Once a quiet fishing hamlet, Tamarindo has evolved to be the area’s most developed and accessible tourist town. Located on the central west coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, Tamarindo offers visitors of every budget a chance to experience the region’s unspoiled beaches and incredible biodiversity in a range of accommodations. Despite the town’s recent and ongoing development, it retains the laidback vibe that is so characteristic of the region.
Seperated from Tamarindo by the Río Matapalo is Playa Grande, an uninspiring crop of pebble-rock seashore with the exception of numerous tide pools that are exposed at low tides. However, surfing along Playa Grande is ideal—regardless of skill level. The town hosts several international surf competitions, a testament to the quality of surf available. Visitors seeking luxurious accommodations can do so south of Playa Grande at Playa Langosta, a pristine white-sand beach near the Río San Francisco.
As a regional hub, Tamarindo offers a wide-range of extensive services to visitors including sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, and horseback riding. The Tamarindo airport offers visitors in the San José area a seamless method of travel to the area, and Liberia is a close 50 kilometers (31 mi) for visitors already bound on international flights to Nicoya.
Perhaps Tamarindo’s greatest appeal is its proximity to the Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge, which comprises 1,000 acres (400 ha) of dazzling protected forest, including abundant mangroves and estuaries. Tours of the fascinating plant and animal life can be arranged from Tamarindo, including canoe tours of costal habitats. Just north of town is the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, which offers visitors an opportunity to see the world’s largest reptile, the leatherback turtle, come ashore to lay eggs. Also close by is the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional and Parque Nacional Barra Honda.
Tamarindo’s extensive development has imbued elements of affluent foreign culture from modernist cafés to chic restaurants into the fundamentally Tico culture, making for an appealing combination of both worlds. North Americans and Europeans in particular will enjoy the many elements of their own culture offered in Tamarindo along with the authenticity of local culture.
"We ate at Bamboo Sushi and Dragonfly, both were fabulous food and very friendly people especially at the Dragonfly. We were there over the new year and it was really busy but still fine. We had an incredible time."
– Dec 2015
"People visit Tamarindo for the surf and for good reason! It offers waves for the beginners and experienced alike. "
– Nov 2015
"I liked this area as you had the beach and were not to far to venture out for some excursions."
– Nov 2015
"Tamarindo was great. It is extremely touristy and busy but there is lots to see and do. I can see how this would be the absolute perfect place to come if you were looking for a party and a good time. We enjoyed spending time here but were very thankful to head back to Playa Grande vie the estuary ferries after a few hours of wandering around Tamarindo"
– Jan 2016
"We really enjoyed our time in Tamarindo."
– Jan 2016