Your Ultimate Guide to Tamarindo showcases the premier surfing and luxury resort destination in all of Costa Rica. The heart and soul of one of the most developed regions of all, Tamarindo is often overlooked by nature-lovers who seek more middle-of-nowhere travel experiences. However, Tamarindo is a brilliant destination in its own right and boasts enough modernity to make it a sublimely relaxing stopover either before or end of more adventurous journeys to the Nicoya Peninsula and the furthest reaches of the Guanacaste Province. Loads of gorgeous accommodation options and a thriving seaside town offer you the best of Costa Rica, be it food, shopping, activities and scenery.
Because more than anything else…Tamarindo is resplendent.
There are some very good reasons why Tamarindo has grown from small and quiet fishing hamlet into a thriving tourist hot-spot. Its strategic location on the western Pacific coastline of Costa Rica means Tamarindo is a fantastic base point from where to explore the two national parks to its northern and southern end, picturesque mountains to the east and awesome surfing waves to the west. This entire region is naturally gifted, offering immense options for outdoor pursuits.
Tamarindo and its surrounds are excellent spots for animal-spotting, volcano hiking, trekking in pristine nature, canopy ziplining, horseback riding on the beach, deep sea fishing, surfing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, sailing and every other water sport under the blazing Costa Rican sun.
All of this (and so much more) is on offer within merely an hour’s drive from the Liberia International Airport.
Yes…there are very good reasons Tamarindo is just so popular.
Tamarindo’s Best Highlights
Playa Tamarindo – Few things can be as blissful as taking a gentle stroll along Tamarindo’s 2-mile-long beach upon arrival. Beautiful swimming at high tide, fabulous sunbathing spots, surfing lessons for beginners and sensational sunsets are on the menu here, every single day of the year. Within just a half hour drive in both directions, experienced surfers will find fiercer and more impressive waves to tackle. From Playa Tamarindo you can join a flurry of seaside adventure trips, including sailing and snorkeling trips by day and heavenly sunset boat tours in the late afternoon.
Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge – Covering more than 1,200 acres of protected reserves and mangroves, this wildlife refuge is brimming with enticing animals – including 400lb American crocodiles – and the best way to explore it is by kayak (if you dare) or boat tours.
Catalinas Islands – For the best SCUBA trips in town. The reefs of Catalinas are inhabited by an impressive concentration of marine life and colorful, thriving coral, as well as magnificent underwater canyons hiding reef sharks, Pacific giant mantas, turtles, star fish, eels and SO much more. The Catalinas are a cluster of uninhabited islets close to Tamarindo’s coast and offer more than a dozen separate, distinctive and rewarding dive sites. So many, in fact, that you can dive for several consecutive days here and never have to visit the same place twice.
Although you may just want to.
Las Baulas Marine National Park – Baulas are giant leatherback turtles in Spanish and in this aptly named national park on the fringes of Tamarindo, you’ll see one of the world’s largest concentration of its largest sea turtle during nesting season, between October and May each year. Revered for its colossal arribada (mass nesting turtle arrival) La Baulas is a fervently protected reserve and your night-time visits will be highly-controlled and immensely educational. Witnessing 800 female turtles heading ashore to nest would have to be one of Costa Rica’s truly astonishing sights.
Adventure activities – From white water rafting to kayaking, ziplining and more, Tamarindo is a great springboard for adventure tours of Costa Rica when what you also crave is a vibrant beachside base.
Shopping – Tamarindo’s town centre is peppered with gorgeous boutiques selling artisan products, organic skincare and handmade swimsuits and sarongs, all interspersed with the ubiquitous souvenir stalls. Because no-one ever suffered greatly after a little spot of retail therapy!
Resort stays –Tamarindo plays home to a vast collection of revered resorts. Places like Diria Resort, one of our faves, offer an impressive array of activities and amenities in-house, ideal if you wish for a few relaxing days where not much is required of you except to wake up and gather just enough energy to laze around some glorious pool or idyllic stretch of beach. In and around Tamarindo, you’ll find a host of accommodation options to suit families, honeymooning couples and singles alike, of all ages and budgets.
A Guide to Tamarindo – How to Reach It
Tamarindo is less than 30 miles from the Liberia International Airport so ideal if you’re flying into Costa Rica through its northern airport. The seaside town is also only a 45-minute flight from San Jose if you happen to bag cheaper flights to the capital city instead.
Best Time to Visit Tamarindo
Costa Rica’s climate is divided into dry and rainy seasons, with the former happening between December and April, and the latter from May until November. Although you may be tempted to book your Tamarindo tour for the dry season, do note that temps can be soaring….as can crowds. For the very best enjoyment of the town and all it has to offer, we’d highly recommend you aim to visit during the splendid shoulder-season weeks, between the end of April and mid-May, and again towards the end of October. This way, you’ll get to share this corner of paradise with fewer tourists but still have all activities available to you.
Dreaming of fantastic adventures in Tamarindo? At Costa Rica Rios, we plan group and bespoke tours to the most magical corners of the country, combining adventure, adrenalin, relaxation and indulgence into each and every trip. Contact us if you’d like to know more.