Our Favorite Tamarindo Tours on Water
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.
Let’s cut to the chase: As far as Tamarindo tours on water go, sport fishing is one of the most popular. And not just here – in all of Guanacaste and the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Why? Because here, our oceans teem with black, striped nd blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, grouper, roosterfish, jacks, wahoo, sailfish, and other prize specimens. It’s an angler’s field day, out there.
But wait, it gets better… We hook you up with the BEST boat and the BEST crew in Tamarindo. They are incredibly skilled, wonderfully experienced, and delightfully friendly. With their knowledge and expertise, they’ll have you on the water, at the best spot, and fishing for the next prize-winner, before you can say “which bait should I use?”
There are three basic options when it comes to sport fishing in Tamarindo: half-day, 3/4 day, and full daytours, sweeping from near-shore to deep-sea fishingand clocking in at 5, 7, or 8 hours. What’s more, if you crave the “authentic” Costa Rican fishing experience, we also offer you the super panga, a traditional boat and an authentic experience. Bonus: Our sport fishing excursions include everything, from gear to refreshments.
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Catamaran Cruise & Sunset Sails
If there were one experience we could recommend, it would probably be a catamaran cruise or sunset sail. Because, if you’ve never been aboard a boat at the height of midday or during an epic sunset, then you’ve never truly experienced the thrill of Mother Nature’s most back-to-basics yet anything-but-basic thrill. As far as the best Tamarindo tours on water go, a day or afternoon of sailing is a definite must, unless you hate sheet natural beauty.
Choose between private sailing with friends and family – a crew and boat, all to yourselves – or a sunset catamaran cruise, the beloved tour of many a tourist. Either way, we’re sailing out of to explore secluded beaches and quiet snorkeling spots (spot puffer fish, starfish, octopus, manta rays, and other species), scenic views and on-the-water dining (including cocktails, beer, and light fare). If you book an afternoon cruise, your experience also includes (weather willing) one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets: Somehow, the sun feels bigger and the sky closer, when you’re floating on the Pacific.
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Tamarindo is known for many things – great food, good fun, and even better attitudes – but superb surf is arguably our greatest claim to fame (and point of pride). It’s with good reason, though: Tamarindo is located on a scenic strip of Gold Coast beaches, where huge breaks, pounding surf, and big waves have inspired, challenged, and bested die-hard surfers for decades. Surfers make pilgrimages to Tamarindo; we’re that good.
Read this, and you may be concerned. With all that snazzy surf talk – breaks this, hard rights that, and pounding what now? – it’s easy to get intimidated: Is there any room for a beginner, in all this advanced surf. The answer is a resounding yes, and we have one of the best Tamarindo tours to prove it: surf lessons, both private and by the group.
Our instructors have years of experience, great attitudes, and a desire to teach. Just one two-hour lesson, and you could be up on your board, catching your very first wave.
And, hey, if you’re an advanced surfer, we got you, too! Our incredible all-day surf trips head out to Avellanas, Witch’s Rock, and Ollie’s Point – famed spots, some of which were forever immortalized in the surf classic Endless Summer 2.
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Scuba Diving & Snuba
There is something truly special about scuba diving. Perhaps it has something to do with swapped everything familiar – blue skies, fresh air, green landscapes, and land-dwelling life – for the magic of the deep: a clear blue world, where sun sparkles on the ceiling, ethereal ocean life swims by your side, and you feel as though you were flying.
Truly, it’s a special experience, especially when it involves a trip to the famed Catalina Islands: a sprinkling of 20 rocky islands and a veritable scuba paradise of warm and clear-watered depths, home to devil manta rays, humpback whales, white-tipped reef sharks, angel fish, orcas, spinner dolphins, sea turtles, and giant manta rays with jaw-dropping wingspans up to 20 feet. Your Catalina Islands scuba diving tour includes two locations – and no scuba certification required!
If that still sounds a little too adventurous for your tastes (or for your little ones), then we can’t wait to introduce you to snuba – the genius child of snorkeling and scuba diving. As far as Tamarindo tours on water go, this is a definite favorite: no dive license or certification is required to snuba, and the minimum age is just 5, so it’s a fun and safe way to experience underwater adventure, without having to don all that equipment.
So, about that snuba tour: Gear up with a small, floating raft of oxygen, attach it to your air-hose, and dive in – it’s like scuba on a leash, but without all the tech know-how. All fun, none of the responsibility. And 30-50 minutes per snuba immersion, so you can explore the depths of the Pacific, go in search of your favorite sea creatures, glimpse entire underwater worlds, and experience Tamarindo as never before.
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White Water Rafting
Hold on to your hats, grab onto the raft – we’re testing our mettle and coaxing our courage on the rollicking rapids of Guanacaste’s Upper Tenorio River. On a scale of tame to terrifying, this Class III-IV river falls right in your happy place: not so frothy to hurl you overboard, but white-capped enough to guarantee some bragging rights.
One of our favorite Tamarindo tours on water – in part because it’s on a river, not the ocean, and who can’t appreciate the occasional change of scenery? – It all starts with a two-hour drive to the river, where excitement awaits with a domino-effect of twists, turns, and drops. Yes, drops. Because this river has a 12-foot drop in store. Remember what we said about bragging rights? Look, we do not joke around.
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You come for the beaches but you fall in love with the scenery, the wildlife, the ecosystems – the everything! After all, where else can you catch a ctenosaur sunning itself on a riverbank, a monkey troop swinging through the trees, and little blue herons fishing in the shallows, all just a few steps to the beach? Tamarindo is a special place.
And to us, there are few better ways to experience this special place, than on a mangrove tour: a floating boat ride through Las Baulas National Park and the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge – an estuary tour and kayaking tours, all rolled into one incredible day. Speaking of incredible, keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles, iguanas, all manner or water birds, crocodiles, caimans, and five different species of mangrove tree. Not a naturalist? No problem; your guide will be!
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Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
Okay, so you have decent balance. Or, you’ve never had much chance to test it. You’re a good surfer. Or, you’ve never surfed in your life. Either way and no matter – if you love the sun, the sea, and nature, then you’ll probably enjoy stand-up paddle boarding (aka SUP)!
For your two-hour lesson, we’ll take you to one of our favorite calm beaches – the perfect spot to catch you balance and learn how to love stand-up paddle boarding. Once you’re up (and relatively steady), you can begin to paddle around. See what you can see, spot what you can spot. And hey, if you want to jump in (or just fall off), no problem! That’s what the ocean is there for.
(Pssst! We also offer SUP tours for advanced stand-up paddlers. So, don’t be shy; toot your own SUP horn!)
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Scuba diving gets much of the fame, but we’re here to tell you that snorkeling is one of our favorite Tamarindo tours on water: perfect for a chill morning, a sun-dappled afternoon, or a relaxing outing with the family, snorkeling is an activity that all can enjoy, no matter their experience level.
Experience the underwater worlds of Tamarindo, with just a mask and a tube as your company. Our favorite tour includes two one-hour snorkeling tours – because, of course you have to take a fresh-fruit refreshment break between snorkeling sessions! On each underwater adventure, your experienced guide will scope out the treasure of the deep, in order to point you in the direction of any active marine life and underwater landscapes. Who knows? An octopus, puffer fish, or sea turtle could very well be in your future!
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When it comes to kayaking, Tamarindo offers two flavors: mangrove kayaking tours and ocean kayaking tours. In other words, how do you like your adrenaline? Crocodile-adjacent or dipped in saltwater?
Let’s start with the classic kayak/mangrove tour, which begins in the estuary near the river mouth, and paddles through the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. Your instructor will give you a thorough safety demonstration before you head out, and then you’ll take to the mangroves – just you, your kayak, and a paddle. (Okay, and a guide or two, a few our kayakers, and yep, the occasional caiman or croc.) You’ll have a good chance of spotting monkeys, iguanas, and a large variety of birds on this two-hour tour.
Want to up the difficulty quotient? Then, an ocean kayak tour to Capitan Island might be just your speed. It’s not only a superb workout, but one of the most popular Tamarindo tours on water: a 40-minute, one-way challenging paddle from beach to island, equipped only with your arms, and a paddle, and your floating water craft. Of course, the adventure’s only just beginning: once you reach the island, you’ll snorkel and enjoy the scenery, before heading back to the beach. It’s a full half-day of fun, adventure, and a pinch of adrenaline.