More about Tamarindo Diria Beach And Golf Resort
The good and the not so good
If you are looking for a decent place to stay in Tamarindo that is directly on the beach then look no further. This place has a gorgeous lawn that butts up to the sand (with a retaining wall for the unusual event of a higher than normal tide). The views are breath taking and the beach is surfable and swimmable. There is on sight dining right by the beach under one of the beautiful Matapalo trees but I would not recommend it. It was barely edible. I had the ceviche which was chewy and then a shrimp taco that I had to reject due to its bad fishy smell and taste. My husband had a chicken quesadilla which was somewhat edible. (But how do you screw up a quesadilla?) However, do not dismay as you will not miss out on a great dining experience elsewhere as there are a number of very good restaurants in town: Elevation, Dragonfly, La Baula, Carolina's, Lazy Wave and Sushi One to name a few. More than likely your breakfast will be included in your hotel stay. For the convenience it is probably worth it but if you are staying for a number of days you will get sick of the same old thing with slight variations. They have an egg station where you can cook eggs any style you want but be sure the person behind the station cooks your eggs properly as some of the cooks seem to be in a much bigger rush and your eggs won't be cooked thoroughly.
With regard to the room - it was a little small - to the point that it was one way traffic past the bed to get to the bathroom. We also had unusual trouble with our room key. Apparently the computers kept resetting and we often had to go and get the key "updated." However, one night, we came back to the hotel after an excursion and the room key not only didn't work but the entire panel had to be taken off the door and reconfigured. Also - be careful what you say inside your room as the walls have no insulation. You can listen to the conversation of the individuals on both sides of you. The shower is incredibly unpredictable. I would recommend taking a shower at around 2 or 3pm when no one is in their room. Otherwise you are subjected to incredibly scalding water every 20 seconds and then incredibly chilly water every other 20 seconds. But this could be a Central America thing.
We also learned our lesson regarding the refrigerator in our room. We were incredibly thirsty upon our first arrival and found the hotel had graciously stocked our fridge with Aquafina waters and the like. We downed the first couple only to find out that our "bar menu" was missing from our room and they charged us $5 for each 12 ounce bottle we drank. We tried to dispute this but it went nowhere.
With regard to the beach - you can lay out directly on the beach but do not lay out under one of the very shoddy umbrellas unless you want to pay for it. Hotel Diria has no control over the umbrella issue. We found that it was easier to lay out on the grass behind the barrier inside the Diria property because you didn't get hackled by every beach seller carrying the exact same wiggly crocodile, pottery, and shell jewelry as the next person five minutes behind him.
If you want a good chuckle - perhaps the singer that was on Friday and Saturday nights is part comedian or he is really that bad. One night he sang Happy Birthday six times in three hours. Maybe there were that many birthdays or perhaps people were making fun of him. We don't know but if you are at the hotel in the late evening on these nights, be prepared for a few really exuberant guitar strums and high pitched howls.
We rented a sunset oceanview room and unlike some of the other reviewers, I would highly recommend it. You could end up across the street at the albeit newer part of the Diria but at the end of the day - it's across the street. The beach access is a small walk. I prefer to be on the beach.
I realize that this review ended up sounding a little on the negative side but I do promise you that if you can look past the unpredictability of some of the items mentioned above that you may find in all the hotels and deal with the smaller than average rooms then this place is splendid. Great pools, great beach access, wonderful views, very friendly staff - especially our housekeeper (please tip them well) and perfectly located. Lawn and gardens were a nice change of pace as opposed to laying out on the beach. Meticulously maintained. Beach and views are incredible. People came "out of the cracks" so to speak to watch the sunset every night and we felt it was part tradition to do so.
Experience a Real Rodeo Coasta Rican Style
While at the Tamarindo, Diria Resort I found out from one of the waiters that there was to be a 3 day local rodeo that is mostly attended by the locals. So for a $5 taxi ride I decided to go on one of the days. This was a real treat to see. Upon arrival it looked like a mini carnival with bumber car rides for the kids, a beer tent and several booths set up with the local cuisine. The smells were phenominal. As I walked further I could see the rodeo area that was beginning to fill with people. Several of the locals decided to come by horseback instead of drive the family car. People sat on top of the wooden fence that bordered the arena.
fantastic sunsets and much more
Our family stayed at the Tamarindo Diria for 3 nights mid February of this year. This hotel was chosen because of its location to the beach, town, and surfing and came recommended by friends. We were not disappointed with the selection. The hotel was very clean and comfortable, with an Asian-Costa Rican atmosphere. The lobby is open-air and very spacious with a lovely view of the pool and the ocean. When we arrived on a Friday, early evening, friendly, helpful staff greeted us. There were 8 in our party, 4 adults and 4 teenagers. Check-in was easy. We booked our rooms though TourTech, which I would recommend to all. We live on the east coast and TourTech is in Costa Mesa, CA, but their staff is well informed about Costa Rica (South America also), reliable and easy to work with as long as you have a fax machine. After reading the Trip Advisor forum, I also emailed the Diria and asked for a confirmation on our room and got a quick email back with the confirmation # and greetings. We had a drink at the open-air dining room bar and decided to have dinner in town. We ate a late dinner at Coconuts, a wonderful Costa Rican seafood restaurant and would recommend it highly. We did not have a reservation and the owner was very welcoming and able to seat 8 of us with a minimal wait. At the Diria, the breakfast buffet was enjoyable to the adults and teenagers alike, wait staff were very friendly and there was always a table available and plenty of food. The Diria rooms have 2 double beds and a tile balcony with a wonderful ocean view. We did not have any power outages but did have very low water pressure during the busy early evening hours. The weather was perfect, with temps in the high 80’s-low 90’s, no clouds or rain at all, but we did have a few windy days with strong, warm, gusts, much like Aruba. The rooms have refrigerators so we shopped in town for bread, crackers and cheese and enjoyed the unbelievably beautiful sunset every evening on a table & chair set right above the beach. Staff gave us utensils, wine glasses, and plates to use for our snacks. Throughout our visit to the Diria, all the staff were very helpful and friendly. One person in our party spoke Spanish and this helped. I suspect the Diria staffs are friendly and helpful to you if you are friendly to them, no difference then in our country. Stella is another good place to eat, and Nogui for delicious fish tacos. The kids rented longboards from Witches Rock Surf camp- $50 for 3 days, and despite small waves and a strong undertow, they had a great time. Water temps were in the 80’s and the water was clean with some small jellyfish. All Costa Rican beaches are public and the Diria has a guard, to assure only guests use the hotel facilities. Guests wear wristbands. Beach in front of the hotel is rocky so we walked a bit down the beach to swim in front of the Witches Rock Surf Camp. Locals play soccer along the beach and there is a very safe feeling on the beach and town during the day and in the town at night, we did not walk along the beach at night. My husband and son took along their golf clubs and played once while we stayed at the Diria, at a course in Pinillas, and were not disappointed. After 3 nights we left for our second part of the trip, for the Paradisus Playa Conchal. This hotel will be reviewed under their site but suffice it to say, it is a beautiful, high quality resort, mostly American guests but without the Costa Rican beach-town atmosphere that you will enjoy when you stay in Tamarindo.
Very Good For An Active Vacation In Tamarindo
My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Tamarindo in early January 2006. We had planned to visit Monteverde before going to Tamarindo but when American Airlines lost my suitcase with all my clothes, we decided it would be easier to go to the beach, buy a bathing suite, relax and wait for my suitcase to arrive. Our reservation for later in the week was at Sueno del Mar, but given that it was ~$300/night, we figured it would be better to go somewhere cheaper early in the week, then Sueno at the end of the week.
To get to the hotel, we went to the official cab stand at San Jose Airport and got a cab for US$110 (negotiated down from $150). The lady who drove us was very nice and the drive from SJ along the Pan-American Highway was very pleasant. However ~70 km from the hotel you turn off the smoothly paved highway onto pothole strewn roads. It was horrible!! The car was either swerving sharply to avoid the potholes or when they were unavoidable, plunging in and out. Terrible!! As we came into Tamarindo we saw a sign for an airport and sure enough....you can fly btwn SJ and T. Needless to say, that's what we did on our way back.
I travel to NYC a lot for work, and normally stay in Westin and W hotels, so my standards are high. To me the Diria rooms were fine. The beds were comfortable, the bathrooms were clean, the shower had lots of hot water and we could partially see the ocean through the palm trees. The grounds of the hotel were nice and you just had to walk out the back entrance to be on the beach. Also, it is well located in the town, so pretty much everything is within a 5 minute walk.
"Great" is not a word I would use to describe the staff at Diria. As someone else pointed out, if you are nice to them, they will be nice to you. But they aren't exactly tripping overthemselves to give you a hand.
The breakfast buffet included in the room rate was great - good coffee, lots of juice and fresh fruit and french toast to which I became addicted. As many have rightly mentioned, lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurant is mediocre and over priced - purely for those that are too lazy to venture off the hotel grounds.
Overall, I would recommend Diria. While Sueno is the highest recommendation in the Lonely Planet, if you want to have an active stay in Tamarindo (not JUST sit in a beachchair) it is probably better to be at Diria or somewhere else in town. You also save $100/night. This is not to take anything away from Sueno - it was amazing and being out of town had its advantages - but if you are somewhat cost conscious, Diria is perfectly fine.
The rest of this is general info on staying in Tamarindo....
For lunch and dinner I would recommend ditching the otherwise useful Lonely Planet. Unfortunately we know this because we tried a number of their recommendations: Lazy Wave, Meat & Fish and a few of the budget recommendations for lunch - all were crap. At Sueno we asked the owners about good restaurants and only then did we discover good food. Etc., which is owned by a chef from T.O. had only opened a month earlier. The food showed promise but the wait staff clearly needed more practice/training. By far our best find was a place called Taboo (out of town, $5 cab ride), which is owned by a French guy and his Costa Rican wife. Phenomenal - it would do well in New York or London. If you are a foodie, I would strongly, strongly recommend it.
Random question: why is the nacho chip to guacamole/salsa ratio so low (i.e. so few chips) in Costa Rica?!?!?
We did a few tours/activities in Tamarindo. All the tours booked through Diria are marked up ~20% vs what you would pay through an operator in town. When we were there, we inquired at the agencies in town and b/c they were less expensive, we booked with them. In retrospect, booking through the hotel would have at least given the tour guides some kind of accountability. On one of our tours (booked through an agency called Tamarindo Shuttle), we had a number of problems. When we complained the owner, he merely shrugged his shoulders. Had we booked through the hotel, I think the operator would have had more incentive to do a good job.
Anyway, in terms of actives, we went to Palo Verde to see animals (crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys, tropical birds), on a canopy tour and took surfing lessons. All were great.
Now for my nasty letter to American Airlines about my suitcase (which never did show up)...
Great location, beautiful
Tamarindo Daria is a beautiful hotel in a great location. Let's start with the not good and get past it quickly: front desk staff is unhelpful and unfriendly; restaurant food is average; the hot tub was cold. Now to the good: clean room with beautiful view (#219), free buffet breakfast (amazingly creamy yogurt, fresh cheese and handmade tortillas, yummy pineapple); easy walking distance to restaurants (try Copacabana!), shops, ATMs, massive shower (you could have a party). Did I mention the view? The sound of the surf while laying on the bed? I love iguanas and they have some big ones! One lovely girl sunbathed every morning near our balcony. I'm ready to go back!
The hotel is in a perfect location right on a long sandy beach. Swimming pools and bar area are nice and the sunset from the restaurant is fantastic!
The evening restarant menu is good and not too expensive (compared to UK prices), however there are other excellent, slightly cheaper restaurants nearby. The lunchtime menu is fine, although a bit boring after a week!
A good selection of excursions are offered. I recommend the Quad biking!
We found the staff to be very polite and friendly, although their understanding of the English language is quite basic.
The only complaint is that our room was dissapointing (Classic Room). It faced the very noisy road, with no view or outside space whatsoever. However, we realise that this was the cheapest room type and we probably could have upgraded if we wanted to.
Pretty good hotel..
Ok, here is a short summary.:
- Right on the beach. Great sunsets.
- Right in the center of town (Capitan Suizo hotel is a ten minute walk from town.)
- Room itself was nice. Huge shower.
- Very good breakfast buffet included with room price.
- Reasonably helpful front desk staff.
- Grounds were well-groomed. Decent, albeit rather small pool.
- Good hotel for couples and families. Too quiet for singles.
- Good air-conditioning in room.
- Room was clean, good housekeeping staff.
- Good security at hotel.
- The "Classic" rooms all face the main street in Tamarindo. The road, was literally 15 feet from the sliding glass doors of my room. Absolutely no view, you will want to keep the curtains drawn at all times. Wasn't *that* noisy, but get the Garden or Ocean view rooms instead.
- Bed was very hard, almost too hard I thought.
- The room would periodically fill with a strong sewer/septic tank smell. I have read that this smell is spread through the A/C, but not sure. Could have been from the shower/sink drains.
- They could use more front desk staff. (to the owner: hire another person for $5 per hour.)
** Overall I would recommend the Diria, just not the Classic rooms.
Town of Tamarindo:
- The town of Tamarindo itself was dingier than I expected. Is basically a dump - a dusty street with a mix of run-down and new-built shops. You are reminded that you are in a quasi third-world country. When you walk down main street at night there are plenty of poor locals hanging out, which makes me uncomfortable. Stay only at the top hotels like the Diria, Capitan Suizo, or Sueno. The other cheaper hotels (Milagro, Zullymar, Cabinas Dolly, Tropicana, etc.) are not nearly as nice.
- Power went out to all of Tamarindo three times that week, for about an hour each time. Is very inconvenient if you're trying to get ready for dinner.
Sunsets in Costa Rica
Sunset taken from Villa Caletas Hotel at the Central Pacific Area, close to Jacó.
Typical sunset from the beach in Tamarindo, North Pacific area.
This picture was taken from the Tamarindo Diria Hotel.
Tamarindo Diria Resort Area Activities
We have 3 days at this resort the second week of April. Not being into the tourist thing, we prefer off the beaten track. I want to be independently active, meaning no tours. I'm thinking hiking, biking, surfing, etc. Any hot tips on trails and activities that we can do on our own?