Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica: Attractions and Things to do

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

1. Catch some sun at Playa Tamarindo and Playa Langosta

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 on a tour 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.

2. Experience the turtles in Las Baulas National Marine Park

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.

3. Surf the best waves at several beaches

Tamarindo is a great place to surf for beginners and pros
Whether you're a beginner or a novice, the waves are suitable for all-level surfers.

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 paddleboarding for calmer exploration of the bay.

4. Go fishing in the Pacific waters

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 roosterfish are also excellent. Half and full-day charters are available.

5. Go scuba diving and snorkeling in paradise

Scuba diving in Tamarindo
Go scuba diving and swim along the giant manta rays.
Snorkeling in Tamarindo
Snorkeling along the shores is also a great way to discover the waters.

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.

6. Enjoy the views and sunsets from a boat

Couple on a cruise during sunset in Costa Rica
Couple enjoys the sunset view from a cruise.

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.

7. Explore the tropical forest on canopy tours

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.

8. Go horseback riding through pastures

Horseback riding in the beach of Tamarindo
Go horseback riding through the beaches, pastures, and rainforest of Tamarindo.

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.

9. Ride an ATV through the wild terrain

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.

10. Discover the exotic wildlife of Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge

Spider monkeys can be seen jumping from one tree branch to another
Spider Monkey
Manuel Antonio is home to raccoons and monkeys who aren't shy of humans
A racoon spotted in the beach
Divers may encounter sea turtles while diving in Costa Rica
The Green Sea Turtle
Jacana bird in Costa Rica
The Juvenite Wattled Jacana

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.

11. Check out the nightlife and festivals

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.

12. Cruise the rivers with white-water rafting and tubing

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. For a general overview of Costa Rica, read through our travel guide on the best time to visit the country

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. Our travel guides on how many days to spendthe best places to visit, and things to do in Costa Rica will help you with information for your next trip to the country. Get in touch with our local travel experts who will help you plan a custom trip to Costa Rica that includes Tamarindo Beach.


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    Brandon Riley May 19, 2019 Reply

    Good Information.


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