5 Things to Do in Tamarindo

This quaint town arose on the north western portion of the otherwise barren (not to mention scorching) region of Costa Rica known as Guanacaste for one reason, and one reason only: Tamarindo beach.

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Tamarindo’s usual population is a mere five hundred people, but during peak tourist season this number can swell up to as much as 5000. The ideal visiting time for surfers is November to December, when waves can soar 12 feet above the coast. Eco tourists should visit during the dry season, which is between November and April.

Tamarindo’s temperatures stay within 78 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit the entire year. Visiting during the dry season is not only more suitable for traveling, but will also afford you the opportunity to see Leatherback Turtle eggs hatchlings crawl out to sea. From December to April is the ideal time to fish, when the water is at its most pristine.

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Tamarindo is highly accessible, being one of the few towns in the area to have an airstrip that is serviced 7 days a week from San Jose by a couple select airlines. Driving from San Jose is also an option, and takes about 5-6 hours.

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Although most activities revolve around the beaches, there is plenty to do in the rainforests to the east. Most are tours, and give visitors a chance to see the elusive Costa Rican wildlife. Visitors can also arrange sport-fishing trips out on Tamarindo Bay, SCUBA dive, snorkel, or surf to their hearts’ content. Accommodations are available all around town, but the ideal hotel, with a blend of affordability, class, and convenience, is Tamarindo Diria. Tamarindo is an excellent holiday for anyone looking to find a deep intimacy with nature combined with a wonderful town to explore. Here our the top 5 things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica!

Tamarindo Beach

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Tamarindo Beach is the epitome of the Costa Rican experience-white sand, pristine water, and [really] good food. Visitors can arrange all types of fishing, snorkeling, and diving activities. This is what drew together various small settlements in the area, and gave birth to the tourist hot spot that is now known as Tamarindo. The day brings throngs of people playing soccer, swimming, surfing, and basking in the sun. Hundreds of small stalls line the coast, selling everything from trinkets for tourists to simple Costa Rican food for hungry beach goers.

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Iguana Surf

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Proudly serving the Tamarindo Bay area since 1989, the staff of this phenomenal surf shop helps customers in finding tours, rentals, and lessons. Iguana Surf is the most prominent surf shop on Tamarindo Beach, and is one of the only reputable names next to dozens of clandestine teachers. They offer 4 lessons a day with trained instructors who put your safety first, 125 rental boards, and 30 tours that go in and around Tamarindo Bay. Iguana Surf offers different adventure packages for honeymooners and thrill seekers alike. This renowned surf shop and school also provides classes for children and has taught kids as young as four years old. Let Iguana Surf pull the adventurer out of you!

Monkey Jungle Canopy Tour

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Located on a private reserve minutes from Tamarindo, Monkey Jungle Canopy Tours are a unique way to experience the tropical dry forests of Costa Rica. The tours run along seven cables in the sky, giving riders a panoramic aerial view of the forest. Each of the cables provides a different experience, ranging from one that dips within feet of the forest canopy, giving tourists a look at many species of monkey that inhabit the area, to one for adrenaline junkies that inverts, and does loops high above the forest. Lucky visitors might spot one of the forest’s elusive jaguars. Go upside down, fast as a bullet, or fearless as a monkey. No matter which way you like your Zip Line ride; you will have a great time, guaranteed.

ATV Adrenaline Tours

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ATV Adrenaline Tours offers a thrilling way to experience the lands around Tamarindo. ATV Adrenaline Tours operates using new 420 cc ATV (All Terrain Vehicles.) An experienced driver and knowledgeable guide conduct each tour. Both are always bilingual and provide guests with refreshments, which is a lifesaver in the swelling Costa Rican heat. There are five main ATV Tours available: Sunset Beach, Mountain, 3-hour Beach, ATV Canopy, and ATV Surf Trip.

Check out Top 10 Things to Do in Jaco, Costa Rica

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You will surely find one that you like. Riding an ATV is an incredible experience to see rural Costa Rica- it puts you right in the middle of nature and is truly an unforgettable experience. You become part of a roaring ATV fleet through the Costa Rican jungle, arriving just in time to catch the pink sunset on the beach and a quiet dinner at the hotel.

Playa Flamingo

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Playa Flamingo, like many other Costa Rican cities, has experienced an unprecedented boom in tourism since being named as one of Cost Rica’s most famed beaches, and it shows in its modern buildings and condos by the water. If you can look past them you will enjoy this stretch of beautiful coastline.

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The unspoiled white sand beaches offer never ending views of sapphire blue waters, which are home to schools of marlin, swordfish, tuna, and snapper. Playa Flamingo houses the only full size marina between Panama and Acapulco on the Pacific Coast and the deep-sea fishing is plentiful all year. Every July, the town hosts a sailfish tournament that attracts fishermen from around the world.

Check out Top 10 Things to See and Do in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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The pure blue waters are also great for scuba diving and other tours, which are held year round. Visitors can swim alongside white-fin sharks, tropical fish, and other marine life. For golfing enthusiasts, there is a local 18-hole golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. To explore the wild side of Playa Flamingo, stop by the Palo Verde natural reserve and the Santa Rosa National Park to tour the nearby jungles.

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But the main reason to come to Playa Flamingo is to catch the stunning sunset that dyes the sky pink. Take a sunset cruise or lounge at Mar y Sol, a cliffside restaurant with a panoramic view of the ocean. Afterwards, dine on their unique mix of French cooking technique and Costa Rican ingredients. In all, people come to Playa Flamingo for the experience of the area as a whole, and not so much for the quality of the beach itself. There is a lot to do and see in and around Playa Flamingo and I had some great times when I visited.

Note from David

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Nested away in the blazing plains of northwestern Costa Rica is Tamarindo, a small town defined by its beaches. Given that the central attractions are all located on or near its beaches, a hotel should be strategically chosen based on which of the many available activities you wish to pursue. An ideal, one size fits all, hotel that is close to just about all of the attractions is the Tamarindo Diria. Unless there is a specific activity you’re after, absolutely nothing competes with the convenience of staying there.

The beaches with little more than miles of sand and sun will thrill some, but bore others. The bored should turn their eyes towards the neighboring rainforests, which are very accessible through various tours that mostly showcase the local fauna. The most informative and entertaining tours are the canopy and ATV tours, the latter of which offers tours running through both the beach and rainforest, keeping everyone entertained.

Tamarindo has some of the best food in Costa Rica, from the sushi at Eat @ Joes or the burgers at Salsa. Particularly surprising is the French/international restaurant Nibbana, which serves French food rivaling that found in France.

Despite its small size and population, the vibrant nightlife of Tamarindo effortlessly matches the kind found in the considerably larger towns of Jaco and Puerto Viejo. Though your nights of debauchery will usually start at one of the smaller clubs, by midnight everyone has gathered around Aqua Discothèque, the largest club in town.

Between all the other things to do in Tamarindo, I seriously recommend you set aside a day for Playa Flamingo, a gorgeous beach about half an hour north of Tamarindo named for the flamingo pink color the sun takes as it sets. Enjoy your sunset with a glass of champagne from the nearby Mar Y Sol.

Tamarindo is a lesser-known town in Costa Rica, but that does not detract from its wonder and magic. To experience the true Costa Rica, a land of forests and beaches, Tamarindo is a must-do.

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