Surf Vacation? Surf Breaks, Pro Tips & Vacation Rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

surfing in Tamarindo Costa Rica

There are many reasons to come to Tamarindo: a surf vacation Costa Rica and our vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica are two of them! And they are great reasons.

If you’re here, you’re likely already drawn to Tamarindo’s epic surf, from beginner to advanced, some of which are world-renowned for their huge waves, big barrels, hard rights and lefts, and other serious challenges tailored to beginner, intermediate, and experienced surfers.

The big question for both beginner and skilled surfers is not so much where to go, but rather how to fit all the best spots into your stay. In and around Tamarindo, there are dozens of beaches, breaks, and frothy nooks and crannies that will thrill and challenge your skills (and help you build new ones). So, here’s an introduction to a few of our favorites:

Just North of the Tamarindo Diria

Beginner

surf lessons Tamarindo Costa Rica

vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Prime among Tamarindo beginner surfing hotspots, this downtown swell is great for learning how to surf. (Be sure to check out our surf lessons!)

It’s easy to find: Stand with your back to the Diria, then look right: conditions here are great, with waves that are consistently small, and as long as you stay clear of the rocky breaks of Pico Grande and Pico Pequeno, the soft sands cushion any newbie falls. You’ll often find vendors peddling surfboards and lessons around here. Surf’s up! And we have a few vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, right here.

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Family-Friendly Costa Rica Vacation: What to Do & Where to Stay

Planning a planning a family trip to Costa Rica? Welcome to the beginning of an incredible adventure! The truth is that family-friendly Costa Rica is basically all of Costa Rica: This is a very kid-friendly and even kid-welcoming country. Costa Rica loves kids and we hope your kids will love Costa Rica!

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and Costa Rica is very accommodating in that regard: While teeny tiny when measured in square miles, Costa Rica is vastly diverse – from sandy beaches and roaring waterfalls to puffing volcanoes and lush rainforests (and dry forests and cloud forests…), our small nation proudly offers something for everyone.

That’s not lip service. Yes, everyone. Whether you’re traveling with the littlest littles, inquisitive tweens, adventurous teens, or even multiple generations, you will find something (and likely, many somethings) for each and every member of your family.

Planning a Family Trip to Costa Rica

The truth is that your planning process is going to require making some decisions. Because family-friendly Costa Rica tours, attractions, activities, and things to do encompass almost everything available, it’s impossible to fit everything into one trip.

Hot Tip: Take your time! When it comes to planning, the best advice we can give is to divide your 5 to 10-day trip between no more than two locations.

We recommend this for a few reasons: For families, especially if your kids skew younger, moving around often (say 2-3 days in one place) can overwhelm your kids and take the relaxation out of the trip for you parents. If you can eke out 10+ days for vacation, you can consider three destinations… but we’d still recommend exploring fewer places on a deeper level, for a more profound and relaxing experience.

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Tamarindo Trivia: 5 Things You Didn’t Know & Will Want to See

surfing-nice-wave

If you’re wondering what to do or what to see in Tamarindo Costa Rica, then you’re in the right place. As long-time residents of this vibrant beach town, we’ve experienced the depth and breadth of this incredible beach town.

From the most popular Tamarindo activities and tours to the most untouristed gems, our region of Costa Rica welcomes you to the inspiring, the beautiful, and the adventurous. To get you started in your planning, here are five fun (and often unknown) facts about Tamarindo:

Fun Fact: Tamarindo Surfing is Hollywood Famous!

surfing in Tamarindo Guanacaste 16 9

Once a sandy fishing village, surfing put Tamarindo on the world map back in the early 1990s, when Robert August and Wingnut released the movie The Endless Summer II.

Surfing remains our claim to fame, and Costa Rica’s North Pacific / Guanacaste province represents one of the world’s favorite destinations for a surf vacation – and for very good reason: We are home to consistent surf and renowned waves.

Notably, Guanacaste boasts iconic surf spots like Ollie’s Point (a right-point break stretching up to 300 yards) and Witch’s Rock (the site immortalized in The Endless Summer II). Additionally, our very own Tamarindo, along with Playa GrandePlaya Langosta, and Playa Avellanas, are recognized for their consistently exceptional surf experiences.

Fun Fact: Tamarindo is Home to the World’s Longest Humpback Whale Season

humpback whale breeching near Tamarindo

Costa Rican waters are home to approximately 25 species of dolphins and whales, making it a prime destination for marine enthusiasts. Among these majestic creatures, one of the most iconic and impressive is the humpback whale. So if you’re wondering what to see in Tamarindo Costa Rica, then we suggest looking out at the ocean.

Because what sets Tamarindo – and Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, generally – apart is that we host the world’s longest humpback whale-watching season. This distinction is owed to a fortuitous overlap between the northern migrations of South American humpbacks and the southern journey of North American whales.

Humpback whales, known for their immense size, weighing up to 40 tons (equivalent to a staggering 80,000 pounds), and voracious appetite, consuming up to 1.5 tons of krill daily, are a sight to behold in these rich waters. And you’ll have a good chance of encountering these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat: Whether you watch them from the coast (or your ocean-view vacation rental) or take a catamaran sale, spotting whales in their natural habitat is a truly unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

(And, of course, it’s one of our most popular and awe-inspiring Tamarindo activities and tours.)

Fun Fact: We’re Home to Rare Tropical Dry Forest

piggy back Costa Rican forest
Swap

Tropical dry forests are relatively rare compared to other types of tropical forests, and our region of Costa Rica is home to one of the largest remaining swaths of dry forest in the world, making this one of our top recommendations on the only-here side of what to see in Tamarindo Costa Rica.

Because tropical dry forests occur in regions with pronounced seasonal changes, characterized by a distinct dry season and a wet season, they are limited to areas where there is enough rainfall to support forest growth during the wet season, but where conditions become dry enough during the dry season to inhibit the growth of dense, evergreen forests. In other words, the tropics.

The problem resides in human impact, such as deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, and logging, which have significantly reduced the extent of tropical dry forests worldwide. Add to this, the threat of wildfire, thanks to development and a changing climate, and tropical dry forests are threatened, as sweeping fires convert the habitat into more fire-resistant ecosystems like savannas or grasslands.

Enter Costa Rica, where 25%+ of all land area is protected within natural parks, wildlife refuges, nature reserves, and other areas. And this means that you can observe this rare habitat, whether you’re visiting the natural riches of Rincón de la Vieja National Park, the cultural attractions of Santa Rosa National Park, or others.

Fun Fact: We’re Home to 5%+ of the World’s Total Biodiversity

monkey in Costa Rica

Did you know that Costa Rica boasts an astonishing 5% of the world’s total biodiversity, all within a remarkably compact area constituting just 0.3% of the Earth’s surface?

This ratio is nothing short of astounding, underscoring the richness of life teeming within our borders. An estimated 500,000 species call Costa Rica home – a staggering figure that includes an impressive 1,251 species of butterflies alone. Such biodiversity is unparalleled, making Costa Rica a global treasure trove of ecological wonder and discovery.

And, while you won’t find all 500,000+ species here, you will find quite a few! So, for those of you who are more nature-watcher than adrenaline junkie, embark on a serene kayaking excursion through the mangroves, beginning at the estuary near the river mouth and venturing into the wilderness of Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. Keep an eye out for monkeysiguanas, and a variety of bird species!

Fun Fact: Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles Nest Here!

leatherback sea turtle Costa Rica 16 9

You may have heard (or read) it called Marino Las Baulas National Park, but this one’s more accurate name is Las Baulas National Marine Park. That’s for two reasons: The first is that the park’s extensive acreage is mostly of the marine variety – 43,240+ acres (175 km2) ocean acres to just 1,900 acres (7.7 km2) on land – and because this park is a critically important nesting site for endangered leatherback sea turtles (in Spanish, baulas).

For here, this coastal wonderland should definitely make your list of what to see in Tamarindo Costa Rica, as it welcomes nesting sea turtles every year – all the more important, given that there are so few of these nesting sites remaining in the world AND that leatherback populations are on the decline (hence, endangered). And if leatherback turtle conservation isn’t enough to get you there, know that this national park is also home to the biodiverse Tamarindo Estuary and its mangrove-lined canals, which are home to an incredible array of flora and fauna.

Where to Stay

What to see in Tamarindo Costa Rica and now, where to stay:

Casa Xanadu

Tamarindo | 4 Bedrooms | 3.5 Baths | Sleeps 10

Casa Xanadu Tamarindo vacation home

At the juncture of sea and sky, of downtown and out-of-the-way, Casa Xanadu overlooks the marvels of Tamarindo: Las Baulas National Marine Park, the Tamarindo wildlife estuary, a rolling mountain range, and two scenic beaches. From here, you can see it all – including the day’s surf conditions!

For here, amidst the biodiversity afforded by rare tropical dry forest – one of the last remaining swatch in the world – Casa Xanadu is at the epicenter of wonder and wildlife: Green forest, sun-drenched sands, and the sparkling Pacific, where seabirds swoop and iguanas sun, where howler monkeys holler and parakeets squawk.

Just a few minutes from the beach – take the golf cart or follow your own two feet! – this stunning home welcomes you to four spacious bedrooms, a private infinity poolshaded terraces, and sun-splashed balconies. Indoors, a beachy color palette and a chef’s kitchen, indoor-outdoor dining and windows to frame your every view.

Because yes, always, it’s that view. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’ll never want to leave.

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Puesta del Sol

Tamarindo | 6 Beds | 6 Baths | Sleeps 16

Puesta del Sol sunset house in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Have you dreamed of flying – of rising high, your arms spread, your hair blowing in the breeze, and your heart soaring, your body ablaze with exhilaration?

Puesta del Sol is a little like that.

Set high on a hilltop overlooking the beach town of Tamarindo, this spectacular home delivers 300-degree panoramic views and architecture designed to amaze. Here, ocean breezes whip and race up the mountain, wrapping you in their refreshing chill. Here, the Pacific Ocean unfurls at your feet and swooping seabirds frame your view. Here, you’re floating above it all – almost flying, high above earth and sea, in a special paradise all your own.

Named for the sunset – or, more precisely, for the “setting of the sun” – Puesta del Sol is one of our most outstanding homes: upscale yet warm, both remarkable and welcoming. Oversized windows both frame the artwork of this view and beckon sunlight to steam indoors. An expansive infinity pool bids you to spend your mornings, your afternoons, your every moment on the terrace. And the blazing tropical sunset sets the sky on fire, a riot of jewel tones, bright fluorescents, and muted pastels.

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Ready to Discover Your Own Fun Facts and What to See in Tamarindo Costa Rica? 

We know, the options can be overwhelming. But, as ever, we’re here to help. Cris is here to help.

Simply put: She’ll handle everything. All the logistics. Every reservation. Airport transportation. Tamarindo transportation. From A to Z and everything in between: When you book one of our Tamarindo vacation rentals, our in-house concierge will quickly be in touch.

She’s an expert in Tamarindo travel: Digging beneath the surface and reaching beyond the norm, Cris not only makes it her job to know Tamarindo, but to get to know you, too! She’s like a real-life guidebook who expertly overlays Tamarindo’s most iconic experiences and must-do adventures with your needs, preferences, and plans. What’s more, she’ll work with your budget. Any budget – really.

It begins with our welcome packet, which you’ll receive after you make a booking. It’ll introduce you to many of our favorite things, so have a look. Start building your wish list. And then, talk to Cris and let the fun begin. It’s part magic, part expertise. And, as we said, completely free. So go ahead, pick Cris’s brain! She can’t wait to hear from you!

Costa Rica Easter Holiday: How & Where to Celebrate

aerial view Tamarindo Playa Grande 16 9

You call it your Costa Rica Easter holiday; Latin America calls it Semana Santa. You celebrate with chocolate, bunnies, colorful eggs, and meals based on ham or perhaps lamb. Costa Rica, however, celebrates with none of the above.

Instead, it embraces religious processions and Costa Rica Easter traditions, including stuffed pastries, corn and dried cheese biscuits (called rosquillas), and trips to the beach. And if you visit during this time of year, know that this week – typically falling anywhere from mid-March to mid-April – is poised to be the cultural experience of your life.

So, we’ve written this guide so you can know what to expect, when to expect it, and how to have the best vacation of your life amidst this unique cultural phenomenon.

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Plan A Perfect Day: Tamarindo, Costa Rica Excursions, Dining & Relaxation

Playa Tamarindo beach

What does a perfect day look like? For us, it’s about pairing a few Tamarindo, Costa Rica excursions with plenty of relaxation, sightseeing, and an abundance of good company and great food.

Begin your perfect day by catching the early morning waves, as the sun rises over the horizon (or not… sleeping in is also a valid option!), offering a breathtaking backdrop for your surfing adventures. After an exhilarating session in the surf, unwind on the soft sands of Playa Tamarindo, basking in the warmth of the tropical sun and listening to the soothing sound of the waves.

As the day transitions into evening, take one of our guest-favorite Tamarindo day trips and embark on a sunset sail along the Pacific coast, where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the vibrant sky ablaze with hues of orange and pink.

Upon returning to shore, indulge in a culinary masterpiece prepared by your private chef, who crafts a gourmet feast showcasing the flavors of Costa Rica with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Dine al fresco under the stars, surrounded by the tropical landscapes as you reflect on the perfect day spent in paradise.

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Top-10 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica in 2024

Rainy Tamarindo Sunsets 16 9

As you embark on planning your upcoming travels, we present a compelling case for why your journeys in 2024 should lead you to Costa Rica. ¡Pura vida! Here are our top 10 reasons to visit Costa Rica – plus a few hand-selected Costa Rica holiday rentals to fuel your wanderlust.

Reason #1: There are Hundreds of Beaches to Explore

Playa Conchal near Tamarindo

Top 10 reasons to visit Costa Rica in 2024? Try top one. Nestled between the Pacific and the Atlantic/Caribbean, Costa Rica boasts over 300 stunningly diverse beaches, making it a beach lover’s paradise.

Renowned for their beauty and variety, Costa Rica’s beaches consistently earn accolades as some of the world’s best beaches. Recently, Playa Conchal, north of Tamarindo, was crowned the world’s best beach by Big 7 Travel, citing ecological responsibility, social media popularity, and editorial opinion as contributing factors. With recognition like this, our exquisite beaches represent one of the most beautiful, eye-catching reasons to visit Costa Rica in 2024.

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Bang For Your Buck: Tamarindo Villa Rentals Packed with Amenities

Casa Puros Dieces luxury villas in Tamarindo Costa Rica
Luxury amenities at our villas in Tamarindo, Costa Rica extend to these ocean views, infinity-edge pool, Jacuzzi, outdoor living, and much more (Pictured: Casa Puros Dieces)

When you want to splash out on next-level luxuries, our coastal town is an excellent choice: Over the years, we have grown to accommodate contemporary condos, oceanside mansions, and truly luxurious villas for rent in Tamarindo, Costa Rica and that pack in the amenities.

Often these vacation homes offer not just bang for your buck, but greater value, when compared to renting multiple hotel rooms, as well as the luxury of your own private resort. And if you’re wondering just what kind of amenities a “private resort” offers, then have a look…

Top-Tier Amenities at Our Villas for Rent in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Compass House Tamarindo villa rentals amenities
Top-tier amenities: ✅ Ocean views, ✅ infinity pool, ✅ outdoor living, and ✅ incredible sunsets (Pictured: Compass House)

Over the years, we’ve learned that luxury is not a static concept: It’s about what you value most. With that said, a home’s amenities and styling can and will add to your experience. Prioritize what matters most to you!

Here are a few of our guests’ favorite in-home amenities, which we are proud to offer at many of our villas for rent in Tamarindo, Costa Rica:

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Our Favorite Day Tours From Tamarindo – Off The Beaten Path

Tamarindo sunset

There’s something special about getting a little off the beaten path, isn’t there? (In fact, it’s probably one of our favorite Tamarindo things to do, if we can class it that way.)

Because, while we love hitting the beach, paddling into the surf, and restaurant-hopping all of Tamarindo’s downtown pleasures, venturing a little further afield gives us something to look forward to. It’s exciting. It’s exhilarating. And, given the right circumstances, it’s definitely something for the bucket list.

So, we thought we’d highlight a few of the best things to do in Tamarindo – and outside of Tamarindo, more accurately. From waterfalls and volcanoes to wildlife and white waters, here are some of our top recommendations for getting off the beaten path around Tamarindo:

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Experience a Costa Rica Luxury Vacation with Elite Services + Concierge

Playa Tamarindo beach

Some people like to say you can’t have everything. At Vacation Rentals Tamarindo, we like to say you can – especially when it comes to your Costa Rica luxury vacation! Welcome to convenience with privacy, to luxury that’s affordable, and to gorgeous coastline within your reach.

Over the years, we’ve learned that true luxury is not only about amenities and inclusions but also about quality of service. So, we’ve cultivated all those luxury features, villa amenities, and important details, while making sure to pair them with the highest standards of service and an authentic dedication to you, our guests.

Together, this combination has grown into our new Elite Service level, our highest tier of luxury services. We are pleased to introduce…

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Travel on a Budget: 6 Tips to Save on Your Tamarindo Vacation

aerial view Playa Grande Costa Rica 16 9

At its best, traveling on a budget is an exhilarating challenge: a chance to explore the world a little longer, enjoy a little more, and squeeze in a little more authenticity. And if that sounds like your kind of Tamarindo, Costa Rica vacation, then we’re here to help you identify a few great ways to pinch your colones, discover Costa Rica, and choose the best things to do in Tamarindo for you.

Tip #1: Cook at “Home”

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Pictured: The kitchen at Ibis Condo #1

By far, one of the easiest ways to travel on a budget is to cook some of your own meals, rather than ordering in or dining at a restaurant. And that’s where your vacation home’s kitchen comes in clutch.

That said, let’s not forget that this is still a Tamarindo, Costa Rica vacation – and no one’s saying that food prep is among the best things to do in Tamarindo! We recommend preparing most of your breakfasts, as there’s a certain level of relaxation already built in to waking up late and preparing a lazy breakfast or brunch at home. Beyond that, go easy for lunch with easy-prep options, like sandwiches, pasta salad, fresh fruits, and other dishes you can prep in an instant.

Dinner is a great time to splurge on either a meal out or a meal in: You can find some incredible catch-of-the-day options, if you love seafood, as well as plenty of local and imported goods at our local grocery stores. Be sure to choose something that feels a little special; again, you’re on vacation! And vacation is a great time for special.

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