North Pacific

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo is the most well developed tourism area on the entire Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, sporting a truly international exuberance and welcoming atmosphere for local and international tourists alike. Surrounded by national parks to its north and south, and mountains to its east, Tamarindo is an oasis of fun in the middle of a tropical dream.

  • Playa Negra is the surfbreak featured in Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer II.

The main beach at Tamarindo is a long stretch of white sand and warm blue water. The town stretches out along the beach, with a plethora of shops and over forty restaurants all within walking distance of one another. No matter what your budget is, Tamarindo won’t count you out for partying and fun in the sun and into the night. Day activities include everything Costa Rica has to offer year around: surfing just to the north of Tamarindo if you’re brave enough to confront the caimans in the estuary or drive around to cross it, and then also to the south via a masochistic but short jaunt are the beaches Playa Langosta, Playa Avellanas, and Playa Negra.

Swimming, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, boogie boarding, horseback riding and scuba diving are all easy to arrange right there on the beach and in the shops in Tamarindo. For the eco tourists, there’s nearby wildlife refuge of Diria, as well as the Marina Las Baulas National Park, where leatherback turtles come every summer to nest and breed.

Canoes can be rented to explore the estuaries and get up close views of wildlife, birds, and caimans, or sport fishing vessels can be rented if you’re in search of world class catches.

The nightlife is forever colorful in Tamarindo, with a hedonous mix of locals, expats and tourists filling the clubs and bars night after night. May through October, Tamarindo usually receives rain showers in the afternoon, giving welcome reprieve to the residents from the year around sun and heat, and providing some of the most famous sunsets in all of Costa Rica.

How to get there:

From San Jose: The fastest way to drive from San Jose is to take the Autopista del Sol or the Interamerican Highway to Caldera and turn left after Puntarenas towards Puente de la Amistad (Friendship Bridge) over the Tempisque River. Cross the bridge and follow the road signs to Nicoya until you start seeing signs for Tamarindo. The drive takes about 4 hours.

Fun fact:

The Northwest Pacific is one of the driest climates in Costa Rica. The beach areas have a fairly steady year round temperature with daytime highs averaging in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Night time lows are usually in the upper 70s. Precipitation varies through the year with the nicest weather between November and August.

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