Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula

The Travel Guide to the Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica, with detailed Maps, Hotels and Tourist Information


Tamarindo Costa Rica

Tamarindo is the most developed beach on the Nicoya Peninsula and one of Costa Rica's best-known surf spots. The surfer mecca in the bay of Tamarindo offers all kind of tourist services, along with a vibrant nightlife scene and some of Costa Rica's best restaurants. Only a 1-hour drive from the international airport of Liberia, Tamarindo is easily accessible from North American and European cities. With an assortment of awesome beaches extending to the north and south of Tamarindo the bustling beach town is a strategic location for exploring Guanacaste's sun-kissed coastline.

The Town of Tamarindo

Tamarindo Hotels
Tamarindo Center

When in 1994 the surf cult movie "Endless Summer II" starred Tamarindo's surf beaches and pura vida lifestyle it lured the surf nomads and nature seekers to the secret beach spot. Only a couple of years later Tamarindo evolved into a lively town.

Beach Lounge in Tamarindo
Beach lounge in Tamarindo

Today Tamarindo is built up with hotels and condominiums and you hear more English on the streets than Spanish. The village center is filled with souvenir, art, and fashion shops, some of them geared towards discriminating travelers. Supermarkets and specialty shops offer international delicatessen and you can indulge in wellness and health services. Tamarindo's cosmoplitan residents also offer a remarkable assortment of good restaurants. There are however still many choices for travelers on a budget who find typical dishes and snack bars, along with backpacker hostels and cabins. » Map of Tamarindo with Hotels

The Beaches of Tamarindo

Playa Tamarindo during low tide
Playa Tamarindo during low tide

Playa Tamarindo is a mile-long crescent beach which serves as the front yard of the town. Restaurants and lounge bars line the beach from where you have front row view to the surf and beach life. At evening you can watch magnificient sunsets over the bay of Tamarindo with its fishing boats and the small islet of Isla Capitán. The shallow waters of Playa Tamarindo are perfect for bathing and the easy-going surf is also well suited for surf beginners.

The bay of Tamarindo
View from Tamarindo to Playa Grande

If you crave more solitude and nature bliss you only have to stray a bit farther along the beach. Walking north from Playa Tamarindo you arrive at the estuary of the Rio Matapalo where small taxi boats can take you over the river to » Playa Grande, a beautiful swathe of white sand beach that stretches north for around 10 km.

South of Tamarindo
Rio San Francisco on Playa Langosta

Walking south from Tamarindo you get to a rocky headland with tidal pools where you watch small sea life trapped in the pools. A little bit further comes Playa Langosta with its white-sand dunes and the scenic estuary of the Rio San Francisco. Around low tide you can cross the river by wading through waist-high water at the outer edge of the river mouth. On the other side you can continue until » Playa Avellanas.

Playa Langosta and Avellanas are some of the best » surf spots in area.

Tamarindo Estuary
Tamarindo Estuary of the Rio Matapalo

The estuaries of the Rio Matapalo and Rio San Francisco are protected wildlife refuges as they present large stands of mangroves with a big variety of water birds, crabs and other wildlife. On a boat or kayak tour you can explore the serene mangrove forest which feels a world apart from the bustling center of nearby Tamarindo.

More: » Tours and Activities in Tamarindo