Tamarindo Costa Rica Travel Guide

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

Due to COVID-19 Costa Rica has closed its borders until at least June 30. So take this time at home to plan your trip and we’ll see you in a few months!

Flights into Costa Rica during COVID-19

Aeromexico – AirFrance – AirPanama – air transat – albatros – Delta – KLM – volaris – Westjet: suspended until further notice
Air Canada: suspended until June 30
American Airlines: suspended until July 7 (Miami and Dallas)
Costa Rica Green Airways: available for charters
Southwest: suspended until August 30 (Fort Lauderdale and Houston)
Spirit Airlines: suspended until July 5 (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando)
United Airlines: repatriation flights to Houston on June 3 – 5 – 8 – 10 – 12 – 15

At this point only residents and citizens can enter Costa Rica. All arriving passengers will be checked for Corona Virus at the airport and assigned a mandatory two week home isolation. Although officially the border remains closed until June 15, the rumor is that it will be extended until late August.

Last updated on June 1, 2020. This information may change at any time. Before making travel plans to Costa Rica check directly with the airlines and the Costa Rica Tourism Board.

Staying in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Tamarindo Hotels and Resorts

Hotels

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.

Vaccinations

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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