Once the site of a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo Beach has become one of Costa Rica's most popular stretches of golden sand. Surfers travel from across the globe to ride Tamarindo's waves, but you don’t need to be a pro to hang 10 here. There are spots nearby that are calm enough for first-time wave riders to learn.
This beach has become one of the most developed on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Some visitors say the beach town has lost its authentic charm, while others enjoy the modern restaurants, nightlife, and creature comforts. Regardless, the mile-long, crescent-shaped beach offers plenty of space to sunbathe; the shallow, calm waters make for good swimming conditions; and sailing, kayaking, fishing, and surfing are all popular activities. All-terrain vehicle tours and sailing cruises are also available.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Surfers take note: Waves are said to be best close to the estuary.
- There are many facilities and lodging options in the town of Tamarindo, or you can head across the river to Playa Grande for a more quiet atmosphere.
- Parking can be difficult to find and parking guards will sometimes charge a fee.
How to Get There
Located on Costa Rica's northern Pacific Coast, Tamarindo Beach is five hours from San José by car and only an hour from the international airport in Liberia. There are also two public bus routes to Tamarindo from San José and Liberia, as well as shared shuttle options from both cities.
When to Get There
Although the temperature is always mild, high season is November through April when days are warm and sunny. This is also nesting season for leatherback and green sea turtles in nearby Playa Grande, where observation tours are available. The summer months of June through September often see torrential amounts of rain.
Nearby Barra Honda Caves
Located inside Barra Honda National Park, a 1.5-hour drive from Tamarindo, these well-preserved limestone caves feature stalactites, stalagmites, and other calcareous formations. They are a big draw for eco-tourists and climbers, but keep in mind, you’ll need to be outfitted with the appropriate climbing gear and be accompanied by a guide to explore the caves.