Once a small fishing town in the country, Tamarindo has developed into a popular tourist destination in the past few years. It is mainly known for its gorgeous beaches, top-class restaurants, and adventurous activities.
If you’re also planning a trip to Tamarindo, you must be looking for an ultimate guide to solve all your queries and give you a big picture of everything you can do here. Well, worry not, because this article will help you with all of that!
Is Tamarindo Worth Visiting?
To answer this question in brief, we say, why not? If you’re planning a holiday trip to Costa Rica, making Tamarindo a part of your journey plan is a must! Famous for its white-sand beaches, Tamarindo stays busy and touristy for most of the months. So, if you’re in for experiencing the fun of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, definitely visit Tamarindo for a memorable holiday!
Bask in the sun at the beaches or experience scuba diving for fun! Try Kayaking or surfing for the first time in a while- we assure you’ll never be out of activities to do in Tamarindo!
You can even book a waterfall tour Costa Rica in advance for a more convenient trip.
Best Time to Visit Tamarindo
Tamarindo experiences different climatic changes throughout the year. Weather-wise, the town has two major seasons, including the green season and the dry season. The shoulder season includes the months between the high and the low seasons based on the maximum tourism.
Tamarindo sees heavy tourism during the dry season, which are the months from December to April. This season is usually a crowd favorite as the sky remains pretty clear through the day. Moreover, there is almost zero rainfall on some days. So, it’s great for people who hate the wet season.
During the first few months, you’ll be able to see lush-green landscapes due to the recent green season. Visiting Tamarindo in the dry season also has some added perks for adventure enthusiasts as it gets busy with various activities. However, keep in mind that the hotel rooms and ticket prices get expensive during this season due to the increased demand.
The green season, also known as the wet season, is ideal for wildlife and nature lovers. It starts from June and lasts till October, with September and October being peak months for heavy rainfall. The green season usually sees sunny mornings and afternoon rain showers. So, if you aren’t bothered by the thoughts of getting wet, then it is the perfect time to spot some exotic Costa Rican wildlife in their natural habitat.
Also, the Caribbean Coast usually experiences less rainfall in September and October. Antarctic humpback whales, sea turtles, and many other animals are often spotted on the Caribbean Coast.
Another perk of visiting during the green season is discounted rates on hotel rooms and flight tickets. However, one must come fully prepared in this season. Pack your bag accordingly, and carry water-resistant shoes, raincoats, umbrellas, etc., to the trip.
If you ask, we recommend visiting Tamarindo in the offbeat shoulder season. It includes the months of June, July, August, and November. These are generally more pleasing, and the weather is a lot more bearable to enjoy the beaches. Moreover, the crowd is less during this season. So, you won’t have to fight for affordable deals on flight tickets, hotels, etc.
How to reach Tamarindo?
If you’re directly visiting Tamarindo, you must fly to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. The airport has many flights to and from major cities like Toronto, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Newark, London, Seattle, etc.
Once you arrive at the airport, you book a cab, rent a car, or go for a public bus to reach Tamarindo. It’s generally a 1-hour drive from Liberia, but a bus ride can take anywhere between 2-3 hours. Also, you will only have to pay $2.50, so it’s an affordable option for low-budget travelers.
Popular Tourist Destinations near Tamarindo
Many popular destinations are within a distance of a few hours from Tamarindo. So, if you’re willing, you can check out these places as well.
Being the capital city of Costa Rica, San José offers the best Costa Rican city life experience to travelers. The good thing is it’s only 260 km away from Tamarindo. The well-paved road makes it even easier to reach the city in just 4-5 hours.
Another ideal ecotourism destination is Monteverde, about 162 km away from the town. It can take around 3-4 hours to reach there if you’re driving.
Santa Teresa is about 200 km away from Tamarindo, so it can easily take around 5 hours to reach there.
If you’re into adventurous activities like zip-lining, La Fortuna should be on your must-visit destinations list. It’s about 210 km away from Tamarindo, which makes it a 4-hour drive.
The famous Manuel Antonio National Park is another worth visiting place. It’s a little over 300 km away from Tamarindo.
If you’re traveling on the main highway via Nicoya, it takes two hours to reach Samara from Tamarindo. You can even travel along the coast to enjoy beautiful scenic views, but beware of potholes!
How much time is required for a complete Tamarindo trip?
You must have at least 2-3 days in your hand to enjoy a proper tour in Tamarindo. Once you’re there, utilize your time visiting famous beaches and enjoy various activities in the town!
Things you cannot miss out on in Tamarindo!
Visit the best beaches
Tamarindo is adorned with mesmerizing, sandy beaches that offer you an amazing view of the horizon combined with fun water sports activities and more. Some of the favorite ones among the tourists are:
This beautiful 3.5 km long, sandy white beach is the town’s main attraction. It is great for swimming, relaxing, sunbathing, and taking surfing breaks for beginners. The nearby beaches at Playa Negra, Avellanas, Playa Grande, or Witch’s Rock offer more challenging waters for the more experienced surfers.
Playa Langosta, Costa Rica
The Langosta Beach, situated just 2 km away from Playa Tamarindo, is one of the more luxurious beaches known for its picturesque quality, amazing surfing waves, and also for having the only ‘all-inclusive hotel’ in the area. Both the beaches can be visited in a day thanks to their proximity.
Located a 30 min drive away from Tamarindo, the Avellanas is a serene swimming and surfing beach which is away from the hubbub and full of wildlife. It also hosts some great restaurants in the area, including Lola’s, the beachside restaurant known across the globe.
This beach is located North of Tamarindo in Marino Las Baulas National Park. Its claim to fame is being one of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica and also being a nesting site for the famous leatherback turtles from October to May.
Relish in a sunset boat cruise experience
There are numerous boat tours available in Tamarindo. These trips and tours depart from Tamarindo and take the tourists to exciting snorkeling destinations and glorious bays. The tours can be full-day tours, sunset tours, or half-day tours. Depending on the tour you’ve chosen you can avail various unique experiences including open bars, lounge areas for a relaxing time, paddle boarding, buffets, and so on.
Are you a fan of some thrilling water-sports activities? If yes, then get your hands on a kayaking tour package! This is a great means to not only have some fun in the cool waters of Costa Roca but also offer a fun way of exploring the Tamarindo Estuary. You can also spot a range of animal species such as tropical bird species, caymans, monkeys, iguanas, and more. A thorough tour usually takes around 2 to 3 hours to finish and is a perfect means to explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica.
Relish in a Scuba Diving experience
If you are a fan of the ocean then Tamarindo has got a variety of exciting snorkeling cum scuba diving tours for you! The tours usually combine snorkeling with sailing together to offer a better experience. Tamarindo has got plenty of scuba diving companies that can help you get an amazing diving experience at reasonable prices. They organize planned trips to the Catalinas islands or the Bat island, where you can have a better scuba diving experience and can even spot the bull sharks if you are lucky, that is.
Ziplining is a great means of experiencing the beauty of Costa Rica in an adventurous way. However, for taking up a zip lining course you’d have to take a half to two-hour-long travel, away from Tamarindo. Most of the zip line tours in Tamarindo provide transfers to the Rincon De la Vieja park which offers a thick canopy, sparkling rivers, and adventure activities. These tours also come with a spectrum of adventure sports included making it more fun and worthwhile for the tourists!
Visit the Tamarindo night market
If you ever visit Tamarindo and are here for more than a day or two, we recommend sparing your Thursday evening for the Tamarindo Night Market! The market is one of the most happening weekly occurrences in the town, taking place every Thursday, from 6 pm to 9 pm. The market is filled with musicians giving live performances, fire dancers, food stalls, artisans, souvenir shops, and whatnot. A perfect place to let loose, forget your worries and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere. However, if you are a tourist, beware of scammers! To know more about tourist scams in Costa Rica you can check out our other articles!
Shop your heart away at the Clothing and Souvenir shops
Visitors can find a wide variety of souvenir and clothing stores adorning the main street of Tamarindo. You can look around any of these stores and get yourself whatever you like. Some of the popular stores for shopping in Tamarindo are Papaya Con Leche, Con Mucho Gusto, Morena Beachwear, Azul Profundo Boutique, Buena Nena, Diamante Boutique, etc. These stores have got everything you’d need from fancy clothing to unique artifacts and more!
Visit the Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Owing its name to the dormant volcano present inside the park, the Rincon De La Vieja National Park is a perfect location for adventure enthusiasts. Located around 1.5 hours from the town, the park offers a scenic and hike-worthy location. Nature lovers are sure to have a great time here, with the Rio Negro hot springs, some beautiful waterfalls, and hiking trails to give you a wholesome experience. You can also enjoy numerous adventure activities such as horseback riding, tubing, zip-lining, etc. You can hire a rental car to make your trip to the park, more hassle-free. However, just make sure you’re well versed with the Costa Rica gas stations and how they operate before getting a vehicle of your own!
Best restaurants, bars, and cafes in Tamarindo
The beach town of Tamarindo does not disappoint when it comes to food. The town is filled with a varied variety of restaurants giving each other tough competition in terms of variety, quality, and taste! The list of quality restaurants in Tamarindo is long, however, some of the popular ones are listed below:
- Nogui’s Restaurant: Serving the town since 1974, this is one of the oldest restaurants in Tamarindo and one of the best ones too! From mouth-watering tuna poke to delicious deserts, they’re a must-visit if you ever find yourself in the town of Tamarindo!
- Bamboo Sushi Club: Located in the center of Tamarindo, the Bamboo Sushi Club is one of the if not the best sushi restaurants in the town. Closed every Sunday, you can visit them any other day and try their famous Tico Roll.
- Sprout: A great restaurant for people who are all about organic. They are known for serving food made only from organic, fresh, and locally available ingredients.
- Mercadito De Tamarindo: Located next to the Patagonia Restaurant, Guanacaste, Tamarindo, this vibrant Tamarindo Market is a place like heaven. Serving a hot variety of cuisines with live performances by musicians being held regularly, and numerous apparel stores in between, this market is one of the liveliest places in Tamarindo. You can pick from a spectrum of American dishes, Chinese dishes, or yummy pizzas and have a delightful time with your family or friends!
Well-known for its lively nightlife, Tamarindo and its happening nightclubs have always been a vibrant experience. Sadly the pandemic hasn’t been merciful to them and today the party hubs of Tamarindo either stand vacated or lack proper management. Some of the still functional ones include the Pacifico Bar, Sharky’s Bar, and El Garito.
As for the coffee lovers, Tamarindo has got some very authentic and popular coffee houses to deliver to your senses some of the best coffees! A few of our recommended choices include:
- Nordico Coffee House: located in central Tamarindo, Nordico is a great place to grab yourself a powerful morning brew or have a laidback gathering with your friends. They serve a variety of delicious drinks ranging from teas to smoothies.
- Tamarindo Coffee Roasters: Though located a bit on the outskirts, the Tamarindo Coffee Roasters is a wonderful cafe to satisfy your coffee cravings. You can even grab some authentic coffee beans from here for a delicious homemade coffee.
Now that you know about the things to do in Tamarindo, it’s time for you to plan your trip and book the flight tickets! Also, ensure to follow the COVID-19 update to travel in Costa Rica. As the novel coronavirus is still spreading from person to person, it’s totally on you to take preventive measures.
Besides, you’re bound to have the best time once you get here. Tamarindo’s beaches and markets will surely make your vacation a memorable one!