Tamarindo or Tama-gringo as I call it, is an expats paradise. It is located in the North western corner of Costa Rica, which gives it a generally dry, warm climate year round.
My first impression what that Tammy was a "mini Hawaii" of sorts full of surf shops, tasty waves, cute beach cafes, and beautiful people. Tamarindo is great spot if you are hoping to have a relaxing, convenient vacation- everything you could want and need is a short stroll away. Some of my favorite sunsets in Costa Rica were enjoyed from the main beach here!
The Tamarindo Low Down
- How to Keep Busy
- Let's Talk Money
- Crash Pads
- Tips from Mary
- Related Articles
- Booking Resources
How to Keep Busy
- Go Surfing: Nothing is more Pura Vida than paddling out and enjoying the waves. Rentals are everywhere and should cost about $10 for the whole day.
- Beach Bum It Up: Build a sandcastle, take a nap, bring a mini cooler of icy brews to enjoy- however you do your beach day is up to you, just remember to reapply your sunscreen superrrr religiously.
- Sail Away into the Sunset: Nothing beats watching the sunset from the deck of catamaran with a drink in hand. My favorite is the Marlin del Rey afternoon tour- complete with full lunch/dinner, free flowing open bar, everything you need to snorkel and super fun and professional staff!
- Enjoy the Nightlife: Tamarindo is not is short supply of bars and beach clubs to pass your evening in. Most nights of the week ladies can find a place to drink for free and no matter the night of the week there is always a go to bar. You can check out my guide to Tammy nightlife for more info on where to be when.
Let's Talk Money
- In General: While the currency in Costa Rica is the colon, the US Dollar is accepted by nearly every single businesses in Tamarindo and most prices will appear in USD. Most places will also accept credit card, but I always carry some cash for the rare finds that are cash only!
- Transportation Prices: The most convenient way to get around Tamarindo is by car. You can rent a car- which will run you between $70 and $100 USD daily (with total coverage insurance). Other options would be to see if transport is included with the tour/ hotel you are booking, grabbing a taxi to nearby beaches, or hitch hiking (of course at your own risk). There are direct buses from San Jose and Liberia to Tamarindo as well as local buses that are easy to grab to get around, most tickets will be about $1 - $10 USD.
- Food: It is so easy to spend your money on food in Tamarindo. There are a few scattered Sodas and hostel restaurants where you can grab a meal for $10 or less. There are two main walking streets packed with international fare and a ton of beachfront restaurants where you can catch yet another fire sunset. Some of my favorites are:
- Crash Pads: Tamarindo has a ton of great places to stay. The cheapest backpacker hostel will run about $10 USD a night, budget hotel/ hostel is about $40- $80 USD a night, mid range hotels run about $60 - $150 a night, and fancier options are closer to $200 or $300 (and up!) a night. Tamarindo does also have some super high end and luxury resorts and hotels that can cost closer to $500 - $1000 a night depending on your selection- think weddings and honeymoon suites. Keep reading to see my top choices of places to stay.
- Hostels: Tamarindo has some awesome hostels- many of which double as a surf camps or yoga retreats!
- Coral Reef Surf Hostel: This is a cheap but good option! Smack dab in the middle of town- a short walk to everything hostel!
- La Botella de Leche: A little bit removed from the hustle bustle of downtown Tammy. This spot is chill and usually has a bit of an older crowd.
- Selina Tamarindo: A crowd favorite. Not super close to main part of town, but still walkable. Has onsite bar, restaurant, and surf shop. Selina also hosts community events and live music events.
- La Oveja Negra: Also located on the main drag and has a fun, social atmosphere. There is an outdoor Mexican food restaurant onsite.
- Hotels / Resorts:
- Diria Beach Resort: Beachfront Paradise right in the heart of Tammy! Super nice hotel and resort and great for families!
- Wyndham Esplendor Tamarindo: A bit outside of town, but has killer views!!! They have shuttle that runs to and from town and also have a beachfront club that you can access during the day.
- Occidental Tamarindo: Located in Playa Langosta this resort is a true place of relaxation, far removed from the main town.
- Airbnb is a great option, especially for groups visiting Tammy! You can follow this link to get some cash money towards your first reservation with Airbnb!
Tips from Mary
1. Enjoy a fresh coconut on the beach. You can buy a "pipa fria" from the comfort of your beach towel. You will see people walking up and down the beach with coolers of these bad boys. Not only are they super yummy but will help keep you hydrated in the heat!
2. When in Rome.... If you are planning on surfing do as the locals do. Follow the lead of others who know the beach and the surf spot much better than you do. If there are not any other surfers out there... there is likely a reason.
3. Take a day trip to Playa Conchal. This is one of my favorite spots. It is a small, protected cove that has bright blue water and a super laid back vibe.
4. Get a 2 X 1 Pina and Ron (Pineapple and Rum) drink from suck my cocktails. These drinks are SO good. Just be careful not to get too carried away because these little suckers pack a punch.
5. Rule of thumb for pretty much everything- the farther you walk into town away from the beach the less expensive things will be. If you are not trying to break the bank opt for eating/ staying of the main drag.
6. Do not walk the beach at night. Seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised. The beach gets DARK and tides can change very fast. Stay safe and save the stargazing and skinny dipping for the hotel pool.