Surf Vacation in Costa Rica? Plan the Ultimate Trip, From Beginner to Advanced

surfing at Playa Grande Costa Rica

Planning the ultimate surf vacation in Costa Rica is an exciting prospect! As you eagerly anticipate the thrill of riding the waves, you may find yourself already dreaming about those invigorating morning rides, that special surfboard wax, and even those revitalizing afternoon naps you’ll enjoy on your vacation.

However, a slight challenge then presents itself – you’re not entirely certain about the details. Where to go, when to go, where to stay – it’s all a bit uncertain. Because the best surf beaches in Costa Rica are legendary, and whether you’re a beginner just getting the hang of popping up or an advanced surfer seeking the next exhilarating challenge, one thing is certain: you’ll soon be surfing in Costa Rica. That alone is exhilarating, and this guide is here to fill in the blanks.

From the best surf breaks (from brand-new beginner to absolutely epic), the top surf destinations, and even where to stay, here’s your guide to planning the ultimate surf vacation in Costa Rica:

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5 Health Benefits of Travel to Costa Rica

tip of Playa Flamingo Costa Rica
Costa Rican explorations fill our proverbial bucket. And that’s only one of the many health benefits of travel!

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.

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How to Be Happier and Healthier in the New Year with a Costa Rican Vacation

Happy 2020!   The new year is here, and it’s going to be the best one yet!   As you’re making your plans for the year and thinking about how to focus on well-being, don’t forget that a Costa Rica vacation is one of the healthiest choices you can make.  Forget Disney World–come to the happiest country on Earth, where the air and water are clean, monkeys swing through the trees, and the sun shines 365 days a year!

Photo by Oliver Sjöström

When we say a Costa Rica vacation is a healthy vacation, we’re not making it up.  One of the world’s Blue Zones, where longevity is unusually high, is right here on the Nicoya Peninsula only a few miles from Tamarindo.  If being healthier than ever is one of your resolutions for 2020, coming to Tamarindo is the right way to get started. A Tamarindo vacation rental is the perfect way to relax with family and friends and get your healthy year started off the way you want to.  Here are a few of the reasons Costa Rica is good for you: 

1. It’s the Perfect Place to Unwind

Photo by Dean McQuade

The best thing you can do for yourself this year is unwinding and relax.  Stress ties your body and your mind in knots, and the first step to a healthy 2020 is letting go of your worries. Tamarindo, Costa Rica is the perfect place to do just that.  We have the beaches, the sun, the flora and fauna, the bars and restaurants, the health and wholeness spas, and the perfect Tamarindo vacation rentals to make this trip the one that points your year in the right direction.  

Tropical vacations are special because they are geared toward relaxation.  No matter what time of year you chose to visit us, you’ll enjoy warm weather, lush gardens, and warm ocean water. Leisurely sunset walks on the beach are an ideal and even romantic way to unwind.  Costa Rica’s laid-back atmosphere and favorite expression “Pura Vida” will quickly loosen the knots and help you unwind.  

Spectacular Tamarindo sunset

We’ll help you pick a Tamarindo vacation rental with what you really need to let the stress melt away: a hammock, a private pool, the sound of the ocean nearby, and a five-star concierge to make sure you have everything you want at your fingertips.

2. Sunlight is Good for You

Photo by Maciej Serafinowicz

Newsflash!  Direct sunlight is good for you!  Simply receiving sunlight can increase the vitamin D levels in your body, set circadian rhythms which improve sleep, strengthen your bones, improve your mood and mental health, make your heart healthier, improve your brain function and overall help you live longer.  You might feel better just thinking about it!  

Of course, too much sun in the middle of the day can cause sunburn which we don’t recommend, but human beings were made to be in the sun, so put that bikini in your suitcase and get on a plane!  It’s good for you! A hat and a light-colored long-sleeved shirt can cut down on the amount of chemical sunscreens you need to use on your skin, which is a healthy way not to get too much sun.  

3. Being in or Near the Ocean is Good for You

Photo by Limor Zellermayer

Historically, doctors often recommended that their ailing patients go to the seaside to breathe in the salty air absorb sun on their skin and bathe in the natural mineral salts.  Unfortunately, your health insurance probably doesn’t cover seaside visits–but maybe it should.  

Breaking waves fill the air with negative ions that purify the air and have an antidepressant effect in the human brain.  The fact that looking at the ocean relaxes you, and that being near it makes you feel better and immediately calmer is not in your imagination.  It’s chemistry. 

Come surf with us in Tamarindo!

For even more negative ion benefits, get out there in those waves and go for a swim or grab a board and catch some waves.  A Tamarindo surf lesson is not only one of the most fun things you can do in Costa Rica, it’s also excellent for the health of your brain.  Ever wonder why surfers are so laid back and happy?  

4. There Are All Kinds of Exercise Options

Photo by Jared Rice

It’s a pleasure to exercise in Costa Rica where the sun is shining and the weather is beautiful.  Forget the gym! Walk or run on the beach. Hike. Surf. Swim. Snorkel. Go kayaking or whitewater rafting.  Try a stand-up paddle board. Enjoy yoga in a shady open-air dojo, or on the beach in the cooler hours of the early mornings.  As your mind relaxes and your body strengthens, you’ll feel better and better with each day of your Costa Rica vacation.    

5. The Environment is Clean

Photo by Alexander Aguero

A Costa Rica vacation is a healthy vacation because our environment is one of the cleanest and greenest on the planet.  25% of Costa Rica’s territory is either a national park or a protected area. Imagine what that does for our air quality, the cleanliness of our water, and the health of our ecosystems.  The air pressure at sea level gives your blood cells an oxygen boost with every breath you take, so come get energized!  

6. Costa Rican Food is Healthy Food

Enjoy a meal like this at Nogui’s Restaurant in Tamarindo

You are what you eat, and an obvious product of Costa Rica’s clean environment is clean food.  It’s easy to eat healthy and be healthy in Costa Rica. Organic farms all over the country make chemical-free meals something you can find almost anywhere, and most towns have local farmers’ markets.  You won’t want to miss our Saturday farmers’ and craft market here in Tamarindo!

Traditional Costa Rican meals are comprised of rice, beans, corn tortillas, simple salads, and a protein–usually chicken, fish, or beef.  Eat a variety of these items, mixed with a variety of fresh tropical fruits, fresh cheese and eggs, and you’ll be amazed by how wonderful you begin to feel.  

We have the Tamarindo Vacation Rental you need for your vacation

2020 is going to be your best year yet.  Contact us now and let us help you get started planning your healthy vacation to Costa Rica.  Start 2020 off right!

Tamarindo Vacation Rental of the Month: The Sunrise Condo Collection

Our Property of the Month to start the year out is located in the heart of Tamarindo and is a standard favorite for family vacations.  The Sunrise Condo Collection is comprised of 5 different vacation rentals of Tamarindo that, individually or as a multi-location unit, bring you the best Tamarindo has to offer.  Before we explain what’s special about each of the Sunrise Condos we offer, have a look around the property in general:

The Sunrise Condo Collection is waiting to bring you your next vacation!

It’s right in the center of town.

A Sunrise condo or set of condos is the right choice for anyone who wants to truly experience a slice of life in Tamarindo because the Sunrise Complex is right in the center of town.  Check out the map and you’ll see what we mean. Bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and the beach are just steps from your door at Sunrise. 

It’s right across the street from the beach.

In Tamarindo, you can’t get any closer to the beach than the Sunrise Complex.  It’s location directly across the street from the warm golden sand places you steps from the water.  Are you a surfer or a beach-lover? Then your ideal vacation rental condo is at Sunrise! Sit on the terrace of your Tamarindo vacation rental after a busy day of fun in the sun, and listen to the soothing sounds of surf breaking on the sand. 

Sunrise is located right across the street from the beach!

It is fully gated and off the street.

The Sunrise property is a safe place for your family and your rental vehicle.  A single entrance point is monitored by a guard service 24 hours a day to make your vacation worry-free.  

It has an amazing pool and common area.

Sunrise’s 4-story buildings are located around a giant internal common area with an oversized child-friendly pool and a sunny area for lounging.  The pool features a separate shallow section for Sunrise’s smallest guests and an interactive waterfall feature that provides hours of family fun.  

Pool area with waterfall

Many of the units are ocean-view.

The only thing that could make your vacation better than a Sunrise condo across the street from the beach is if the home offers an ocean view as well.  And many of our units do! Imagine waking up in an ocean-view bedroom or sipping your first cup of coffee while checking the surf. You can do this and more at Sunrise.

You can walk anywhere.

From Sunrise, everything in Tamarindo is within walking distance.  Nothing makes your vacation relaxing like being able to keep it simple, and Sunrise is the premier place for un-complication.  Save your rental car for trips to other beaches like Flamingo or Avellanas, and enjoy Tamarindo on foot.  

You can reserve multiple units for larger groups.

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo offers you five different units within Sunrise, so feel free to invite everybody!  Extended families and groups of friends love to vacation together at Sunrise where each family unit has its own home away from home, but there is plenty of space to be together.  

Sunrise is just the beginning!  Get out and explore. Photo by Maja Novak

Our concierge service is yours.

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo offers you Tamarindo’s premier concierge service.  We’re the long-time local experts on Tamarindo’s best tours, activities, and transportation options, and our guests at Sunrise get to enjoy our five-star service.

Now that we know you can’t wait to pick the unit for your Costa Rica vacation, we’re ready to unveil the choices:

CASA BELLA VIDA – Sunrise #03

3  bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 6 guests

Sunrise 03

Casa Bella Vida has all the best of Sunrise wrapped into a small package.  This compact and affordable vacation rental is perfect for small families. The kitchen and living area are fully equipped with everything you’d expect in a Tamarindo home away from home, and in Casa Bella Vida, you’ll enjoy an ocean view from the terrace and from the master bedroom. One of the home’s two full baths is a private bath in the master bedroom.

OUR TAMARINDO –  Sunrise #14

3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 6 guests

Sunrise 14

Our Tamarindo is our other small-scale Sunrise complex condo.  In Our Tamarindo, the terrace overlooks the sun deck and the resort pool.  You’ll enjoy the natural light that pours through the windows and sliding glass doors into every room of the house.  The kitchen, dining area area, and living area are a single comfortable open space where you and your family or friends will enjoy time together planning activities and then re-living them at the end of each day.  Our Tamarindo has the perfect simplicity of bringing you everything you need in a compact three-bedroom space. 

CASA SOL Y LUNA – Sunrise #31

3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 8 guests

Sunrise #31

Casa Sol y Luna is our Sunrise condo that celebrates the sun and moon.  This simple three bedroom unit follows the layout you’ve already seen in the previous Sunrise units we’ve featured, with the difference that this one has additional sleeping space available.  A bunk bed in one of the guest bedrooms turns that room into a favorite with the youngest members of your party!


3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 8 guests

Sunrise 04

The Sunrise Penthouse is our top-shelf choice for small vacation rental condos in Tamarindo.  This oceanview penthouse is a corner unit on the top floor of Sunrise. The terrace the opens from the living room to the ocean breezes overlooks the pool area, Tamarindo rooftops, and the blue pacific horizon.  Our favorite thing about the Sunrise Penthouse is the ocean view from the master bedroom. This is the best view for the best price in all of Tamarindo. The other thing that sets this bright and beautiful condo apart from others like it is the additional sleeping available on the sleeper couch in the living room.  The more, the merrier–and the Sunrise Penthouse has room for everybody!


5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 12 guests

Sunrise 28

If you’re ready to pull out the stops and enjoy a five-star luxury vacation in the center of Tamarindo Beach, then only our two-story 5-Bedroom Penthouse will do.  This home is the crowning jewel of the Sunrise Complex. Vaulted ceilings, Roman columns, an interior balcony surrounding the living area on the second level, and multiple outdoor terraces make our Five Bedroom Penthouse spectacular.  Here, you’ll enjoy all the Sunrise Complex amenities, but the private ocean view jacuzzi sundeck with a wet bar and dining table is going to capture your imagination and steal your heart.  

Contact us right away about our Sunrise Condo Collection.  We’ll help you make the reservation you need to get the new year started with a smile!

Calling All Electronic Music Lovers: YOU WANT TO BE IN COSTA RICA IN JANUARY 2020!

Actually, anyone in their right mind wants to be in Costa Rica in January, but if you are a lover of electronic music, you want to be HERE.  In January 2020 back-to-back electronic music festivals are going to rock Tamarindo – BPM Costa Rica & Ocaso Festival in Tamarindo.  You want to make plans right now because our Tamarindo vacation rentals are filling up and every day that goes by locks more dates on our calendar.  

Ocaso Music Festival: photo property of Periodico Mensaje Guanacaste

The first festival is the Ocaso Underground Music Festival, from January 9-13.  DJs spin electronic and techno house, one performance at a time, at various locations — poolside, beachside, and in the jungle…all night long.  You don’t want to miss this amazing festival at one of Tamarindo’s most beautiful times of the year.

The BPM Festival, from January 15-19, brings us 5 more days of underground house and electronic music in and around Tamarindo. This is your chance to surf, snorkel, sail, take canopy tours, visit waterfalls, explore cattle ranches and volcanoes while knowing every night is a guaranteed amazing party!

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo has 5 of our favorite Tamarindo vacation rentals that are still available in January: 

Casa Moana

Casa Moana: 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths

Casa Moana is a beautiful modern home for up to 10 people.  This brand-new vacation rental home is centrally located in Langosta just down the road from Tamarindo and is created with ecology in mind.  Solar panels on the home’s roof provide all of the electricity, 10-foot sliding glass doors create cross-ventilation, and recycled water keeps the green areas rich and healthy through the dry season.  Enjoy the music festivals with your family and friends, and enjoy knowing that the only footprints you leave will be on the sand.

Casa Moana is comprised of a sunny open common area that includes the kitchen, an immense single-slab dining table, and a living area with a flat-screen tv.  This space opens, through sliding glass doors, to a sun patio with loungers, a private pool, and a small table for morning coffee or a poolside cocktail. The master bedroom has a full en-suite bath, and the other 2 bedrooms share a gorgeous full bathroom with skylight. These 3 bedrooms are located on the first level of the home.  An exterior stairway from the pool patio leads down to a lower-level independent space where a multi-purpose room overlooking the community’s garden area includes a private bed/bath suite.  

Casa Xanadu

Casa Xanadu: 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths

Casa Xanadu is an unforgettable Tamarindo vacation rental villa with an absolutely breathtaking view of the Tamarindo Bay, the Las Baulas estuary, the vast expanse of Playa Grande, and the mountains that line the coast. This 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home is perfect for the escape artist that enjoys being surrounded by nature in an amazing private setting while still having all the benefits of a lively beach town just moments away. This is an ideal home for a group of friends who want to lay back, relax, and enjoy the electronic music festival in style.

Bright living spaces, a full kitchen and laundry, luxurious bedrooms and a wide breezy patio set with your own private infinity pool dropping off into the Pacific make Casa Xanadu a dream destination. All rooms focus on the incredible view and surfers need not move a muscle to check the conditions. 

Pueblo Colonial 3

Pueblo Colonial #3: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths

Pueblo Colonial #3 is part of a small gated Tamarindo complex.  The villa offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms that can sleep up to four adults. It is fully equipped with kitchenware, linens, towels, AC and Wifi. At the center of the Pueblo Colonial complex is a beautiful private pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens. 

The location of Pueblo Colonial is perfect.  You can easily walk into town within five minutes or relax at home and rest up for the night of dancing to jungle beats. Never before has a music festival in Tamarindo living been so easy and affordable.

Villa Paloma

Villa Paloma: 2 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths

Enjoy the music festivals in a laid-back tropical style at Villa Paloma.  This comfortably furnished and brightly decorated 2-bedroom condo sets along a quiet street just a few minutes’ walk from the beach in Playa Langosta.  This is the ideal place to kick back, relax, surf, walk the beach, lounge by the pool and enjoy the vibrant music scene you came to experience.

Villa Paloma is forms part of a luxury condominium complex called Villas Guapinol. Lush tropical gardens are cared for by a dedicated staff, and a crystal clear resort pool with an ample sun terrace is waiting for you in the private garden behind the condominiums.  On the street side of the complex, a gated parking area is monitored by a security guard.

Casa Catalina

Casa Catalina:  5 bedrooms, 5 baths

The view of Tamarindo Bay from Casa Catalina is literally breathtaking.  Set at the top of a seaside hill 330 feet above the sand, there is no other property that affords a view of the ocean or the sense of serenity present here.  Beyond the terrace, the infinity-edge pool and the property’s tropical garden, the earth drops away, leaving you suspended in a dream-like panorama of sky and sea.

There’s no more beautiful spot to enjoy the days you spend in Tamarindo resting so that you can dance the night away at Ocaso or the BPM festival in Costa Rica.

Up to 16 guests can sleep at Casa Catalina.  The master bedroom includes a private bath and is furnished with a king sized bed.  Two guest bedrooms, one with a single queen sized bed and one with two queen sized beds. The guest bedroom has a private ensuite bath and the second guest room has a bathroom right across the hall. There are 2 brand new Casitas, one with a King bed and a pull-down Queen bed and the other one with a queen bed and a pull-down queen bed. Each casita is fully equipped with a private bathroom, kitchen, and small balcony. The lower casita also has its own private pool.

Let us know if we can help you reserve your vacation rental with us at Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo. Dont wait too long or they will all be rented!

Planning Your Winter Holiday Vacation in Tamarindo

You may still be trying to think up a last-minute Halloween costume or wondering how many pies to make for Thanksgiving, but the truth is we have another thing to add to your to-do list:  Get your year-end holiday Costa Rica vacation on the books! It’s time! Christmas in Costa Rica and Costa Rica New Years are unforgettably fun and fill up fast, so don’t wait until you’ve finished your second helping of turkey to get busy making plans.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev

Whether your winter celebration revolves around Kwanza, Hanukkah, Christmas, another religious tradition, or simply the kids’ winter break from school, it can be a big deal to decide to spend it in Costa Rica instead of with Grandma and the cousins.  It’s also, as you either know or will soon find out, not the cheapest time to visit Costa Rica. But it might be the most beautiful. It might be the most fun. It might be the only time you can actually pull off getting away for enough time to make it worth the ticket price.  We’re here to let you know what to expect and to assure you that spending your holidays in Costa Rica is the right choice.

Holiday celebrations are about being together, so it’s logical that rather than a hotel, you’ll want to book a Tamarindo vacation rental, a Langosta vacation rental, a vacation rental in Hacienda Pinilla, or a Flamingo vacation rental.  Luxury homes in all of these areas come in many shapes and sizes, but they go fast so don’t wait.  

Is there a better place for a holiday vacation than this vacation rental in Tamarindo?  Impossible.

Tamarindo is a lively beach town that is the hub of activity in the area.  The vast sandy beach is excellent for surfing and swimming, there are more amazing restaurants than you can possibly eat at, and the year-end Tamarindo nightlife will keep you dancing till the sun comes up.  Langosta, located on the south end of Tamarindo, has a quieter, lazier vibe, but is literally 5 minutes down the road from Tamarindo.  The surf is heavier, the beach is rockier, the nights are quieter, and the December sunsets are even more stunning in Langosta than in Tamarindo.  If you choose a Hacienda Pinilla vacation rental, you’ll be 15 minutes outside of Tamarindo in a 5-star gated community. You’ll have access to the beach club, the fitness center, and the miles of pristine beach that offers spots for surfing and swimming.  All the fun of Tamarindo is easily accessible from this more remote, peaceful location. If you choose a Flamingo vacation rental, you’ll be about 30 minutes north of Tamarindo where the coastal mountains drop down to the white sand.  Flamingo beach known for its stunning scenery and is popular among fishermen for its deep-sea charters.

So what are the winter holidays like in Tamarindo?  Well, it’s not winter here, that’s for sure! Depending on where you live, this year’s Christmas dinner may be the first one you eat wearing a pair of shorts.  You’re going to leave behind cozy evenings by the fireplace, hot tea, snow boots, all boots, fleece jackets, and sleigh bells in exchange for a winter holiday celebration with sunscreen, flip flops, umbrella drinks over ice, monkeys in the trees and sand between your toes.  What’s not to love?  

Colorful Tamarindo sunset

Being a Catholic country, the majority of Costa Ricans celebrate Christmas at this time.  Houses are decorated with the colorful lights and decorations you will recognize, and artificial Christmas trees are common in homes and businesses.  You’ll probably even come across a valiant Santa Clause or two, wearing a very hot red suit and full white beard, who is willing to take gift requests from lines of children while sweltering an absurd amount of fabric. 

Restaurants you’ll find in Tamarindo and the surrounding areas where our Tamarindo vacation rentals are located will offer traditional Christmas menus on that special day.  Costa Rican holiday season foods are completely different than the ones you’re used to: tamales (very different from the Mexican version) are the most common tradition, with fire-roasted pork, stewed chicken with vegetables, and arroz con pollo being other favorites that often appear during celebrations.  

Ironically, considering the fact that the first winter holiday has religious origins and the second one (New Year’s Eve) doesn’t, in Costa Rica Christmas Eve is the night for partying wildly with your friends, and New Year’s Eve is a night to stay home with your family and see in the new year together.  How about that? But never fear, those traditions stop where the tourist industry begins, and do we have the New Year’s Eve party for you! On New Year’s Eve, Costa Rica’s coast explodes with midnight fireworks. Tamarindo, from one end to the other, is one giant fiesta during the entire week between December 24 and January 31.  Buckle up. This is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve never danced in the streets or on the beach before, you will now.

Photo by Simon Infanger

It’s time right now to get busy planning your New Year’s vacation in Tamarindo!  Here are the questions you need to get started:

  • How many people are in your group?
  • Do you want a vacation rental close to the action, in the center of the action, or distanced from the action?
  • Do you want your trip to include nights in any locations other than Tamarindo?
  • Which ones?
  • Will you need a rental vehicle

These are the questions you need to answer in order to get started–to get lodging and transportation in the books before it’s too late.  Questions about airport shuttles, tours, and which restaurants you want to be sure to try are things you can think about later after your primary reservations are made.  

Photo by Robert Nickson

Contact us today with your ideas and questions.  We can help you sort out anything you’re unsure of and help you design an unforgettable start to 2020 here in Tamarindo!

Halloween in Tamarindo – A Must!

Here comes October, and with it everyone’s favorite excuse to wear something crazy and act the part:  Halloween!  As a non-religious celebration with roots in ancient Europe, Halloween in Costa Rica wasn’t really a thing until tourism took the country by storm in the late 1990s.  Nowadays, with so much influence in Costa Rica from Europe and the rest of the Americas, even Costa Ricans are catching the Halloween party fever.

One of the ways that Halloween celebrations are different in Costa Rica from what they are in the United States is that children do not go trick-or-treating.  Halloween is more of a holiday for costumes and adult-type revelry.  No special foods (like candy) are associated with Halloween in Costa Rica.  Here in Guanacaste where Tamarindo is located, local Costa Ricans refer to Halloween as El Dia de Las Brujas (The Day of Witches).  That works, too. 

If you’re going to be in Costa Rica on Halloween, plan to be in Tamarindo!  The Halloween fun begins here at sunset, with happy hour at any bar in town.  Have some dinner at home in your Tamarindo Vacation Rental, or pick a Tamarindo restaurant, and then get ready for the show!  This sleepy little surf village comes to life on Halloween night like you wouldn’t believe!   There’s a party on every corner with live music, dancing, and prizes for the best costumes.

Photo property of Sharky’s Tamarindo

So where do Tamarindo locals get our Halloween costumes?  We make them up!  The creativity of Halloween-loving Tamarindo locals is stunning.  There’s no where here to buy or rent costumes or costume pieces, so lots of work goes into what you see out and about on Halloween in Tamarindo.  If you’re packing now for your Tamarindo vacation that includes October 31st, plan your costume and bring it with you!  If you amaze us, you just may win a generous cash prize!  It’s pointless for us to tell you where to go to party on Halloween because there’s a party everywhere.  It’s epic.  The whole town spends the night in full-on revelry.  You’re not going to one halloween party–you’re going to a dozen. You’re going to wander up and down the streets, stopping in here and there until your dancing shoes are worn thin. 

One special Tamarindo Halloween tradition is the Halloween paddle-out.  Local surfers with their boards gather on the beach on Halloween day in full costume to paddle out and catch some waves in their scarey gear.  

Halloween day paddle out

We’re especially happy to celebrate Halloween in Tamarindo because Halloween just happens to come at the end of what is our slow season.  We love the relaxed vibe of the slow season, the rain, the emptier streets, supermarkets with no lines, the cooler temperatures…but who are we kidding?  Everyone is happy when the lull is over and, starting in November, the town begins to fill up again and rains become more of a novelty.  

If Halloween isn’t your thing–if parties aren’t in your plans, or if you make a point of skipping Halloween, don’t despair–there’s still something in it for you:  you get November 1st!  November 1st is hands-down the best day in Tamarindo for an uncrowded early surf session because everyone else is sleeping!  Get up early and take a walk on the beach–you’ll have the whole thing to yourself.  The town will be yours on the morning of November 1st if you pass on the mayhem of Halloween.  Go out for breakfast and take in the peaceful, lazy vibe of sleepy Tamarindo.  

Is there anything better than not having to share the surf?

Either way, you win!

Contact us today about the availability of our Tamarindo Vacation Rentals and get that costume packed along with your bathing suit.

Pura Vida Sales Tax

Newsflash:  Even in the land of Pura Vida, hammocks, sloths, and umbrella drinks…the government can do things like passing new laws regarding sales tax.  And that is exactly what happened in Costa Rica in 2019.  You might not think a Costa Rica sales tax is a proper subject for a fun vacation blog, but we think you deserve to be informed as well as entertained, so check out this inside info on what to expect in today’s Costa Rica:  

Photo by Roberto Nickson

Costa Rican sales tax is referred to as IVA, which stands for Impuesto al Valor Agregado.  This tax itself is not new, although many things about the way it charged and reported are.  One thing that is new is that the 13% sales tax now applies not only to goods but also to services.  In the past, you would not have paid this tax on services like tours, transportation, or a private chef–but now you will, if the company that serves you is registered with the Costa Rican equivalent of the IRS.  

What’s not taxed?  Certain basic grocery items are tax exempt in Costa Rica, fuel is tax exempt, and medical services are tax exempt except if they are paid in cash.  Cash medical services are charged a 4% fee, but we’re counting on you not needing medical services during your vacation.

Hotel rooms and Tamarindo vacation rentals are taxed (not new) and meals in restaurants are taxed (not new).  Restaurants in Costa Rica are actually required to mark up their prices twice–they charge a 13% sales tax and a 10% service charge.  The service charge is not all bad news!  What it means is that your tip, or a part of it, is already included on your tab.  Tipping additional amounts was not a part of Costa Rican custom in the past, although in the places you’ll visit in Tamarindo, servers are used to receiving tips from happy customers.   Let’s say you buy a Tamarindo t-shirt or hop into an airport transfer shuttle van for 25$. If you don’t see sales tax added to the price on your receipt, this most likely means it is already included in the amount you’ve paid.

Photo by Maurits Bausenhart

It is possible that paying for things in cash could allow you small discounts in Costa Rica, but we don’t guarantee it.  This used to be the case across the board, but it is now only sometimes true.  A vendor who gives you a discount for cash is giving you back the difference of what s/he would have paid as a credit card fee if you had handed over plastic.  This is completely unrelated to the 13% sales tax, which you will pay the vendor and the vendor will pay the government either way.   

There you go.  A little bit of painless Costa Rican tax education to prepare you for your trip to Puravidaville, so that you’ll have as few unpleasant surprises as possible during your days in the sun.  Contact us now and let’s start planning. 

All You Need to Know About Sunsets in Tamarindo

The sun comes up and goes down no matter where you live, but in Tamarindo “Sunset” is an event!  Listen closely and you’ll hear locals ask each other, “Are you going to Sunset tonight?” or, “Were you at Sunset yesterday?” or say things like, “See you after Sunset.”  It happens quickly and quietly, but it’s an integral part of beach life in Costa Rica.  You’ll have the privilege of experiencing it yourself during your Tamarindo vacation. 

Because Costa Rica is so close to the equator, the sun sets quickly, and at roughly the same time all year.  The earliest sunsets of the year happen just after 5 PM and the latest of the year happen just after 6 PM.  For the sun to disappear over the horizon takes less than a minute, so if you want to watch it happen, pay attention. 

Here are some Tamarindo Super Sunset Facts to consider:

–In the dry season (January – April), sunset is beautiful.  The fiery ball sinks from a crystal clear sky into the horizon behind the sea, and darkness settles quickly.  It doesn’t take long at all after the sun is gone for the sky to dim enough that Venus is visible overhead slightly to the south. 

–In the rainy season (May – December), sunsets are a spectacular show that can last for an hour or more.  Why?  It’s not that the sun sets more slowly–the difference is that the clouds create a movie screen for a light show of colors that goes on and on as the angle of the light changes and the clouds themselves move.

–During the time of year with shorter days, the sun sets in the southwest.  Tamarindo is on the north-facing side of the Tamarindo Bay, which means that to watch the sunset into the ocean, instead of behind the point between Tamarindo and Langosta, you need to be on the north side of the beach, up on the hill, or in Playa Grande or Langosta.

Favorite Sunset Spots in and Around Tamarindo

Noguis Restaurant

Noguis is Tamarindo’s oldest bar/restaurant.  It’s beachfront location in the center of town is an ideal spot to watch a Tamarindo sunset.  Nogui’s serves 2 x 1 drinks during their happy hour that goes from 4:30 to 5:30.  This is important to know because at some times of year the sunset is after 5:30, but happy hour at Noguis is a happy hour at Noguis.  After the sun goes down and your glass is empty, take a look at the menu and stay for dinner.  Noguis has been serving fresh seafood and Costa Rican specialties since the 1970s.

El Chiringuito

El Chiringuito is another excellent Tamarindo beachfront location to watch the sunset.  Happy hour lasts from 4:30 to 6 PM, during which time domestic beers are 1000 colones ($2) and certain well drinks are 2000 colones ($4).  Chiringuito often has live music during sunset and offers an incredible view of the bay.  Their snack menu has lots of yummy treats that go well with your sunset drink.  El Chiringuito is also an excellent dinner choice.  If you like seafood or a good hamburger, look no further.  Their tuna tartare and the octopus kabab are two local favorites you really need to try.

El Vaquero

El Vaquero is a lively beachfront bar on the north end of Tamarindo, which means it’s favorite during the time of year when the sun sets furthest to the south.  El Vaquero has sunset drink specials every day and often presents live music.  If the tide is high, you watch surfers catch waves as the sun goes down, being as El Vaquero is located in front of Tamarindo’s most popular surf break. 

Langosta Beach Club

2 x 1 cocktail specials are Langosta Beach Club’s way of celebrating the sunset.  This is one of Tamarindo’s classiest spots to enjoy a beach day and the sunset.  A day pass at the beach club includes use of the pool, whereas the restaurant and bar are open to the public any time.  It may come as a surprise, considering the name of this beautiful beach club, that it is not located in Langosta, but on the south side of Tamarindo beach.  This is the quieter side of town, with less foot traffic, less chaos, smaller waves, and a more relaxing atmosphere.  Enjoy dinner at the beach club if you’re hungry after the sun goes down.

A Sunset Cruise

Here’s an idea for something different:  Take afternoon snorkeling and sunset cruise.  Several catamarans and a sailboat anchored in the bay offer afternoon tours that end as the sun sets in Tamarindo.  You will never forget the peacefulness of watching sunset from the boat as you skim over the waves towards the little lights twinkling on along the coast. 

Snacks and an open bar are included on the boat, so it’s essentially a happy hour that lasts all afternoon.  When the dingy drops you off on the beach as night falls, you’ll be happy, tired, and ready for a Tamarindo evening of relaxing or dancing the night away.

Playa Grande

How about sunset on the other side of the bay?  Playa Grande lies along the north side of Tamarindo Bay and faces south, making it an excellent sunset choice all year–especially when the sun sets to the south.  Playa Grande is part of the Las Baulas National Marine park, which means that it’s essentially untouched and undeveloped.  You’ll need at least 30 minutes to drive there, so plan ahead and leave in time not to miss the show!  There is a small village by the beach in Playa Grande where you can have a sunset drink and day for dinner if you’re enjoying the laid-back vibe.

Langosta Beach

Langosta is Tamarindo’s sister beach to the south.  You can walk to Langosta along the beach when the tide is low, but you’ll want to make sure that it’s still going out when you start your trek. If you lose track of time and the tide is coming in, you could have an interesting walk back to Tamarindo!  Langosta takes only a few minutes to drive to from Tamarindo.  Bring something cool to sip on and have a seat in the sand.  You’ll enjoy the energy of the ocean as it crashes over Langosta’s lava rocks with more energy than what you’ll notice in Tamarindo.  Langosta has several restaurants that can hook you up with a fantastic dinner after the sun goes down. 

Tamarindo Vacation Rentals

Last but not least!  One of the best places in town for you to enjoy Tamarindo sunsets just the way you like them is in our vacation rental homes and villas.  Get your snack plate and cocktails ready because the sunset from the privacy of your own luxury villa is something you’re never going to forget.  Here’s a glimpse of some of our best sunset Tamarindo vacation rentals:

Casa Costa Blanca

7 bedrooms, up to 24 persons

Casa de Luz

8 bedrooms, up to 23 people

Casa Ventanas

5 bedrooms, up to 12 people

Lomas del Mar
4 bedrooms, up to 8 people

Puesta del Sol
6 bedrooms, up to 16 people

Puros Dieces

8 bedrooms, up to 20 people

Villa Atardecer

4 bedrooms, up to 10 guests

And after all this talk about sunset in Tamarindo, what do you know?  It’s that magical time of day!  We’re headed to the beach to watch Mother Nature’s show and you’re invited to come join us!

Costa Rica Vacation on a Budget – 7 Tips for Saving Money

You work hard to save money for your Costa Rica vacation—how to make it stretch after you arrive?  Once upon a time, Costa Rica was a popular shoestring budget destination, but not anymore!  Depending on how you roll, a Costa Rica vacation can cost you as much as a vacation anywhere else in the world. 

So let’s say you want to come to Costa Rica but you don’t want to break the bank.  Can you do it?  Of course!  Here are some tips to help you stretch your vacation dollars further than you thought possible. 

Photo by Camilo Ayala


The single most important choice you can make if you want to experience Costa Rica on a budget is to visit in the green season.  When is the green season?  Now!  May through early December is Costa Rica’s green season, and prices for plane tickets, lodging, car rentals, and some tours are lower.  You’ll find the lowest prices in September and October when there is the highest chance of rainy days, but don’t let that dissuade you!  The chances of you having an entirely rainy vacation are so slim that you’d be silly to let that cause you to miss the discounts!

Another clue: avoid holidays.  Although American Thanksgiving, for example, is in the green season, it sees a notable price spike.   If you want to pinch pennies, immediately cross off Christmas, Easter, New Year’s, etc. Watching airline prices will probably give you an idea of what to expect as far as vacation prices in general.


tamarindo vacation rental
Sunrise #14 is a 3 bedroom 2 baths located in the center of town for $140 a night ($23 a person per night).

Of course!  One way to save lots of money is to book a Tamarindo vacation rental instead of a hotel.  Economy vacation rentals are high quality, more comfortable than hotel rooms, and they have the thing that is going to be your biggest money-saver: a kitchen.

Vacation rentals come in all shapes and sizes.  If you’re traveling alone or with a friend or partner, look for a one-bedroom or a studio rental.  Groups of up to 20 and 30 can book entire villas and mini-resorts.  Obviously, the larger properties cost more, but you’re also splitting them between more wallets, so don’t forget to take that into consideration.  If you’re a family traveling with children of any age, a vacation rental, as opposed to multiple hotel rooms or all being crammed into what is essentially a bedroom while you’re supposed to be relaxing, is the obvious choice.


You’ve got that kitchen—use it!  Get to the grocery store and stock up.  You don’t have to spend your whole vacation in the kitchen in order to avoid spending a mint in restaurants.  Staples like coffee, milk, fruit, eggs, bread, pasta, vegetables, and even Costa Rica’s national beers are not expensive.

You’ll still choose to eat some of your meals in restaurants, of course, but if you make that the exception instead of the rule, you’ll find that you spend a lot less money than you would have otherwise. 

Photo by Evan Wise

Many vacation rentals have a patio with a grill.  There’s an option for getting out of the kitchen without having to pay restaurant prices.


If you’ve been to Costa Rica in the past, you remember the days of “pay in cash and get a discount.”  That’s still the case, but it’s certainly not as common as before.  With Costa Rica’s new electronic tax reporting system, it’s not as lucrative for businesses to choose to overlook cash income in their reporting, so cash discounts are fewer. 

We’re bringing this up because now you can pay with credit cards almost everywhere in Costa Rica.  MasterCard and Visa are the favorites, and many businesses accept many others.  Your credit card won’t charge you a fee for international use, but your debit card probably will so keep that in mind when you pull out the plastic.

Tamarindo and all other popular tourist destinations have ATMs that will give up to $400 per day (in the 20s) but you will pay per withdrawal.  Save a few dollars on your vacation by bringing cash from home, and using your credit cards whenever you can.

A word to the wise regarding cash:  Your hotel room or Tamarindo vacation rental has a safe.  USE IT.


Take public buses or share rides.  We know—the problem with public buses is that they take forever to get anywhere and they can be very hot.  Also, they’re not great for traveling with a lot of luggage.  But If you’re traveling light and you have the time to indulge your curiosity, take the bus.  You’ll get where you want to go with money left to spare, and you’ll have had an off-the-tourist-grid cultural experience that will make you way cooler than anyone else you know who has been to Costa Rica. 

Ridesharing can be a great idea, also.  Taxis in Costa Rica are priced to serve tourists who have no other method to get places, so they are not a great way to keep costs down.  Chat with other budget travelers that you meet along the way, and see if anyone else has the same Costa Rica bucket list as you do.  You’ll definitely need cash for taxis and buses, so be prepared.


This might seem like an odd addition to a list of how to save money but think about it.  Be smart.  If you get your wallet or your passport stolen—or your computer or your favorite pair of shoes—your vacation is going to take a sharp downward turn and you are going to spend money sorting it out. 

Use the safe.  Keep bags, backpacks, and purses on your person at all times.  Do not hang anything on the back of your chair (seriously). Do not put your backpack on the floor beside you without the strap wrapped around your foot.  Do not leave ever anything in a rental car that is going to be out of your sight.  Do not fall asleep on the bus.  Do not walk away from your stuff on the beach. Do not leave your bag at the table when you go to pay the tab or use the restroom.

Are we trying to scare you?  Sort of.  Costa Ricans are honest, friendly, and helpful people. No one is going to run up to you and snatch your stuff out of your hands.  But petty theft is common here, and leaving your belongings unattended is a clear sign to devious minds that you don’t really need or want what is in that bag very much.  Dead serious.  Save money by not having to replace stuff.


When you decide it’s time to grab a meal out, or if you decide that cooking on vacation is an oxymoron, there’s still hope for saving money in Costa Rica.  Look for any establishment called a “Soda” and you’ll be on the right track. 

A “soda” has not actually got anything to do with soda!  Back in the days before tourism took Costa Rica by storm, any small restaurant or diner that did not serve alcohol was called a “soda.”  Sodas serve Costa Rican dishes and Costa Rican versions of international dishes (note: if you are Italian, please do not order spaghetti at a soda!), fruit drinks, and of course soda!  Nowadays you may also find beer at some sodas, although you should not expect a full bar.  For a full bar, you’ll need to find, obviously, something called a “bar” or something called a “restaurant.”  In Costa Rica’s traditional past, a “bar” served alcohol and little snacked called “bocas.”  A “restaurant” offered a full menu and also served alcoholic beverages.  A “soda” served food and drinks without alcohol.  And so.  There’s your history lesson as well. 

At sodas, you’ll avoid spending a lot of money on things that, for as normal as they may seem to you, are considered delicacies or specialty foods, here. Cheese, for example, is not cheap in Costa Rica, which makes pizza, not the most economical choice—especially artesian pizza with real mozzarella and prosciutto crudo.   Sushi is expensive.  Paella.  Corona beer.  Heineken.  Wine is imported from North America, South America, or Europe, so you won’t be saving money on that.  At sodas, you can get all kinds of “casados”—traditional Costa Rican plates that are balanced meals based on rice and beans with a protein of your choice and plenty of vegetables.  You can get salads, simple sandwiches, chicken soup and often fried chicken.  Try a whole fried fish with a side of salad and fries at a soda.  It’s the Costa Rican specialty that you’ll want to take a selfie with before you dig in!

With these 7 things in mind, you’re ready to visit Costa Rica as a financially savvy explorer.  Contact us now and let’s get started making your vacation plans!