Playa Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica's Top 10 Beaches!
Playa Tamarindo, located on the Pacific Coast in the Guanacaste province, is one of Costa Rica’s most-visited beach towns for countless reasons.
Sandy beaches, fully guided adventure tourism, busy nightlife, and world-class restaurants and accommodations ensure even the most tentative travelers will feel right at home. However, backpackers and more low-key travelers might be turned off by Tamarindo’s touristy elements.
What to Do:
The waters off Playa Tamarindo offer surfing opportunities adventurers of every level. Sport fishing is a way of life in Tamarindo, and record-breaking catches of marlin, tuna, and snapper are the norm. Scuba divers and snorkelers will enjoy an profusion of marine life right offshore, or in deeper waters. Tamarindo is a great place to sample a new water sport, like ocean kayaking, wind surfing, or jet skiing—just visit one of the multiple specialty shops in town.
However, some of the best activities in the Playa Tamarindo area are free. The thousand-acre Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge boasts numerous hiking trails through forest and mangroves—keep your eyes out for crocodiles, monkeys, ocelots, and other wildlife. Or just string up a hammock between two beachfront palms, and enjoy Costa Rica’s most luxurious treat of all: the warm tropical sun.
When to Go:
Playa Tamarindo is sandwiched by two protected beaches, Playa Grande and Playa Langosta, that serve as nesting areas for the giant leatherback turtle. The turtles clamber ashore to lay their eggs between October and March—travel guides will take you to their nesting sites.
The dry season is also between October and March, which means great weather, but much more crowded beaches. The other half of the year is much more rainy, though showers typically occur late in the day.
Getting There and Around:
Arriving from overseas, try to book a flight into Liberia (the capital of Guanacaste) rather than San Jose. If you must fly into San Jose, buses to Liberia are cheap and frequent, though the ride is 6 hours long. From Liberia, take a public bus, minbus or taxi to Playa Tamarindo.
Flights are also available to Tamarindo’s airstrip direct from San Jose. If you prefer to drive yourself, car rental in San Jose or Liberia is straightforward.
Tips and Practicalities:
Because of Playa Tamarindo’s popularity with international travelers, American brands of snacks and toiletries are readily available in the town’s small supermarkets.
Accommodations in Playa Tamarindo generally run on the more expensive side. Budget travelers can choose from Hostel Playa Tamarindo, Tsunami Backpackers, Zully Mar, and Cabinas Rodamar, all which boast communal kitchens and discount accommodations.