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While volcanoes, jungles, sloths, and other exotic animals come to mind when you think of Costa Rica, relaxing on the beach probably does too. In fact, surfing, snorkeling, or sailing might as well. Many people want to visit the beach in Costa Rica, and Tamarindo is one of the best places to go to. This Complete Tamarindo, Costa Rica Travel Guide will explore the small, coastal beach city to help you plan your trip to Tamarindo.
While Costa Rica has a rainy season (May – December-ish), Tamarindo usually just sees some afternoon storms instead of all-day rain. If you are visiting during rainy season, we have a Costa Rica Rainy Season Packing List to help prepare you!
How to Get to Tamarindo
Tamarindo in located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It’s a smaller beach town that is accessible by car. The closest airport to Tamarindo is Liberia, and most visitors land in Liberia and immediately head to Tamarindo.
To get from the Liberia airport to Tamarindo, you can hire a shuttle. A shared shuttle costs about $30 per person, and a private shuttle costs $95. The drive from Liberia to Tamarindo only takes a little over an hour, depending on traffic.
Where to Stay in Tamarindo
Tamarindo is a pretty small, compact coastal town, so most places are close to everything you’d want to do and see. Naturally, if you are staying at a hotel on the water, it’s going to be more expensive than a budget-friendly hostel that’s a couple blocks inland. However, walking a couple blocks to the beach from a cheaper place is not so bad because everything is walkable and safe.
La Botella de Leche is a great hostel that’s only minutes from the beach. They also have yoga and workout classes, a small pool, and private rooms. It’s budget-friendly with great amenities. This is a great place to stay in Tamarindo if you don’t mind not being right on the ocean.
What to Do in Tamarindo
While being a small city, there are a ton of things to do in Tamarindo! They range from simply relaxing on the beach to exploring nature to the more adventurous. No matter what you like to do, you will find something for you to do in Tamarindo!
Tamarindo is most famous for its beautiful beaches. While you can relax on them and just enjoy the ocean and sun, you can also surf.
Don’t know how to surf? You’re in luck! There are countless places along the beach offering surfing lessons for you in Tamarindo.
One of the unique things about Tamarindo is its location next to the Tamarindo River and Estuary. The estuary is actually part of the Marino Las Baulas National Park.
For those thinking ‘What is an estuary?’ It’s a river that flows into the ocean, so there’s a combination of fresh and salt water allowing for a rare mix of wildlife.
There are two ways to do the Tamarindo Estuary Tour. The first is to book online in advance or through wherever you are staying in Tamarindo. You will be picked up and dropped off at wherever you are staying.
The second option for the Tamarindo Estuary Tour is to walk to the start of the estuary and ask for a tour. This may be cheaper, but it’s a bit of a walk and you may have to negotiate a price.
When going on the Tamarindo Estuary Tour, you will see a ton of wildlife unique to this part of Costa Rica! It’s definitely worth the visit.
While Tamarindo has a great beach, there are many other smaller secluded beaches just a short distance from Tamarindo that are easy to get to. The most popular ones are Playa Avellana, Playa Ventanas, Playa Grande, and Playa Langosta.
Where to Eat in Tamarindo
Tamarindo has plenty of places to eat. There are lots of different types fo restaurants too. They have everything from the casual spots to fancy restaurants.
Dragonfly Bar & Grill
The Dragonfly Bar & Grill is a fantastic place if you are looking for spectacular food with a great atmosphere. They have a great selection of delicious dishes that you’re bound to enjoy. Try out some of their wonderful cocktails too!
Utopia Bar and Restaurant
It is probably the best bakery in Tamarindo with exquisite croissants. They also have traditional Costa Rican food here too, so if you are looking for some while in Tamarindo, make sure to stop by!
Green Papaya Taco Bar
Green Papaya Taco Bar is known for, you guessed it, tacos! Their tacos are incredible, as are their margaritas. This has to be one of the best places to eat in Tamarindo. They even have a cute little patio with swing chairs that make eating out a little more fun and casual than a typical restaurant!
Where to Drink in Tamarindo
Volcano Brewing Company
Local breweries are something we love to check out, so Volcano Brewing Company was definitely on the list of things to do in Tamarindo. It did not disappoint. They had a sizable selection of craft beers—something that can be difficult to find outside of the United States—which were really good.
Volcano Brewing Company is a must for any beer lover in Tamarindo!
Sharky’s Sports Bar
Sharky’s Sports Bar is just that, it’s your local sports bar. It’s definitely a place to go out in Tamarindo and is generally what you would expect from a sports bar where people go out.
Tamarindo is a great little beach town in Costa Rica. If you are on the Pacific side of Costa Rica or flying into Liberia Airport, it’s definitely a place you will want to visit.
If you are flying into Liberia and out of San Jose, check out this One Week Itinerary for Costa Rica. It has you visiting Tamarindo, Monteverde, La Fortuna, and San Jose, so you can see the beach, volcanoes, jungles, and the city!
For help planning your trip, we also offer Travel Planning Services where we work directly with you to help book and plan the perfect travel itinerary for you!