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Central Pacific : Tamarindo
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Tamarindo is in Costa Rica. Located on the Pacific Coast, Tamarindo is a popular destination for couples and families looking for a good time. With spectacular beaches and rainforests, Tamarindo is the epitome of everything that Costa Rica prides itself on. However, if you are expecting to experience the real Costa Rica then Tamarindo is probably not for you - it's something of a tourist trap geared towards Americans on short vacations and prices are high (comparable to US and Europe) with rarely the quality to match.

Get in

It is recommended to fly into Liberia (city in Costa Rica) international airport and take a Taxi from there which lasts a little over 45 minutes. Most airlines fly to Liberia from Houston, Miami, Atlanta or Los Angeles. Tamarindo also has an airport which is approximately a 45 minute flight from San Jose. The bus ride from the San Jose costs $12 dollars leaving Alfaro Station. The bus stops frequently and the trip takes around 6 or 7 hours but there is much to see throughout Costa Rica. Purchase 2 hours or more in advance as buses in CR often sellout. If coming from Liberia, there are buses every couple of hours, fare is a couple of dollars. Not the world's most comfortable buses, they stop everywhere and take multiple detours off the main road into villages and the journey takes about 2.5 hours. However, it's a good way to see the Costa Rican countryside.

Get around

The town is nice and small, a sort of miniature tropical paradise. You can find taxis, rent cars, or scooters.


Numerous lagoons in the area are filled with wonderful wildlife. Incredible sunsets and sunrises on beautiful beaches add to the overall experience. Rainforests are just a short ride away, as well as volcanoes and other aspects of nature unique to this region of Costa Rica.


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.

  • Amagi Adventures- Custom Guided Surf Trips. For custom guided surf trips including photography & videography of your sessions, contact Amagi Adventures [19]
  • Banana Surf Club [20] , Learn how to surf in Tamarindo Costa Rica, Surf Tours, Surf Trips.
  • Costa Rica Surf Club and Surf Camp,[21] Learn how to surf in Tamarindo, surfshop and surf spots information
  • Waves Costa Rica (www.wavescr.comj) The only Roxy/Quiksilver surf school and camp in Latin America. Learn to surf from the pros.

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. The stars of Endless Summer II have frequently stayed at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas, located conveniently across the street from Tamarindo's main surf break. With the hotel's perch on the hill, surfers can check out the waves before heading out. Be aware that the beaches are very crowded with amatuer surfers these days, but everyone can find a wave.

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, 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.

  • Bikini Surf Shop (Biniki Surf Shop Tamarindo, Costa Rica), Main Street, Tamarindo Costa Rica, 506 26530917, [1]. Tamarindo Bikini Surf Shop, offers surfboard rent, surfing lessons and tours, Surf Report, Bikinis
  • Tamarindo Spanish and Surf School, Calle Real, [2]. Spanish and Surf school in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
  • Languatica, (+1)856.335.LANG(5264), [3]. Language Immersion Travel
  • EF Escuela Internacional de Español, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, 1-800-992-1892, [4]. Spanish school with weekly start dates.
  • La Oveja Negra Surf Camp & Hostel, Hostel La Oveja Negra, ++506 2653-0005, [5]. La Oveja Negra Surf Camp has a range of different surf packages to suit you.


Many local vendors offer authentic Costa Rican jewelry. For children, inexpensive souvenirs are to be found everywhere .


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.

  • Pipos Dog (The Best Hot Dogs in town), Centro comercial Plaza Esmeralda (On the main road left side, where the HSBC Bank is located.), [6]. Hot dogs and open late.
  • Longboards BBQ, Located on the right side of the road to Langosta (Next door to Mandarina), 2653-0027. Noon until Late Night. Tamarindo's Best BBQ. Enjoy an amazing pulled pork, chicken, or brisket sandwich while relaxing in a tropical setting, listening to American Music. The Ribs and Onion Rings are fantastic. All of their meat is smoked and served with Homemade BBQ sauces. Do not miss this place while you're in town. New flat screens make it a good place to watch the games. under $10.
  • Le Petit Cafe, A03 Plaza Tamarindo (Next door to ABC Realty), 506-2653-4285, [7]. 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.


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.

  • Monkey Bar, (On the Main strip). The Monkey Bar, located at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas, 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. Enjoy 2x1 pizza everyday.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 15 love bed and breakfast, [8]. A contemporary bed and breakfast with two tennis courts.
  • Domus Kahuna (Tamarindo Hotel & Residence Domus Kahuna), Next to the children playgound, 26530648, [9]. checkin: 2.00PM; checkout: 12.00PM. Fully equipped apartments and hotel rooms. 50.
  • Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort and Residential Community, (506)2680-3000, [10]. Offers villas, beach houses, the 30-room La Posada Hotel or the eight-suite Casa de Golf.
  • Hotel Jardin del Eden (Tamarindo Hotel El Jardin del Eden), (En frende a la Colina), +506 2653 0137, [11]. Set on a hill, just a few minutes walk from the beach, and with a great view of the entire Tamarindo Bay. $192.
  • Hotel Mamiri, (Tamarindo Rooms & Hostel Mamiri), across the street from Pasatiempo Hotel, phone 2653-0079 [22]. Charming tropical gardens and very relaxed vibe, excellent morning coffee.
  • Hotel Tatanka (Tatanka), Playa Junquillal (Frente al mar), 1(866)498-0824, [12]. 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.
  • Tamarindo Village, [13]. 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.
  • 360 Surf Camp (360 Surf Camp), In front of Milagro Hotel, (506) 26530917, [14]. 360 Surf Camp surf school and lodging in front of the Beach.
  • Hotel Nahua, Tamarindo, (506) 2653 0010, [15]. 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.
  • JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa, Hacienda Pinilla, 506-26812000, [16]. A traditional Costa Rica hotel with 310 guest rooms.
  • RPM Vacation Rentals, Plaza Tamarindo, 506 2653 0738, [17]. checkin: 3:00pm; checkout: 11:00am. Vacation rentals of condos and houses
  • Mirador B&B (Rated #1 on TripAdvisor), 300 Meters East of Gym, 506-8302-6514, [18]. checkin: 2pm; 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.

Get out

No one really wants to leave Tamarindo, but when the time comes, buses to San Jose or to Liberia are the best option.

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