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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Last-Minute Summer Plans? Yes, Please! Things to Do + Tamarindo Villas for Rent

beaches are the centerpiece to things to do in Costa Rica

Last-minute plans can be the best plans. From dreaming to doing, you can plan and then experience within a few short weeks! But to get from here to there, you’ll have to decide on the best things to do in Tamarindo and find Tamarindo villas for rent with last-minute availability.

Luckily, you’ve found this article and we have your answers!

Best Things to Do in Tamarindo This Summer

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Rainy season is also sunset season!

Costa Rica is one of the world’s favorite destinations, thanks in large part to our vast biodiversity, gorgeous beaches, startling ecosystems, and wide range of activities and attractions. Here are a few of what we consider the best things to do in Tamarindo this summer:

Explore Our National Parks

Costa Rica is renowned for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes. And there’s no better way to explore what makes us famous than on a visit to national parks, including Las Baulas National Marine Park (nesting leatherback sea turtles), Palo Verde National Park (incredible birdwatching & wildlife), Santa Rosa National Park (Costa Rican heritage & history), and Rincón de la Vieja National Park (active volcano attractions).

These parks offer opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and discovering unique ecosystems. Our in-house, expert concierge can help recommend the right tour, day trip, or hike for your preferences and activity level! Get in touch.

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Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste Packing List: What (and What NOT) to Bring

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Wondering what to pack for Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste? Add a sense of wonder to your list!

Packing for Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste is like packing for almost any other warm destination – except when it’s not. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about what people think they need to pack vs. what they really need while they’re here.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of overlap. And, if you forget something, you can likely find a passable substitute in Costa Rica. But it may be hard to find. It may be expensive. And who wants to spend hours of their vacation hunting down hiking shoes, anyway?

And so, for all you clever, resourceful planners and packers out there, we’ve pulled together our list of what travelers most often forget to pack – and a few things you should remove from your suitcase, stat!

What to Bring: The What-Not-to-Forget List

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For the sake of this post, we’ll skip over all the but-of-course! basics, like shirts and underwear and your passport. Instead, we’ve tried to pinpoint a few must-pack inclusions that you may not know you’ll need for your trip to Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste.

Because you may have remembered to pack only a few credit cards (and to notify your bank that you’ll be traveling. You may have rolled up some extra socks to account for fording rivers on your hikes. And you may have already packed your zip-on, zip-off pants/shorts. But have you remembered the following?

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5 Tamarindo Condo Complexes for a Perfect, Upscale Stay

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Some people like to say you can have everything. Our people like to say you can. Welcome to everything – to convenience with privacy, to luxury that’s affordable, and to Costa Rica’s coastline within your reach. Welcome to our five featured condo complexes: Sunrise Condos Tamarindo, Ibis Condos Tamarindo, La Perla Condos Tamarindo, Monte Perla Condos Tamarindo, and Crystal Sands Condos Tamarindo.

Sunrise Condos Tamarindo

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If you’re looking for the ultimate in convenience, look no further! Sunrise Condos Tamarindo are located in the very heart of town and are the most convenient condo complex to enjoy the area on foot.

Located on the main road through town, the Mediterranean-styled Sunrise Condos are just minutes to almost everything Tamarindo: mere seconds to Tamarindo Beach (just across the street!) and easily accessible to everything from swimming and surfing to cruises, estuary tours, and every other activity our area promises. This is the kind of place where you can literally step out of your condo “barefoot, bathing suit, and board under your arm,” and walk (or dive) right into the surf.

Sunrise Condos Tamarindo Amenities:

  • Condos featuring 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom plans, with covered terraces, central A/C, custom interiors, full kitchens, tropical furnishings, and major appliances, including dishwashers, washers, and dryers
  • One of Tamarindo’s largest resort pools, with an interactive cascading pool waterfall feature
  • Children’s pool
  • Expansive pool deck
  • Gorgeous landscaping
  • Recycling
  • 24/7 security with gated entrance and a perimeter wall

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Spring Break in Costa Rica on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips for Lodging, Activities & More

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If you’re planning your spring break in Costa Rica – and especially if you’re planning spring break 2023 – then it’s time to get moving. Spring is just around the corner and accommodations are filling up, activities are selling out, and travel is kicking into high gear.

No stress, though. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite tips for spring break on a budget: what to do (and what not to do), what free + low-cost activities to enjoy, and where to stay – yes, even if you’re looking for availability this year! So, let’s get started.

Budget Tip #1: Skip the Rental Car

There’s no other way to say it: Rental cars can be a major expense in Costa Rica. (Think: $100-$250+ per DAY, including insurance.) So, if you’re on a budget and don’t plan to travel up and down the coast every day, then you may want to skip this one in lieu of a few more budget-friendly alternatives.

So, what are those alternatives? We recommend starting with a combination of airport transportation, private drivers/taxis/Uber, public buses, bike rentals, and walking, depending on where you’re headed. Or, if you’re truly an independent, adventurous spirit with a need to feel the wind in your hair, ask our concierge, Cris, to find you an all-in rental car price to fit your budget. Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you figure it all out!

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Top Budget-Friendly Things to Do in the Tamarindo, Guanacaste Area

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Tamarindo, Guanacaste is one of Costa Rica’s most visited towns. You wouldn’t be the first to wonder if it’s also affordable.

Turns out, it is! While there are certainly plenty of tours and experiences you could splash out on, there are also plenty of budget-friendly Tamarindo things to do. From surfing and beach-hopping to sea turtle nesting and partying, Tamarindo offers up a full menu of free and inexpensive sights, experiences, and things to do for budget travelers.

Here are a few of our favorites:


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It’s no secret that Tamarindo’s surf is epic, so it’s also no secret that this is a must-do activity while you’re in town.

What you may not know is that surfing can also be a budget activity in Tamarindo, Guanacaste, thanks to inexpensive board rentals: Offered up and down the beach for about $10-$20 a day, you can grab a board of your very own and catch the waves to your heart’s content. Be sure to check out these top beginner Tamarindo surf breaks and intermediate/advanced surf breaks.

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Guide to Our Top Tamarindo Restaurants & Happy Hours

Pangas Beach Club Tamarindo nightlife

Food and drink are one of the greatest joys of travel: New flavors, new ingredients, and new takes on the flavors and ingredients you already know and love. And yet, it can be challenging to narrow down your options to the select few you’ll have time to sample while visiting. With that in mind, these Tamarindo restaurants and happy hours represent some of our favorites in and around town.

Tamarindo Restaurants

restaurant service in Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a veritable smorgasbord of world cuisines making your personal choice from among the best restaurants in Tamarindo all the more challenging. To get you started on your way to guaranteed deliciousness, here are a few of our favorites.

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What To Do in Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste – 5 of Our Must-Experience Favorites!

Tamarindo vacation outdoor activities sunset sailing

If you’re planning a Costa Rican vacation, getaway, or escape, you’re likely also wondering what to do in Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste. Or rather, what, of all the many things you might like to do, you absolutely should not miss. Because there’s a lot you’ll do here, but much more that you won’t. (This is why we recommend a second, third, and tenth visit…)

And, while we’ve covered many of our favorite things to do in Tamarindo (more than once), we thought we’d share an updated list. Because there are never enough suggestions, are there? Plan well and then enjoy to the fullest!

  1. Visit A National Park (or Three)


You’ve heard of Costa Rica’s stellar ecological reputation, but did you know that much of our success is due to exceptional conservation efforts? In fact, more than 25% of Costa Rica is protected within wildlife refuges, nature preserves, and private parks – an entire one-quarter of our biodiversity that can only be explored within our parks.

And so, we make our first suggestion: Carve out a day or two to explore the national parks that most spark your imagination. They’re rugged, they’re breathtaking, and they’re wildly different from the parks you have at home. And, did we mention, they’re a great deal at just $10 per person? Explore to your heart’s content!

Among our favorite (and closest) national parks in Guanacaste, you’ll find (in alphabetical order):

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7 National Parks in Guanacaste, Costa Rica for Your Explorations

Playa Grande Costa Rica
Playa Grande is located along the protected shores of Las Baulas National Marine Park, one of our top national parks in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Did you know that more than a quarter of Costa Rica is protected by national parks, wildlife refuges, and nature preserves? It’s one of the nation’s primary conservation efforts and, over the last four decades, this push has transformed the country’s landscapes. And you can explore much of it, right here at these wildly diverse national parks in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

They’re rugged. They’re breathtaking. They’re educational. And they’re memorable. They’re also a great deal, at about $10 per person. So you can explore, as much as you’d like. Enjoy!

In alphabetical order:

Barra Honda National Park

When you think about national parks, we’re betting you envision hikes and waterfalls and scenic vistas. And Barra Honda has those. But that’s not why you’re here.

Welcome to Costa Rica’s subterranean national park. That’s right: Barra Honda’s most treasured sights lie not above, but below the earth’s surface. Here, where 70 million years of shifting tectonic plates nudged ancient coral reefs and force soft limestone to mold and form, creating an underground cave system you’re now free to explore.

Fair warning, though – this isn’t the developed caving tourist experience you might be used to. This is true spelunking and unpolished caving: an authentic, real, and wholly exciting experience that, heads up, can also be challenging and raw. We highly recommend booking a guided caving tour, which will take you down into three of the park’s most explored sites: the Trap, Terciopelo, and Santa Ana caverns.

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Costa Rica Digital Nomads: Welcome to a Remote Work Paradise

There’s a reason why so many Costa Rica digital nomads flock to the coast. Here’s one of them!

Heard about the recent updates regarding Costa Rica digital nomads? The new visa (not really, see below!) is officially in place and applications are being approved. You could apply today and call Costa Rica home by next month!

Costa Rica Digital Nomads: The Requirements

Work from here and this could be your daily view…

Because Costa Rica digital nomads apply for an estancia (a “stay”) rather than full-fledged residency – more on the differences, below – the requirements are easy and straightforward.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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