volcano stands tall – and beautiful, swathed in rich landscapes and dense forest, making this the perfect destination for an exuberant, back-to-nature experience.
Of course, we’re not here just to tick “visit an active volcano” off your list. (Although, it ison your list.) We’re here for the entire Miravalles experience, which sweeps from foothills to volcano, and every waterfall in between. Oh yes, we said waterfalls. Plural. There’s five of them. But more on that, in a moment.
It all begins with a horseback ride to and through five spectacular waterfalls. We’ll stop for photos at each, and you can even swim in one! We’ll slowly wend our way up the mountainside to visit different areas and viewpoints of the volcano. (Note: While Miravalles is defined as active, it’s a safe kind of active: The volcano hasn’t so much a spit, for many decades.)
After a morning at Miravalles, we’ll stop for a delicious lunch and then – here’s the Bucket List bit – we’re taking a 30-minutehike to one of seven craters present on the volcano. Along the way, we’ll encounter volcanic activity, including boiling mud pots, fumaroles, and steam craters.
Your hike ends at a natural pool of volcanic mud, known both for its rejuvenating qualities and medicinal properties. Apply the mud, then rinse off in the nearby natural hot springs, also known to have restorative qualities. Then, we head back home. Volcano, horseback ride, mud treatment, and hot springs – check!
Think you can’t sneak a second country into your single-destination flight? Think again!
Our full-day Nicaragua excursion begins bright and early (heads up – it’s a 4:30 a.m. pickup!). But, don’t worry, we’ll stop 90 minutes in for a filling breakfast before continuing our journey north. After a quick border hop – your guide and driver are experts at navigating Immigration – we’re headed straight for Granada, Colonial jewel in the crown of a proud nation.
One of Central America’s most colorful cities, Granada is built in the Spanish Colonial style. Stroll La Calzada, the city’s main boulevard, and you’ll feel that special Southern European flair – that Colonial thrum, reaching back centuries and straddling culture, time, and place.
Indeed. While Costa Rica was largely ignored during Spanish rule, the conquistadors paid more attention to our northern neighbor. Nicaragua’s rich culture and history are rife with both proud and difficult memories, many of which are on display throughout the city.
Take a trip to La Catedral, an impressive cathedral located at the Plaza de Españaand home to one of the best lookout points to Lake Nicaragua. Take a recommended city tour via horse carriage, which trots by some of the city’s most important cultural sights and sites. We’ll stop for a hearty, traditional Nicaraguan lunch before heading off for Masaya, a large market and the perfect place to shop for memorable souvenirs: hammocks, masks, carved wood, pottery, and much more.
After our shopping trip, we’re swinging by Masaya Volcano and its national park – a must-visit component of our trip north. Finally, after a long day of sightseeing and road-tripping, it’s back to Costa Rica. Estimated arrival: Around 10 p.m. A long day? For sure! But, think of all you’ve done…
Whitewater rafting too adrenaline-rich for your blood? No problem! This classic river float is perfect for anyone, from kids to water-lovers – and especially for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts! Because, wow, the scenery, sights, and animal life along the Corobicí River are legendary.
As you leisurely raft – and we use the term “raft” loosely, don’t worry! – you could spot more than 300 species of birds – visitors from nearby Palo Verde National Park! Along the way, our experienced, bilingual guides will help identify the flora and fauna that erupts all around.
It all begins in lush gardens, located along the Río Corobicí. Hop aboard and wander down a tranquil river for two hours: you have the option to do some paddling or, if you prefer, leave the oars to your guide, relax, and enjoy the ride. It’s extremely peaceful; let the gentle river lull you into a meditative state, listen to the soundtrack of nature, and enjoy the sigh of emerald forest and exotic fauna, unfolding around you.
After the two-hour float, we’ll retire to a favorite local restaurant for a filling lunch.
While not officially on our list of day tours, a jaunt down to Ostional Wildlife Refuge is one of our favorite day trips. And, at about 1:45 hours south of Tamarindo, it not only fits your time frame but also ticks a serious item off your bucket list: turtle nesting and turtle hatching!
Because, when was the last time you visited one of the world’s most important somethings? Most likely, the answer is awhile ago, if not never. Enter 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.” Every year, millions of olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) lumber on to shore, or lay their eggs; later, millions of babies hatch. Welcome to where dreams come true.
And that’s exactly why you’re here: this is the destination for nearly guaranteed turtle nesting. The place in the world, not Costa Rica. Yes, it’s that good! And yes, we’d be happy to set up a day trip, complete with bilingual guide and private driver. So, add the turtles to your list. You’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life.
Complimentary Concierge Services
Did you know? When you book a stay at one of our vacation rentals in Tamarindo (and surrounds), you’re reserving more than just a hand-vettered vacation home; your booking also includes full travel concierge services.
So, what does that mean? It starts with Cristina (aka Cris), our wonderful, knowledgeable, and friendly in-house concierge. Cris knows Tamarindo like the back of her hand and, more importantly, it’s her job to get to know you that well, too.
So, here’s how it works: As soon as you book with us, Cristina will soon get in touch. She’ll send you some helpful welcome info – including a comprehensive and updated list of all our day tours from Tamarindo! – as well as other need-to-know info. Have a look. Get a taste of what greater Tamarindo has to offer. Start building your must-do and would-like-to-do lists.
Now, it’s time to dive a little deeper. You’re going to get personal (as personal as you’d like), because Cris isn’t your standard travel agent: Not only does she not believe in a the one-size-fits-all approach – you are NOT a round peg to fit into our square hole! – but she looks forward to getting to know each and every guest. In fact, her jobis to get to know you, and know you well, so she can build your custom itinerary and suggest activities, tours, and attractions tailored to your specific interests, activity levels, and wish lists.
Even better? Our concierge services are absolutely and always FREE for our guests. Relax, dream, and plan. We’ll take care of the details.
Please get in touch for more information about our oceanfront vacation rentals and concierge services.