Things to do in Costa Rica Tamarindo are among the most popular and exciting in the whole country, with many outdoor activities available for people of all ages.
Tamarindo beach town is located in Guanacaste and is a very popular place among surfers from all over the world because of its incredible waves and cool vibe.
Tamarindo is a great stop in your Costa Rican adventure as it offers a wide range of activities, beautiful sceneries, and amazing beaches to perfect your tan.
Like the whole country, the Tamarindo area has two different seasons: the dry season, from December to April, and the rainy season from May to November.
You might be surprised, but the dry season is not necessarily the best time to go to Tamarindo as the area is extremely crowded and the prices are higher than usual.
But what is true about Tamarindo in the dry season is that it has one of the most vibrant nightlife in the whole country.
During the rainy season or the green season, everything is green, quiet, and lush, with many sunny mornings and just some scattered showers in the afternoon.
A great time to go to this area is during shoulder season, in April, May, November, and the first part of December, when the weather is perfect for exploring, the tourists are gone and the prices more reasonable.
This beautiful beach town is located about one hour drive from Liberia International Airport and a 4-5 hours’ drive from San Jose International Airport.
Tamarindo is one of the very few towns from Costa Rica that offers a wide range of outdoor activities that will make your holiday memorable.
I drop below a list of the most popular attractions and activities from the area so that you can include them in your travel list.
Things to do in Costa Rica Tamarindo
1. Scuba diving
One of the best things to do in Tamarindo is scuba diving in the beautiful waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Head to Flamingo Marino as this is the starting point for your scuba diving tour on Catalinas Island.
In order to dive in the waters around Las Catalinas islands, you need to have a diving certificate which can be obtained on a discovery tour in the waters around Tamarindo.
After you get your certificate, dive into the turquoise waters to discover an amazing marine world full of manta rays, dolphins, reef sharks, eels, and all kinds of fishes that live in the coral reef.
Other interesting activities in Tamarindo are the ziplining tours that can be booked in the forests around this beautiful beach town.
The most popular zip lining tours are in Monteverde Cloud Forest, which is located 3 hours’ drive from Tamarindo.
If you don’t want to drive to Monteverde then you can choose from the canopy tours available in the nearby forests.
It is a good opportunity to observe wildlife creatures from the jungle-like monkeys, sloths, lizards, and an impressive number of birds.
Tamarindo is the best place to surf from the whole country, with many amazing beaches for beginners and those of you who want to learn to surf.
The beach has great waves for surfing every day and there are plenty of surf shops from where you can buy or rent surf equipment.
There are also surf schools where you can take surf lessons to learn or perfect your skills as the prices are reasonable even if you have a small budget for your trip.
The price for a group lesson is around 50 USD for 2 hours, while private lessons are a little bit more expensive.
For those who have more experience, we recommend going to Witch Rock, a place with stronger currents and higher waves that pump more adrenaline into your body.
As these beaches are perfect for surfing and the prices for renting the equipment and for learning this sport are quite accessible, surfing is definitely one of the best things to do Tamarindo.
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4. Boat trips at sunset
One of the most romantic Tamarindo Costa Rica things to do is to book a sunset cruise with your beloved one.
There is also a daily sailing tour for snorkeling and sightseeing that usually start after breakfast, but the best ones are those at sunset.
While on daily trips you can see dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and many species of fish, the sunset cruise impress with the romantic vibe and the beautiful colors of the sunbathed in the sea.
If you want to combine the experience of snorkeling and observing marine creatures with the sunset experience you can book a full-day boat tour.
Before booking the full day trip make sure you don’t have seasickness and you resist staying in the sun the whole day.
Otherwise, you can book a half-day tour or just a sunset cruise that leads you to hidden bays, in the middle of the sea to see the sun setting in the water at the horizon.
Our favorite tour is Playa Tamarindo: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour, a 4 and a half hours tour that offers an amazing view of the sunset from a beautiful catamaran from the middle of the sea.
In the tour price, you have included the snorkeling equipment, a light meal, and an open bar with a great selection of drinks with and without alcohol.
5. ATV tours
ATV tours and horseback riding tour are quite popular in the nearby area and there are plenty of forests and mountains to explore and most of the ATV roads end with a spectacular view of the surroundings.
There are two types of tours: the ones that pick up and drop off at the hotel where you staying plus the ATV experience are and the ones that have included just the ATV tour.
In the tour price, you have included the equipment and you can choose the ATV trail depending on your level of experience in driving these vehicles.
The good thing about ATV tours is that you can explore vast terrains and go deep into the jungle with no effort.
On your tour across the jungles and the mountains you will observe the local fauna and flora and wild encounters with monkeys, birds, and iguanas are quite often.
ATV tours are definitely among the best things to do in Costa Rica Tamarindo and the price for a tour starts from 70 USD for a person for 2 hours or 90 USD for two persons (driver and passenger) for 2 hours.
Be prepared to get dirty especially if you book a tour during the rainy season when muddy terrain and water holes are everywhere.
You have to be at least 16 years old in order to be allowed to drive an ATV and you need to have a valid driver’s license.
We booked a 3 hours tour Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour, which has included the pickup and drop off to and from the hotel, an ATV for 2 persons, a local guide, and snorkeling equipment if you ask for.
you will visit 3 beautiful beaches and the nearby jungle so prepare your camera for wild encounters with monkeys, iguanas, and many species of birds.
Fishing in the Tamarindo area is a very popular attraction among tourists and locals and is one of the few places in the country where you can catch your dinner.
Mahi-mahi, wahoo are just some of the species which are allowed to be caught, while tuna, merlin, and others are perfect for sportive fishing.
There are full-day tours or half-day tours that last from 5 to 7 hours and fishing charters lead you to the best places for fishing from the ocean.
You will fish for fun and all the fish caught should be released into the ocean quickly after you bring them to the boat.
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7. Safari in Palo Verde National Park
Palo Verde National Park is a hidden sanctuary, one of the best places to spot wildlife from the whole of Costa Rica.
Most of the boat tours from the park last for about 2 hours and include the transportation cost, an English-speaking guide, while some of the tours have lunch included and transport to and from your hotel.
The area is known to be one of the most important sites for migratory birds from the Mesoamerican Pacific.
The guided tour in Palo Verde National Park is perfect for seniors, and families with young children as you can go deep into the jungle without paying any effort.
On the 2 hours tour, you will spot many beautiful birds and unique creatures such as crocodiles, monkeys, bats, iguanas, river birds, and many more.
Our recommendation is Tamarindo: Palo Verde National Park Tour, a 7 hours tour with hotel pick up and drop off service, a traditional lunch, water, and soft drinks included as well as an English speaking guide that will tell you everything you have to know about this magnificent national park.
8. Rio Celeste
Located in Tenorio National Park, Rio Celeste is among the most beautiful and breathtaking waterfalls from the whole country.
To get to the waterfall you need to follow the trail for about 7 kilometers (one way) and most probably will take you a few hours to get there.
From Tamarindo town to Rio Celeste you have to drive for about 2 and a half hours one way but if you don’t have a car you might arrange a shuttle or a taxi from the hotel to the waterfall tour.
Your guide will tell you the secrets behind the beautiful color of the water and how the sunlight reflects the minerals from the bottom of the river.
The trail along the forest is extremely picturesque and you definitely have to be vigilant and observe the wildlife around you.
You will most probably see toucans, tree frogs, monkeys, and insects as well as sloths and a wide range of birds.
At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded with an outstanding view of the turquoise waters flowing into the river.
9. Las Baulas National Marine Park
Las Baulas National Marine Park has more than 1.000 acres of beach and more than 55.000 marine acres.
The marine park is located a 25-minute drive from Tamarindo right on Playa Grande Beach and is one of the very few places on earth where leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs.
The entrance to the protected area is allowed only if you are accompanied by a licensed guide.
Most of the tours start in the evening and you will receive flashlights with infrared light to see these gentle creatures without disturbing them.
The peak season for leatherback sea turtles nesting their eggs is from November to April when you can observe these gentle creatures coming to the beach and laying their eggs.
Besides the night tours when you can spot the sea turtles laying their eggs there are also day tours through the mangroves forest, a great tour to observe the diversity of plants and animals that can be found in the area.
You will definitely see crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys, and a large number of species of birds flying around.
We recommend you book Tamarindo: Boat Safari at Las Baulas National Park, a 2 hours tour to the protected area of Las Baulas where you can see the mangrove forest as well as many species of birds and animals native to this habitat.
In the tour price, you have included the entrance fee to the park, water, and soft drinks as well as seasonal fruits and an English-speaking guide.
10. Tamarindo beaches
In the area located close to Tamarindo town, there are 7 amazing beaches which you definitely have to include in your itinerary: Tamarindo beach, Playa Langosta, Playa Grande, Playa Avellanas, Sugar beach of Playa Pan de Azucar, Playa Conchal, and Pirate’s Grove.
All these 7 beaches are great for swimming, surfing and sunbathing, and some of them are more isolated and have fewer facilities, while others are extremely popular and crowded, with many restaurants and bars around.
Playa Tamarindo for example is extremely popular and crowded and full of bars and restaurants where you can eat or sip a drink while listening to the sound of the ocean.
Playa Langosta is less developed and crowded and is accessible on a dirt road from Playa Tamarindo. The beach is famous for its picturesque views, golden sand beach, and proximity to bars, restaurants, and surf shops.
Playa Grande is located in the Las Baulas National Marine Park and is the beach where leatherback sea turtles come to lay their eggs.
It is also a great spot for advanced and intermediate surfers and a great place to perfect your tan.
Playa Avellanas is simply amazing, no wonder why it was chosen for many years in a row as the most beautiful beach from Central America!
The waves are perfect for surfing, while the sand is soft, the waters are clean and there is a laid-back atmosphere that surrounds the place.
Sugar Beach on the other hand is locals’ favorite beach and is a beautiful paradise with white sand and turquoise waters, a great place to observe the wildlife from the nearby jungle.
Playa Conchal is by far the most scenic beach from the Tamarindo area with its pink sand beach, calm waters, and green jungle on one side.
A hidden secret even for some of the locals is Playa Piratas or Pirate’s Cove, a deserted beach located about 45 minutes from Tamarindo.
The waters are calm, perfect for swimming and the sand is soft, a good place to put your towel and enjoy the view.
Sleeping in Tamarindo area
We have picked for you the best hotels from the area so that you have a wonderful time abroad:
- Cala Luna Boutique Hotel Tamarindo one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in the Tamarindo area with a great spa, luxury rooms and a tasty restaurant. Cala Luna is the perfect place to stay for those of you looking for quieter places and a relaxing vibe.
- Jardin Del Eden Boutique Hotel Tamarindo Costa Rica features large rooms, a spa, an outdoor pool as well as a restaurant that serve Mediterranean, Asian and local dishes. The reception staff can assist you in booking snorkelling and diving tours, as well as horseback riding and fishing sessions.
- Les Voiles Blanches Tamarindo Costa Rica is a paradise nestled in the middle of the rainforest, with a beautiful garden and an outdoor pool. Some of the rooms feature an outdoor shower and a private terrace, while others are located in the unique A-frame design bungalow
These are definitely the most interesting things to do in Costa Rica Tamarindo which you have to experience when visiting this part of the country.
Tamarindo is an extremely popular area from Costa Rica so be prepared for a lot of tourists roaming around, with higher prices in peak season and limited availability to hotels and guesthouses.
The area is extremely picturesque and is perfect not just for beach lovers, but also for nature lovers as there are plenty of national parks and marine reserves where to spot wildlife in their natural environment.
Pick those activities which you like most and don’t forget to share with us your experience by the time you come back from your magnificent holiday.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.