Our first visit to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, wasn’t necessarily a memorable one. We were staying at nearby Playa Grande to witness the giant leatherback turtles that come to shore to lay their eggs. We needed an ATM, so we took a small boat across the croc-infested estuary separating Tamarindo from Playa Grande, got some cash, went to dinner and then headed right back to Playa Grande once more.
So after a year and a half of living in Costa Rica, we decided it was time to finally visit one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. And we can say that we were pleasantly surprised with just how much we loved Tamarindo and the surrounding coastline!
Tamarindo is a popular surf town in Guanacaste. It’s one of the most developed beach towns in all of Costa Rica, so there’s no shortage of restaurants, parties and hotels. We visited during “green” season, which we would recommend if you’re not keen on sharing the beach with tons of other tourists.
Guanacaste is also Costa Rica’s driest region. We’ve heard it can get quite hot and dusty during the dry months—another great reason to visit the region during the shoulder season. We were lucky in that it didn’t rain once during the entire weekend we were in Tamarindo!
One of the things we loved the most about Tamarindo is that it’s just one small town surrounded by stunning beaches, national parks, and other attractions. If you’re traveling by rental car, it’s easy to get off the beaten track and explore some of Costa Rica’s best-hidden gems—while still enjoying the “creature comforts” in Tamarindo (like renowned restaurants and luxurious condos.)
What To Do In Tamarindo
It’s all about surfing in Tamarindo. There are breaks for both beginners and more experienced surfers, and you’ll have no shortage of shops and surf schools from which to rent boards or take lessons. Dan was out on the waves every morning and had a blast.
Every Saturday there’s a small farmer’s market with a good selection of organic produce, a few food vendors, and a generous number of local artisans selling their products. It’s a fun place to mingle with expats who live in the area and get a sense of the community.
-Live Music and Parties
All we really did in downtown Tamarindo was eat and surf. However, just about every night, there was live music, dancing and drinks somewhere in town.
-Explore The Surrounding Area
As we mentioned above, the highlight of our weekend escape to Tamarindo was checking out the many nearby beaches. The coastline is gorgeous, and you don’t have to go far to stumble upon secluded coves or local beach towns.
Our favorite beach was renowned Playa Conchal. Instead of sand, this gorgeous white beach is comprised of millions of shells. It’s a unique little spot to search for shells, swim in the crystal-clear water, or rent jet skis. Of course, you can also just sip a cold coconut and enjoy the view. This is one of the few beaches we’ve been to in Costa Rica that reminded us a bit of the Caribbean. Be sure to walk up the hill on the right-hand side of the beach for a sweeping view.
Where To Stay
We were invited to stay in a lovely two-bedroom oceanview condominium with Blue Moon Costa Rica. We can easily say that we adored everything about the property. We love staying in furnished apartments and condos while we travel, and this property, in particular, had everything we could have wanted—and then some. While the only cooking we did was brewing a pot of coffee, it was nice to have a fully equipped kitchen, including a great outdoor grill.
I especially loved the outdoor patio, which was perfect for catching up on some emails while enjoying the spectacular view and refreshing ocean breezes.
This particular condo was located just a few minutes outside of downtown Tamarindo on Playa Langosta. This was another pro for us as we could easily hop downtown for dinner without trading in any peace and quiet. Blue Moon Costa Rica has numerous condos in the Tamarindo area, so we recommend getting in touch with them to explain exactly what your travel group is looking for.
Where To Eat
We did a lot of eating while we were in Tamarindo. The best restaurants are a bit expensive, but the cuisine is well worth the price tag. Here were our favorites:
Bamboo Sushi Club: We love sushi, so whenever we can find a restaurant in Costa Rica that’s got a bit of selection, we’re there. The sushi and sake did not disappoint, and we loved the atmosphere. Arrive early to take advantage of the 2×1 mojitos.
Lola’s: This gem is located on Avellanas Beach, also called “Little Hawaii.” It’s a fun beach bar with great drinks and food and a fun laid back atmosphere. Be sure to meet Lolita, the restaurant’s resident pig.
Patagonia Argentinian Grill: You’ll want a reservation because this place is always packed. Great Argentinian and Italian cuisine, though the service could be improved.
Breakfast Grinds: Great brunch spot with a view of Tamarindo Beach. Dan loved their biscuits in gravy. I can vouch for the Bloody Marys.
Of course, there are also some sodas and spots for local cuisine, but since we were on a “staycation” in Costa Rica, we splurged on some of the food we can’t find locally where we live. If you’re just visiting, though, be sure to try some of the local cuisine we mention in this guide to traveling in Costa Rica.
We certainly understand the appeal of Tamarindo. A fun beach town, close to the International airport, with all the amenities you could want and secluded beaches just a short hop away…what’s not to love?
Have you visited Tamarindo? What did you think?
A huge thank you to Blue Moon Costa Rica for inviting us to review their stellar condos in Tamarindo!
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