Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula

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


Tambor Costa Rica

Tambor Beach
Bahia Ballena, the large bay of Tambor

Tambor is set in the valley of a large and calm horseshoe bay, the Bahia Ballena, which in English means whale bay. During dry season these giants of the seas used to come into the bay. Nowadays with the increased coastal activity whales no longer frequent the bay of Tambor.

Playa Tambor
Swimming is safe in Tambor

The beach of Tambor is easily accessed with a car and you find shade under almond and palm trees. The volcanic history serves up a grey-colored, hard-packed sand which gently slopes into the crescent bay. Low tide produces a broad expanse of beach and the shallow waters are exceedingly calm, offering good swimming for even the most timid of bathers.

Playing Soccer on Tambor Beach
Women playing soccer on Playa Tambor

The valley of Tambor is cradled by lush forested hills which are part of the Biological corridor of the Nicoya Peninsula. To the north of the Tambor bay lies the » Curu Wildlife Reserve which protects various ecological habitats and a wealth of wildlife. It is fronted by the Islas Tortugas, a tropical island paradise which can be visited on a boat tour from Tambor. See: » Tours and Activities in Tambor

Tambor offers good bird watching as to the north of the village the majestic Rio Panica creates a scenic river landscape. Hotels in Tambor offer birding tours along the river or into a nearby mangrove estuary to see a sampling of » Costa Rica's birds. Additionally a local breeding program for scarlet macaws has successfully re-introduced the species in the area and sometimes you see flocks of these gregarious, large parrots foraging the almond trees on Tambor beach.

A facet of Tambor that intrigues many visitors are the large patches of barren, abandoned lots. Despite of various ambitious development plans Tambor never really took off. The village has retained its somnolent atmosphere with a mostly tranquil Tico population and a contingent of retired North Americans who idle away in the surroundings.
However 6 km north of the village of Tambor you find the self-contained vacation world of Barcelo's Hotel Playa Tambor with its 402 hotel rooms. Hotel Playa Tambor was Costa Rica's first all-inclusive tourist resort. Nearby is also a golf course where visitors can purchase a day ticket for the 9-hole golf course.

To the opposite side of Tambor, at the southern end of the bay, is a small fishermen community and a landing pier for boats. The bay of Tambor offers one of the rare safe anchor places on the pacific side of Costa Rica.

Tambor also boasts the only airport on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. » Flights to Tambor are available several times per day on a 20-min flight to San Jose and other destinations in Costa Rica.

» Tambor Part II   » Tours and Activities in Tambor