Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica serves up one of the most intriguing vacation atmospheres in the country. The excellent location in Guanacaste means you can enjoy relaxing on beaches, tramping through forests, exploring national parks and reserves, or indulging in local festivities. Adventure activities, wildlife and nightlife are plentiful, making this spot a perfect destination on the Pacific side of Costa Rica for individuals, couples, and families alike. Listed here is a breakdown of our favorite sites and activities for the best holiday in Tamarindo.
Escape into Tamarindo's beach vibes with this Tamarindo Beach Break tour.
While Tamarindo offers a great variety of activities for any length of trip, spending time simply beach-hopping is one of the best ways to enjoy visiting Tamarindo in Costa Rica. By far, Tamarindo Beach is the most popular beach, particularly for those seeking thrills in the waves or late-night beach parties. Playa Langosta is better for kicking back and splashing around in the calmer water.
Just 13 km north of Tamarindo, Las Baulas National Marine Park is a must-visit attraction. This park protects one of the largest nesting sites for the leatherback sea turtles that arrive each year from December to February. If you’re vacationing during these months, be sure to arrange a night tour for a chance to witness these majestic giants crawl on the beach of Playa Grande and nest their eggs. Year-round, the marine park and adjacent estuary provide delightful opportunities for sea kayaking, walking, and surfing during the day.
Tip: When visiting Las Baulas National Marine Park, be sure to avoid walking above the high tide mark on the beach. This area, where the dry sand begins, is where the sea turtles nest their eggs.
Surfers from all over the world enjoy surfing in Tamarindo. Brave the waves at nearby La Casita and Little Hawaii, as well as Witch’s rock and Ollie’s Point (accessible with surf tours). While many of these breaks are best reserved for the pros, beginners can practice learning at Playa Langosta or take classes at any of the many local surf schools.
Tip: If surfing isn’t your thing, several outfitters provide stand-up paddle boarding for calmer exploration of the bay.
Tamarindo is home to some of the best sport-fishing opportunities in Costa Rica. Your catch will depend on the season, but could include wahoo, sailfish, marlin, tuna, snapper, or mahi mahi. In-shore fishing charters catching large rooster-fish are also excellent. Half and full-day charters are available.
Arrive scuba certified, or even better, get your certification in paradise. Diving tours from Tamarindo can include adventures to Bahia Tamarindo, Las Catalinas Islands or Playa Flamingo. Manta rays, sharks, dolphins and other beautiful marine life frequent these sites, which can also be explored by snorkeling for a fun alternative to dives.
One of the best ways to enjoy the gorgeous bays, beaches, and ocean that surround Tamarindo is by boat. Catamaran sailing charters are a great way to relax in the sun or enjoy a private party. Definitely consider sailing late afternoon to experience one of the best sunsets in Costa Rica.
Though Tamarindo is most famous for its beaches, the dry tropical forest creates a fantastic setting for land-based adventures too. With some of the most exciting zip-lining opportunities in Costa Rica, you’ll get a birds-eye view of the wild jungle while taking a riveting thrill ride.
Whether you plan to hit the beach, explore the nearby forest or perhaps do both, traveling by horseback can be a great way to take a laid-back but exciting trek through the landscape. Advanced riders can also choose tours that include galloping through pastures. Consider a tour to combine horseback riding with other activities like snorkeling, ATV rides, or zip-lining.
The wild terrain around Tamarindo is perfect for off-roading adventures. Half-day tours typically ride through forest trails, rivers, beaches, and mountains. You’re sure to have an epic and “muddy” time exploring the natural scenery and spotting wildlife on your trip.
With varied ecosystems in and around Tamarindo, nature and wildlife tours are quite spectacular here. Tours or independent exploration in the estuaries, reserves, and national parks can reveal some of Costa Rica’s famous inhabitants, such as monkeys, tropical and sea birds, raccoons, and a variety of turtles. Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge is a popular area for wildlife viewing.
Tamarindo is a city with an upbeat and youthful personality. After day of fun in the sun, the fun continues late into the evening. Several bars, beach clubs, and pubs offer vibrant atmospheres. Live music is frequent throughout the week. Annually, festivals such as Ocaso Music Festival and Credomatic Music Festival bring a major electronic and house music scene to town.
Tip: Festival-goers should also check out the Tamarindo Art Wave Festival, showcasing visual arts and music from national and international artists.
If you love Tamarindo but are itching to enjoy more of Costa Rica’s lush landscape, day tours to Rio Azul or Corocibi River leave daily from Tamarindo. Choose your float and desired activity level for a lazy river float or wild white-water expedition.
Best time to visit Tamarindo
The weather is wonderfully sunny and marine life plentiful from late November to late April. May to August brings high swells for unrivaled surfing opportunities.
How to get there
The closest international airport to Tamarindo is Liberia, about 65 km north. Shuttles and public buses run daily, while renting a car is another option to explore the greater Guanacaste region.
Check out this 10-day tour that ends in Tamarindo, where you get to hit the beaches.
If you’re craving sunny days, ocean breezes, and good times day and night, Tamarindo should be your next destination. With an endless array of ways to spend your time in Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica, we hope this guide will help you plan your holiday.