When it comes to Tamarindo rentals, activities, restaurants, and more, there’s not always a lot of focus on budget options. And yet, plenty of travelers enjoy Tamarindo on a budget.
From the tightest budgets to more of a we-have-a-specific-budget approach to travel, Tamarindo is very accommodating. Because here, there are tons of free, almost free, and inexpensive things to do. Things you’ll love to do. There are lots of tips to lower your food costs (while still enjoying the heck out of your vacation eats). And there are plenty of Tamarindo condos for rent that invite you to enjoy the good life without spending a fortune.
Here are a few of our on-the-ground, we-have-budgets-too suggestions for enjoying Tamarindo on a budget:
In our experience, food is one of the greatest and most enjoyable features of travel. And if you’re anything like us – from a casual taster to full-on foodie – then you’re going to love all the Costa Rica tropical fruits that are in store!
Keep in mind that Costa Rican fruits are highly seasonal and, despite how small our country is, fruit seasons do vary by region. So, while you may hear about dozens of fruits you’d like to try, know that only a third to a quarter of them will be available in a single region, at any given time.
The only solution: Visit again. And again. And again! Until you’ve hit on all the seasons and sampled all the Costa Rica tropical fruits. And now, a few of our favorites to add to your list:
Jocote (Red Mombin)
Also known as purple mombin and hog plum – so appetizing, we know! – jocote (pronounced hoe-coe-tay) are a cousin of the cashew (who knew?!) and one of Costa Rica’s favorite fruits!
Travel is restorative. Travel is a salve for a dulled sense of wonder. Travel is a balm for the weary soul. Because travel is good for us. This renewal, this wonder, this restoration – these are the things we crave, thanks to the health benefits of travel. And these are things we know we’ll receive, both intuitively and thanks to science.
The truth is that travel offers so many advantages, so many wonders, so many deviations to our everyday. And all this newness, all this breathtaking beauty, all this challenge to our routine and to boredom and to the everyday — these are the things that wake us up and improve our mood and boost our well-being. These are the promises of travel, especially to Costa Rica.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Science and evidence and travelers themselves have all the proof that you, and we, need.
The world’s freelancers, remote workers, and telecommuters recently celebrated the news that Costa Rica digital nomads will soon have a path to seek legal residency (technically, an estancia – essentially, a right to reside). The question is, are you one of them?
If you’re considering embracing the digital nomadic lifestyle ad moving to Costa Rica, then you probably have a lot of questions. Beginning with, where do I start?
Have you ever heard that Costa Rica is not a “budget destination”? You’ve heard right. But what that usually means is that Costa Rica is a challenge to shoestring budgets because traveling Costa Rica on a budget is possible. And not just possible, but very doable.
Certainly, you’ll have to get a little creative. And you may have to make a few swaps of this for that. And you’ll more frequently choose a free beach day or a $10 pp national park hike over a $150 pp tour day. But you can and will travel, explore, and enjoy the wilds and wiles of Costa Rica on a budget.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Tip #1: Always Read the [Menu] Fine Print
In Costa Rica, all restaurant service taxes (13%) and a basic tip (10%) are supposed to be included in the prices listed on the menu. In other words, if a dish is listed at ¢5,000 (about $7.50), then the final price should be ¢5,000 – not ¢5,000 + 13% service + 10% tip.
That said, some restaurants list their prices without the service and tip. So, do your budget a favor and always check the menu (usually at the bottom/footer) for text along the lines of “Los precios incluyen I.V.I.” (Prices include I.V.I., or the service + tip tax) If you see something along the lines of “Los precios no incluyen I.V.I.”, then the 23% additional is not included. Some restaurants will include the 13% service fee but not the 10% tip; in this case, the 10% tip is not optional and will always be added onto your final bill.
Sometimes, the hardest part of your vacation is simply choosing where to vacation. So, while you’ve likely narrowed down your country of destination (Costa Rica, hurray!), you haven’t yet gotten so far as to whittle down the regions, towns, or places you’d like to stay. Let us offer some inspiration (and a few Guanacaste, Costa Rica rentals to consider).
We’re here to help. Because, while Costa Rica appears small by map standards, the country is vast: From high-montane cloud forests and river headwaters to coastal beaches and tropical dry forests, you could spend a lifetime exploring Costa Rica’s diverse sights, enormous biodiversity, and varying terrain.
You have to start somewhere, though. And, as residents of the great province of Guanacaste, we’d like to recommend right here: on Costa Rica’s famed Gold Coast, home to pink shell-strewn beaches and howler monkey-filled forests, world-class surf and some of the world’s best sunsets.
So, let’s get right down to it: 10 beachy destinations to submit for consideration. From north to south:
Tamarindo is the kind of place that families love. In addition to great dining, incredible scenery, and plenty of family-friendly vacation rentals in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, our corner of paradise offers much for families to see, do, and experience together.
Because, whether you’re the kind to tackle adventures – everything from zip lines and volcano-climbing to surfing and ocean kayaking – or more the type to relax at the pool together, Tamarindo is just the kind of place for your family.
And with that in mind, here are a few of our favorite things. Which will become a few of yours?
There’s nothing as quintessential to Tamarindo as surfing. And, while Tamarindo is one of the world’s favorite surfer spots, it’s also surprisingly welcoming to beginners and kids, too. Because yes, there are great challenges to be found but there are also gentle waves and sandy ocean bottoms perfect for your first ride or your hundredth practice. And there’s nothing like seeing the expression on your kid’s face when she catches her very first wave!
Tamarindo is as close as Costa Rica’s Gold Coast comes to a beach metropolis and yet, it’s the furthest thing from a city: A mile long from stem to stern, this golden-sand and cerulean-sea travel hotspot packs restaurants and shops, activities and attractions into one sand-dusted town.
For this little town lives by the motto of “surf, eat, and have fun” – and all three, we readily accept as a contractual obligation! It’s the life you lead, when you live or vacation in Guanacaste’s chilliest city by the sea.
While you may have heard about the first (surf) and be tempted by the second (eat), today we’re here to discover the third: Have fun! There are tens, if not hundreds of ways to have fun in Tamarindo. And now, we’re going to discover some of the must-dos, the must-sees, and the you-wouldn’t-want-to-miss-‘ems.
Tamarindo is the kind of place where you don’t have to look for something to: Tamarindo nightlife finds you. Everywhere you go, almost anywhere you look – there’s a bar, a restaurant, or a hangout where you can spend your evening hours.
That said, everyone has their favorites. Here are a few of ours.
Must See: Tamarindo Night Market & Feria
Ferias, or farmer’s markets, are a Costa Rican staple. And nowhere are they more enjoyable than right here in Tamarindo, where the feria becomes a night market complete with live music, international food, and artisan vendors selling jewelry, clothes, art, and so much more.
Open every Thursday from 6-9 p.m., this is our version of the feria gone wild. Only, instead of carrots and mangos, you’ll snack on arepas and empanadas, pizza and pulled pork, lasagna and cocktails. And then, there are the fire dancers and the traditional dancers, the DJs and the clowns – the absolutely everything you need to enjoy an open-air night out on the town!
And hey, if you’re also looking for the more traditional feria, we have that, too. (It’s on Saturday mornings!)
When you’re in the mood for a holiday escape – and by that, we mean anything from a tinsel-draped escape in paradise to an escape-the-holidays in paradise – then Costa Rica (and our available Tamarindo rentals, below) graciously delivers.
The consummate host and a happy celebrant, this tropical nation invites you to celebrate the season with walks on the beach and long afternoons on the terrace, soul-shaking sunsets and leisurely swims in the pool. Because what better way to celebrate Christmas or toast to the New Year, than with your toes buried in sand and your hair slicked back from a recent swim?
That said, the holidays here book up fast. Not only is the sun shining and the weather perfect, but we’re heading into our busiest season of the year. So, to make your last-minute holiday planning a little easier, we’ve pulled together our rentals with last-minute availability. (Check the bottom of each description for Christmas/New Year’s week availability.)