Tamarindo Travel Guide

  • Blue Dolphin Catamarans - Happy Girls (2009)
    Blue Dolphin Catamarans - Happy Girls...
    by Kaspian
  • Tamarindo Beach
    Tamarindo Beach
    by Canadian_Traveler
  • Tamarindo
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Tamarindo Things to Do

  • Surf

    There is a great little island just a kayak ride away from Playa Tamarindo. You can easily see it from the beach and it is a great little workout and you get some sun. Once you get to the island you can snorkel or explore...or even lay out. There are loads of conch shells and what looked like volcanic rock. It is typically vacant and we had the...

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  • Beach

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    This is the only close white sand beach around. The white sand is thousands of tiny broken up sea shells which makes the water look so light blue! Its a very cool place to hang out but pretty hidden. This is a short 10 minute drive from Tamarindo if you take this short cut. This is by far the best looking and least crowded beach around this area.

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  • Snorkel or Dive

    "There it is, underneath us!" I look down into the clear blue water and see the white underside of giant tail fin, almost half the size of our boat, slowly rotating. The whale surfaces right in front of us and blows water into the air. Everyone on board cheers. Minutes later, a pod of dolphins join our catamaran, swimming and keeping pace just off...

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Tamarindo Hotels

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Tamarindo Restaurants

  • Khahiki

    5 out of 5 stars

    We came to Tamarindo in March and had a great stay although it was a little bit crowded. On our second night, we discovered Kahiki, after a few locals recommended it to us. We ate there every night for the remainder of our trip. Not only is the food, and Chef Steve incredible, but the entire experience was great. The portions were very large and...

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  • Witch's Rock

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    Nice little cafe overlooking the ocean next to the surf camp. Will see a lot of surf instructors and alumni hanging about. Take shelter from the rain, catch a sunset or take advantage of 2-for-1 happy hour drinks while munching on some nachos or cheesy fries. Most popular order has to be their legendary big ass nachos which indeed are BIG enough to...

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  • Las Brasas

    I spend the Christmas with my family in Tamarindo and we descovered a new restaurant Las Brasas, it's a rustic style whit wood-grill in a natural enviroments. They have a lot of cut of meat and chiken, the chef is Italian and his Pasta is fantastic. We hate here some time,becouse the meat is good and the pasta is perfet, with all Italian...

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Tamarindo Nightlife

  • Tamarindo Beach Cigar Lounge

    Great Cigar Lounge & Factory They make their own cigars and they have an excellent supply of cigars. A great wine shop great prices and coffee shop. Great place to drink coffee in the afternoon w/ cigars. The best wine list in Tamarindo. When I was there they had a wine tasting event for an argentinian wine company. They had tango dancers. Oh one...

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  • Yucca Bar

    Tuesday nights the Yucca Bar at the Hotel Pasatiempo hosts an open mike night featurnig local bands that play mostly covers of everything from The Clash to Aretha Franklin, to Santana. You can expect several hundred people to be there with a good sized line of people waiting to get in! Be sure to wear your good sandles

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  • Aqua Discoteche

    there are plenty of bars in tamarindo and i think we went to every one. But the only i would say is Jersey style was the only club there called Aqua. They gave us bottles for only $125.we got on the stripper poles and have videos to prove it. The local girls get up on the bar and pour free booze in your mouth total spring break style. Love it. Us...

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Tamarindo Transportation

  • Private tour

    We just got back from a wonderful 2 weeks in Tamarindo. We used the services of Denise & Paul with Xplore Costa Rica and we can't say enough good about them. They helped us from before our arrival with immediate email response; the airport pickup and tours (Palo Verde - ATV Canopy Combo - Fishing and Sunset Sailing). They were always on time,...

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  • Car Rental

    Make sure you rent a car while in town. Even though you have everything right there in town you'll want to explore the surrounding province. There are so many awesome beaches just within a short car drive. Spend the days exploring other local towns and come back to all the action at night. There are several local car agencies but the only American...

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  • Fly

    There are two small local airlines that will fly directly into Tamarindo. The first is Nature Air and the second is SANSA Regional. They both have webiste you can book reservations for in advance. Don't expect big planes though. They are usually 6-10 seater plane. That in itself is a fun experience. They fly direct from San Jose and will save you...

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Tamarindo Shopping

  • Cooper Mays Pottery

    Visit the studio and gallery of porcelain potter, Martha Cooper Mays. Located on Playa Junquillal, next to Hotel Iguanazul, producing functional tableware and home decorating items. All are made on the potter's wheel, each is unique, "one of a kind" and all related in brilliant colors a flowing hand painted theme. All made from durable, chip...

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  • Supermercado

    Your choices are limited in Tamarindo. There are three small grocery stores. Our favorite was the southern most store in Playa Langosta about 1/4 mile from our B&B. It is owned by an Italian family and their selection of wine was surprising. This market also offered the freshest meats of the three. Prices are comparable to the US

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  • Street Vendors

    shopping?.. absolutely not a problem, just walk on the main street and you can find from the local craft to the silliest souvenir... and my best liked was the Galeria Paseo de las Estrellas, a big tent protecting the stalls and a nice, very patient lady who dusted any of my choice before inserting it in a white envelope protecting it with a piece...

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Tamarindo Local Customs

  • Exit Fee

    Costa Rica charges a $26 pp exit fee at the airport. You will not be able to check in for your departing flight without receipt for this tax. A good idea might be to pay the fee in the terminal when you arrive as it is one less thing you'll need to worry about on your day of departure.

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  • Exit Fee

    Costa Rica charges a $26 pp exit fee at the airport. You will not be able to check in for your departing flight without receipt for this tax. A good idea might be to pay the fee in the terminal when you arrive as it is one less thing you'll need to worry about on your day of departure.

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  • and a line...

    and fishing is done with the old method of throwing a line with hook and no rod plunging yourself into water...

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Tamarindo Warnings and Dangers

  • Money

    We came to Tamarindo without much money expecting to use a local ATM. We used the ATM at the Best Western and we charged a whopping 5% surcharge! In our case, it turns out we we charged $12 US for one withdrawal). I was told (after the fact) that there is another ATM further down the road whose charges aren't quite as exorbitant but your best bet...

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  • Rip Tides

    Sure..it looks peaceful from the surface but novice swimmers should proceed with caution. According to locals, the safest area for swimming is in front of Capitan Suizo. While we there, a young Aussie tourist had gone missing in the surf. He ws still missing when we departed.

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  • Construction

    After visiting Tamarino last year we were horrified with all the changes since our last visit. Lots of construction and new buildings – mostly 5-6 story luxury condominiums, a pizza hut, subway sandwich, TCBY yogurt and a Burger King! Walking around town requires dodging the trucks hauling construction equipment and choking on their dust clouds. We...

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Tamarindo Tourist Traps

  • Jase1177's Profile Photo

    Expensive Souvenirs!

    by Jase1177 Updated Sep 30, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I fell into the trap of having to pay too much for souvenirs in Tamarindo. Of the places I stayed in Costa Rica (San Jose, La Fortuna, Monteverde, & Tamarindo), the souvenir prices were much more expensive in Tamarindo than in the others (I would say at least 25% higher). I walked into virtually every souvenir shop in town to compare prices so I could find something on par with what I saw elsewhere, but didn't succeed.

    I didn't really buy anything in the other towns because I knew Tamarindo was going to be my final stay before leaving the country. I wish I would have bought more of the same exact items in Monteverde at cheaper prices (even though Monteverde is very touristy).

    The only plus I saw here was the higher variety of ceramics than in the others towns. I did find a couple small items that I felt were worth the price.

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    • Budget Travel

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Tamarindo What to Pack

  • NCGabrielle's Profile Photo

    Bring your Sunscreen/Bugspray/Aloe...

    by NCGabrielle Written Aug 5, 2007

    Luggage and bags: it's pretty expensive here... bring an umbrella during the rainy season and ALWAYS bring a flashlight... its good to have at night for the roads... so you dont step in potholes... and during the rainy season so you dont step into a RIVER hahah...

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: depending on how nice your hotel is... bring flipflops you can take a shower in just incase... bring sneakers for the tours... LIGHT clothing... no thick shirts... flowy skirts are a good idea...

    Photo Equipment: little cameras at the store are expensive... bring digital camera and go to Mr. Tom's and get them put on a CD to store them.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: dont bring a beach towel just buy one here... we got one for $8 and its also something to have for a souvenier!!!

    Miscellaneous: :) bring bathingsuit... duh! ;)

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Tamarindo Off The Beaten Path

  • 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...

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  • Southern Beaches

    The Nicoya Penninusla offers beach after beach of unspoiled coastline. Tamarindo is the most developed of the beach towns and it takes but a short ride north or south to stumble across less touristy areas. We went to Playa Avellanas because the current at Tamarindo was unusually strong for swimming and begining surfing. Avellanas also has a...

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  • Experience a Real Rodeo Coasta Rican...

    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...

    more

Tamarindo Sports & Outdoors

  • Surf

    The beaches along this part of the Nicoya peninsula have a very gradual rise from the sandy sea bed onto the heaps of sand on the beach. Behind the beaches, and separating the two beaches is a estuary and dry marshland. The beaches create a gentle curve along a several mile long stretch. Like any good surf spot on the Pacific Ocean, the waves can...

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  • Scuba Dive

    Scuba Diving is great in the North West portion of Costa Rica. I highly recommend using Playa Tamarindo as your base camp for scuba diving. I did a lot of research while I was there and the best dive shop I found was in Playa Flamingo which is only 15 minutes away by car or they will pick you up. The place is called Aqua Center Diving and is a...

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  • Scuba Dive

    Scuba Diving is great in the North West portion of Costa Rica. I highly recommend using Playa Tamarindo as your base camp for scuba diving. I did a lot of research while I was there and the best dive shop I found was in Playa Flamingo which is only 15 minutes away by car or they will pick you up. The place is called Aqua Center Diving and is a Padi...

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Tamarindo General

  • Animals

    Monkeys are everywhere! There was a family of about 20 howler monkeys living in the trees above our B&B. Howler monkeys make a sound similar to the bark of a German Shephard and there was one night inparticular when no one at the B&B got any sleep. It sounded like a monkey war of the worlds outside..the noise on our roof and the shreiking were so...

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  • Gringo Town

    Tamarindo is to may what it is to the average Tico (Costa Rican), a gringo town. The're more foreigners walking around than Costa Ricans. Although Tamarindo is a nice place to escape the rice and beans in one of the many nice restaurants along the main street. The beach is especialy loved by surfers. If you'de like more to swim you better go a bit...

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  • Sunsets

    Many of the tips I read on Tamarindo included the sunsets. I made sure that I watched a sunset to see what it was like in person. I was not disappointed in the least!!! You must take the time to watch a sunset on the Playa Tamarindo. Whether you do at one of the many restaurants or bars or just sitting on the beach, you will not forget the dazzling...

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