Getting its name from the luscious tamarind trees, Tamarindo in Costa Rica is worth visiting for a lot more than the pristine beaches and crystal blue waters. A popular destination, Tamarindo is a beach town that brings together adventure and luxury in a way that few other places in Costa Rica can. Water sports, exciting nightlife, sightseeing opportunities, and luxuriously pampering experiences await everyone just four and a half hours away from San Jose.
If you’re about to take your first trip to one of Costa Rica’s biggest treasures, you’ve come to the right place (both literally and figuratively!). Let’s check out some of the best things to do and the most exciting sights to see in the region of Tamarindo Beach.
1. Visit Playa Langosta
It’s very difficult to pinpoint just a few of the places to see if you’re visiting Tamarindo. Beautiful beaches abound in the region. Costa Rica’s fine nature has given Tamarindo everything – from lush forests to amazing rock formations and preserves that safeguard some of the world’s finest flora and fauna specimens.
Playa Avellana, Playa Grande, Tamarindo Beach (Playa Tamarindo) itself, the Tama Market (an authentic and incredibly rich farmer’s market), and the Tamarindo night market are definitely worth checking out and added to your must-see list.
One sight that we’d like to highlight a bit further is Playa Langosta.
Located just south of Tamarindo and Playa Tamarindo, Playa Langosta is known for its serenity and peacefulness in comparison to more commercial spots. The vibe is very different from what Tamarindo Beach and Playa Grande have to offer, and it appeals to the laid-back crowd. This quieter beach is just as breathtaking.
Playa Langosta is the perfect spot for a long beach walk. It’s also the place to visit if you’d like to share a beautiful sunset with someone special. Playa Tamarindo, on the other hand, is a lot more populated and youthful in its vibe.
It’s very easy to get to Langosta Beach from Tamarindo as the beach is a walking distance away. It’s also possible to reach the beach by car – you’ll get there in just a few minutes.
Playa Langosta ranks among the popular surfing beaches, just like Playa Grande. The two, however, cater to different crowds who are seeking a specific kind of experience.
2. Enjoy a Sunset Tour
Admiring a beautiful sunset from the beach isn’t enough? Try a sunset cruise for a more lavish and romantic experience.
Boat sunset tours are readily available in Tamarindo, and they cater to every taste and preference. This is one popular activity appealing both to the adventurous crowd and those seeking a more serene experience.
The sunset cruise welcomes guests with an open bar, dinner, and water activities. It’s also good to know that the boats used for sunset cruises can hold a limited number of people, which results in a more intimate atmosphere.
Each sunset cruise lasts a few hours, giving you ample opportunities to enjoy the scenery in the company of your travel companion.
3. Go to the Place Where Turtles Nest
Here’s a fun activity for those who are truly enamored by nature. Costa Rica has tons to offer in terms of natural treasures, but this one is absolutely unique.
Costa Rica’s Las Baulas National Marine Park is located only 30 minutes away from Tamarindo.
The national park encompasses a huge area of the coast and the sea. The name of the park has been given by the presence of the baulas (leatherback turtles). As you’ve probably guessed, the area is part of their natural habitat, and a visit here is an exceptional chance to get close to these magnificent creatures.
During nesting season (from November to April in Costa Rica), the turtles come to shore to lay their eggs. These magnificent creatures, the largest of all sea turtles, dig massive holes to bury their eggs – an annual ritual that is mesmerizing to watch.
Tourists can observe the turtles at night as they come out of the sea to engage in a life-sustaining ritual.
4. Learn a New Water Sport
Water sports are to be expected in a place renowned for its turquoise water and fabulous coastline. Surfing leads the way in terms of popularity among both locals and travelers, with experienced surfers finding the waves in Tamarindo to be absolutely irresistible, but you’ll find plenty of other aquatic activities to keep you busy during your stay in Tamarindo.
The estuary waterways in the region are a perfect choice for kayaking – a day trip can even be organized to give you this adventure opportunity. You can also try sailing, snorkeling (tour operators organize fun snorkeling tours), fishing excursions, boat tours, scuba diving, and rafting.
In some instances, you’ll get a full day of organized activities to give you the perfect adventure out in the ocean. Lessons are also readily available for those who’d like to try out something new and probably discover a passion for life. The local surfing spots cater to the needs of surfers of all levels of experience.
5. Try Horseback Riding
Want to explore the beach in a more unconventional way? Costa Rica’s horseback riding opportunities are worth checking out because they offer a unique experience. Exploring Tamarindo Bay on the back of a horse will certainly turn into a beautiful memory for you and your family. Lovers of outdoor activities will definitely have fun, even if they’ve never gone horseback riding before.
With a horseback riding tour, you get an opportunity to explore a couple of beaches in a single experience and reach some of the pristine areas that are not easy to access on foot.
Not only will you be amazed by the scenery, but you’ll also get an opportunity to spot some of the amazing Tamarindo wildlife. Howler monkeys and tropical birds are common, and if you’re a good enough rider, you may even get a chance to snap a picture or two.
6. Zip Line Your Way through the Jungle
While zip lining isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s definitely the kind of adrenaline rush that many crave during a vacation.
Costa Rica is one of the best places to visit if you are into adventure tours and zip-lining. In the Tamarindo region, these tours (known as canopy tours) will allow the most daring to observe the magnificence of the jungle from a different angle.
Depending on the tour you choose, there may be an opportunity to enjoy additional activities like rappelling and hiking.
7. Have Brunch and Keep Shopping
Those who prefer more relaxing experiences will enjoy a Tamarindo brunch and some shopping. The combo is always a recipe for a good time. Clothing shops abound, and local food is absolutely spectacular. Costa Rica is known for some of its fresh produce and unique flavors.
Numerous bistros and restaurants offer rich and fulfilling brunch offerings. It’s simply a matter of trying a couple and choosing the one that caters to your taste in the best way. And if you’re a shopaholic, you’ll quickly fall in love with the numerous Tamarindo shops. From clothing shops to surf shops, Tamarindo has a great selection of products worthy of your money.
Many clothing shops offer unique clothing and accessories with some local flair. There will often be handcrafted and unique items worth adding to your collection. Some of these pieces are going to be on the high-end side of price tags, but a few of the Tamarindo boutiques also offer amazing steals.
All you need is a keen eye for detail and some enthusiasm to enjoy a day of Tamarindo shopping.
8. Visit El Mercadito de Tamarindo for the Most Delicious Experience
To end on a culinary note, we’ll take you to Tamarindo’s food and cocktail market. It’s a typical Costa Rica spot that brings excitement, heat, trendy food stalls, and laughter together.
Just imagine a massive Costa Rican food court in the open air. That’s precisely what El Mercadito is.
Gourmands will have a hard time picking just a couple of treats. They’ll find delicious seafood, tacos, sangria, pasta, craft beer, and so much more. Live music is often a part of the experience, helping you immerse yourself fully in the local atmosphere and the culture of Costa Rica.That’s just a small glimpse into what Costa Rica’s Tamarindo has to offer. Its attractions easily justify a trip from San Jose or even farther. Depending on your taste and preferences, you may find various other activities that are sure to rock your boat. Planning ahead of time is a great idea, especially if you’d like to try as many new things as possible over the course of your visit.