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Tamarindo
Travel Guide


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Tamarindo is the largest beach town in the Costa Rican state of Guanacaste, and it situated on the northwestern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. What started as a quaint fishing village has developed into a tourist’s paradise, and Tamarindo is especially popular with surfers, who come from far and wide to indulge in the massive swells that break along this scenic stretch of Pacific coastline. The town has something for everyone, whether you are looking to rest and relax on some of Costa Rica’s most famous beaches, catch a wave or party the night away with fellow backpackers and travelers. Tamarindo sometimes gets a reputation as a party town, but in truth it is easy to avoid this if you want to. The town’s development means that it also has a host of high-end shops and restaurants, art galleries and surf shops, as well as lots of eco-lodges and resorts, such is the area’s focus on sustainable tourism.

Experiences around Tamarindo

What not to miss

As with anywhere in Costa Rica, you are never too far away from some incredible wildlife, and the same is true for Tamarindo. The Matapalo River separates the Playa Grande and the Playa Tamarindo, both of which are situated on the sweeping crescent of Tamarindo Bay. The river and its estuary conceal a wealth of natural beauty, and are well worth exploring by boat, which will take you through eerie mangroves, wetlands and tropical forests where you can spot howler monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, and crocodiles. The Las Baulas Marine Park is home to leatherback and green sea turtles, who come here to lay their eggs between November and February. There is a wealth of activities to do in the area, and diving, snorkeling, body surfing, zip-lining, estuary trips, horseback riding and fishing are all easily accessible, fun and immersive. For those interested in picking up some souvenirs or locally made handicrafts, head to the Saturday morning market. Tamarindo offers guests the best of Costa Rica all in one place - incredible beaches, surf, nature, wildlife and a good time.

Kayak the Mangrove & Estuary Top

The Tamarindo Mangrove and Estuary is a protected area with a beautiful nature wildlife refuge consists of a very special flora characteristic of this ecosystem that is an estuary mangrove forests and wetlands, where a great quantity of fauna species can be found, such as brown pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, ibis, ospreys and roseate spoonbills as well as two types of monkeys, iguanas and the American crocodile. You will board either a single or double sit ocean kayak to paddle through this nature lover’s paradise. Using paddles and not a motor, will give you the chance to observe the different species of animals without disturbing them, allowing you to have better pictures and memories to take with you. After paddling for about one hour, some fresh fruits will be offered to you to give you new energy and hydration, to continue enjoying this beautiful natural environment that is now considered a wetland in action of international importance.

Forest & Beach Horseback Riding Top

A unique horseback riding experience through the typical dry-tropical forest of the Guanacaste lowlands. This gentle horseback ride takes approximately 2 hours and before you depart, you will be given an extensive briefing on the basics of controlling your horse. On the tour, you’ll ride out on a variety of forest and mountains trails, as well as to a number of lookout points and secluded beaches that make for an memorable natural adventure. Keep your eyes out for wildlife along the way as you encounter howler monkeys, iguanas, pelicans, crabs among many others.

Beach Tour and Snorkeling Top

A full day of sun, sea and sand on a beach-hopping tour, which is the best way to get to know the most important beaches around. You’ll begin your day at the pristine Flamingo Beach, a designated Blue Flag Ecological Beach with powdery white sand. From there you’ll pass by Playa Grande before heading to Tamarindo for an ocean view lunch. After lunch you will head to Conchal Beach with its white sand and pristine waters. Here you can go snorkeling at the coral reef to enjoy the beautiful colors of the water and observe the underwater world of exotic fish at the coral reef.

Evening Pacific Green Turtle Nesting Top

Playa Grande forms, just like Playa Langosta located to the south of Tamarindo Bay, part of the National and Marine Park system ‘Las Baulas’. Both are protected nesting areas for giant sea turtles that arrive on its shores. During the breeding season (approx. November to end of January) you can visit the nesting area of the endangered Green turtles. After registration at the park ranger station, you will enter the beach area and be waiting there for a while, enjoying the waves getting on shore in the mystic light of nighttime and getting an introduction on the curious details of marine turtles. The official guide who will accompany you on the tour will be searching the area for marine turtles that are waiting in the ocean to start coming on shore. You will then start your walk along the beach to get to the place where you will experience one of the most incredible phenomenons of Mother Nature, when these endangered turtles begin to dig a hole in the sand to lay her eggs.

Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling Top

Boarding our luxury catamaran at the Flamingo Marina area, we set the sail and navigate for about 5 miles giving us access to some of the beautiful isolates beaches and snorkel locations of Costa Rica. A snorkeling guide will show you the marine wildlife such as: pufferfish, starfish, sea turtle, dolphin, and whale. You can also experience kayaking and fishing. Stop in a tranquil bay, drop anchor, snorkel or reach a deserted white beach while the chef prepares a delicious buffet. Panache catamaran, after a stop, will catch the sunset, offering you cold tropical drinks and let you enjoy the most beautiful natural scenery.

ATV 4 Wheeling Forest Adventure Top

The Guanacaste province is famous for its beaches, but is also surrounded by beautiful transitional and dry-tropical forest and small towns. Today you will be picked up from your hotel to go on an ATV adventure full of adrenaline. You will be taken to the operations center in Tamarindo from where your ATV tour will start. Under the guidance of experienced guides you will hop on your ATV machines that all have automatic transmissions so you don’t have to worry about shifting, just follow your guide and enjoy the ride. Explore unpaved roads, rustic towns, extensive transitional forests, and cattle ranches today on your ATV. Be prepared to tackle the challenging terrains together with your fun and knowledgeable guides, who will also introduce you into local history and geography. This is the perfect tour for those who would like to get off-the-beaten-track and experience good adrenaline! The ATV’s on this tour are easy and safe to operate; even riders with no prior experience can operate them.

River Rafting the Rio Tenorio Top

Today you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the Tenorio Operations Center along the PanAmerican Highway for an exciting white water rafting adventure. At the Operation Center it’s time to change into your rafting gear before a 4×4 transfer takes you to the rafting put-in on the banks of the Tenorio River. Here your equipment will be reviewed and adjusted to make sure it’s a proper fit as well as get a comprehensive rafting safety talk and instructions on the basics of paddling and whitewater rafting. Launching your raft off into the Tenorio River, the adrenaline will be pumping as you begin to paddle through the deep red-rock canyon surrounded by magnificent landscapes of low, tropical and dry forest, view cascading waterfalls, relax in serene pools and experience some of the best rapids. You’ll experience over 20 thrilling rapids, and finish the tour off with Costa Rica’s most extreme whitewater river rapid – it is an incredible 12-ft waterfall drop that we have aptly named: ‘Cascabel Falls!’

Fast Facts on Tamarindo

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Tamarindo.

When to go

Tamarindo is located in Costa Rica’s hottest province, Guanacaste, which has two clearly defined seasons, the dry season from December to April, and the wet, or green, season from May to November. For the best beach weather in Tamarindo, visit between June and November. July and August are the busiest months, with summer in North America meaning lots of people take their summer vacation in Costa Rica. If you are planning on hitting Tamarindo to surf, plan to come in either September or October. For wildlife spotting, especially seeing the leatherback turtles the area is famous for, come between November and February.

How to get there

Tamarindo has a small airstrip just outside the town, and daily flights to and from San Jose operate during high season. There are also some flights from Liberia airport. There are two bus terminals in the town, one near the beach and the other near Pacific Park. A surf shuttle runs between the beaches, providing a service for surfers who want to check out the waves at different spots along the coast. Many people traveling in this area will have rented a car, so if you plan on doing this, speak to one of our travel advisors and they can assist you. Be advised that there is no gas station in Tamarindo, so you will have to stock up on gas in the nearby town of Huacas.

Infrastructure

Tamarindo offers a wide array of accommodation including everything from B&Bs to high-end resorts. Tamarindo can sometimes feel crowded with people, but as soon as you leave the main drag and head south you are out of the fray and into a calmer environment. The town is small and walkable, but there are taxis should you not feel like continuing to your destination on foot. Tamarindo is known for its nightlife, and there are lots of fun bars and clubs to party the night away at. Some of the best restaurants in Costa Rica are located here, but they will take a toll on your wallet, so if you are on a budget, eat at one of the more affordably priced eateries dotted throughout the town.

Tour Packages to Tamarindo

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