Tamarindo is a mecca for Europeans and Americans (from Canada all the way to Chile) to vacation. It's not just for surfers ~ but anyone looking to relax near the beach. Millions of dollars have been spent on high-class developments, but the locals who live just out of town are still the friendliest in Central America. Visit soon, before concrete and pavement cover up the natural beauty of this region. And if you surf, the dry season (December to April) Papagayo winds blow offshore all day long.
From San Jose, drive west towards Orotina and then take the exit going to Liberia. Drive north on the Interamerican Highway (CR1) for about an hour and then make a left towards El Puente de Amistad (Bridge of Friendliness) which crosses the northern tip of the Gulf of Nicoya. The total trip takes about 4.5 hours as there is usually traffic on CR-1. Use this Google Map to guide you.
From Liberia, head west toward the coast and follow the signs to Belen. There are a couple of well marked turns and then a steep hill you drive over. Once in Belen, make a left to head towards Tamarindo, which is another 15 minutes to the turnoff to Tamarindo at the town of Villareal. The total drive is about an hour and twenty minutes. This Google Map has directions to Tamarindo.
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Here's our list of our favorite 10 Awesome Adventure Tours to do in Tamarindo
Try out surfing with an entry level surf lessons with ISA certified instructors that will share safety and surf etiquette tips, besides personalize the coaching to each participant. Special Fall break 10% off for the 3 days / 3 private-progressive surf lessons in Tamarindo, a value of US$ 120. You must mention you found this promo on CRSURF
Help Save the Monkeys! The group
SalveMonos Tamarindo is working to protect the howler monkeys and other species that live around Tamarindo and rest of the Nicoya Peninsula. They use donations for building rope bridges over roads and teaching locals about them.
Why schlep your longboard all the way to Tamarindo. Get a custom Robert August surfboard hand-shaped by the man himself! Email us to find out how.
Find out more about Las Tortugas and the role ecotourism plays in the conservation struggle on YouTube.
Catch the FULL VERSION of the Movie Fe de Agua - filmed in Tamarindo!!
For updated news of what's happening in Tamarindo, visit:
This right hand point break works best on low to mid tides. At high tide breaks really close to the beach, but it is still fun with southwest swells. Rides can go on for 400 meters and throw barrels. It is only accessible by boat, and you must pay an entry fee to the Santa Rosa National Park, $10 pp. Only a limited number of boats are allowed in the park so there will not be over 50 people, but that is a lot since there is only three sections to sit on. Without a swell the waves are only longboardable. Make sure your boat captain has permission to enter the park or you could lose the $250-350 you paid for the trip.
Witchs Rock, or Roca Bruja, is inside the Santa Rosa National Park. The wave is accessible by a 4wd vehicle for most of the year, with sparse camping - bring your own water and bug repellent. Lots of boats come in, make sure they are licensed to enter the park (cost $80 pp + $10 entrance fee). The waves are clean, with lots of offshore winds especially from December to April. Picks up swells from the SSW and SW and can throw barrels. Best wave size is chest high to two feet overhead, any bigger and it tends to close out. Best tide to surf it is mid to high tide. It is most crowded by the rock and rivermouth, but the whole beach has waves. Beware of crocs and a few sharks during turtle nesting season.
A sketchy right hander that breaks at lower tides when the rocks are exposed. Can throw a mean barrel and produce a workable shoulder for about 60 yards before it pounds shut on the rocks. Boat access only, make sure your captain is permitted to enter the Santa Rosa National Park.
A beachbreak that works best from chest high to 3 feet overhead. When it's big it tends to break way outside and then reform about 100 yards off the beach. Lots of barrels and fun sections to smack. Best tide is mid tide coming in. At dead high there's some backwash, low tide has mostly closeouts. The break can get most crowded from June-August and December to April, but there are empty peaks up and down the beach. Do not leave stuff in your car as there is a lot of theft. Best place to stay is Hotel Las Tortugas, right on the break with secure parking, great food, and a pool.
The rivermouth breaks better on lower tides, and the size can look smaller from the beach than what it really is. Dominated by longboarders and locals, the wave can shack up and give surfers 100 yard rights.
Right in front of Witchs Rock Surf Camp is the main beach in Tamarindo where the beginners learn to surf. It is usually small, knee to chest high, and when it is bigger closes out. It is best from mid to high tide.
Right behind the Tamarindo Diria the beach is thinner and there are a string of rocks that go out about 150 yards. Depending on the swell size and tide, a wave breaks off both sides of the rocks, producing lefts that go for about 200 meters or longer and rights about 10 meters. Watch out for rocks at lower tides and beginners at high tides. This spot is also localized, so respect the order in the lineup. Breaks best at head high to 2 feet overhead.
The waves break over a rocky shelf, with more sandy stretches to the south of the rivermouth. Watch for the boils at lower tides to find a hollow peak. Best size is chest high to 3 feet overhead, when it's bigger can close out. The main break is behind the Barcelo Langosta, but they have made it nearly impossible to park near there. You'll find a few spots to park about 200 meters north. The rights during a swell with a lot of west in it can go for over 200 meters. The crowds are a bit lighter here due to the poor access, but the Barcelo guests think they own the peak, and the locals don't give up many waves.
Avellanas - Little Hawaii
At the northern end of Playa Avellanas, well past the rivermouth, are a series of rock outcroppings that at the right tide produce some great lefthanders. It's best when many other spots are closing out because it is too big. Very remote so do not get injured, and don't leave your stuff unattended.
Avellanas - Beachbreak
When you pull up to the beach you will see a giant hog. She has been there for years greeting visitors and lying in the shade under the mangroves. There is semi-secure parking, but don't leave stuff in your car. To the south are a bunch of rock shelves, so be careful during all lower tides. To the north is the beachbreak, which works best at waist high to a foot overhead. Waves are easy to catch, have some fun sections, and sometimes throw a thin lip to duck under. When it is any bigger it usually closes out. The crowds thin out the farther north you walk, and the best tide to surf are higher tides. There is only one hotel here on the beach, Cabinas Las Olas, which has trails through the mangroves leading to the shore leaving the view unspoiled by development. Other small hotels are across from the the road, about 1/2 kilometer from the beach.
Negra is a mostly right breaking wave and my favorite tube ride on the Pacific. The water is a deep blue, and the barrels are formed perfectly when the tide and swell are right. It works best from head high to double overhead, any bigger and it closes out. A few lefts come through if it's smaller, but you end up in the rocks which at low tide is sketchy. Speaking of sketchy, don't leave stuff in your vehicle as theft is rampant. Best tide to surf for many is lower to mid tides, but at high tide can also be fun if there is some size.
A remote stretch of salt and pepper sand and empty waves south of Playa Negra and north of Marbella. It is not surfed a lot since the peaks come at different tides and disappear when the tide gets too high or too low. At lower tides you can see the rock ledges that make the waves break farther outside.
This beach has two main breaks. A beachbreak to the north that works best at mid to high tides and can break bigger when other spots are small. It also gets hollow and can provide some quick rights. The second break to the south is a left point break off a rock shelf that works best at lower tides. Waves can go for about 200 yards with a big shoulder for cutbacks, but not tuberides. The crowd is usually heavier at the beachbreak and there a lot of locals that surf it so give them respect.
Description: Whether you are a pro surfer, or looking to learn; a seasoned backpacker or looking for an affordable place to stay; enjoy beach life or be active, Blue Trailz is your choice in Tamarindo. They offer private and dorm rooms all generously equipped with AC, hot showers and kitchen facilities, including fridges, microwaves and stoves. Their common area provides a great place to relax and have fun with fellow guests from all over the world. The Blue Trailz surf shop offers you quality products and services including new and second hand surf boards, ding repair, surf accessories and surf apparel. They also offer Trek bike rentals and guided mountain bike tours catering to all levels of cyclists.
Tamarindo 506-2653-1705 email@example.com
Description: Children's Spanish, Art and Sports Camp – This is the only children’s Spanish camp of its kind in Latin America. Each day, Monday through Friday in July, they combine two hours of fun and interactive, age appropriate Spanish language classes with lunch, games at the beach, soccer games with local children and a number of adventure activities. The six hours that the students are in the program from 8am to 2pm are designed to expose children to the Spanish language and the culture of Costa Rica. Their goal is to have the kids learn Spanish while having fun on the beach in Costa Rica. The camp is available to children ages 6 to 12.
Tamarindo & Dominical 1-800-897-0025 firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: WAYRA Instituto de Español offers since 1996 Spanish classes to foreign students and residents. Our Swiss and Latin American managed school, operates in a pristine environment and offers an ideal setting for people that are interested in learning Spanish by following a full immersion program. Instituto Cervantes WAYRA Instituto de Español is approved by the Instituto de Cervantes as an official DELE examination Center and our courses are also accepted in different German provinces. Their popular Spanish & Surf program runs from 1-4 weeks and includes the use of a surfboard.
Check out their video showcasing their surf program here - LINK
Witchs Rock Surf Camp
Description: Beachfront location with one of the world's absolute best learn-to-surf waves directly in front of them.
Tamarindo 1-888-318-SURF or 2653-1262 (mention CRsurf) email@example.com
Banana Surf School
Certification: n/a - Bilingual
Tamarindo 2653-2463 firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: At Vista Villas they have all the right ingredients for an all around great Costa Rica vacation. Whether you are here to relax, have fun, surf, or explore some of Costa Rica’s natural wonders, they take pride in calling ourselves a great - and affordable - Tamarindo hotel! Their family-run establishment is one of the three original hotels in Tamarindo and has a rich history of superb hospitality and amazing memories. Often times, large hotels lose that warm, "home" feel to them. Their English-speaking staff will not only serve you, but will make you feel like you are part of the family. We have single rooms to multi family suites with a view of the surf break at the Tamarindo Rivermouth. Plus there is a large pool and restaurant/bar servings meals throughout the day and night, and a long-running Friday Night Salsa Dance party.
Tamarindo 506-2653-0114 US 800-536-3241 email@example.com $49 - $179+
Description: The RipJack Inn has eight individually decorated rooms nestled among lush foliage that includes banana, palm, and almond trees, tropical flowers and much more. Our cabinas are located in a separate building just steps away from the pool. Cabinas have a queen size bed, a single bed, private bath with hot water, air conditioning, and ceiling fan. Cabinas are equipped with in room safes, coffee makers, mini-fridge and cable television. The hotel features Upstairs @ the RipJack that boasts a panoramic ocean view and some of the finest cuisine in all of Costa Rica. During your stay, take advantage of our onsite yoga, massage and surf lessons.
* Current special! Rooms are only $50 through September 21st!
Playa Grande 2653-0480 Fax: 2652-9272 firstname.lastname@example.org $70-$250*
Description: Hotel Las Tortugas is perfectly positioned in the center of Playa Grande, just steps from the main peak which is one of Costa Rica's most consistent surf breaks. Guests revel in the luxury of staying at the only beachfront hotel in the area with a pool, jacuzzi, garden with hammocks, and open-air restaurant and bar all just steps from the water's edge. Eleven rooms all have AC and private hotwater bathrooms. Economy rancho rooms on the property for the traveler on a budget. The rancho rooms all have their own private hotwater baths and air-conditioning.
Playa Grande 2653-0458 email@example.com $25+$130
Cabinas Las Olas
Description: Hotel Cabinas Olas has 24 hrs of security, parking lot, maid service, as well as ten spacious and beautiful cabinas. All cabinas offer a terrace and hammock, double and single orthopedic beds, safety box, ceiling fans, private bathroom with hot water. The Restaurant/Bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, specializing in international and typical Costa Rican food; including vegetarian options.
Avellanas 2652-9315 Fax: 2652-9331 firstname.lastname@example.org $80-130
Laguna del Cocodrilo
Tamarindo 2653-0255 $45+
El Diria Resort
Description: The Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Costa Rica is the iconic beach resort located in Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, with its own personality, perfect for an authentic Costa Rica vacation. Features direct access to the most famous costa rican white sand beach, front ocean view accommodations, 4 swimming pools, restaurants, bars, casino and much more! Tamarindo 866-603-4742 $171+
The Chocolate Hotel
Description: 3-star hotel in Marbella. Large, clean, modern rooms with kitchenette; outdoor pool with open rancho area, and a restaurant. A short drive to the beach.
Description: Hotel Capitán Suizo is a beachfront boutique and Four Star hotel located on Tamarindo beach, one of the most beautiful swimming and surfing beaches on the Costa Rican Pacific coast.
Hostel La Oveja Negra
Tamarindo 2653-0005 $12+
Playa Langosta (506) 2653-0363 $180+ (all-inclusive)
Casa Alice Surf Lodge
Playa Marbella 506-8417-0144 email@example.com $25-40pp
Marbella Surf Inn
Playa Marbella (506) 2682-8109 firstname.lastname@example.org $155+
Cafe Playa Negra
Playa Negra 2652-9351 email@example.com $25+
Tamarindo 8876 6675 $99+
Tamarindo Diria Condos
Tamarindo 877-787-0007 firstname.lastname@example.org $150/night+
The Jolly Roger
Description: Delicious wings and giant burgers, plus pizza and a full bar with live music most days of the week Tamarindo
Surfers Sports Bar
Description: Serving the coldest beers in Langosta while hosting community events and showing all your favorite sporting events. Playa Langosta
La Laguna de Cocodrilo
Description: Get your early morning baked treats before heading out for a surf Tamarindo
Eat at Joes
Description: The open-air beachfront restaurant Eat at Joe's is the busiest spot in town with a great mix of Costa Rican classics, Tex-Mex and Gringo favorites, Sushi Bar, and a recently opened Coffee Bar. They also have a beautiful new beachfront garden area where you can enjoy cold beer at the picnic tables with spectacular views. Tamarindo
Matos Surf Shop
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 2653-0158
Banana Surf Shop
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 2653-0130
Witchs Rocks Surf Shop
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 2653-1262
Mariesas Surf Shop
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 2653-0224
Kelly's Surf Shop
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 888-710-4746
Mango Surf and Skate
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 2653-2384
Iguana Surf Shop
Rentals: Y Lessons: Y 2653-0158
Marlin del Rey
Description: Gaze off the bow with a cold tropical drink, prepared and served by our crew, as you scan the seas for dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish, or even a breaching whale. Stop in a tranquil bay, drop anchor and frolic in the blue Pacific. Snorkel in the bay or run down the deserted white sand beach while the ever helpful crew prepares a feast for their guests.
Tamarindo 2653-1212 email@example.com $50-85pp
Description: Come explore the depths offshore and the Catalina Islands. See turtles, dolphins, manta rays, colorful tropical fish, and many other amazing creatures while being led by fully trained dive instructors. And for more adventure, try a night dive!
Playa de Coco 877-787-3007 firstname.lastname@example.org $90+
Description: Located on a 150 year old Costa Rican horse and cattle ranch with over 1400 acres of natural resources. The hacienda encompasses nearly 800 acres of primary forest (old wood), 250 acres of secondary forest (new wood), 350 acres of tree-lined pastures, six rivers, multiple natural springs and two sets of waterfalls. Zipline down secure cables measuring over 800 meters long while taking in the views above the Guanacaste coastline. Combine this tour with horseback rides, ATV tours, and mountain biking.