Tamarindo Travel Guide

Tamarindo Overview

Once upon a time on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica there was a quiet beach resort of easy-going locals and groups of blissed-out hippies fortunate to stumble upon the hidden gem. Greeting these lucky few were stunning beaches of the purist white sand, enviable surf breaks and the magical sight of nesting sea turtles. Then, following the release of the surf movie Endless Summer II, Tamarindo was suddenly on the tourist map and began to witness the speeds of growth as Goa (India) and islands like Koh Phi Phi (Thailand). Gone were the days when only a handful of buses trundled down to the beach each week and in came hoards of backpackers and package tours in search of the surf mecca and party scene.

 
That said there is no denying that the beaches of Tamarindo remain as beautiful as they were back in the day, it is just that you may need to get there early or stay late if you want to see something other than bronzing bodies. Times do change and if you are in search of a destination geared towards surfing and other water sports, late night revelry and bags of opportunities to forge brief encounters with like minded travelers then this is the place. Tamarindo is now set up perfectly for the young, with an abundance of budget beachside hostels and, it would seem, as many surf schools as there are bars.
 
Nevertheless, there is one shining light that comes in the form of the preservation of Tamarindos magnificent natural surroundings. The sea turtles are not going anywhere and from November to April can still be seen coming in to nest at Playa Grande. The national park is a protected reserve and, boasting pretty much 365 days of sun per year, the locals remain optimistic and full of plenty of Costa Rican pura vida charm.  
 
Being an increasingly popular town, getting in and out of Tamarindo is stress free although bookings are advisable in peak season. Regular buses arrive and depart for Liberia (2-hours) and San Jose (4-hours). There are also services inland to Santa Cruz and south to the laidback coastal town of Nosara. All you need to get around are two able feet or if you wish to get out and explore more than the beach rent a scooter let your senses guide you.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas - Stretching back from the towns beaches is a protected reserve of immense natural beauty that is characteristic of Costa Rica. As well as being one of the few places in the world to see nesting giant leatherback turtles there are opportunities to see crocodiles, howler monkeys and racoons plus a host of birds amongst the predominately mangrove swamp reserve. The best way to see the reserve is via the zip-line canopy and jungle boat tours.

 
Tamarindo Beaches - Beach life definitely tops the bill in Tamarindo with what are considered by many to be the finest bays in Costa Rica, ideal for basking in the glorious sunshine or partaking in countless water sporting activities. Playa Grande is one of the most popular as by day it is a haven for surfers and by night the primary nesting spot for leatherback turtles. Playa Conchal is arguably the best beach in the country whose sand is made up of thousands of crushed conchal shells. South of town Playa Langosta is another top surf spot and the beach is lined with guesthouse and cafes. Take into account that during high season the beaches can become unbearable overcrowded and you may need to search hard for a quiet spot.
 
Surf Tamarindo - Tamarindos beaches have been drawing surfers to their shores for years, a consequence of the warm Pacific waters and consistent rolling waves. Experienced riders tend to head for any of Playa Grande, Avellanes or Negra. However, be warned as since the boys from Endless Summer II landed here, Tamarindo has become a centre for beginners, therefore during the day there is fierce competition for waves. Those who do want to learn will find a wealth of surf schools around town and at the hostels. Witchs Rock Surf Camp and Nomad Surfers are good places to make enquiries about lessons and board hire.
 
Tamarindo Nightlife - Surf all day and party all night, an ideal combination. Tamarindo has plenty of options when it comes to finding somewhere for a quiet drink or a late night party. The best bet is to ask around to find out where the nights party will be (usually somewhere along the main drag) but to get started it might be worth checking out the following:
Voodoo Lounge - Regular live music and a laidback open-air bar.
Monkey Bar - Popular bar at Vista Villas, especially on Fridays for ladies night.
Babylon Bar - Tamarindo’s number one spot for reggae nights.
Aqua Discoteque - Classic beach town disco and also a safe bet for a lively night.

Hotels in Tamarindo

Budget Hotels Tamarindo

Blue Trailz Surf Camp - Popular hostel offering bags of surf lessons and tours. Tel (506) 8814 1282.
La Oveja Negra - A favourite with surfers only 2-minutes to the beach and lively at night. Tel (506) 2653 0005.
Tamarindo Backpackers - Small clean and personal hostel close to the beach. Tel (506) 2653 4545.
 
Midrange Hotels Tamarindo
15 Love Bed & Breakfast - Chic and stylish boutique lodgings and tennis courts. Tel (506) 2653 0898.
Villa Alegre - Wonderful Spanish styled bed & breakfast on Playa Langosta. Tel (506) 2653 0270.
 
Luxury Hotels Tamarindo
Cala Luna - Luxury villas at Playa Langosta. Tel (506) 2653 0214.
El Tamarindo Beach Resort - Boutique resort on a secluded peninsula and with its own golf course.

Tamarindo Weather

Tamarindo Travel Resources

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