9 Healthy Food & Activity Picks in Tamarindo

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to come back from your Tamarindo vacation refreshed, invigorated, and healthier than you were when you left home?  It isn’t difficult, and in Tamarindo it’s fun, delicious, and can be inexpensive.

photo by Max Rovensky

Four Healthy Things to Do

1. Go to the beach!

Newsflash:  the beach is healthy!  Measured amounts of direct sunlight are fabulous for you, flooding your body with vitamin D, making you feel happy and giving your immune system a kick in the pants.  And don’t just lie in the sun–walk.  Tamarindo Beach, from end to end is about two miles long, so put on your hat, get out the door of your Tamarindo vacation rental, and go for a walk or a jog.  The beach is the world’s best free gym!  Tamarindo Beach, specifically the south end of the bay, is safe for swimming.  You can rent a stand-up paddle board or kayak and visit the Captain Island or just go exploring the bay. 

tamarindo vacation
photo by unsplash

Surfing, of course, is a fabulous exercise.  Take a Tamarindo surf lesson if it will be your first time on a board, or rent a surfboard from one of our local shops and catch some waves.  Where and when it’s best to surf in Tamarindo depends on the swell direction and how the sand bars are formed on at any given time, but it’s generally a mid to high tide break.  Surf at high tide, walk at low tide, and you’re sure to leave Costa Rica happier and healthier than when you got here.

2. Hit the gym

There are several gyms and fitness centers in and around Tamarindo.  Being a transient community of visitors, of course you don’t need to buy a monthly membership–just show up and pay for the day.  Tamarindo fitness centers are not expensive, offer quality equipment, are air-conditioned, and feature a variety of classes like yoga, spinning, Zumba, and more.  Trainers are on duty in Tamarindo’s gyms to provide you the guidance you need. 

Depending on where you come from, Tamarindo’s climate can be too warm for you to be able to enjoy fitness activities, but the gyms are comfortably cool.  Visiting in the rainy season?  Get your workout in no matter what the weather.  If you train hard at home and don’t want to lose your rhythm on vacation, Tamarindo is a great choice of destination for you. 

photo by Form

3. Do yoga or Pilates

Tamarindo is a favorite destination of practitioners of all types of yoga. There are traditional indoor studios with classes throughout the day and evening, and there is yoga on the beach in the mornings and late afternoons.  Tamarindo yoga and Pilates instructors offer open group classes and private sessions.  If your vacation in the tropics a destination travel occasion like a Tamarindo wedding or other special group celebration, have the yoga or Pilates instructor come lead private classes for you and your friends/family at your Tamarindo vacation rental

4. Get a massage

Just like your options for yoga and Pilates, you can enjoy a Tamarindo massage and other spa services either in a five-star spa, on the beach, or in your vacation rental.  Experience the health benefits of relaxing massage, melting away any worries that came with you on vacation, or book an appointment for a deep tissue therapeutic massage.  Massage therapists in Tamarindo come from all over the globe, speak a plethora of languages, and are trained in a wide variety of styles. 

In addition to a massage, have a body wrap or scrub that will refresh your skin, or a Costa Rican all-natural facial with cacao or avocado.  Read over the spa menus of Tamarindo spas before you even leave home to get an idea of what kinds of health-enhancing spa treatments are available for you here in paradise.

photo by Taylor Simpson

Three (among dozens of) Health Tamarindo Restaurants

photo by Jez Timms

1. Pura Vegan

If your way of being healthy is to eat vegetarian or vegan, you’re going to love Pura Vegan.  This delightful little spot inside of the open-air food court called El Mercadito is a favorite of Tamarindo locals–vegan and omnivores alike.  Their giant salad bowl is to die for, the spicy curry you can’t have just once, and their french fries with vegan cheese sauce made from cashews is nothing short of unbelievable.  Everything on the menu is under 10$, and the portions are more than generous. 


Photo property of Pura Vegan, Tamarindo

2. Pangas Beach Club

Pangas Beach Club’s menu is an especially healthy menu because all of Pangas’ plates are crafted with fresh locally-sourced ingredients.  Pangas serves lunch and dinner all week, and brunch on Sunday mornings.  Fresh fish and salads, custom crafted cocktails, and seared grass-fed beef are some of Pangas Beach Club’s signature offerings.  

Great food in Tamarindo is easy to find, but at Pangas Beach Club your options are nothing short of excellent.

pangas

Pangas Beach Club will amaze you with exquisite, healthy options

3 .Green Papaya

Green Papaya, just off the beaten path but close to everything, is another healthy eating option that deserves a mention.  Green Papaya calls itself a taco bar, but it’s really much more.  Their salads, tacos and burritos made with home-made tortillas, ceviche, and other menu options are fresh, generously served, and very reasonably priced. 

One of the most unique things about Green Papaya is that in the outdoor dining area, some of the seating is on swings suspended from the roof beams.  Kids love this, and–we have to confess–grown-ups think it’s pretty awesome too.  Fun is healthy, so don’t miss out on any of it.

Two Healthy Places to Buy Groceries

1. The Saturday Farmer’s and Craft Market

If you’re in Tamarindo on a Saturday morning, by all means do not miss the Saturday Market!  The Saturday market is a great place to stock up your fridge with organic produce, fresh organic meats, fresh fish, homemade bread and pastries, kombucha, and organic wines. 

tamarindo market
photo by hotchicksing

You can also get in on artisan chocolates and spices, family farm coffee, local honey and much more.  Need gifts?  You can support Tamarindo artisans by purchasing handmade clothing, paintings, sculptures, organic personal products like skin cream and sunscreen, and jewelry.  When you support local farmers and artisans you not only create health for yourself, you create health for the community around you.  Tamarindo says Thank you!

2. El Almacen/La Bodega

El Almacen is a small organic market in Tamarindo, and La Bodega is the adjoining cafe that prepares and serves organic breakfasts and lunches.   You can pick up organic ingredients for the meals that you or your Tamarindo chef will prepare in your Tamarindo vacation rental, or enjoy the treats they prepare right there in La Bodega.  El Almacen is also a great place to grab unique and healthy gifts to take home for the family and friends that you want to share a piece of Costa Rica with!

Photo by Leon Liu

Contact us today for assistance with planning your healthy Tamarindo vacation!

Featured Property of the Month: Puesta del Sol

Our featured property this month at Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo is Puesta del Sol.  This brand new Tamarindo vacation rental property combines elements of a home and a hotel into a unique hybrid of common and private spaces. Six private cabins sleep up to 16 guests at Puesta del Sol, making this property a favorite for special event occasions like weddings, retreats, and reunions. 

tamarindo vacation rental

Puesta del Sol sets on the top of a Tamarindo Bay hillside overlooking the town, the bay, and the magnificent Pacific sunsets from which the property derives its name.  The property affords a breathtaking 300-degree view of Playa Grande to the north, Tamarindo to the west, Langosta to the south, and the endless rolling green hills of Guanacaste disappearing into the east.  As the day progresses at Puesta del Sol, the panorama changes according to the angle of the light, ending with a sunset show you will never forget as you watch it from the infinity pool, the breezy patio, or your room’s private terrace.

The common areas at Puesta del Sol

The heart of Puesta del Sol is its common area, with six private sleeping cabins set in a semicircle around it.  A spacious living/dining room with sliding glass doors on three sides and a full bar and kitchen at the other end is far above and beyond what you’ll find in most rental homes.  

tamarindo vacation rental

What you really have at Puesta del Sol is your own mini retreat center.  The infinity pool that lies along the beach-view side of the common space is surrounded by a sun terrace and comfy cushioned loungers that you can place in the sun or shade according to your preference. 

Whether you’re a family group, a corporate retreat group, a wedding party, or a bunch of friends on vacation together, you’ll love the way at Puesta del Sol, you can cook and eat together, leave the sliding doors open so the kids can play in the pool while you mix cocktails at the bar, or stretch out on the couches and watch a movie together. 

The Bedrooms

Private cottages house the bedrooms at Puesta del Sol.  Four of the six bedrooms have one king-sized bed, and two of them have two queen sized beds.  These queen rooms are perfect for families or for roommates who prefer to have their own space. 

tamarindo vacation rental

Each bedroom has its own spacious en-suite bath, and a patio with quaint wooden rocking chairs.  You are going to love the time you spend sitting on the patio taking in the breathtaking view.  No matter which direction your room faces, the view is amazing.  Wake up in the morning, wander over to the kitchen, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and then tiptoe back to your patio to soak in the beauty of the beginning of the new day.

Why Puesta del Sol

Why choose Puesta del Sol for your Tamarindo vacation rental?  One great reason is privacy.  Puesta del Sol is literally at the top of the hill.  You won’t have to worry about traffic because no one but you is climbing up that far.  This means, of course, that you will absolutely need rental vehicles to get you back and forth from the town and the beach, but the rather adventurous bumpy ride takes only a few minutes.

Another reason to choose Puesta del Sol is that it’s one of our newest properties.  Everything works perfectly, and the property has the crisp modern feel that is hard to attain with older properties that were originally built as single-family homes. 

tamarindo vacation rental

We think, though, that even more than the privacy Puesta del Sol offers or the pristine condition of the property, you’re going to want to stay there because of the view.  Seriously.  “Breathtaking is a word that gets thrown around a lot and over-used, but wait until you stand on the pool terrace in front of Puesta del Sol where the hillside drops away from your feet and leaves you in the sky.  See if the feeling of space around and even under you doesn’t make you catch your breath and reach for something to hold onto.

Why Tamarindo

If you’re coming to Puesta del Sol, that means you’re coming to Tamarindo–so there are two things to be extremely happy about!  Tamarindo is Costa Rica’s premier Pacific coast beach vacation destination, and you’re going to love it.  The beach is great for swimming and surfing, and it’s a sandy beach with only a few rocky areas, so you can enjoy long low-tide beach walks. 

tamarindo surf lessons

The town of Tamarindo is only about 30 years old, which means that you’ll find an established community with lots of new and vibrant activity.  You’ll hear languages from every continent on the planet being spoken on the street and have the chance to choose between Tamarindo restaurants that offer Costa Rican traditional food, Italian restaurants, Indian, middle-eastern, North American, Argentinian, Venezuelan, French, and Asian cuisine.  The nightlife begins as the sun sets between 5 and 6 PM depending on the time of year, and continues until the wee hours of the morning.  Live music is everywhere at sunset and during dinner time.  Fire dancers entertain on the beach and in the streets, and as the hours pass, DJs keep the energy flowing. 

What to do during your visit

Tamarindo is Guanacaste’s Activity Central, so don’t forget to plan some down time into your days, or you’ll need a vacation from your vacation when you get home from Puesta del Sol.  Our Concierge is an expert in planning group packages, so give us a profile of who’s coming, and we’ll give you some suggestions to consider. 

tamarindo zip line

Go surfing, or take Tamarindo surf lessons if surfing isn’t already your thing.  Get out on a fishing boat, a catamaran, or a sailboat and experience the ocean.  You can go hiking, horseback or mountain bike riding, and visit one of our dozens of national parks.  Visit an active volcano, ride a Tamarindo zipline, go whitewater rafting or tubing, and watch sea turtles nesting in Las Baulas National Marine Park.  You’ll want to leave time to enjoy the beach, of course, and you’ll want to experience the sunset hour on this villa’s pool terrace watching the colors of the sky and sea change, blend, and fade into starlight.

Contact us to learn more about reservations.

The Perfect Costa Rica Family Vacation

It’s finally summer–exactly what you’ve waited for all year!  Now is the time to enjoy sunny days, long evenings, and pack the kids up and spend some quality family time together.  It’s not too late to get in on our last-minute specials and bring the gang to Costa Rica!  Once a destination only for adventurous backpackers and surf safaris, Costa Rica has evolved into a top family vacation destination.  

Families come in all shapes and sizes, but the great thing about Costa Rica is that although it is a small country, it has something for everyone.  We’re the local experts on Costa Rica family vacations and will help you tailor your trip to fulfill everyone’s expectations.  


Photo by Kizoa Team

Planning your Costa Rica family vacation is going to require you to make some choices.  Costa Rica is full of amazing things to see and do, and you aren’t going to be able to see or do it all in one trip. Decisions can be tough, but fortunately, we’re here to give you some guidance and pertinent recommendations.

Our first recommendation for the best family vacations in Costa Rica is to divide your trip of 5 to 10 days between no more than two places.  Too much shuffling around takes the restfulness out of the experience for parents, and can be overwhelming for the kids.  If you’re able to get away for 10 or more days, you can up the number of destinations to three, but we really don’t recommend trying to see the whole country in a little time as possible.  Delve deeper into fewer places and have a much more profound and delightful experience.

Destination 1 of 2:  The beach!

guanacaste beaches
Tamarindo beach. Photo property of crsurf.com

Of course one of the two stops on your trip is going to be a beach!  The beaches are what makes Costa Rica famous, and there are more beautiful beaches here than–but if you will allow us to make a recommendation, our top pick is Tamarindo.

Tamarindo beach is gorgeous, it’s family-friendly and safe for swimming, surfing is good, there are lots of grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies, and of course, there are our Tamarindo vacation rentals.  We are the local experts in family fun because we live here too, are raising our families here, and are confident in our ability to help you make great choices and have a fabulous time!  

If you’re set on Costa Rica’s Carribbean coast instead of Guanacaste, visit Tortuguero and watch the sea turtles nesting or swing to the south and take a few days at Cahuita and Puerto Viejo.  Cahuita national park is famous for its giant coral reef and the marine life it houses. 

Kid-friendly beach activities:

This list varies according to the ages and personalities of the little ones, but we generally  recommend surf lessons, half-day fishing trips and/or an estuary boat tour.  In Tamarindo, for example, surfing is safe for children.  Our surf instructors are trained and experienced, and many of them have taught their own little ones to surf!  If your child can swim and is comfortable in the water, Tamarindo’s sandy gentle beach is the perfect place to give surfing a try.  Half-day fishing trips are another fun option for kids of all ages.

 A whole 7-hour day on a fishing boat can be overwhelming for anyone besides hard-core fisherman, but everyone can enjoy getting on the boat in the early morning and speeding out to sea for a few hours of trolling, watching for dolphins, and reeling in fish.  Half-day tours are usually back by lunch time when everyone is ready to be out of the sun for a few hours!  The estuary boat tour takes about two hours and is available according to the tide schedule.  Birds, monkeys, colorful land crabs, and sleepy crocodiles are the attractions on this beautiful boat ride into the estuary that is Las Baulas National Park.  

Destination 2 of 2:  The forest!

Photo Credit: National Geographic

For the second destination on your family vacation in Costa Rica, pick a cooler, higher place in the shade of Costa Rica’s tropical dry forest, rain forest, or cloud forest.  The most frequently-visited picks are the Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde Cloud Forest.  Both places are fabulous Costa Rican forest choices–you can’t pick the wrong one.

The Arenal area, due to volcanic activity, has hot springs and warm geothermal pools that your family can enjoy together.  Monteverde has a dense rain and cloud forest with swinging bridges suspended over revines and canyons that will take your breath away.  Combined with a few days and nights at the beach, a visit to either of these places will make for the best family vacation in Costa Rica.

Option Off-road:  La Carolina Lodge

A unique mountain experience in Costa Rica is La Carolina Lodge.  La Carolina functions off the grid.  Dine by candlelight, eat meals created with foods that are grown on the farm and cooked over a wood fire, and sleep in rustic but luxurious cabins that are built out of locally grown and harvested wood.  Hiking to the Rio Celeste waterfalls, swimming in the river, horseback riding, and relaxing in the hot tub are favorite activities at La Carolina.  After a great night’s sleep, get up early and your family can help the farm hands milk the cows!  

Kid friendly forest/farm activities:

Don’t leave Costa Rica without taking your family on a zip line canopy tour–that’s everybody’s favorite!   Hikes are something families of all ages can enjoy, along with visits to animal refuges and butterfly or hummingbird gardens.  If your youngsters are old enough to enjoy horses, don’t miss this opportunity to ride with a guide who can help you notice and appreciate the plants and animals along the leafy trails. Adventure centers exist throughout Costa Rica that make family vacation planning easy by offering packages that can be modified to include a day of your family’s favorite activities all in one location.  

Costa Rica family vacation Do’s and Dont’s, provided by your vacation experts:

1  Don’t try to do everything.

You can’t do everything fun or see everything amazing in Costa Rica in one vacation.  If you try to pack too much into your vacation, you’ll run yourselves ragged trying to have fun.


This vacation rental home’s pool has a built-in water slide!

2  Do plan some down time.

Don’t forget that your vacation rental will have a pool your kids will want to play in, and don’t miss the miss joy of a beach walk together or a lazy afternoon in the hot springs or jacuzzi while you’re in the mountains.

3  Don’t bring the kitchen sink!

Costa Rica has first-world pharmacies and American-style grocery stores, so it’s not necessary to try to bring everything you could possibly need.  You may pay more than you’re used to for a tube of after-insect-bite cream or Junior’s favorite breakfast cereal, but so what?  You didn’t come on vacation to save money.  You came to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and take things as they come.

4  Do pack sunscreen and insect repellent.

Now there are two things that you are for sure going to need, and you can buy them cheaper at home than you can here.  Throw some extra in the bag. If you don’t need all of it, sunscreen and insect repellent are excellent gifts for the local friends you make during your vacation.

5  Do limit technology/screen time for yourself and your children.

Just a thought.  Parents have different ways of addressing the challenges presented by technology in the hands of youngsters, and you are the expert on your own family.  But consider making your family vacation in Costa Rica an experience of limited screen time and unlimited adventure, interaction, and attention to your surroundings.  You can all get back on line when you get home.

Contact us today and let’s get busy on your vacation plans!

How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental in Tamarindo

The idea of booking a vacation rental property, sight unseen, in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if it’s a country or a destination you’ve never been to.  Are you going to be able to find it?  How can you be sure the place is going to be what it looks like in the pictures?  How do you know which one to pick?  If you’re a seasoned traveler, you already know the drill, but there’s a first time for everything including your first vacation rental in Costa Rica. 

Here are some ways to break down the decision-making process and of course some practical suggestions of Tamarindo vacation rental property perfect fits.

Vacation rentals in Tamarindo come in all shapes and sizes, and so do travel groups.  How many people are you traveling with?  Is it you and your significant other?  You, your 5 best friends, their spouses, and their kids?  Are stairs ok?  Do you prefer to be near a golf course?  A surf break?  Do you like center-of-the-action vacations or restful away-from-it-all vacations?  Come up with some answers to these questions before you start shopping to help you narrow it down.

Then the next filter to get through it price.  How much do you want to spend?  Are you attracted by pocket-friendly options, or is this the trip for which you’re going to pull out all the stops and live like royalty?  Vacation rental prices range based on distance from the beach and lots of other factors like how new and chic the place is (or isn’t) and what kinds of amenities it includes.  All of the Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo properties have the standard package:  a/c, wi-fi, cable tv, linens, towels, equipped kitchens, a washer and dryer, a pool…so don’t think that by “pocket-friendly” we mean you have to bring your own pillows!  We’re the industry trendsetters in our area and all of our vacation rentals are top-shelf.

Following, we explore 6 types of luxury vacation rentals in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, and give some examples from our fantastic menu of homes:

1. Small, Simple, Conveniently-Located

These are the condos that are otherwise known as budget-friendly.  They’re great for couples, families with small children, travelers on a shoestring budget, or folks who want to spend their vacation dollars out exploring, not sitting around a fancy house. 

Sunrise Penthouse

Located literally across the street from the beach in the center of Tamarindo, you won’t find a better spot for a better price.  This 2-bedroom condo is located on the 4th floor of the Sunrise complex which includes the coolest pool in town, the easiest beach access anything within an affordable price range, secure gated parking and oh yeah—the view!

Villa Paloma

This affordable 2-bedroom condo in Langosta sleeps up to 6, is conveniently located, has secure parking, access to the resort pool, and offers a sundeck on the roof of the complex.

2. Small and Modern-chic

So let’s say you don’t want a big place, but you’d like it to be sleek and modern.  We have those vacation rentals too!  You can get some of the big-ticket modern design elements in a new or newly-redesigned vacation rental without having to spend big bucks.  These places are great to get into with your best friend or two or three.  Enjoy gourmet meals and cocktails on the patio or rent some boards and go on a surf trek to Avellanas or Playa Negra. 

La Perla

Our condo at La Perla offers 3 bedrooms and sleeps up to 8 people.  Each unit in this recently-completed elite complex occupies a corner, displaying fantastic ocean and hillside panoramas in every room.

Las Mareas Villas

These 3 and 4 bedroom villas in central Tamarindo sleep from 6 to 12 guests.  The ultimate in minimalist modern design, natural textures and materials, and European attention to detail make these villas a vacation rental choice that is a cut above the rest.

3.  A Sprawling Villa for Your Destination Wedding or Other Event

We’re suddenly at the other end of the vacation rental type spectrum:  huge mansions and villas for 20 or more guests—yes we have them!  Costa Rica is a favorite pick for couples planning destination weddings, for yoga and meditation retreats, corporate retreats, family reunions…all of the above.  These properties are the places dreams are made.  From beach front mansions to luxury hilltop mini-resorts, these are your dream homes and they make your special event unforgettable for everyone in attendance. 

Casa de Luz 

This property is truly beachfront!  Just steps behind the high tide line in Langosta, Casa de Luz is a stunning place for weddings, yoga retreats, surf trips, or whatever it is that brings your group together.  It’s one of our most eco-friendly properties, too, and sleeps over 20 people.

Casa Puros Dieces

How about an 8-bedroom Bali-style home for 20?  That’s Casa Puros Dieces!  This is one of Tamarindo’s top event venue choices because of its laid-back design, amazing ocean view and individual suite bedroom layout.

Casa Costa Blanca

Of course, you want your event destination to be Casa Costa Blanca.  This Hacienda Pinilla beachfront home has 7 bedrooms, sleeps up to 24, and includes all of the amenities of Guanacaste’s premier golf/surf resort.

4.  Classified by Activity: Golf Resort and Secret Surf Spots

Many people wisely consider the types of activities they most enjoy when they are shopping for vacation rentals.  If you’re the outdoorsy type who enjoys golf, surfing, mountain biking, or tennis, if you love peace and quiet but don’t want to be completely isolated from restaurants and night life, you might want to browse the vacation rental options in Hacienda Pinilla.  From giant event-venue type homes to condos for single families, Pinilla has got something for everyone.  Golfers and experienced surfers have a look at these amazing spots:

Rebecca

This where the fun begins!  Casa Rebecca, with 4 bedrooms for up to 12 people, is a sleek new vacation rental home located in Hacienda Pinilla.

Villa Bonita

Hacienda Pinilla offers not only mansions, but also luxury condos like Villa Bonita that are more affordable than larger properties but still include all of Hacienda Pinilla’s amenities.

5. The Beach House!

Or let’s say it’s got to be a beach house.  Of course.  Who wouldn’t want to base their Tamarindo vacation in a beach house?!  Some of our biggest and best beach houses are the ones you caught a glimpse of in the “event venues” category, but there are other properties on or very near the beach.  Your beachfront vacation rental is the perfect way to enjoy early morning walks, peaceful sunsets, easy access to surf spots and still have all the comforts of home.  Families with children love beach houses because being right on or very near the beach simplifies everything!  You don’t have to pack everybody and all the trappings into a car every time you want to go out, you just open the door and there you are.  You can even hire a chef to do in-home meal prep for you so that everybody in the family gets a break.  Imagine how much fun that would be!

Hacienda del Pacifico

Hacienda del Pacifico is a 4-bedroom beach house for 8.  Spend lazy afternoons here by the pool and cool tropical evenings listening to the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach on the other side of the trees. Your direct beach access is just outside your door.

Casa Tranquila

Here’s a quintessential beach house that is outfitted with every luxury.  Casa Tranquila has 4 bedrooms and sleeps up to 8 guests.  No other Tamarindo vacation rental beats this one for beachfront location!

5. The View to Die for + Modern Luxury

Consider this:  a totally sleek modern vacation rental property built for the view.  Imagine floor to ceiling glass along the coast-facing side of the home, simple lines, comfortable furniture inside, an infinity pool outside, and in every room the unbelievable panorama of Tamarindo’s turquoise horizon where it meets the sea.  This is what you get in our modern mountainside homes.    These properties are located in Tamarindo just above the hubbub of the busy street, but are still only minutes away from the sand. 

Compass house

The photographs of Compass House speak for themselves.  Yes, this is a real vacation rental home in Tamarindo and yes it really looks like that.  The house has 8 bedrooms and sleeps up to 16.

Lomas del Mar

Lomas del Mar offers an amazing view of the all of Tamarindo, Playa Grande, and the Las Baulas Estuary in between.  Chic and modern, there are 4 bedroom suites for up to 8 and a pristine infinity pool.

6.  The View to Die for + Old-School Beach House

This is truly unique category of home is something you won’t find just anywhere—it’s a Tamarindo specialty!  Once upon a time, instead of stainless steel, pale marble and minimalist aesthetic, there were terracotta tiles, almond wood ceiling beams, and artesian-created ceramic sconces.  In homes like these, you can lose yourself the timeless charm of the quintessential tropical beach house and the breathtaking view of the sky, sea, and rolling jungle hills.  These hillside beach houses offer every amenity and form part of Tamarindo’s history.  Stark modern vacation rental houses are everywhere—in every vacation destination all the world over—but if you love luxury mixed with the local fingerprint and a sense of place, one of our ocean view beach houses is the place for you.

Casa Leo Loco

Casa Leo Loco is perched above Tamarindo and is one of our favorite classic hilltop beach houses.  There are 6 bedrooms for up to 12 guests, a multi-level infinity pool, and stunningly landscaped grounds.  Imagine the sunsets!

Casa Catalina

Casa Catalina is one of Tamarindo’s original beach houses.  It is set so high on the hill and offers such a dizzying view of the bay that on a clear day the Catalina Islands are visible in the distance.  Your group of up to 16 is welcome here in the home’s 5 bedrooms.

As you can see, the perfect vacation rental in Tamarindo is here waiting for you.  Contact our team of experts and make your reservation today!

Five Most Active Volcanoes In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a land created by a string of active and dormant volcanoes that runs down its center.  This guide will give you an overview of how to get to and what to expect from Costa Rica’s most dynamic volcanoes.  Make sure to plan time during your vacation to visit the center of the country and experience the unforgettable presence of these living mountains. 

The first three volcanoes on our list–Turrialba, Irazu, and Poas–are the closest to the capital city of San Jose.  If you’re flying into San Jose, these are the top choices on your volcano menu.  The other two–Arenal and Rincon de La Vieja–are further north and are more often visited by travelers who base their Costa Rica vacations in Guanacaste. 


Photo by Gary Saldana

What is the most active volcano in Costa Rica?  This is a great question!  For thirty years, the easy answer was Arenal.  Then in 2016, Turrialba suddenly woke up from a long slumber, and continued to rumble and spew well into 2017.  Recently, a new spurt of volcanic activity was registered at the lazy Rincon de la Vieja volcano.  So who knows which volcano will be the most active during your visit to Costa Rica?  It could be any of them!  Here’s a look at the five most fiery peaks.

Most Active Volcanoes In Costa Rica
Photo by Roberto Nickson

Turrialba

2019 just might be a great year for the national park at Turrialba.  The park was closed in 2012 due to dangerous volcanic activity and authorities are looking at reopening it to the public this year.  Eruptions of ash and gas in 2016 and 2017 powdered the central valley in gray dust and closed down the Juan Santamaria International Airport on several occasions.  You’ll be able to drive close enough to Volcan Turrialba that you can admire its powerful slopes and perhaps watch it puff steam into the air.  

Most Active Volcanoes In Costa Rica
Photo by Jake Melara

Whether or not the park is open, the Turrialba volcanic area is a beautiful and safe place to visit.  The best way to get there is to hop in a 4×4 rental vehicle and hit the road for an adventure!  You can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, zip lines, bird watching, go kayaking on the river and tour a cheese factory.  The Turrialba region is known throughout Costa Rica for the soft fresh cheese that takes its name.  The year-round rains and rich volcanic soil keep Turrialba’s grass green and its cows. 

Irazu

Volcan Irazu is the closest volcano to the city of San Jose.  It is possible to get to Volcan Irazu by driving, or by taking a public bus from downtown.  Pack a picnic lunch, enjoy hiking in the park, and keep an eye out for sightings of colorful birds and wild animals like coatis, foxes, deer, and coyotes. 

most active volcanoes in Costa Rica
Photo by Daniel Chen

Volcan Irazu has five craters, two of which provide the main attractions in the Irazu national park.  Steam rises from the deepest crater, and in the other lies a mineral-rich lake that can appear green, blue, or red.  Irazu is Costa Rica’s tallest volcano, with a cone that towers 11,200 feet above sea level.  On a clear day–which is a rare occurrence at the top of an active volcano– it is possible to see both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. 

Poas

Volcan Poas is one of Costa Rica’s most popular and frequently-visited volcanoes.  The national park that surrounds the cone and crater is prepared to provide you with a comfortable visit, including a geological museum, a gift shop and cafe, and even paved hiking trails to make the spectacle of the steaming lake in the crater accessible to a wide variety of visitors.  In order to keep the environment pristine and visitors safe, only a certain number of people are allowed into the park each day.  Make your Poas National Park reservations on-line ahead of time so that you can be sure to avoid being turned away at the entrance.  That would be disappointing!

Image by ©RCDIGITALPHOTOGRAPHY/Getty Images

You can drive to Volcan Poas, take a bus, or purchase a tour from pretty much any San Jose tour operator.  There are lots of other things to do in the area, so we recommend that you make your trip to Poas a day trip, not just a quick peek at the crater.  In addition to hiking, visit the sleepy Costa Rican villages nearby, explore the museum, or drive to a bright blue waterfall near the park.

Volcan Poas has one of the largest volcanic craters in the world, so don’t miss your chance to see it with your own eyes.

Arenal

Volcan Arenal is located near the town of La Fortuna about half way between San Jose and the beaches of Guanacaste.  For decades, Arenal was famous for being Costa Rica’s most active volcano–until its brothers in the central valley started spewing ash and steam in 2016.  Arenal is still one of the most spectacular volcanoes you’ll ever have the opportunity to see and is one of the most fun areas to visit in Costa Rica.  Hiking and horseback riding trails wind through the hills, there are waterfalls to explore, and natural thermal spring and rivers provide the perfect way to relax afterward.

Whatever you do, plan to spend a night in the area near Arenal!  We recommend this for two reasons.  The first is that if the clouds above the volcano lift after dark (could happen but no guarantees), the sight of the stark black cone with a red glow at the top standing against the star studded sky will leave you speechless.  That, we do guarantee.  The other thing that’s guaranteed is how much you will love relaxing in the bubbling thermal springs after dark, while lights play on the jungle foliage around you and perhaps a light rain falls. 

Photo property of arenal.net

Arenal is much-visited, and it’s easy to drive to.  Things are spread out enough there that having your own vehicle is very convenient.  Another good option for how to get to Arenal is Interbus, a tour and transfer company that runs private vans to popular tourist destinations. 

Rincon de la Vieja

Volcan Rincon de la Vieja is Costa Rica’s northernmost active volcano.  Eruptions as recent as January 2019 sent columns of steam and bursts of red-hot rocks shooting into the air and filled the area’s streams with mud.  This is the closest active volcano to Guanacaste’s popular coasts, and lots of activity centers have sprung up around it.

You can drive your rental car to Rincon de la Vieja, or purchase a day-trip package which includes transportation, admission to the activities that you’ve chosen for the day, and lunch.

Photo by Steven Scheuermeier

You can hike at Rincon de la Vieja, ride horseback through the forest, and enjoy natural thermal mud spas.  There are canopy tours nearby, river tubing excursions, and wildlife sanctuaries to visit. 

As you can see, there are many active volcanoes in Costa Rica throughout various regions of the country.  Our tour concierge is the local expert in helping you plan your visit to any of these areas, assisting you with arrangements for transportation and activity bookings at Costa Rica’s active volcanoes.  Check out partner page for A Guide to Costa Rica’s Active Volcanoes: They’re Dynamite!

Top 5 Tamarindo Vacation Rentals for Weddings & Events

Costa Rica tops the list of favorite destination wedding choices, and Tamarindo has the climate, the infrastructure, and the breathtaking venue homes that are going to convince you to celebrate your special day here.  Tamarindo has risen to the top of the luxury vacation rental market, offering homes for large and small wedding parties, having five-star professional event planners, and sitting on years of experience in executing elite events in the tropics.

Have a look at our five featured vacation rental recommendations for Tamarindo weddings and other special events.  Each of these Tamarindo vacation rentals can sleep 20 or more guests, and are excellent venue options in and of themselves!

Costa Rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

Casa Costa Blanca

Casa Costa Blanca is a recently-remodeled beachfront mansion for up to 24 guests in Hacienda Pinilla. If you’ve done your Tamarindo research, you already know that Hacienda Pinilla is the area’s premier gated community and an ideal place for a special event.  This two-story home is unique in that each floor has a completely separate full kitchen and living/dining area, giving large groups exceptional flexibility while they share a single space.

tamarindo vacation rental
Casa Costa Blanca

Behind the home, on the beach side, an oversized infinity pool, a barbeque and outdoor dining pavilion with enough seating for a full house, and a luxurious green lawn overlooking the crashing Pacific Ocean.

Casa Costa Blanca is one of our top 5 picks because not only is it big enough to accommodate a large number of guests, and not only is it spectacularly beautiful—it is a dream event venue in and of itself.  Hold your small intimate wedding on the patio or hold a larger event on the lawn or in the sand.  Casa Blanca offers all kinds of options because of its size and diverse spaces.

tamarindo vacation rental
Casa Costa Blanca

Have private chefs prepare a meal in the home, or have your special meals catered—Casa Costa Blanca provides a mesmerizingly beautiful setting and the flexibility to let you choose what best suits you and your group.

 

Villa Tranquila

Villa Tranquila, also located in the gated community of Hacienda Pinilla, offers a level of service to its guests that no other vacation rental can match.  Its staff is available to provide all meal preparation, and are accessible 24 hours a day to meet any needs that may arise.

tamarindo vacation rental
Villa Tranquila

 

Villa Tranquila is located on Hacienda Pinilla’s golf course and close to the beach.  Its delightfully secluded location means that at Villa Tranquila you are free to celebrate until the sun comes up and no neighbors will call to complain.  It’s hard to underestimate how important that can be if your lively group loves to celebrate.

This beautiful villa offers the maximum in comfort to its guests, with large private rooms, private baths, and two indoor common areas.  Outside, an immense lawn with a patio and infinity pool are a perfect place for your ceremony, event, and/or a special meal.

tamarindo vacation rentals
Villa Tranquila

Our wedding and event planners know Villa Tranquila well and are waiting to make your special day the best it can possibly be.

 

Casa de Luz

Casa de Luz is a beachfront mansion for 23 located in Langosta, just at the end of the road that goes through Tamarindo.  This luxury vacation rental, once a single-family home, combines the comforts of home with the convenience of its central location and the breathtaking beauty of the ocean just steps from the back door.

tamarindo vacation rentals
Casa de Luz

 

Casa de Luz has the back yard to die for.  A stone terrace, a gazebo with a day bed, a wet bar, an infinity pool, a private beachside casita for two or four, and private beach access are all there outside the sliding door from the living room.  The home’s staff makes sure that guests at Casa de Luz are comfortable and that events flow seamlessly.

tamarindo vacation rental
Casa de Luz

 

This is one of the foremost eco-friendly homes in Guanacaste. Solar panels on the roof provide electricity, an ozone system eliminates the need for 90% of the chlorine in Casa de Luz’s swimming pool and laundry and Casa de Luz uses only Costa Rica’s top biodegradable housekeeping and hygiene products.  If leaving a smaller ecological footprint is important to you and your loved ones, place Casa de Luz at the top of your list and reserve it early.

 

Villa Concha

Villa Concha is an elegant beachfront villa in Playa Langosta a few doors south of Casa de Luz.  This property, in its two-story main house and two private casitas, can accommodate up to 20 guests.  Originally constructed to house a bed and breakfast and recently remodeled to make it one of Tamarindo’s foremost event-friendly vacation rentals, Villa Concha is a perfect option for your destination wedding.

Villa Concha

Let our event planners take care of the details while you enjoy the beachfront infinity pool, walk the miles of beaches that stretch behind your back door at Villa Concha or paddle out into the pounding surf you can watch from home’s terraces.   If your group is larger than what Villa Concha can accommodate, our other Langosta beach vacation rentals are just down the street and can keep your party close enough to enjoy your whole vacation together.

tamarindo vacation rental

Villa Concha’s private beach access path leads from the impeccable pool terrace through the trees to a sandy lookout point.  Consider this our recommendation for your sunset beach wedding, or an unforgettable early-evening cocktail hour where you can enjoy the privacy of your own home-away-from-home and the breathtaking beauty of dusk falling over the Pacific horizon.

tamarindo vacation rental
Villa Concha’s private look-out point

 

Casa Puros Dieces

Puros Dieces is a stunning 8-bedroom Pacific Rim style home for up to 20 guests.  It is perched on a green hillside just above the busy town of Tamarindo and admires a 180 degree of vista of the Tamarindo Bay.  Casa Puros Dieces is the home nobody ever wants to leave, and it is an ideal option for lodging your wedding party and for the event itself.

Casa Puros Dieces

Indoor and outdoor spaces blend in the home’s common areas, with luxury bedrooms and en-suite baths offering complete privacy throughout the home’s maze of spaces.  The beach and all that Tamarindo has to offer is just minutes away at the bottom of the hill, allowing guests at Casa Puros Dieces to enjoy the best of both worlds—the privacy of the secluded location and the proximity of the things you’re coming to Tamarindo to see and do!

Many wedding parties choose Casa Puros Dieces for the event venue instead of taking the special day to the beach or anywhere else.  A courtyard lawn within the walls of Casa Puros Dieces, a living room that opens fully to the view of the bay, and a deck with an infinity pool provides plenty of space for celebration in the privacy of your own home.


Casa Puros Dieces

 

Puros Dieces offers sunset panoramas like no other.  Sunset at the beach is spectacular, but Puros Deices sunsets, with all of Tamarindo Bay, Playa Grande, the Las Baulas Estuary and the town of Tamarindo at your feet raise the bar to a new level.  No one who attends your wedding or other special sunset events at Casa Puros Dieces will ever forget the experience.

When it comes to a destination wedding and other events, we’re the local experts.  We personally know the Tamarindo wedding planners, the caterers, the florists, the musicians and the reliable transportation providers that are going to make your experience as seamless as a dream come true.  Contact us with your date, your ideas, and the wish list you’ve been making.  We’re ready to get started right now!

Costa rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

What to Expect During The 2019 Costa Rica Rainy Season

It’s the end of May and the rainy season is upon us in Tamarindo.  Here’s a heads-up on what to expect during your Tamarindo Green Season vacation.

 

Tamarindo weather
A peaceful green season morning at the beach in Tamarindo.

Predictions:

2019 has been a year of the “El Nino” weather pattern here in the equatorial regions. This means that our dry season began early and was extra hot and dry.  According to the El Nino pattern, we were told to expect a not-very-rainy rainy season, and this made everyone who loves Costa Rica’s flora and fauna very sad.  These cyclical fluctuations are part of normal weather fluctuations, but extra harsh dry seasons are difficult times for plants and animals.  They aren’t great for our taxed aquifers either, but humans are able to truck in water in a way that deer and monkeys aren’t.

Luckily for all of us, those predictions are turning out to be misrepresentative of the way the rainy season is starting out!  We’re getting lots of delicious rain, and Guanacaste is green as the garden of Eden.  The temperature has dropped back into the “pleasant” range, and life is good.

Expect:

Afternoon showers

It almost never rains all day, especially not in the first half of the rainy season.  It’s not impossible, but it’s uncommon.  The rainy season mostly consists of sunny days with occasional afternoon showers.  They may be thunderstorms that roll through to cool off hot afternoons, or they may be simply cloud systems that bring rain and then dissolver over the ocean.  Enjoy them!  Tamarindo locals—both native Costa Ricans and implants from other places—love the rainy season.  If you thought you wanted to plan your Costa Rica vacation to avoid the Tamarindo rainy season, think again.  Don’t miss the best, most relaxing time of year.

tamarindo surfing
Surf the warm waves early in the morning while the wind is offshore.

Humidity

The rainy season is humid—you might as well know it.  Some people like humidity in the air; some people don’t.  It should probably go without saying that rainy times of the year by the ocean have a higher humidity level than say, Las Vegas.  Two days in Tamarindo in the rainy season, and you’re guaranteed to look 10 years younger than you did when you got off the plane.  Your skin loves the humidity even if your brain is unaccustomed to it.  Enjoy it.  Think of it as a free sauna.

The humidity is most noticeable right before the rain starts to fall.  Refreshing afternoon or evening showers bring relief.  If it gets to be too much for you, enjoy the indoor comfort of your air-conditioned Tamarindo vacation rental, or one of the Tamarindo restaurants that offer indoor seating.  Better yet, jump in the pool or the ocean.  You’ll forget about it in a second.

Lots of lush vegetation

In the green season, expect green!  This is the time of year that trees are covered with new leaves, gardens spring back to life, flowers bloom, birds and monkeys are filling their bellies again with their favorite treats…  Nature is absolutely exuberant!  Mountains are green, pastures are green, forests are green, gardens are green—you could color the whole countryside with a palate of shades of green from emerald to lime to pine.  Canopy tours are fun to take at this time of year, mountain hikes, bike rides, horseback trail rides—anything that puts you out in nature under the millions of leaves.  Every breath you take is saturated with pure oxygen they create.

 

jungler
Photo: Unsplash

More insects

Pack your favorite insect repellent and use it.  Monkeys, hummingbirds, iguanas and the wild deer in the mountains aren’t the only creatures that thrive in the rainy season.  Critters that creep and buzz like it too, so be prepared.  We make sure to keep them out of your Tamarindo vacation rental as best we can, but if an industrious ant or a sneaky spider outwit us, don’t be surprised.  They aren’t dangerous; they’re just pesky and ingenious.  A broom, a shoe, or a can of spray can take care of any of your insect visitors if they are unwelcome.  Make sure to keep insect repellent on or nearby, especially in the mornings and evenings.  Mosquitoes don’t like hot sun, so they shouldn’t be much of a bother while you sunbathe, but they can chew up your toes under the table at dinner if you forget the repellent when you leave the house.  Throw some in your back and just keep it nearby.

costa rica insects
Tropical flowers of every imaginable shape and color emerge when the rains begin.

Mud

More and more of Tamarindo’s roads are paved, but when the weather gets rainy, it’s fair to expect a little mud.  How much of it you have to drive or step through depends on where your Tamarindo hotel or vacation rental is located.  Mud can be slippery, so walk carefully.

A word to the wise:  For your Tamarindo rainy season vacation, bring a pair of sandals that can get wet.  When we say sandals, we mean something besides your flip-flops—something that straps to the back of your ankle.  Why?  Because of flip flops in the rain or on a wet road/sidewalk flip water, mud and little stones all up the back of your legs while you walk.  We Tamarindo locals might know something about this.  We actually prefer to take our shoes off to walk in the rain, but we know you don’t have jungle feet as we do, so we won’t recommend you do that.  Bring rain-worthy sandals that strap to your feet so that you won’t slip or have to do a load of wash when you get back to your vacation rental.

Refreshing evenings

Evenings after a tropical rain shower are the best thing you will ever experience.  Depending on where you live and what you’re accustomed to, you may find rainy season evenings pleasantly cool.  You may, at most, want a light sweater or a light long-sleeved shirt.  Don’t bother with coats or jackets—it never actually gets cold in Costa Rica at sea level.  In May and June, the sun sets between 6 and 6:30 PM, and by 7:00 PM it is dark.  These long tropical evenings under the stars or under raindrops are the perfect relaxing end to days filled with fun in the sun.

 

pangas costa rica
Enjoy a delicious meal at Pangas Beach Club in the cool evening breeze.

Warm ocean water

Rainy season wind patterns create amazingly warm ocean temperatures in Tamarindo.  Breezes generally blow on-shore during the afternoon hours which keeps the sun-warmed surface water close to the beach where we can enjoy it.  Surfers aren’t the biggest fans of on-shore winds, but if you get up early enough or you wait until sunset, a few hours of light off-shores are often your reward.

Mornings are the sunniest part of the day

No matter what else happens during the day, mornings are generally the sunniest.  This is important to you to know so that you plan your trips and tours accordingly.  Take your Tamarindo surf lessons, your canopy tours, your snorkeling trips, your ATV tours, or whatever else our concierge helps you plan during the morning if at all possible.  Leave the afternoon for relaxing, listening to the rain, sipping a cocktail, or taking a nap.

Lower prices

Because the first half of the rainy season coincides with summer in the northern hemisphere, more vacationers choose destinations closer to home, and Tamarindo experiences its lower tourist season.  Less demand creates, in some cases, lower prices.  You won’t find this price fluctuation in stores or restaurants, but you may find it in hotels and vacation rentals, in car rental agencies, and in some tour companies.  Boutiques offer sales and restaurants are more likely to offer low-season specials, especially to guests who pay in cash.  Don’t be concerned about cash—you don’t need to go to the bank for colones.  Tamarindo businesses are all more than happy for dollars and in fact, you will be surprised by how many of them lists prices in American dollars.

 

tamarindo vacation rental
Many homes like this beach-front beauty are easier to afford in the lush green season.

Electricity flickers

This can happen at any time of year for a variety of reasons or for no reason at all, but for sure during Tamarindo’s rainy season, don’t panic if the lights go off.  Storms are one of the things that can cause power outages.  When the electricity goes, the wifi goes with it but don’t worry—when one comes back, the other will follow.  Nowadays, power outages of longer than 30 minutes are rare.  They aren’t impossible, but they are unlikely.  If the lights go off for no apparent reason, just remember this is part of everyday life in the jungle and everything is going to be fine.  If you can see that your vacation rental is the only house to have lost power, you might want to contact us or whichever company is responsible for the home.  If you can see that other homes near yours have also lost power, the best thing you can do is hang tight and enjoy the ride.  Property managers can pull a lot of strings, but power company issues are bigger than we are.  Chances are we’re in the dark too, and the lights will be back by the time you find your phone.

Beautiful sunsets

Have you heard that the rainy season has the most beautiful sunsets?  It’s true.  The clouds act like screens or prisms the reflect or refract the light of the sun as it sinks below them on the horizon.  Dry season sunsets are beautiful too, but they’re a simple firey ball sinking into the sea.  Rainy season sunsets can be performance pieces that go on and on until night has completely fallen.

 

tamarindo sunsets
Every evening a unique show is displayed between the sky and sea.

A Word to the Wise:  Rinse out your salty stuff

We’re ending this What to Expect post with a tip:  rinse out your salty beach stuff with fresh water when you get out of the ocean.  Why?  Because salt holds moisture, and if you hang your salty bathing suit up to dry in the rainy season…it won’t.  You will be putting on a clammy wet bathing suit tomorrow.  Guaranteed.  The salt in the cloth will pull water from the humid air, and your salty stuff will never dry.  If you hang it in the sun and it dries there, it will pull in moisture from the air during the night and feel sticky when you go to put it on.  It takes just a moment to rinse the salt out of your bathing suit before you drape it over the shower or a patio chair or to dry, and you’ll have a much more pleasant experience of putting it back on in the morning.

We have all kinds of rainy season tips and advice.  Contact us to get in on the best of Tamarindo’s green season, 2019!

The 7 Best Guanacaste Beaches

Along with all the other fun things you’re going to do on your Costa Rica vacation, make sure to leave some time to get out and explore the other beaches that are waiting for you here on what we affectionately call Guanacaste’s “Gold Coast.”  These are our top 7 recommendations:

Tamarindo

guanacaste beaches
Tamarindo beach. Photo property of crsurf.com

We know you won’t miss Tamarindo because it’s the home of your Tamarindo vacation rental, but let us tell you why it’s so wonderful so you can get just a little more excited for your trip.  Tamarindo is for sure one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches.  The wide crescent-shaped bay has picturesque hillsides that drop into the sea on either side, and in the middle Captain Island is crowned by white shells, lava rocks, and low bushes.

Tamarindo is exceptional because it shares its bay with the Las Baulas National Marine Park.  All of Playa Grande which encompasses the northern half of Tamarindo Bay and the Las Baula estuary that bisects the beach are national park territory and therefore obey strict preservation codes.  In Baula turtle nesting season, you can take a nighttime beach walking tour in Playa Grande and perhaps have the fortune of witnessing a giant sea turtle laying eggs.  Boat or kayak tours of the estuary are an amazing way to see mother nature’s marine nursery and are available every day.

Surfing is what made Tamarindo famous back in the early 1990s when Robert August and Wingnut released the movie The Endless Summer II.

Guanacaste beaches
Surfing in Tamarindo. Photo courtesy of Leonardo Pinero

Different parts of the beach break better depending on swell direction, but in Tamarindo, there’s always something to ride.  If you’re not a surfer, sign up for Tamarindo surf lessons because Tamarindo is the perfect place to get on a board for the first time.  At the sandy beach break beside the estuary, you’re guaranteed not to meet up with a rock because there aren’t any, and the waves are gentle enough to be perfect for learning.

Non-surfers love Tamarindo as much as surfers do.  It’s a safe beach for swimming, a spectacular place for people-watching, and when the tide is out you can wander endlessly in the sunshine along the water’s edge.

Langosta

Langosta is Tamarindo’s sister beach to the south.  At low tide, you can get there from Tamarindo by walking around the rocky point and continuing on until you come to Langosta’s San Francisco estuary.  You can’t get back to Tamarindo that way at high tide, so either make sure you don’t linger too long or be prepared to walk back along the road.

guanacaste beaches
Langosta beach sunset at low tide


Langosta beach is rockier than Tamarindo, and the dropping tide fills hundreds of tide pools that act like mini saltwater swimming pools.  Admire the shells, look for sea urchins, watch little crabs hurry and iridescent blue fish dart around. You can sit in the pools and enjoy the relaxing crash of waves on the rocks without having to navigate their strength.

Surfing is the favorite pastime in Langosta.  Different spots along the beach are better at different tides, and the Langosta estuary is a favorite as well.  On the other side of the estuary in Langosta, the sandy beach stretches all the way to Hacienda Pinilla with plenty of peaks to give you a ride.  Because Langosta is more open to deep water and not in a shallow bay like Tamarindo, the waves are much bigger and stronger in Langosta.  Langosta is much rockier, too, so no beginners, please.  In Langosta, it’s best to paddle out only where you see other people surfing to avoid nasty reef rash and board repair.

Avellanas

If you’ve been researching the beaches in the Tamarindo area, you’ve already heard of Playa Avellanas.  Avellanas is about 30 minutes south of Tamarindo over a road that is partially paved and partially not.  You can get to Avellanas all year long, but how adventurous the ride will depend on the amount of rain that’s fallen recently.

 

guanacaste beaches
Avellanas is the perfect place for a low-tide beach walk

Avellanas has got something for everyone.  It’s a surfing beach for sure, with beach breaks, an estuary with a sand bar that holds a swell, and a popular reef break just in front of the beach club at Hacienda Pinilla.  Avellanas is also an excellent place to go to just chill out.  From the main parking lot, you can walk north for miles along the beach.  Miles.  If you decide to do that, take water, because Avellanas is not like Tamarindo–there are a few places to stop for refreshment but mostly there are mangroves and ocean.

Lola’s is a popular restaurant there in Avellanas by the parking area.  It’s named after a famous beach pig who loved the salt water and lived a long happy life there on the property.  Lola’s has food, drinks, shady seating and a few hammocks for customers who make it there on time to get one.

Playa Negra

Down the coast, past Avellanas you’ll come to Playa Negra.  Playa Negra is named after the darker colored sand and is a favorite surf break for intermediate and advanced surfers.  Playa Negra’s point break holds a big swell and the rocks you have to navigate on the way in and out of the water make it a place that beginners should leave to the more experienced.

guanacaste beaches
Welcome to Playa Negra’s sun and surf

A fun little town has grown up around the break, with bars and restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, craft and souvenir stores and of course hotels and surf shops.  If you’re not a surfer, you can still enjoy a swim in the water at one of Playa Negra’s less rocky spots.  You can have a delicious meal at a beachfront restaurant and then take a leisurely beach walk and soak in the sun and the sounds of the pounding surf.

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is about a half hour north of Tamarindo.  There are two ways to get to Playa Conchal–one of them is through the Reserva Conchal Resort, and the other is by continuing down the road to Playa Brasilito and then walking or driving along the sand to Conchal.  Walking is always a safe bet.  Driving can work, or you can get your rental car stuck in soft sand.  The voice of experience, here, has done both and recommends the hike, but you decide.  Obviously, the resort entrance is the favorite choice, but only guests of the resort are allowed through the gate, so if you’re just exploring, you’ll need to take the scenic route.  But hey.  Isn’t that the idea of exploring?

guanacaste beaches
Photo by Stacy Epps

Playa Conchal is literally made of small shells.  Historically it was made of shells of all sizes, but the growth of tourism brought about a quick end to variety.  It’s still a beautiful beach, and wonderful for snorkeling, but if you can find it within your heart to leave the pretty shells where they are and take home only pictures, Playa Conchal will thank you for it.  Who knows what factors are at play to make this spot the spot where so many millions of shells were deposited by ocean currents as to form the entire beach without actual sand?  All beaches need their shells, but Playa Conchal especially needs them because, with no shells, it has nothing to be made of.

Bahia de Los Piratas

Bahia de Los Piratas, or Pirate’s Bay, is off the beaten path.  Unpaved country roads through Guanacaste’s back country will take you to this beautiful little cove where swimming, snorkeling, and fishing are the favorite activities.  Colorful fish, rays, turtles, starfish, and sea urchins are some of the things you may discover under the surface at Bahia Los Piratas.

guanacaste beaches
Sun and shade at Bahia de Los Piratas

Pack a picnic lunch to eat in the sand under the trees at Bahia Los Piratas, or enjoy a simple meal at one of the little restaurants that you’ll find along the way.  This is a great beach for a relaxing day or afternoon at a less commercial spot that locals love to visit.

Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach is a beautiful sandy beach located just a bit further north where the terrain becomes steeper and the hillsides drop almost directly into the water.  The best way to enjoy Sugar Beach is to drive to the Sugar Beach Hotel, park in the hotel parking lot, and be sure to compensate for this service by purchasing something to eat or drink in the hotel’s beautiful ocean view restaurant.

guanacaste beaches
Overlooking Sugar Beach from the hilltop


Sugar beach is not a surfing beach, but it’s a wonderful place to relax, swim, wander along the water’s edge in the sun, doze off in the shade, and enjoy a fantastic meal at another off-the-beaten-path spot you probably wouldn’t find if we hadn’t told you about it.  You’ll pass lots of other interesting beaches and small towns on the way to and from Sugar Beach, so take your time to explore whatever you see that sparks your curiosity.  Guanacaste is full of surprises to discover!

Email us or call us now with your questions so that we can help you get your Tamarindo vacation rental booked and give more information about the fantastic beaches you might want to visit during your Guanacaste vacation.

 

Top 6 Reasons to Have a Tamarindo Destination Wedding

A Costa Rica destination wedding is a wonderful idea!   You get to go on vacation with your favorite friends and close family while you celebrate this important moment—what’s not to love about that?  The other thing that’s great about a destination wedding is that it automatically helps you make selections on the guest list.  You don’t have to feel bad about not inviting your ex-next-door-neighbor or your best friend from the 7th grade because that’s not how destination weddings work.  It’s the perfect compromise between having a “normal” wedding, and eloping—you get to celebrate, but only with your nearest and dearest.  Awesome.

Costa Rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

So why should you pick Tamarindo for your Costa Rica wedding?  We think it’s a no-brainer and there are 6 of the top reasons!

  1. Tamarindo Beach Is Amazing

Tamarindo beach is fabulously, famously beautiful.  At low tide in Tamarindo, the water recedes, leaving a vast stretch of sand with outcroppings of lava rock that is a dream setting for a tropical sunset wedding.  What could be more romantic?  We can’t think of anything.  High tide beach weddings are beautiful as well, with the water lapping at your toes and the sound of breaking waves providing the music.  If you decide not to hold your wedding directly on the beach, there are lots of beachfront venues available where Tamarindo can form the backdrop of the photos you will treasure for a lifetime.

Tamarindo Beach in the early morning.

You and your guests are going to do a lot more than just have a wedding ceremony on this trip, and Tamarindo beach is a place that has something for everyone.  The surfers can surf, the swimmers can swim, and grandma can sip pina coladas in the shade.  You might think that’s a given at any beach, but not necessarily.  Some beaches are too rough for swimming, others are too flat for surfing, and many are remote enough that a cold umbrella drink would be hard to come by.  Tamarindo has it all, and the beach itself is reason number one not to go anywhere else. You probably don’t even need the other five reasons, but here they are:

  1. The Climate is Perfect

Tamarindo has perfect weather.  Think about it: that’s the main ingredient that puts a place on the destination wedding list in the first place, right?  People aren’t exactly lining up to get married in Iceland.  In Tamarindo, we have 365 days of summer, and rainy days–days when it rains from morning to night–are rare.

Costa rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

There are two seasons in this region: the rainy season and the dry season.  It’s impossible to say which one is the “best” because there are “best” things about both of them.  The best things about the rainy season are:
–Everything is lush and green.
–The sunsets are glorious, with the clouds that act like prisms and turn every imaginable color.
–Evenings are comfortably cooler.

Costa Rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

The best things about the dry season are:
–For 6 months you can forget about the rain factor.
–The humidity is very low.
–Tamarindo is at its busy, vibrant best.

When you contact us for more information, we can tell you what kind of weather to expect on your special day.

  1. There are Amazing Event Venues and Tamarindo Vacation Rentals

For your Costa Rica destination wedding, you need the perfect vacation rental and you also need the perfect venue for the event.  Tamarindo has both of these things.  We offer elite vacation rentals that range from beachfront to mountain top—many of which are so spectacularly beautiful that many couples choose to make the vacation rental property the event venue.  In other words, in Tamarindo, it is possible to rent a house so big and so gorgeous that you scrap the idea of getting married directly on the beach, and you instead get married in the beachfront or ocean view mansion that you have rented with your family and friends.  You can have a catered meal, a DJ, a Costa Rica wedding photographer and more —in the privacy of your own five-star space.  Think it over.

Casa de Luz is an excellent Tamarindo vacation rental home/event venue

In the Tamarindo area, there are vacation rental homes/event venues that can sleep over 20 guests.  Another option is to rent multiple adjacent villas in a gated community if you’re bringing a large multi-family group.  We’re the experts at helping you get these details ironed out, so contact us and let’s talk about what kind of Tamarindo wedding you’d like to have.

  1. You Get Your Favorite1st World Amenities

You may not have thought about it this way, but one reason Tamarindo it the best place for your Costa Rica wedding is that you and your guests will be comfortable here.  We absolutely recommend that you branch out and do some roughing-it in life, but…  maybe not for your wedding!  You can do that next year—plus you have grandpa with you and your sister’s pack of kids, so let’s make things easy on everybody.  Here are some comforts you will find in Tamarindo—things you might take for granted but shouldn’t in Central America—that you cannot be guaranteed to find just anywhere:

Costa rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

–We’re less than 2 hours from the airport.
–The roads are paved.
–We have American-style supermarkets.
–Everybody has wi-fi.
–Everything is air-conditioned.
–We have pharmacies, dentists, and doctor’s offices.  Just in case.
–It’s easy to rent a car in Tamarindo.  Oh, and the gas station is only 10 minutes away.
–You can walk anywhere in town (yay, no steep hills).
–The water is drinkable (most people prefer bottled water, but the tap water will not make you sick).
–You can use American dollars pretty much everywhere.
–Essentially every business of has at least one person who speaks English.

  1. Tamarindo Has Excellent Restaurants

One of the reasons to have your destination wedding in Tamarindo is that the town is full of great restaurants.  Our very favorite is Pangas Beach Club, and Pangas Beach Club also happens to be an excellent wedding venue.  Pangas is located in the sand at the sleepy north end of Tamarindo beach underneath sprawling laurel trees and beside the Las Baulas National Park.  Their menu is amazing, and the setting is magical.  No, it really is.  At Pangas, your event can be held in the outdoor beachfront dining area under the trees or moved indoors if the weather is uncooperative.  It’s the perfect place to combine the option of a beach wedding in the sand with an elegant meal and your own private dance party afterward.  Pangas also caters, so if you decide to get married at your vacation rental, keep them in mind for the meal.

And then there are all the other restaurants in town!   Where to go for dinner is one of the toughest choices Tamarindo’s visitors have to make and believe us, it’s not easy.  A destination wedding is a very special trip for everyone in your group, so you want a place like Tamarindo where every meal you get will be the best one you’ve had on vacation.

costa rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

  1. There Are Tons of Fun Things To Do

You getting married is obviously the most unforgettable part of this trip for everyone, but so many other wonderful memories are going to be tied to this trip forever for all involved.  Tamarindo and the surrounding area is a playground of fun and fascinating things to do.  There is literally something for everyone.  There is golf, sport fishing, and surfing.  There are catamaran cruises, spas and wellness centers, yoga studios, and shopping.  There are National park tours, canopy zip lines, ATV treks, mountain biking and of course the let’s not forget just enjoying the beach!  Your Tamarindo wedding is going to be the central event of the best vacation your friends and family have ever had because Tamarindo literally has something for everyone.

The fun isn’t over when the sun goes down, either!  Tamarindo nightlife offers everything from fire dancers on the beach just after sunset to deejays that will keep you dancing all night long.  Have your bachelor and bachelorette parties where you can dance in the sand and stroll down the street exploring the colors and languages that mix in this unique town.

Costa Rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

Because of all of the reasons that Tamarindo is the best place for your Costa Rica destination wedding, you aren’t the first one to think of it—lucky you!  Many first-class wedding planners make a living in Tamarindo and we’d be happy to give you our recommendations on who to call first.  Let us help you get the party started. 

Costa rica wedding photographer
Photo: Toh Gouttenoire

Enjoy Both Tamarindo & Nicaragua on Your Costa Rica Trip

If you’re the kind of traveler who’s interested in a truly unique Central American vacation, we have an idea for you:  visit Nicaragua.  Think about it–you already have your passport, and from Tamarindo the Nicaraguan border is only half as far as the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.  Two and a half hours north of us, a whole new country is waiting for you to explore.  It’s a country of lakes, volcanoes, farmland, busy towns, stunning beaches, and rich culture.  In many ways Nicaragua is similar to Costa Rica, especially to Guanacaste which once belonged to Nicaragua but chose to annex to Costa Rica about 200 years ago.

Nicaragua
Photo: Unsplash

How to do a two-country vacation?  Fly into Liberia’s Daniel Oduber airport and spend the first part of your vacation in your Tamarindo vacation rental.  Enjoy the exciting variety of things to do in Tamarindo and the unforgettable variety of Tamarindo restaurants and nightlife.  We recommend you stay in Tamarindo for as long as you can while still leaving yourself at least a night or two to spend in Nicaragua.  You could easily spend a week in each place if your vacation schedule allows.

You’ll want to take a taxi or a bus to the border.  You won’t be able to drive a Costa Rican rental car into Nicaragua, so if you’ve got one, turn it in before you leave Tamarindo.  Crossing the border from Costa into Nicaragua is a fascinating experience. You’ll arrive at Peñas Blancas (the Costa Rican side of the border), get your luggage, go through the line to have your passport stamped, and to pay some taxes and fees.  There is a bank at the border where you can change American dollars or Costa Rican colones for Nicaraguan cordoba, or you can change cash with one of the many money changers that carry wads of bills around.  If you choose to skip the bank line, be careful.

It is possible to get a reasonable (if not ideal) exchange rate instead of standing in line, but ask what rate you’re getting, use a calculator to figure it out, and count carefully the cordobas you are given.  If you realize later that something is wrong, there won’t be anything you can do about it.  Next, you’ll take a 2-3 minute walk down a shady road to the Nicaraguan side of the border crossing.  Yes, you actually cross this border on foot.  It’s pretty cool.  On the Nicaraguan side, you’ll get another stamp in your passport, pay some more taxes and fees, and then you’re ready to explore!  Get on a bus or take a taxi and watch Nicaragua unfold in front of you!

Photo: Unplash

 

The town of Rivas is the first place of interest you will come to in Nicaragua.  It’s a small colonial city about 40 minutes north of the border.  Rivas is a great place to stop for lunch on your way to Ometepe, Granada, or Masaya, but Rivas itself is not exactly a tourist’s dream destination.  It has plenty of history and if you’re going to Nicaragua for the straight-up cultural experience of everyday life in the country then Rivas is for you.  If you’re looking for luxury, beauty and the kind of pampering you experience in Costa Rica–keep going.

Photo: Unsplash

If you turn off the main highway before you get to Rivas and head west to the coast, you will find a popular beach town called San Juan del Sur.  San Juan del Sur is like a mini-Tamarindo of yesteryear.  Lots of little shops, diverse cafes and restaurants, a wide range of hotels and hostels, a traditional market and local art/craft vendors are all gathered into a little hillside town by a gentle bay.  If you only have one or two nights to spend in Nicaragua, this is the place for you.  It’s easy to get to, easy to find things to do in, and a quick trip back to Costa Rica so you can make your flight.  Walk the beach, take a tour to other nearby beaches, or get in on a surf trip to the famous break at Playa Matapalo.  Shop the markets, go for a swim, and enjoy your favorite meal at sunset for a fraction of what you would pay in Costa Rica.

Probably the most amazing thing you can do in the southern sector of Nicaragua is to visit the island of Ometepe.  Ometepe rises out of in Lake Nicaragua, and you will see it as you travel north from the border crossing into the country.  You can’t miss Ometepe on a clear day because the two enormous volcanoes that formed it rise from the sea-sized lake that stretches for hours along the coast.  To get to Ometepe, you’ll go to the town of San Jorge just a few minutes from Rivas, where you’ll take a ferry.  The ferry will transport you and lots of other colorful passengers across the lake to the island. Ometepe is so big that you don’t even feel like you’re on an island.  Of course then Lake Nicaragua is so big that it doesn’t feel like a lake!   On Ometepe, one of the most unforgettable things you can do is to hike the volcanoes.

Photo: Unsplash

Sister volcanoes Concepción and Maderas, formed the island, and guides can take you for an unforgettable trip up either one.  Concepción is an active volcano.  You can hike up to lava rock fields near the cone where steam pours from fissures between the rocks.  It’s not perhaps the safest pastime, but you can do it if you’re up for the adventure.  Maderas is a dormant volcano (the safer sister!) and contains a cool lake in its crater.  A hike up Volcan Maderas is considerably less dangerous and just as beautiful in different ways.  Got time?  Do both!

The other thing you need to do on the Island of Ometepe is get with a guide–hire one privately or take a tour–of Ometepe’s historical interest points.  See one of Somoza’s coffee plantations, hike to petroglyphs in the mountains, travel to indigenous communities, visit thermal pools, and discover the rich history of Nicaragua’s turbulent past.  You will never forget Ometepe.  Guaranteed.

Photo: Unsplash

Further into Nicaragua lies the colonial town of Granada.  You will drive along the shore of Lake Nicaragua for a full hour from Rivas before you are even near Granada.  Granada is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas and it is also a rich source of indigenous historical sites and modern historical points of interest.  Visit a colonial church, pre-Columbian statues, a fortress from the many wars Nicaragua suffered in the 20th century and hike a volcano that predates all of it. Tourism is Granada’s main source of income, and this is one of the places in Nicaragua where discerning travelers can be the most comfortable.  Budget travelers will do fine anywhere in Nicaragua, but Granada is one of the places where high-end accommodations and services will be easier to find.

Our last recommendation for your quick trip to southern Nicaragua is the city of Masaya.  Masaya is famous for two things–the volcanic national park it is named after, and its art/craft markets.  Tours to the volcano are low-intensity (unlike Concepción and Maderas on the island of Ometepe) and can be enjoyed by everyone.  This is Nicaragua’s first national park and is a great idea for a night-time activity when the glowing lava in the crater is a spectacular sight.

 

Before you leave Nicaragua, get your souvenir shopping on at one (or both!) of Masaya’s markets.  There’s a municipal market and a tourist market.  The tourist market it what it sounds like–a bright, clean market with comfortable aisles filled with crafts and souvenirs that are exactly what you want to bring home with you from your visit to Nicaragua.  The municipal market is where the locals shop.  There is also a souvenir section (cheaper, too!) in the municipal market, but talk about a cultural experience that will challenge your comfort zone!  Baskets, fruits, vegetables, raw meats, raw fish, shoes, shirts, bags, backpacks, watches, socks, cleaning products, personal products, lunches, breakfasts, baby clothes, chickens, cosmetics…  It’s all there jumbled together.  The only thing you won’t find at the municipal market is personal space.

Photo: Unsplash

 

Our advice?  Don’t miss it!  You’re in Nicaragua after all!  Make sure your bags are zipped shut and dive in.  Do something you’ve never done before.  Soon enough you’ll be back home in the chilly freezer section of your local grocery store where everything is much more under control but not nearly as interesting!

Are you interested in seeing Nicaragua?  Contact us while your vacation is in the planning stages and let us give you some of our expert tips and advise on how to get the best of both countries!