Tamarindo is a popular beach town in the Guanacaste region for tourists to stay. It has a bit of everything but in our opinion doesn’t show the real Costa Rica. It’s a great place to spend a few days during your vacation. Relax on the beaches, enjoy the restaurants and do some water sports. But to explore the waterfalls and volcanos in the National Parks of Costa Rica, you should head to La Fortuna for example. However Tamarindo is a great place to start or end your vacation in Costa Rica or just when you need some beach in your life. In this complete guide you’ll find all the things to do in and near Tamarindo Costa Rica.
THINGS TO DO IN TAMARINDO COSTA RICA
The Guanacaste region has some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Tamarindo maybe has some of the most facilities around and is a real touristy beach town, it personally wasn’t our most favourite place in Costa Rica. However it does give a lot of options in terms of restaurants, night life, plenty of beach resorts and of course the easy access to Playa Tamarindo. It’s a great place to stay for a few days, to relax on the beach and maybe do some watersport activities. But for the real Costa Rica nature vibes you have to go more inland and explore Irazu volcano, La Paz waterfalls gardens and many more nature attractions. But for the best things to do in and around Tamarindo you came to the right spot! These are the 10 best things to do in Tamarindo!
You can either do a short horseback riding tour along the beach of Tamarindo for sunset for example or choose for a longer tour. With the longer horseback riding tours you will explore the mountains and beautiful Guanacaste forests. This will provide more variation but also takes a longer time and will cost some more dollars (around $60 depending the length of the tour).
Surf at Tamarindo beach
Surfing is one of the best activities to do in Tamarindo. From beginners to more experienced surfers, the waves at Tamarindo will range depending on the wind conditions. You can get surf lessons at Tamarindo behave and for the seasoned surfers Witch’s Rock is a very good wave.
Snorkeling in Tamarindo
The area around Tamarindo beach is one of Costa Rica’s best snorkel spots with beautiful volcanic rock formations which are very rich in marine life. Catalina’s island is the best spot spot for snorkeling near Tamarindo beach where you’ll have a chance to experience see the beautiful manta rays, butterfly fish, angelfish and turtles. You can book a great tour including snorkeling and watching the sunset along the coast of Tamarindo here.
Go for a day trip to Rio Celeste
This is definitely not a short trip from Tamarindo as it’s a 2.5 hour drive. But if Tamarindo is your only base on the west coast of Costa Rica, then a visit to Rio Celeste waterfall and the Tenorio Volcano national park is a must. The bright blue river and beautiful Rio Celeste waterfall are one of the highlights in Costa Rica. The magical Rio Celeste waterfall is also some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica that you have to see. There’s some hiking involved to explore this national park. So it’s perfect for the more adventurous travellers that like to hike in nature.
Read everything about Rio Celeste waterfall and Tenorio National Park in our complete guide
Sportfishing in Tamarindo
The waters of Tamarindo on the northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica are famous for a variety of fish 12 months of the year. Blue, Black and Striped Marlin are caught year-round. Therefore a fishing excursion is a great activity for those who love to be out on the ocean and catching some big fish! Half day and full day excursions are available where guides take you out to local reefs located about 4 miles away from the shore of Tamarindo.
Sunset and snorkeling cruise
For a half day out on the water, a snorkel tour or sunset cruise are great options which depart from Tamarindo bay. Gaze off the bow of a Tamarindo catamaran with a cold tropical drink while you enjoy the endless view of the Pacific ocean. Go snorkeling if you feel like it, but even on the boat you might have the chance of spotting dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish or even whales in the right season!
For a sunset cruise you will depart around 1.30 PM with some snorkeling activities before you will end the day with a beautiful sunset illuminating the clouds left in the sky.
Relax on the quiet Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for a relaxing beach day. It not only has some of the most beautiful white sand mixed with shells, but the sea water is also very calm and has crystal clear water. It’s a perfect beach for swimming and relacing, much quieter than Tamarindo beach wit less facilities around as well. Dotted with palm trees and mangrove forest, you can find plenty of natural shade under the trees so you won’t even have to rent a subbed or umbrella. A fantastic beach for those looking for a quiet and peaceful beach day.
Read in our complete guide everything about Playa Conchal
Visit Baulas National Marine Park
Las Baulas National Park is known for the Leatherback turtles (baulas). They return to lay their eggs each year at Playa Grande. Just 30 minutes north of Tamarindo Beach, Grande beach is a much quieter beach. This makes it the perfect turtle nesting area for the Leatherback sea turtles. Between November and April these large sea turtles dig meter-deep pits and bury their eggs before returning to the sea. These giant turtles which can get 8 feet long and weigh over 1000 pounds, can be observed at night when they visit the beach.
But you can also book a boat safari tour to Las Baulas NP. Here you’ll be able to see many different wildlife. Such as crocodiles, green parrots and howler monkeys. During this 2 hour tour you will sail up the waters of Las Baulas National Park to see the biodiversity what Costa Rica is about.
Visit Llanos de Cortes waterfall
Llanos de Cortes waterfall is not very closely located to Tamarindo. But it could be a great half day trip if you’re looking for some refreshing waterfall vibes. Llanos de Cortes is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica and is definitely some of the most easy accessible ones. At the base of the falls is a nice plunge pool where you can swim and there is a sandy area to just hang out and relax.
Playa Langosta is only 2 kilometres south of Tamarindo beach located, but it has a complete different vibe. With less facilities around and only a handful accommodations, this white soft sand beach is more for the peace seekers. Here you won’t have the busy nightlife, restaurants lined up and crowded waves with surfers. So if you’re looking for a more laid back atmosphere, then Playa Langosta can be a great option close from Tamarindo.
How to get to Tamarindo
From Liberia international airport it is only a one hour drive to Tamarindo. You can either rent a car at Liberia Airport or take a taxi. From San Jose it is about 4 hours driving to Tamarindo.
Two bus companies run routes to Tamarindo. Alfaro from San José via Liberia and La Pampa from Liberia. From San José the buses leave two times a day. 11.30 AM with a stop in Liberia and 3.30 PM via Caldera. A ticket costs around $10 per person and the trip takes around 5.5 hours.
Best time to visit Tamarindo
The best time to visit Tamarindo Beach to get the sunniest weather would be from November until August. September and October are usually the months with the most rainfall in Tamarindo.
If you are interested in seeing the leatherback turtles and turtle nesting, then September through March is the best period to visit. For those interested in surfing, June through October provides the best waves.
Where to stay in Tamarindo
In Tamarindo town there are many options to book from different hotels and the famous Tamarindo Diria beach resort. There are options for family accommodations but also adult only boutique resorts.
If you’re looking for a more quiet beach with less buzz going on, then Playa Langosta is a great choice. Here you will find Capitan Suizo beachfront boutique hotel which is a great choice for couples.
Best tours of Tamarindo
If you want to explore the best of what Tamarindo Costa Rica has to offer, then it is highly recommended to book a tour. During most of these tours you will combine a few locations on one day so you can see the diversity that the Guanacaste region has to offer. Because of Costa Rica’s popularity it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance as it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Costa Rica. Choose your favorite tours here and secure your booking! All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Sunset and snorkeling cruise from Tamarindo. Sail from Playa Tamarindo and cruise along the Costa Rican coast to see the sunset. You might have the chance of spotting, dolphins, whales, turtles and more. Snorkel in a tranquil bay or walk along a deserted white sand beach.
- Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and Rio Celeste waterfall hike from Tamarindo. Hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park and visit the beautiful blue river. Discover the rainforest and swim at Llanos de Cortez waterfalls while observing sloths, red-eyed leaf frogs, toucans, and butterflies.
- Zip-line and rafting full day adventure tour from Tamarindo. Let your inner adventurer out by zip-lining, horse riding, canyoning, rafting, rock climbing, and more at the foothills of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano.
- Rincon de la Vieja National Park: 1-Day Pass, Lunch, & Tour from Tamarindo. Experience the best of Costa Rica during this outdoor adventure to Rincón de la Vieja National Park. The tour includes pickup, lunch and drinks, horseback riding, ziplining, waterfall visit and unwinding in the hot springs.
- Boat safari to Las Baulas National Park from Tamarindo. Sail up the waters of Las Baulas National Park and spot crocodiles, green parrots, howler monkeys, and many other species during this 2-hour tour.
- ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour from Tamarindo. Enjoy nature from a unique perspective with the help of your local guide. Experience a fun-filled ride through pastures and rivers, up mountains with breathtaking views of the valley.
- Cahuita National Park and Tortuguero Canal boat tour. Explore Costa Rica’s Caribbean side with this wildlife-rich shore excursion to Cahuita National Park. Admire the biodiversity of the Tortuguero Canals, hike across Cahuita and enjoy Puerto Limon’s city highlights.
- 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion from San Jose. Visit one of the most important destinations in Costa Rica on a guided tour. Explore a beautiful natural paradise, tour the famous Tortuguero Canal and see diverse flora and fauna during this 3 day tour.
- Manuel Antonio National Park combo tour from San Jose. Explore the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park and its beautiful white-sand beaches. Discover the abundant wildlife on the park’s rainforest trails. Enjoy included breakfast and lunch, and make stops to see crocodiles.
- Poas volcano, Coffee plantation tour and La Paz waterfall gardens. Visit 3 destinations in one day on this guided tour from San José. Learn about coffee production, visit the Poas Volcano Crater, and experience the incredible nature around La Paz Waterfall Garden.
- Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes Guayabo Tour. Visit Irazu volcano and the “Central Town” at the foothills of the active Turrialba Volcano. Experience a unique history and culture, shaped by the tallest and most active volcanoes in Costa Rica.
- Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch from San Jose. Spend the day discovering the luscious landscapes of Tortuguero National Park. Explore this vibrant rainforest, see native wildlife in its natural habitat, learn about the local ecosystem and enjoy a delicious Costa Rican breakfast and lunch.
- La Fortuna 4 activities on 1 day; base hike Arenal volcano, hanging bridges, La Fortuna waterfall and hotsprings
More Costa Rica travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about Tamarindo beach Costa Rica and the best things to do.
For more Costa Rica travel guides, have a look at our other Costa Rica travel blogs.