Tamarindo Costa Rica Travel Guide

Guide to hotels, tours, water sports and restaurants in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Flights into Costa Rica during COVID-19

AirPanama – Air Transat – Albatros – Westjet: suspended until further notice
AeroMexico: resumes October 18 (Mexico)
Air Canada: resumes November 3 (Toronto)
AirFrance: resumes October 31 (Paris)
Alaska: resumes October 19 (Los Angeles)
American Airlines: resumes September 9 (Miami and Dallas)
Avianca: resumes September 20 (El Salvador) and October 10 (Bogota)
British Airways: resumes November 1
Costa Rica Green Airways: available for charters
Copa Airlines: resumes September 10 (Panama)
Edelweiss: resumes 2021
Iberia: resumes August 3 (Madrid)
jetBlue: resumes October 25 (New York), November 1 (Fort Lauderdale), November 4 (Orlando)
Lufthansa: resumes August 5 (Frankfurt)
Sansa: available for charters
Southwest: resumes 2021
Spirit: resumes November 1 (Orlando)
United Airlines: resumes November 7 (Chicago), December 19 (Denver and Washington)

Statement by the Costa Rica Tourism Board

October 08, 2020 – As of Aug. 1, select international travelers are authorized to enter Costa Rica’s three international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport, Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport, and Tobías Bolaños Airport. The list of authorized regions and countries is being revised periodically.

This is the list currently in effect:

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wyoming California and Ohio.
    • As of Oct. 15: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Residents of Florida, Georgia and Texas
    • As of Nov 01: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  All U.S. citizens and residents
  • CANADA: All citizens and residents
  • MEXICO: All citizens and residents
  • THE EUROPEAN UNION SCHENGEN ZONE: All citizens and residents
  • UNITED KINGDOM: All citizens and residents
  • CENTRAL AMERICA AND PANAMA: All citizens and residents. As of Oct. 15.
  • SOUTH AMERICA: Citizens and residents of Uruguay
  • THE CARIBBEAN: Citizens and residents of Jamaica
  • ASIA: Citizens and residents of Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China
  • OCEANIA: Citizens and residents of Australia and New Zealand

Requirements to enter Costa Rica:

  • Fill out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at https://salud.go.cr.
  • RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result; the sample must have been taken within 72 hours of travel to Costa Rica.
  • Passengers coming from the U.S. must show through their driver’s license or state identification (State ID) that they live in one of the authorized states. This requirement excludes children travelling with their family. This requirement will be necessary until Nov. 1.
  • Traveler’s Medical Insurance international or purchased in Costa Rica through the National Insurance Institute (INS – Instituto Nacional de Seguros) https://www.grupoins.com/seguroparaviajeros, or Sagicor https://tiendasagicor.com/en.

For international insurance policies, tourists must request a certification from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying at least the following three conditions. (This certification must be uploaded when filling out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS):

  • Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica.
  • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with the pandemic COVID-19 virus while in Costa Rica, for at least USD $50,000 (fifty thousand United States Dollars).
  • Includes minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic.

Passengers who fail to comply with these requirements may not enter the country.

Upon landing in Costa Rican territory, travelers must wear face protection and comply with the strict protocols of the air terminal with regard to physical distancing, disinfection of carpets, and taking temperature readings, and must follow any other sanitary instructions.

Tourists from authorized states may enter the country even if their route includes a stop at a destination that is not authorized, as long as they do not leave the transit airport.

To view a video with important U.S. entry information, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAc-cbzOhxM.

Opening to Private Flights

As of Sept. 1, private flights from the United States will also be allowed to enter Costa Rica, given that their size and nature means they present a much lower epidemiological risk.

The same requirements as set forth above shall be applicable to persons on private flights. In the event that they come from a state or country that is not authorized, they must receive the approval of the Ministry of Health and the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería). Interested parties should submit a request with the following items:

  • Full names of the passengers.
  • Nationalities and ages.
  • Legible copy of the biographical page of the passport of each one of the passengers.
  • Date of arrival, arrival airport, and flight origin.
  • Strategic reason for admission (investment review, property in Costa Rica, humanitarian reasons, etc.).

Gradual Maritime Opening

Passengers and crew members of yachts and sailboats must meet the same entry requirements as those issued to passengers entering by air on August 1.

Those who entered the country by sea from the list of permitted countries and who have not made a stopover elsewhere, should not be subjected to isolation if they have been sailing for more than 14 days.

If the passengers do not bring with them the negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to the trip to Costa Rica, or they set sail in an unauthorized city or country, they will receive a sanitary isolation order for 14 days from, from which will be deducted the number of days on the high seas, counting from the last port departure date recorded in the yacht or sailboat’s log.

 In addition to the aforementioned requirements, tourists arriving from yachts or sailboats must hand over to the immigration authorities the “International Ship Sailing” document and dock in authorized marinas.

In case of doubts with the medical insurance, the passengers and crew of yachts or sailboats can write to the email: seguros.marinas@ict.go.cr.

Last updated on October 10, 2020. This information may changed at any time. Before making travel plans to Costa Rica check directly with the airlines and the links below.
Costa Rica Tourism Board
Ministry of Health
Presidency of the Republic
Migration Office
Juan Santamaria International Airport
Liberia Airport

Staying in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Tamarindo Hotels and Resorts


Since Tamarindo and its neighboring beach of  Playa Langosta are small, most hotels and resorts are within walking distance from the beach. Among Tamarindo’s beach front hotels are surf camp Witch’s Rock and the resort Hotel Tamarindo Diria. Playa Langosta is home to the deluxe award winning hotel Cala Luna, and the beachfront Tamarindo Occidental, an international chain. Dry season (December to April) is busy and you will need to book your hotel far in advance.

Tamarindo Costa Rica Hotel Directory

Tamarindo Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and Breakfasts

A bed and breakfast is a great way to meet locals. Many B&Bs are located on the beach, and breakfast will likely feature delicious fresh fruits, gallo pinto and Costa Rica’s famous coffee. Villa Amarilla is a beachfront B&B set in beautiful gardens. Sueno del Mar is located on the beach in quiet Playa Langosta. Although a B&B is a perfect lodging for families and solo travelers, it is especially suited for those on a honeymoon.

Tamarindo Bed and Breakfasts

Houses for rent Tamarindo Costa Rica

Vacation Rentals

A vacation rental is a good lodging option, especially for family vacations or corporate retreats. Many come with private chefs, nannies and a concierge. For those who would you rather cook your own meal while on vacation, there are several grocery stores as well as a grocery delivery service. The Casa Bali in Langosta is a luxurious vacation rental on the beach of Playa Langosta. Casa Leo Loco in the mountains of Tamarindo has incredible views of not only Tamarindo, but Playa Grande as well.

Vacation Rentals in Tamarindo and Langosta

Prepare your Tamarindo vacation

How to get to Tamarindo

Tamarindo is easy to get to. Costa Rica has two major international airports. The Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) is located in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. An hour away from Tamarindo in Liberia is the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR). American Airlines, Southwest, Lufthansa, Copa, Iberia, Delta, AeroMexico are a few of the airlines that have direct flights from destinations such as Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Panama, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.

If you land in San Jose you can either rent a car at the airport terminal, book a shuttle, take a public bus or fly a local airline (Sansa or Nature Air) into Tamarindo. The drive will be around 4 hours and a flight around 45 minutes. Sansa leaves from the San Jose airport, Nature Air departs from the Pavas Airport.

Many hotels can arrange a shuttle or taxi for you if your arrival is in Liberia. There are plenty of car rental agencies available at the Liberia airport, as well as shuttles, taxis and public buses. Be aware that public buses are cheap, but will make a lot of stops.

Best time to visit Tamarindo

Now that is an easy one: any time at all. It is wet from May through September and dry from October through April. No, it doesn’t usually rain every day in rainy season. And unless there are hurricanes in the Atlantic it should only rain a couple of hours per day. The temperature is nice and warm year round. If you like it really hot, then you should visit in April. But be advised, it gets HOT! For more weather tips check out our Tamarindo weather page.

tamarindo family

Tamarindo vacation with young children

Playa Tamarindo is a great family friendly destination. The beach of Tamarindo is big and has many tide pools. Towards Playa Langosta is the hotel Capitan Suizo. In front of the hotel you will find the calmest water and the best tide pools. There are also a lot of shade trees. The other side of Tamarindo’s beach ends in the estuary. Although it may look like a great place to swim, don’t let you kids go in the water as there are crocodiles.

The sun is strong in Tamarindo. Costa Rica is close to the equator and a sun burn can happen quickly. Keep your kids covered in sunscreen. Letting them wear a t-shirt they can swim in, or a rash guard is a good precaution. And don’t forget to put sunscreen on yourself too, especially nose and shoulders.

Tamarindo’s holiday rentals are a great place to stay with a family. You can cook your own meal, have them catered by a Tamarindo chef, or even delivered by a food delivery service. There is a huge variety of vacation rentals to choose from in Tamarindo. Some vacation rentals come with their own chef, concierge and even nannies.

Getting married in Tamarindo

Destination weddings have become very popular over the last few years. Costa Rica is an ideal wedding location because of its sunny and warm weather year round and easy access from international cities. Tamarindo offers many wedding venues and an equally large selection of wedding planners. For those who would like to plan their own beach wedding most hotels will help you set up for your perfect day. Getting paperwork is relatively easy, you will need a local officiant and two non-family witnesses.

Fun things to do in Tamarindo Costa Rica

costa rica tours
Guanacaste  Adventures

Although there is nothing wrong with lazing on the beach all day, there are many fun Tamarindo water sports as well as tours and excursions.

Nothing beats the trill of zip lining above the tree canopy, discovering deserted beaches by horseback, exploring the jungle by ATV or snorkeling among large schools of fish. Tamarindo is famous for its surfing and there are breaks for both the expert surfer as well as the novice. Tamarindo has been a mecca for sportfishing since the mid 70’s. Inshore fishing for Snapper, Roosterfish and Tuna makes for a fun half day. For the more intrepid fisherman a full day will target large Tuna, Sailfish and Marlin. From October through February the endangered Leatherback Turtle will come ashore on Playa Grande to lay her eggs. Volcanoes, caverns, and waterfalls are just a short bus ride away. And the very best way to enjoy Tamarindo’s many glorious sunsets is with cocktail in hand and breeze on your face while sailing on a large catamaran.

Nightlife is vibrant, and there is always a live band playing somewhere. Tamarindo is a multi-cultural community which makes for great dining experiences. Make sure to start your day with Costa Rica’s famous Gallo Pinto and a cup of Costa Rican grown coffee.


VERY VERY Important Vacation Words

Don’t speak Spanish but would like to communicate? There are many words that will help such as Si for Yes, Hola for Hello and Adios for Goodbye. But we have rounded up some more important words for you. Make sure to practice them before your Tamarindo vacation and put them to good use while you are here.

"Gallo Pinto"

A delicious Costa Rica breakfast made with eggs, plantains, rice and beans.

"Cerveza Fria"

Cold Costa Rica beer, preferably a frosty bottle of Imperial.

"Donde esta mi hamaca"

“Where is my hammock.” To be used at any time of the day or night.

"No quiero salir"

“I don’t want to leave.” To be used before heading back home.

"Mas por favor"

“More please.” Can refer to anything, from food, to drinks, to fun.

"Pura Vida"

If spoken at the appropriate time then you’ve successfully mastered your holiday.

Costa Rica travel tips

Costa Rica passport requirements

Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 more months after your visit to Tamarindo Costa Rica. And no, your birth certificate will not be accepted. Also you might need to show proof of exiting Costa Rica like a return flight ticket. The Costa Rica Immigration website has a pdf document outlining requirements per country.


You won’t need to get special vaccinations. It is a good idea to be up to date on standard vaccinations though. You do not want to end up in a hospital with measles. Do bring bug spray and be sure to apply it, as there is both Dengue and Chikungunya.

Money tips

The national money of Costa Rica is Colones. If there were such a thing as a ‘second national money’, then it would certainly be the US dollar. Almost everywhere you will be able to pay with dollars. But you may not always get a good exchange rate. Make sure to have plenty of 20s; 100’s are harder to cash.

Visa is widely accepted and there are plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw money. Local banks will change dollars. The lines might be long but they offer good exchange rates.

Before your visit ask your local bank if they charge a foreign exchange fee. Don’t forget to tell you bank that you are traveling to Tamarindo Costa Rica so they don’t get surprised by your purchase of a piña colada on the beach in Tamarindo and cancel your card.

Renting a car in Costa Rica

Many international car rentals have offices in Costa Rica, such as Avis, Economy and Budget. It’s best to rent from an agency directly and not through Expedia, as they might not be exactly aware of local laws. You can find car rental agencies in our Tamarindo Transportation directory. Be prepared for sticker shock, renting a car is not cheap, and you will have to get insurance.

Liability Insurance is mandatory and must be bought at the agency. Liability Insurance is attached to the car and not the driver, therefore a policy from your home country cannot be used.

Collision Insurance is not mandated by law, and it does not cover glass or tires. Therefore the car rental agency will add a refundable deposit to your rental. If you do purchase Collision Insurance from them, the deposit will be lower. A large portion of available credit on your card might be taken up by a the rental deposit. It can take a while for the deposit to get refunded back onto your card, so plan accordingly.

Tamarindo Costa Rica Vacation

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