Tamarindo is in Costa Rica. Located on the Pacific Coast in the province of Guanacaste, Playa Tamarindo is a popular destination for couples and families looking for a good time. With a spectacular beach, a saltwater estuary, many surf spots and outstanding fishing, Tamarindo is the epitome of everything that Costa Rica prides itself on. However, if you are expecting to experience the typical Costa Rica then Tamarindo is probably not for you as it is touristy and prices are high.
The closest international airport to Tamarindo is the Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia (LIR). It has connections to many international cities such as Toronto, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Panama and New York. The airport is located about 45 minutes out of Tamarindo. There are taxis, shuttles, or you can take a public bus from Liberia which will take about 2 hours. The public bus will take many detours off the main road into village and is a great way to see the countryside. Fare is a couple of dollars.
The International airport in San Jose is called Juan Santamaria (SJO) and services many international destinations.
Tamarindo has a national airport with daily flights from SANSA and Nature Air. The flight to San Jose takes about 45 minutes.
A local bus leaves San Jose from the Alfaro Bus Station and costs about $12 dollars. The bus stops frequently and the trip takes around 6 or 7 hours but it is very scenic and you will get a good taste of what Costa Rica looks like. You will need to purchase the tickets at least 2 or more hours in advance as tickets tend to sell out.
There are several private shuttle buses from San Jose to Tamarindo such as Grayline and Interbus.
Every Tuesday and Friday there is a shuttle service, Pure Vibes (2670 0273), that picks up from Playa del Coco and brings riders to Tamarindo for $20. They offer $5 off accommodation at their resort () if you ride the shuttle.
Budget, Enterprise, Avis and many other rental companies have agencies in and near the Juan Santamaria airport and offer a variety of pick-up and drop-off options. The drive to Tamarindo, is about 4-5 hours. While it is scenic, and provides a window into Costa Rican life, it is a long drive, over hilly roads.
Some resorts, like Witch's Rock Surf Camp, provide included driving service to/from Liberia airport.
Tamarindo is a small town and it is easy to get around on foot. There are several car rental agencies if you wish to explore locations outside of Tamarindo. You can also rent scooters or hail a taxi.
The beach is a three and a half kilometer stretch of white sand and warm blue water. Tamarindo is surrounded by National Parks to its north and south, and mountains with breathtaking views to its east. Nature is abundant, Leatherback Turtles lay their eggs in the northern part of the bay, Howler Monkeys are heard and seen swinging on branches throughout Tamarindo. In some restaurants giant Iguanas will come up to your table expecting table scraps. In the late afternoons you can hear the parakeets screeching in the trees, preparing to settle down for the night.
Tamarindo has become a mecca for surfers and blue water sport fishermen, with a sport fishing fleet of talented and conservation oriented captains who are the pioneers of the Pacific coast. Their record catches of marlin, sailfish, giant tuna and other species have become legendary. Whether you want deep bluewater fishing, or reef or shoreline fishing, the fleet can accommodate you. Surf casting and handlining in front of your villa for snook and jack are also popular. Any way you do it you can be sure to have your fresh catch cooked up for you at one of the friendly beachfront restaurants.
There is company called Native's Way Guanacaste  that has grouped all of the best tours of Guanacaste together and offer some of the lowest rates. Their National Park tours are amazing, they use guides that grew up on the volcano that know the land like the back of their hand. They can show you secret trails and point out wildlife you wouldn't have otherwise seen. But they also offer great canopy ziplining, sailing, tubing, stand up paddle boarding, you name it. They offer transportation and often a drink at the end of your tour. Definitely check them out if you want to know what is offered in the area
Warm water surfing is enjoyed year 'round and families find this area offers opportunities for surfers of all skill levels to enjoy the great waves that bless this part of the coast. Tamarindo was the first stop on an epic worldwide surf journey in the popular movie Endless Summer II. Be aware that the beaches are very crowded with amatuer surfers these days. It can be hard to catch waves without running into another tourist. The crowds do start to thin out as evening approaches though.
Visitors also can choose to scuba dive, snorkel, go on beach cruises, water ski, jet ski, go ocean and river kayaking, wind surfing, sailing cruises and horseback riding. Bicycles, beach gear, surfboards, boogie boards and equipment of all types are available for rental from specialty stores.
In addition, there are only a few places in the world where the Giant Leatherback Turtle comes to lay her eggs, and National Park Las Baulas is one of them. A short ride from Tamarindo, watching this beautiful part of nature is a once in a lifetime event.
Nearby Hacienda Pinilla about 20 minutes outside Tamarindo, is an exclusive beach resort and residential community, offers six pristine beaches, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, surfing and fishing as well as horseback riding, an 18-hole championship golf course, and about 10 miles of nature trails.
There are a few great places to go at night. La Barra is a great bar where everyone goes for some salsa dancing, watch out though, the locals are all very good at it. There is another place called Pacifica playing mostly Top 40 music for the younger crowd at the end of the main street in Tamarindo. At the other end, you can find a relative new place, Agua. Pretty nice interior compared to the other bars, but it has a tendency to be a little empty at times. Be careful about pickpocketers around Agua, especially of those men dressed as females.
- Amagi Adventures - Custom Guided Surf Trip, . For custom guided surf trips including photography & videography of your sessions. edit
- Tamarindo Surf Vacations, . Learn how to surf ,Surf trips to Witchs rock and Ollie's point [email protected] +506-8907-9270. edit
- Banana Surf Club, . Learn how to surf in Tamarindo Costa Rica, Surf Tours, Surf Trips. edit
- Beach & Pool Crawl, . A Sunday Funday Bar Crawl exploring the beaches and resorts north of town. edit
- Bikini Surf Shop (Biniki Surf Shop Tamarindo, Costa Rica), Main Street, Tamarindo Costa Rica, ☎ 506 26530917, . Tamarindo Bikini Surf Shop, offers surfboard rent, surfing lessons and tours, Surf Report, Bikinis. edit
- Blue Trailz Surf Shop (surf and bike), main street next to alamo rent a car, ☎ (506) 2653 1705, . 7am-7pm. Blue Trailz Surf Shop offers you all you need to be active in Tamarindo. From board rentals, surf trips and surf lessons, mountain bike tours and rentals to tours. edit
- Costa Rica Surf Club and Surf Camp, . Learn how to surf in Tamarindo, surfshop and surf spots information. edit
- EF Escuela Internacional de Español, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, ☎ 1-800-992-1892, . Spanish school with weekly start dates. edit
- Go Fish Costa Rica (www.GoFishCR.com / [email protected]), Tamarindo Beach (888-434-7491), ☎ 506-8302-6514, . Call anytime. Go Fish has access to a fleet of boats ranging from $450 - $1500. Access the unbiased knowledge of US Coast Guard Captains local knowledge and talent to be sure that you are lined up with the right fishing guide the first time. Call to discuss your specific needs and desires and get on the fish fast. Prices Vary. edit
- Languatica, ☎ (+1)856.335.LANG(5264), . Language Immersion Travel edit
- La Oveja Negra Surf Camp & Hostel, Hostel La Oveja Negra, ☎ ++506 2653-0005, . La Oveja Negra Surf Camp has a range of different surf packages to suit you. edit
- Native's Way Guanacaste, ☎ U.S. 1 (800) 605-2806/C.R. 8659-6432, . Guanacaste Adventure and Nature Tour Specialists: Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Ziplining, Horseback Riding, Catamaran Tours, Extreme Ziplining in Monteverde. edit
- Tamarindo Fishing Charters, Tamarindo beach (pick up in front of pescador), . Fishing Charters & Fishing Packages, accomodations and a lot more..... Fishing Tamarindo works with a select group of private skippers with modern boats that are outfitted with state of the art fishing and navigation equipment. edit
- Tamarindo Spanish and Surf School, Calle Real, . Spanish and Surf school in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. edit
- Warren Sellers Sportfishing, . offers a variety of boats ranging from a 22 ft Boston Whaler to a 38 ft Topaz. All the boats are insured, have top of the line equipment and English speaking captains with many years of fishing experience. You can choose from half day trips for inshore fishing for snapper, grouper and other reef fish, to full day trips for sailfish, marlin and tuna. edit
- Tamarindo Costa Rica by showtime, Calle Central, Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, ☎ (506) 8705-8328, . 9am to 7pm. Wondering what to do in Tamarindo that doesnt involve getting wet and sandy? Our Tamarindo adventures Tours is the answer. Shottime Tamarindo is a small company who tailor all our tours to you making this a great activities for all ages. we have great personalised attention so you never get left behind. (-10.306239,-85.836604) edit
- Freedive Costa Rica, Plaza Conchal (second floor B-8, ☎ (+506) 8353-1290, . Freedive Costa Rica is the first and only Freediving School in Costa Rica. Freediving is a form of underwater diving that relies on a diver’s ability to hold the breath until resurfacing, rather than using air supply equipment. Freediving is accessible to all ages of water sport enthusiasts and is an ideal activity for Surfers that want to improve underwater survival skills, gain confidence and tackle bigger waves; Scuba Divers that want to explore the underwater mysteries without heavy and noisy equipment; Snorkelers or Spearfishers that want to dive deeper and extend underwater time and just for anyone looking for an exciting, chalenging, fun and yet relaxing activity. Freedive Costa Rica offers SSI Freediving Courses from Beginner to Expert levels with a high degree of professionalism and commitment. edit
- The Empower Yourself Project - Yoga, Meditation & More, Plaza Conchal Shopping Center, 2nd Floor, B8 shop- in Freedive Costa Rica), ☎ 8358-7295, . Yoga School that offers daily drop-in Yoga & meditation classes, private classes, special healing sessions and workshops, located at the heart of Tamarindo beach. High quality teaching standards, eight years of experience teaching in Europe, Asia and Central America. Yoga to heal body & mind, feel extremely good, relaxed and happy! edit
Many local vendors offer authentic Costa Rican jewelry and natural products for skin care. For children, inexpensive souvenirs are to be found everywhere. Look for the Saturday Farmers market where you can buy local produce as well as art, soaps, jewelry and more.
In Azul Profundo Boutique and Azul Profundo Kids, on the main road, you can find an assortment of clothes and accessories that you might need for your vacation in this endless summer town.
Tamarindo offers an amazing selection of international and typical Costa Rican restaurants. Tamarindo has a French and German bakery, as well as restaurants catering to health-conscious and vegetarian. There is an abundant supply of fresh local seafood, fruits and vegetables. Most restaurants face the beach, so while waiting for food, one can play in the sand or admire the beautiful sunset.
However, most restaurant food is not cheap by Central American standards. Expect to pay $10 for a starter, $15-20 for a main dish, $3-4 for a juice or smoothie, $6-7 for a sandwich.
Tamarindo also has grocery stores, fresh produce and fruit juice stands, and internet cafes.
Locals will come daily during lunchtime with food in the back of their truck and sell to local Costa Ricans for about 2000 Colones you get a full plate, it's a great way to try local cuisine.
- Longboards BBQ, Located on the right side of the road to Langosta (Next door to Mandarina), ☎ 2653-0027. Noon until Late Night. BBQ palce offering pulled pork, chicken, or brisket sandwich with American music and sports on the TVs all around. All of their meat is smoked and served with Homemade BBQ sauces. under $10. edit
- Le Petit Cafe, A03 Plaza Tamarindo (Next door to ABC Realty), ☎ 506-2653-4285, . 8am-6pm. Located in Plaza Tamarindo and serving North American and Jamaican influenced fare including panninis, salads, home baked goods, apple pie to Jamaican jerk chicken, and vegetarian selections, and Montreal style bagels. Patio and enclosed air conditioned dining area. $4-$7. edit
- Pipos Dog (The Best Hot Dogs in town), Centro comercial Plaza Esmeralda (On the main road left side, where the HSBC Bank is located.), . Hot dogs and open late. edit
Any tropical drink is recommended. Fresh papaya, mango, pineapple, and bananas are Tamarindo's specialty. When in Tamarindo, definitely try a Tamarind and Ginger agua fresca if you find it. Look for the Pipa guy, who will be yelling 'Pipa Pipa', and selling freshly cut coconuts. Don't pay more that $1 for one.
Drugs are a big problem here and you will be solicited past sunset. At night time, Tamarindo is a big party town, and really isn't conducive to children once the sun goes down.
- Aqua. Within walking distance from the Monkey Bar, Aqua delivers a more intense night club experience. A great place to be on Friday or Saturday and there's even a pole on stage. edit
- Monkey Bar, (On the Main strip). The Monkey Bar is great on Friday's, they have a live band and a DJ playing, so you are able to choose which side of the party you wish to be on. edit
- Pacifico Bar. Pacifico is the place to be on Sunday and is also busy on Thursday. Expect reggae dance-hall music at this beach side bar. edit
- El Vaquero, Route 152, Tamarindo (Opposite Kelly's Surf Shop), ☎ 2653 1238. Part of the Witch's Rock Surf Camp and set right on the beach. This place has an unbeatable view, good local microbrews and good, if slightly overpriced, food. Live music on Saturday and Sunday nights. edit
- 15 Love Bed and Breakfast, . A contemporary bed and breakfast with two tennis courts. edit
- 360 Surf Camp (360 Surf Camp), In front of Milagro Hotel, ☎ (506) 26530917, . 360 Surf Camp surf school and lodging in front of the beach. edit
- Blue Trailz (hostel and surf camp), main street next to alamo rent a car, ☎ (506) 2653 1705, . checkin: 11am; checkout: 2pm. Blue Trailz is the leading hostel and surf camp in Tamarindo, right across from the waves. edit
- Botella de Leche, (Up the street to the big white condo, then follow the street up a few hundred meters. Beside Pura Vida Hostel.). Nice little courtyard with a pool in the middle, with rooms surrounding it. Dorms with 5 beds and dorms with 9 beds. Nice alternative to the popular Pura Vida Hostel next door. Not to far from the main strip, but far enough to avoid the noise. Kitchen for use (for free) and free coffee. Run by an Argentina'n woman who apparantly lives upstairs. 13/15 USD dorm. edit
- Cala Luna Hotel, ☎ +506 2653 0214, . Boutique hotel located in Langosta Beach, at the south end of Tamarindo. edit
- Domus Kahuna (Tamarindo Hotel & Residence Domus Kahuna), Next to the children playgound, ☎ 26530648, . checkin: 2.00PM; checkout: 12.00PM. Fully equipped apartments and hotel rooms. 50. edit
- Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort and Residential Community, ☎ (506)2680-3000, . Offers villas, beach houses, the 30-room La Posada Hotel or the eight-suite Casa de Golf. edit
- Hotel Jardin del Eden (Tamarindo Hotel El Jardin del Eden), (En frende a la Colina), ☎ +506 2653 0137, . Set on a hill, just a few minutes walk from the beach, and with a great view of the entire Tamarindo Bay. $192. edit
- JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa, Hacienda Pinilla, ☎ 506-26812000, . A traditional Costa Rica hotel with 310 guest rooms. edit
- Hotel Mamiri, (Tamarindo Rooms & Hostel Mamiri), across the street from Pasatiempo Hotel, phone 2653-0079 . Charming tropical gardens and very relaxed vibe, excellent morning coffee.
- Mirador B&B, 300 Meters East of Gym, ☎ 506-8302-6514, . checkin: 2pm-6pm; checkout: 12noon. Enjoy sweeping ocean views perched high atop Tamarindo; away from the noise, but close enough to enjoy all of the amenities of town. Rated #1 on Trip Advisor. 95-150/night. edit
- Hotel Nahua, Tamarindo, ☎ (506) 2653 0010, . Apartments and hotel rooms around a lush garden with swimming pool, BBQ area and lazy corner to kick back and relax. Only a short walk to the beach. edit
- RPM Vacation Rentals, Plaza Tamarindo, ☎ 506 2653 0738, . checkin: 3:00pm; checkout: 11:00am. Vacation rentals of condos and houses. edit
- Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, ☎ 506-2630-9000, . A world class golf and spa resort right on the beach. The perfect place to relax and play in the sun. edit
- Tamarindo Backpackers, Tamarindo (Right at Supermarket 2001, left up the road at Kahiki and the second right at the end of the cul-de-sac), ☎ +506 8774 6667. checkin: 2.00pm; checkout: 11am. New owners Anne and Chris are committed to keeping Tamarindo Backpackers the cleanest and most fun hostel in town. The hostel has 4 large private rooms and the nicest, cleanest dorm rooms in town. There is also A/C, a lovely pool and a big communal kitchen. It is only 2 minutes walk from the beach and boarders a national preserve so guests can expect to see many iguanas and monkeys! $15-$50. edit
- Tamarindo Beach Info, . is a Tamarindo directory with links to hotels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts and cabins. You can also find surf reports, a weather forecast, blog, photo galleries and links for things to do in Tamarindo. edit
- Tamarindo Village, . Its hillside location has beautiful sunset views of the ocean and it's within walking distance of the beach. It's not a cookie-cutter hotel. Each of the cabins is private and charming. edit
- Hotel Tatanka (Tatanka), Playa Junquillal (Frente al mar), ☎ 1(866)498-0824, . checkin: 2:00; checkout: 12:00. A great surf hotel, with its own pizzeria, located about two blocks from the beach, it is clean and the service is good. $60 - $65. edit
- Hotel Villa Amarilla (oceanfront), Calle Central Playa Tamarindo (On the beach next to the Diria Hotel), ☎ 506 2653 0038. A recently-renovated oceanfront hotel that feels more like a friendly B&B than a beachside resort. Free breakfast. Onsite massage therapist and tourism desk offering surf lessons, horseback riding, canopy tours, Spanish immersion, sunset cruises and a wide range of surf trips. edit
- Villa Lani, ☎ 1-800-260-4586, . Villa Lani is a luxury Villa with beautiful vistas overlooking Playa Tamarindo. Secluded & Luxurious, the 8 bedroom Villa can accommodate larger groups. edit
- Casa Sunset, ☎ 1-800-260-4586, . Overlooking the ocean and nearby estuary, this all inclusive villa was designed to maximize the view from every angle. edit
No one really wants to leave Tamarindo, but when the time comes to go back to your home country, you can fly or drive to either Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia (LIR) or San Jose's Juan Santamaria (SJO). When leaving Costa Rica via air, you are required to pay a departure tax (impuesto de salida). There are ATM's at the airport from which you can withdrawal money to pay the tax, or you can pay per credit card. There are also public buses that will take you to Panama or Nicaragua.