Costa Rica Intends to Become Carbon Neutral & Eliminate Single Use Plastics

Costa Rica is already working on a New Year’s Resolution for 2021.  The two-part goal states that Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral by 2021 AND that it intends to be the world’s first country to reach that goal.  Is this possible?  It’s an ambitious end for us to have set our sights on, but we’re making progress and when Costa Ricans pool their efforts, anything is possible.

A carbon neutral nation is one that offsets its carbon emissions essentially by planting trees.  If you’ve been to Costa Rica, you can see how this exchange can work for us because we have one heck of a lot of trees.

costa rica eco tourismPhoto by Boudewjin Huysmans

Because our electricity is created by water, wind and solar power, we are able to imagine and even believe in a world in which our emissions are not more than the carbon our forests consume.  One of our proudest environmental accomplishments in Costa Rica is that in the year 2018, the country was able to power itself for 300 out of 365 days on 100% renewable energy.  This marks the 4th consecutive year that Costa Rica has drawn over 98% of its energy from renewable sources. As a country that depends on ecotourism, can you imagine how excited we are about this?

The story of Costa Rica’s forests has a beautiful beginning, a tragic middle, and what appears to be a very bright future.  In the 1940’s, 75% of Costa Rica was covered by virgin indigenous rainforests and tropical dry forests.  Deforestation, however, destroyed over half of Costa Rica’s forests by the early 1980’s, dropping the percentage of canopy cover to 26%.  Fifty thousand hectares of trees per year were being lost at that time, mostly to create cropland and grazing areas for cattle.  Perceiving the danger this practice was placing the environment in, Costa Rica began to change its practices, and by 1989, the deforestation rate had slowed by half.  By the early 1990s, deforestation slowed to 4,000 hectares per year, and by 1998, a rate of 0% deforestation was occurring.

That in itself is an amazing story.

 

costa rica eco tourismPhoto by Nikola Jovanovic

 

Zero percent deforestation does not mean that trees are no longer cut in Costa Rica—it means that tree cutting is regulated and that reforestation programs are repairing the damage created by present and previous generations.  2017 studies indicate that Costa Rica’s forest cover has increased to 52%, double the numbers of the early 80s.  A remarkable 26% of Costa Rica’s territory is under national park protection.

Can we do carbon neutral?  We think we can!

Another exciting step in Costa Rica’s quest to become carbon neutral is to eliminate single-use plastic.

 

costa rica eco tourismA clean beach is a happy beach:  Playa Avellanas

What do we mean by this?  Single-use plastic means exactly what it sounds like:  plastic that is produced with the intention of being used only once.  Straws, soda and water bottles, supermarket bags, and plastic cutlery are prime examples of products that are produced essentially to be thrown away.

Costa Rica eco tourismPhoto y Javardh

The province of Guanacaste, being a remote area removed from metropolitan San Jose, is perhaps not the first province anyone would expect to lead the race to the end of single-use plastics, but we are in first place!  Such a large segment of Costa Rica’s tourism is centered in Guanacaste that we’ve pulled out from our usual spot behind the curve, and appear to have taken the lead.  In fact, Santa Cruz County has been declared free of standard plastic beverage straws.  The papaya smoothie or ginger ale you buy in Tamarindo will most likely be served to you either with a paper straw or, in some cases, a metal straw that can be sanitized in a dishwasher.  Got coffee to stir?  Our stirrers (and our disposable cutlery) are made of a type of sturdy cardboard.

 

Pretty paper straws can be made from recycled materials.  Photo by Danielle MacInnes

costa rica eco tourismIt’s appropriate that Guanacaste lead the way in this because Guanacaste is a peninsula surrounded by delicate saltwater ecosystems.  Our single-use plastics are deadly to marine life, especially to sea turtles.  It is easy for young turtles to become tangled or trapped in plastic bags and drown because they cannot get to the surface for air.   Plastic bags floating in the water resemble the jellyfish that turtles and some types of whales naturally feed on, but the bags block the digestive systems of the animals that eat them, causing death.  Plastic straws, or pieces of them, can pierce the intestines of animals that swallow them and can become lodged in the nasal cavities of sea turtles.

You, as a visitor in Costa Rica, can help us toward our goal of being carbon neutral.  You can do this by conserving energy and by helping to eliminate the demand for single-use plastic. Here’s how:

What You Can Do To Help Eliminate Single Use Plastics During Your Tamarindo Vacation

 

Tamarindo vacation rentalsPhoto by Samantha Hartley

 

  1.  If someone offers you a plastic straw, don’t accept it.
    Wait, but didn’t we just say plastic straws had been eliminated from Guanacaste?  Why yes, we did.  All the more reason, if the restaurant you sit at or the person you buy a coconut from on the beach tries to give you a plastic straw, you should hand it directly back to them and say, “No thanks.”

 

  1.  No plastic to-go cups.

Finish your beer and then leave.

  1.  Don’t accept plastic cutlery if you purchase food to go.
    Upper-end Tamarindo restaurants don’t hand out plastic cutlery, but some of the more economic options might.  Don’t take it with you.

Plastic is out, paper is in.

  1. For picnics or convenient meals in your Tamarindo vacation rental, buy disposable paper plates, cups, and cutlery–not plastic. A brand called Bio that is sold in Tamarindo’s American-style supermarkets offers paper dinnerware at a reasonable price.  It is still possible to find plastic plates/cups/cutlery in grocery stores, so please lend a hand in shrinking the market for them!

 

 

 

 

On behalf of the turtles, the birds, the whales, the dolphins and thousands of things you and I don’t even know the names of, GRACIAS!

 

Photo by Rudney Uezu

 

 

 

 

The 5 Best Tamarindo Restaurants for Breakfast

Buenos días!  You’re in Tamarindo, the sun is up, and you’re hungry!  There are lots of places you can get a bite to eat, but what about the best places?  That’s a different question, and to get a good answer, you’re going to have to ask a local—someone who lives here has tried them all and knows which restaurants are the best restaurants in Tamarindo.  And not just the best restaurants — the best breakfast spots.

best restaurants in Tamarindo

You’re lucky. That’s who we are, and right now the breakfast dilemma is the question we’re going to answer for you.  Make a list.  You’ll have time to try them all.

  1. Nogui’s

best restaurants in Tamarindo

Tamarindo’s classic breakfast meeting place is Nogui’—and it’s also Tamarindo’s oldest restaurant.  Be certain that it wouldn’t have survived the test of time if the food wasn’t fabulous!  Nogui’s is right on the beach in the center of Tamarindo where the road into town stops in a cul-de-sac.  It’s an awesome place to watch Tamarindo start its busy day, to sip on a bottomless cup of hot Costa Rican coffee, and order something delicious.  The breakfast selections are a variety of American standards like bacon and eggs, Costa Rican must-haves like gallo pinto, Belgian waffles buried in whipped cream, fruit plates, and breakfast sandwiches.   Juices and smoothies made from seasonal fruit are always a great choice, or if it’s a mimosa kind of morning they can make you one of those too.

If people-watching is your thing, Nogui’s is a great place to spend the morning.  Locals love Nogui’s, so if you’re curious about life in Tamarindo beyond vacation, come have a cup of coffee with us and our neighbors.

best restaurants in Tamarindo
Beachfront seating at Nogui’s Restaurant.  This photo of Nogui’s is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

  1. Chiringuito

Opinions may vary, but no one seems ready to dispute the statement that Chrinquito has the best coffee in Tamarindo.  Their breakfast menu is brief but diverse and everything on it is…amazing!

Chiringuito, like Nogui’s is right on the beach (just south of Nogui’s) and tends to be more laid back in the day’s early hours than Nogui’s.  If you have a morning sweet tooth to feed, do not leave Tamarindo without trying the French toast at Chiringuito.  It may be the most unbelievable thing you’ve ever eaten before the middle of the day.


A healthy breakfast is a delicious breakfast.  Photo by Brooke Lark

 

  1. Breakfast Grinds

Now here’s a place that named itself after the breakfast shift, so you know they do breakfast right!  Breakfast Grinds, in fact, has been making Tamarindo breakfast for the last 15 years.  They specialize in everything American, plus burritos, enormous fruit plates, and Costa Rican gallo pinto.  The coffee is bottomless, the smoothies are cold, and the view from your table is guaranteed to be fantastic.  Breakfast Grinds isn’t directly on the beach, but it is on the second floor right across the street from one of Tamarindo’s central beach access points and a popular surf spot.  Watch the surfers catch wave after wave as you get the day off to a delicious start.

We don’t recommend you paddle out right after your breakfast at Breakfast Grinds, but if you surf early, this is an excellent place to fill up the empty tank after!

best restaurants in Tamarindo
Breakfast Grinds’ “Big Breakfast.” Photo courtesy of Costaricafire.com

 

  1. Special Sunday Brunch at Pangas Beach Club

Breakfast at Pangas is so special that they only serve it once a week—on Sundays.  The menu is loaded with goodies on Sunday mornings, but keep in mind that their claim to fame is their Huevos Rancheros.

Pangas is fantastically beautiful, secluded, and relaxing, with tables set right in the sand on the beach where the Las Baulas estuary meets the ocean.  Kick off your sandals, lean back in the wide cushioned lounge chairs and enjoy some fresh-brewed coffee or, hey, how about a Bloody Mary?  You’re on vacation.  You’re allowed.

Pangas Beach Club is one of the best restaurants in Tamarindo, so it’s always a good idea to call ahead and make a reservation, even for brunch.


Elegant and easy.  Photo property of Pangas Beach Club

 

  1. Eat at Joe’s, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

Have breakfast just off the beach in front of Tamarindo’s most popular surf zone!  Again, lots of Costa Rican and American options are on the breakfast menu, and from Eat at Joe’s you can watch the surfers show off, observe surf lessons in progress, and take in the lazy morning sun.  Eat at Joe’s is always a great morning choice, but when the surf’s up, breakfast comes with free entertainment.

The best thing about breakfast at Eat at Joe’s?  You can order it all day!  Late night last night?  It doesn’t matter—you didn’t miss breakfast after all.  In the mood for gallo pinto in the afternoon?  The kids want pancakes even though it’s lunchtime?  No problem.  Come by Eat at Joe’s and breakfast will soon be on the table.

 

These are our top five never-go-wrong favorites to get your day started off right in Tamarindo.  Got questions? Our concierge is the local expert on Tamarindo and the surrounding areas.  Give us a call or drop us a line and we’ll help you get everything you need sorted out.

Best Places To Stay in Costa Rica – Our Top List

Costa Rica is the perfect vacation destination for anyone who loves warm weather, sunny salty beaches, adventure tours and a mix of language and culture.  In between the pounding surf of the Pacific coast and the stunning white sand beaches of the Caribbean, a volcanic cordillera makes Costa Rice one of the most biologically diverse countries on Earth.  But you knew this.  That’s why you’ve already decided you’re coming here as soon as humanly possible.  Awesome.

Here is a short list of some of the best places to stay in Costa Rica.  There are lots of great ones; these are the best.

Tamarindo

Beautiful Tamarindo as the fish see it.

Tamarindo tops the list of the best places to stay in Costa Rica, and there are so many reasons we don’t know where to start the list.  One of the reasons is the beach.  Tamarindo is one of the only tropical beaches in the world where you can surf, swim, and take long barefoot beach walks all on the same beach.  Think we’re making that up?  We’re not.  There are lots of great surfing beaches, but they aren’t great for swimming.  There are great beach-walking beaches, but there are no waves and the family surfers get crabby while you’re out walking.  Etc etc.  Tamarindo is great because the surfers can surf, the toddlers and grandparents can play in the shallows and the guy selling coconuts (spiked or not—you decide) will be right by.  And that’s only reason number one.

Tamarindo is a fun town with a colorful mix of world cultures and languages. Established in the 1970s when most of rural Costa Rica was pasture land, Tamarindo has its own fascinating history and a deep-rooted community of locals and expats from just about everywhere. It’s only about an hour from the Daniel Oduber International Airport, which is an important perk you will appreciate more after having spent some time navigating Costa Rica’s roads.  And it bears mentioning that Tamarindo has the perfect combo of the town/rural dynamic going on.  We’re in beautiful rolling cattle country and right beside Las Baulas National Park, so plenty of untouched Costa Rica lies alongside us in its natural state.  We have, however, wonderful things like pavement on (most of) our roads, pharmacies in case you need a band aid or a hangover gets the best of you.  You can get a haircut, there’s a book store, and we have several gyms.  The beach, the bars and the boutique shopping are what bring you here, but never underestimate the importance of being able to find an English-speaking dentist if you chip a tooth.

Tamarindo Vacation Rental Highlight:
We recommend Lomas del Mar

tamarindo vacation rental
Lomas del Mar is a spectacular ocean-view Tamarindo vacation rental home that sleeps up to 8 people in 4 bedrooms. It’s a favorite, too, so book early!

Hacienda Pinilla

Often lumped into the category of “Tamarindo” because of its proximity, Hacienda Pinilla is technically located just next door.  Hacienda Pinilla is many things rolled into one, and it is definitely one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica.  Hacienda Pinilla encompasses an expansive nature preserve, a working cattle ranch, 3 miles of coastline, and a gated community with an 18-hole golf course, a beach club, tennis courts, an equestrian center, and a JW Marriot resort.  Yes.  All that. Fifteen minutes from Tamarindo.  Obviously one of your best options in Costa Rica.

Hacienda Pinilla Vacation Rental Highlight:
We recommend Casa Costa Blanca

tamarindo vacation rental
Casa Costa Blanca is a 7-bedroom beachfront home in Pinilla that has sleeps up to 24 guests. It’s been recently renovated and is ready for you right now!

The Osa Peninsula

Osa Peninsula, home of the Corcovado National Park is for sure one of the most unforgettable places you can visit in Costa Rica, but be warned:  it is for nature-lovers only!  This rural Pacific peninsula on the southern tip of Costa Rica has pristine beaches, clear rivers, stunning waterfalls, and more wild animals than you will find anywhere else you visit in Costa Rica.  The surf is uncrowded and the fishing is amazing.  If you are looking for a Costa Rican vacation that is a retreat from the chaos of the rest of the world, Osa Peninsula is the haven you have imagined.

Osa Peninsula Vacation Rental Highlight:

We recommend Casa del Cabo

tamarindo vacation rentals
Casa del Cabo is a two-bedroom open-air luxury jungle house for 6 with an ocean view and a synthesis with nature that no other home can offer.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Ok, you can’t actually stay in the National Park, but we highly recommend you travel to that central area of the country and stay near it.  The Manuel Antonio National park is green all year long because the central region of Costa Rica receives significantly more rainfall than we do here in the Pacific north in Guanacaste.  It can be interesting to divide your stay in Costa Rica between a tropical dry forest destination like Tamarindo, and a more traditional rain forest like Manuel Antonio.  The flora and fauna of these two Pacific locations is amazingly different in spite of the fact that they are only about 190 miles apart.  The park is surrounded by lots of restaurants, tour operators, hotels and shopping options, so you won’t ever be at a loss for what to do or a new restaurant to try.

Manuel Antonio Vacation Rental Highlight:

We pick this ocean-view home called Shangri La!

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

On the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, the best place you can stay is in Puerto Viejo.  Puerto Viejo is half way between two breathtaking national parks: Cahuita National Park, and the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.  Cahuita is a marine park that protects endangered coral reefs and is the place you want to go for snorkeling.  The Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge protects flora and fauna that would otherwise be in danger of extinction.  If you love to surf, you will love the Puerto Viejo region of Costa Rica with its rich variety of surf breaks that stretches between the national parks and continues up the coast.

Photo: Usplash

Puerto Viejo Vacation Rental Highlight:

We pick this unique option called Canopy House!

As you can see, Costa Rica is full of unbelievable places to stay and things to see–the hardest part is picking between all the amazing options.  Contact us and let us help you make the call.

Photo: Unsplash

 

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Tamarindo Vacation More Environmentally Friendly

If you google “the happiest country in the world,” you know what you’ll find, right? Costa Rica, of course! Everybody loves Costa Rica. Visitors love it, expats like us who come here and never leave love it, and Costa Ricans love it. Because we all love Costa Rica, those of us who live here are dedicated to taking care of it. We’re glad that the rest of the world has noticed how happy we are, but we’re proud to be at the top of the line-up of countries dedicated to becoming free of single-use plastics, and we’re proud that for 4 years in a row we’ve been running on 98% clean energy.

Find your happy place in Costa Rica! Photo by rawpixel

Read between the lines:  we love our environment and we’re dedicated to living in harmony with it.  We also love sharing our beautiful home with the rest of the world and we want you to know how to help us keep it healthy and beautiful while you enjoy it.  Here are some tips and ideas for how to have an environmentally-friendly vacation in the happiest country on the planet:

1.BRING OR BUY A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE

Single-use plastics are on the way out, but we still have them.  Drink tap water, or buy water in jugs, not in individual bottles.  The tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink.  Because of droughts in recent years, the mineral content is higher than what our bodies need, but the water is potable and will not give you anything dreadful like dysentery.  After a meal in a restaurant, rather than buy a bottle of water to take with you, ask your server in the restaurant to refill your water bottle. Or use your Tamarindo vacation rental as a spot to fill up water and freeze for those hot days on the beach.  The oceans and landfills thank you.

2. RECYCLE AS FREQUENTLY AS POSSIBLE

You may have read that last sentence and wondered why plastics would be in landfills and not recycling centers.  The answer is that some are, and some aren’t.  Costa Rica’s recycling programs vary widely in their scope according to the region, and here in Tamarindo we are on the (literal) edge of a very rural area.  Join us in doing the best we can with what we’ve got and recycled what you can every time you have the chance.  If you travel around the country, recycling options will vary depending on where you are. Fill up those recycling bins!

Green vacations are the best vacations! Photo by Mert Guller

3. PRETEND YOU HAVE TO PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL

Seriously.  Not to go all Mama Bear on you or anything, but if you care about the environment at all, one way to show it would be not running the air conditioner in your Tamarindo vacation rental with the door open.  Just saying.  Yes, we know you’ve paid top dollar to live in luxury for a week, but running the air conditioning with the doors and windows open is not cool.  So to speak.  Turn the lights off when you leave—at least most of them.  Shut the doors and windows.  Turn off the fans.  Turn back the air conditioning.

And do we seriously mean you’re supposed to go to all that bother while you’re on vacation?  Um, yes.  We do.  Please.  Not because you’re responsible for the electric bill.  Because you are responsible for how you behave on the planet.  No matter how much money you paid to be pampered.

This paradise on earth is worth protecting in every way we can.

4. GO LIGHT ON THE CHEMICALS

Think about how much chemical sunscreen the ocean is forced to swallow every day.  Bottles of it.  Imagine the insect repellents, lotions and cosmetic products going down the drain every time you take shower.  Mother Nature says, “Yuck.”  New Body Costa Rica makes a completely organic water resistant 50+ SPF sunscreen that stays on and works.  Take it from a local surfer who can’t stay on land or in the shade!  Google them and place an order.

Lots of stores where you live and here carry natural insect repellents, and of course, there’s nothing sketchy for the environment in good old aloe vera after you’ve given your skin a hard day.

BioLand is a Costa Rican company that makes organic personal products and foods.  It’s safe to say any grocery store you visit in Costa Rica will have BioLand options among the shampoos, soaps, lotions and more.  Pick some up to try during your visit and take some home to share the love.

5. COLLECT THE TRASH; LEAVE THE SHELLS

Now there’s an idea.  Take a little bag to the beach and collect things the beach doesn’t need instead of things it does need—like shells!  Removing seashells from Costa Rica is illegal anyway, so if they are discovered in your luggage on the way out, they will be removed by the authorities and returned to where they belong.  Hopefully, you won’t find a lot of obvious garbage on our beaches, but little pieces of plastic, straws, bottle caps, and cigarette butts are everywhere you look if you pay attention.  Collect them and put them in the trash where they belong.  It’s amazing how good such a small deed can make you feel.  Heck, you might leave here one of the happiest people on earth, yourself.

Take away the trash and leave the shells. The beach needs shells in order to continue to be a beach! Photo by Tommy van Kessel

6. TELL THE PERSON WHO SELLS YOU A COCONUT ON THE BEACH THAT YOU DON’T NEED A STRAW

Buy the coconut—they’re delicious and so good for you!  But tell the person who sells it to you that you don’t need the straw, even if it’s just a paper straw.  Seriously.  A straw for drinking from a coconut?  Come on.  Live a little.  Put that puppy up to your lips and drink it the way the squirrels do.  Get back to nature.  It’s a coconut, not a cocktail.  There is no way you need a straw.

 

Buy the coconut; skip the straw! Photo by Derek Story

7. SUPPORT LOCAL AND ORGANIC BUSINESSES

We know a sandwich from Subway sounds safe and familiar, but Tamarindo is full of local businesses making fabulous locally-sourced food.  Several Tamarindo organic markets that carry earth-friendly groceries and goodies, and if you’re here on Saturday morning, for sure don’t miss the Tamarindo Farmer’s Market.  For more specific suggestions on organic eating, check out our October 2018 blog post called How to Be Healthy During Your Tamarindo Vacation.

8. SKIP THE PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG

Just in general.  You do this at home, right?  When you do your Tamarindo shopping, bring a reusable shopping bag or pick one up here.  They make great souvenirs and gifts, too.

9. DON’T FEED THE WILD ANIMALS

We don’t mean to insult your intelligence, but it does bear mentioning.  Birds, iguanas, raccoons, crocodiles…don’t feed them.  Those silly blue jays with the little plumes on top of their heads are terribly cute and naughty, and it can be so much fun to feed them pieces of your breakfast or lunch—but don’t.  It’s terrible for them and interferes with nature’s ability to feed them.  And feeding crocodiles?!  We sincerely hope you will not witness anyone doing such an absurdly counter-intuitive thing, but let’s just say it has happened.  That creates a dangerous situation that continues to be dangerous for as long as the crocodile lives, so please—in the interest of your appendages and our children—do not under any circumstances feed a crocodile.

It’s a baby now, but it won’t be forever. And when it’s grown, do you really want it to think of food when it looks at you?

10. RENT A BIKE OR WALK

Depending on where your vacation rental is located, renting a bike can be a win/win for the environment and for the quality of your vacation.  Tamarindo traffic at the busiest times of year can be bad for your blood pressure as you can spend longer than you think possible idling in a line waiting for your turn to get through tight-squeeze spots.  Rent a bike and cruise on through.  Pedaling is good for you, and who needs a car to get from one side of Tamarindo to the other?  Save the rental car for grocery shopping and surf trips.  Take the bike to breakfast or the beach.

Everybody wins when you ride a bicycle. Photo by Rutger Geleijnse

Contact us with any questions! Pura Vida!

6 Tips for Women Traveling Alone in Costa Rica

If you’re a woman planning a trip for yourself to Costa Rica, you may have some extra concerns or questions about do’s and dont’s for the road.

Photo by Chor Hung Tsang

First of all, let us assure you that Costa Rica is generally a very safe country for everyone.  Costa Ricans are kind and friendly folks, women in Costa Rica are held in high regard, and you have picked a great vacation destination.  Women who are used to rolling on their own already know how to make good, safe choices while having a fabulous time, and know how to avoid many safety concerns.  Personal safety issues for anyone in Costa Rica are an exception to the rules.  Most people in Costa Rica, no matter where they’re from, intend no harm—but it only takes one who wants to get ahold of your purse to ruin your vacation.

1.Take the trip

Absolutely.  Whether you’re traveling alone because it’s easier to explore that way or because your available vacation dates don’t coincide with friends or family, take the trip.  Costa Rica is a great place to make friends or to search out solitude—whichever will make your vacation better for you.

Photo by Rutger Geleijnse

2. Watch your personal possessions

This important piece of advice applies to everyone traveling in Costa Rica, so of course we wouldn’t want to miss emphasizing it for you.  Violent crime in Costa Rica is very rarely directed against the country’s guests, but petty theft is everywhere.  Keep your things where you can see them, as much as possible.  Don’t leave things in rental cars.  Stay awake on the bus.  Keep your purse on your lap in restaurants, not hanging over the back of your chair.  If you are walking through San Jose’s crowded streets, make sure purse zippers are closed and wear your backpack on the front of you instead of the back.  Why not?  Better safe than sorry.  Don’t leave stuff lying on the beach while you swim.  Sorry, but don’t.  Get a little wrist wallet for your money, key, and credit card (it’s ok for those things to get wet) and leave your phone in your vacation rental if you want to swim.

3. Remember to lock your door/s

You know this, and you do it at home, but sometimes in the excitement and distraction of vacation, it’s easy to forget what we already know.  Car doors, hotel doors, the front and back door of your Tamarindo vacation rental  Make sure anyone who’s curious about whether or not you remembered to lock the door finds out that yes, you did.

tamarindo, costa rica

4. Understand that unsolicited compliments are a common Latin American cultural custom

They even have a name: piroposPiropos break a lot of first-world rules about mutual respect between the sexes, but they are still fairly common in Costa Rica and not considered, by most Costa Ricans, to be offensive.  In other words, expect to be called beautiful by people you’ve never met and perhaps even receive a few amusing declarations of love from passersby.  It’s alright to ignore them.  Their authors expect to be ignored.  Piropos, however, are not supposed to be crude.  Crude comments are not part of piropos; crude comments are crude comments and hopefully you won’t hear them.

5. Get out there and explore the things to do in Tamarindo:

Book tours, trips, take surf lessons, go to the beach, climb the volcano, go horseback riding, plan to go to a spa in Tamarindo, go sport fishing—do it all!  Walk down the street to restaurants.  Go out dancing.  Do all the things on your Costa Rica bucket list and have a blast.  Make friends.  Come back again.

Photo by Chris Osmond

6. Use the common sense you use every day

Getting into a car with strangers, accepting drinks you didn’t order in a bar, and walking alone after dark in secluded areas all belong on the don’t list—but you knew that already.  Be thoughtful about who you allow into your hotel or vacation rental.  Use the common sense that got you this far in life, and you should have no problem on vacation in Costa Rica.

Your unforgettable Costa Rica vacation is about to begin

7 TIPS FOR A KID-FRIENDLY VACATION IN TAMARINDO

Family vacation? Yes, please!

Costa Rica is a great country to travel to if you’re bringing the little ones. It’s safe, it’s warm, it’s connected enough to the first world that you and your kids can enjoy what’s different about it without being completely out of your element. Some of their favorite cartoons may be in Spanish which they may find amusing, but Costa Rica is not completely disconnected from the comforts of home.

photo credit: unsplash

Tamarindo, specifically, is a fantastic place for families. Of course, the older your youngsters are, the more they will be able to participate in the “adventure tours” that make Tamarindo famous. It is for this reason that this post addresses, specifically, kid-friendly spots and activities for the really little ones–like toddlers and preschoolers.

1 THE MOST KID-FRIENDLY STRETCH OF BEACH

Tamarindo’s most kid-friendly stretch of beach is at the southern end of the bay. Which end is south? Consider that if we’re on the Pacific coast (and we are!), the ocean is west and the land is east. We think you can take it from there.

Locals refer to this small-waved and sandy stretch of beach as Captian Suizo, which is the name of the beautiful boutique hotel that is located there.  Stop in for lunch or grab a few cold drinks while you’re down there.  The beach in front of Capitan Suizo tends to be the most protected from the wind at windy times of year, and it also has the smallest waves and the least currents.  You should feel free to take your kids to the beach anywhere in Tamarindo, but the winner of the kid-friendly contest is definitely Capitan Suizo.

If your Tamarindo hotel or Tamarindo vacation rental is in Langosta, check out the tide pools.  The beach in Langosta is rockier than the beach in Tamarindo, so make sure that for Langosta your little ones have reef shoes.  Langosta’s waves are bigger and stronger than Tamarindo’s but the tide pools are warm and clear and can be a great place to splash, play, and look for little fish and crabs.

photo credit: unsplash

A word to the wise:

Do not let your kids play in the estuaries.  True, there are no waves, but there are currents and there are crocodiles.  Don’t do it.

2 WHERE TO BUY KID STUFF

photo credit: unsplash

If you’re looking for cute Costa Rica t-shirts, lots of stores have them.  If you’re looking for beach stuff and/or kid stuff, Monkey ‘N Croc is the pick.  You can grab an inexpensive lightweight boogie board there that the kiddos can enjoy in the pool or in the ocean as long as you keep an eye on them.  Monkey ‘N Croc stocks lots of toys and games including inflatable flotation toys and devices and toys as souvenirs and clothes.  It’s right in the center of Tamarindo below the Santa Rita Cafe.  Great spot for breakfast or lunch, by the way!

 

3 MOST KID-FRIENDLY TAMARINDO RESTAURANTS

Photo credit: //tamarindodailyphoto.blogspot.com

La Baula Pizzaria wins hands-down because the back section of the restaurant is an outdoor playground with picnic tables.

El Mercadito

Is an open-air gourmet food court and is a great spot for families for two reasons:

  1.  They have a small playground in the seating area.
  2. There are a dozen independent kitchens each offering their specialty, from sushi to pizza to hamburgers, so everybody gets to have their favorite thing for dinner.  And don’t despair, parents!  The Medusa bar in the center of the court has cold beer and creative cocktails.

Breakfast Grinds/The Jolly Roger

Right beside Iguana Surf across from the beach, this spot is Breakfast Grinds by day (American breakfasts and lunches) and The Jolly Roger by night (20 kinds of chicken wings, and burgers).  The kids’ play area doesn’t include a playground, but there is a kid corner where the littles ones can sit at small tables and entertain themselves.

4 TAMARINDO’S MOST KID-FRIENDLY TOUR

photo credit: unsplash

Tamarindo’s most kid-friendly tour is the Tamarindo estuary tour.  It’s inexpensive, and you’re never too old or too young to explore the Las Baulas estuary in a boat.  Birds, monkeys, and crocodiles are common sights during the estuary tour which usually takes about 2 hours.  Big kids will love it too.

 

At about age 8, lots of other tour options become available for kids.  Kids can ride horses or ATVs with a parent, can probably enjoy a half-day fishing trip, and are old enough to go on a zip-line canopy tour accompanied by a guide.  And surf lessons!  There’s no specific age for surf lessons–that will depend upon your family and your child.

 

5 CHECK THE TIDE CHART

CRSurf.com offers free Tamarindo tide tables.  Check it out.  Why?  Because after you haul your family and all your stuff to the beach, it’s worth it to know whether the tide is going in or out or take a Tamarindo surf lesson.  An incoming tide can soak your stuff and take off with your flip-flops before you know it, so stay a step ahead of the game.  Know what to expect.

photo credit: unsplash

6 YOU CAN BUY STUFF HERE

Don’t bring the kitchen sink on your vacation.  Costa Rica is just around the corner from the first world.  We have American-style grocery stores and several pharmacies in town.  You might not find your favorite brand of your favorite everything, but basically:  you can buy stuff here.  After-sun gel, after-bug-bite cream, cough medicine, Pepto Bismol, band-aids, salves of all types, Tylenol, baby sunscreen, bug spray…you name it.  It’s impossible for you to bring everything you could possibly imagine needing, so don’t worry about it.  If you need it, get it here.  Our Guest Coordinator or our Concierge can help you find whatever it is that you’re looking for.

7 YOU DON’T NEED THAT MANY TOYS

Really.  Between the wind and the waves, the more stuff you haul to the beach to entertain the little ones, the more stuff you have to keep track of.  You’ll be amazed at how entertaining simple sand is for little ones.  Collect seashells.  (But please put them back–the beach needs them in order to keep being a beach.)

Our Reservationists, our Guest Coordinator, and our Concierge are all committed to making sure that families have a safe and delightful time in Tamarindo.  Contact us and let us help you choose the best vacation rental for your family and plan the kid-friendliest tropical get-away you ever imagined.

What to Expect: A Month-By-Month Guide to Tamarindo’s Dry Season

Hey!  Great news!  The rainy season is ending and the dry season is starting!

In the coming months, the province of Guanacaste where Tamarindo is located will receive little or no rain.  The weather forecast from now until sometime in May is:  HOT AND SUNNY!!  This is a great time to book a Tamarindo vacation rental and come enjoy the sun with us.

Following is a month-by-month idea of what to expect during the dry season in Tamarindo.

December

December is gorgeous.  The countryside is still green from the rains that fell in the rainy season, but the sky is blue, and the wind is off-shore in the mornings.  It still sometimes turns on-shore during the middle of the day, but this does have an advantage that you might not be aware of.  Yes, it will mess up your mid-day surf, but it keeps the water temps warm by pushing the top sun kissed layer of water toward the beach.

Overlooking green Tamarindo under December’s clear sky.

December evenings can be cool enough to be comfortable even without a/c.

December marks the start of the Papagayo winds.  Papagayo winds are a seasonal north wind that blows through the western regions of Costa Rican and Nicaragua from December through March.  This pattern is so consistent that locals exclaim, “It feels like Christmas!” every time a stiff north breeze begins to blow.  Expect sun and lots of cooling breezes in December in Guanacaste.

December is a great month to try your luck at Tamarindo Sportfishing.

January

January is hotter than December.  The mountains are dry by January, while a little green may remain in the countryside in low-lying areas that retain a bit of water.  Trees drop their leaves and take a little rest. The breeze that started in December has increased into a full-on wind that often blows 24 hours a day.  The ocean water temperature drops considerably as the off-shore wind pushes the sun-warmed surface layer out to sea and the cold water wells up from underneath.

How’s this for a January day at the beach?

Expect hot.  Expect wind.  Expect sun.  January is a great time to escape the cold of the north and head to the tropics.

In January, get in on a Tamarindo turtle tour to watch the Baula sea turtles lay their eggs.

February

February is hotter than January.  It is also windier.  In January, you thought it couldn’t possibly get any windier, but guess what.  It can!

February brings dry hills and bright flowers to Guanacaste.

By February, the countryside in Guanacaste is dry.  The trees that dropped their leaves at the start of the dry season do the last thing you would expect:  they burst into bloom.  Throughout the month of February, driving through the dry Guanacaste country side, you will find the hills peppered with pink trees, yellow trees, purple trees, white trees…  It’s a different aesthetic than the lush green of the rainy season, but just as beautiful in a more surprising way.

Take an Arenal tour in February.  Chances are good for clear weather and great volcano views.

March

March is hotter than February.  In February, you thought it couldn’t possibly get any hotter, but guess what.  It can!  March is kind of a wild card, but here’s what you can be sure of:  it’s going to be hot, sunny, and windy.

Looking onto the dry Tamarindo hills from the water under a March full moon.

At some point in March, we often begin to note the approaching change of seasons back to the rainy pattern, although don’t expect to get wet.  The ocean water is still spring-suit temperatures because of the months of off-shore winds, but those winds begin to calm in March.  They may stop altogether for several hours or several days.  The sky clouds over from time to time and the air begins to feel humid.  Locusts start to sing in the trees.  Now locals say, “It feels like Semana Santa!” which means Holy Week, or Easter.

During your March visit to Tamarindo, spend a day at the Buena Vista Lodge and Adventure Center at the Rincon de La Vieja National Park.  It will be a day you will never forget!

April

We may or may not get our first rain shower of the year in April.  It still isn’t the rainy season, so don’t worry.  The trees in Guanacaste somehow sense the rains approaching, and push bright new leaves even though not a drop has fallen.  The Papagayo winds that sandblasted everybody at the beach and turned the water chilly at the beginning of the year are pretty much over by April.  Mornings and evening breezes are off-shore, and during the day wind direction is 50/50.

An April zip-line ride through the tropical dry forest at its driest.

We kind of hate to say this, but April is hotter than March.  It’s really hot.  If you love to be hot, you should plan to come to Tamarindo in April.  It will be perfect for you.

If you visit us in April, cool off with a Monteverde tour of the mountainous regions and cloud forest.

May

If the rains haven’t begun in earnest at the end April, they will most likely begin in May, thus bringing an end to the dry season.  And how do Tamarindo locals feel about the end of the dry season?  We love it just as much as we love the beginning of it.  There’s only one thing we love as much as when the rainy season ends, and that’s when it starts again!

The clouds return in May, with beautiful sunsets and showers to follow

We love the dry season’s sunny days, crisp Papagayo winds and clear, starry nights.  But by the time May rolls around, we’re ready for a good thunder storm to cool us down, settle the dust, and bring the color green back to Guanacaste.  We’re ready to put away our spring suits and surf in just our bathing suits.  We’re ready for a break from the wind and happy to enjoy the lazy cover of afternoon clouds.

Be sure to take a Tamarindo Snorkeling tour during your May visit.  The water should be warm and clear.

There’s no wrong time to visit Costa Rica or Tamarindo.  Each month of the year has its own magic.  With the dry season coming on strong, book your trip now for guaranteed sunshine and good time.  Find out what your own favorite thing about the dry season in Tamarindo is!

The Most Magical Night You Will Ever Spend at The Beach: Baula Turtle Nesting

By OneJungleMonkey, your expat expert on all things Tamarindo

Hey!  So you’re coming to Tamarindo.  And, yay, you’re coming during Baula (Leatherback) turtle nesting season!  Obviously, you’re going to want to sign up for a tour to see these incredible prehistoric mega-turtles.  The nesting of the giant Baula sea turtles is one of the most amazing things you will see during your visit to Costa Rica—and you will see a lot of amazing things.  I’ve seen a lot of amazing things myself.  I’ve lived in Costa Rica, mostly in Tamarindo, since 1995 and boy do I have some stories to tell.  I’ll be blogging about them for you so that when you get here, you’ve got some inside local knowledge tucked in with your passport.

Leatherback turtles are rarely seen on the beach in the daylight. This one was caught by a photographer and an early dawn.

Before you even have time to ask, let me tell you:  yes you do need to sign yourself up for a “Tamarindo tour turtle” to see these turtles.  Playa Grande, where this endangered species lays its eggs, is a national park and is highly patrolled during the night to keep people from bothering the turtles or stealing their eggs.  Turtle eggs are yummy, or at least some people think they are, and humans cause leatherback turtles enough problems without also eating future generations!  If you are caught wandering Playa Grande after dark without special permission, you will be escorted from the park by some unhappy park rangers.

The turtle nesting tours take place a night at Las Baulas National Park because the turtles only come out of the water in the dark.  They can’t run, and they don’t have big teeth, sharp claws or terrifying roars, so the cover of night is their best defense against predators.  They return, year after year, to the beach where they hatched, to dig a hole, lay their eggs, bury the eggs, and return to the water.  During this process, the turtles appear to be in a trance-like state in which they ignore us completely.  Believe me–when you’re standing there in the night on the dark star-peppered beach watching this giant prehistoric creature do something it does over and over for perhaps up to 100 years…it’s pretty amazing.


Photo credit: Ticotimes.net, David Clow

I saw the sea turtles twice, both times many years ago.  I’ve chosen not to go back because honestly, I think (or imagine?) that our presence bothers them somehow, no matter how unobtrusive we attempt to be.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t go!  I just mean I’ve had my turn—two of them, in fact.  Both times I was lucky enough to actually see a turtle.  You don’t always.  Wild animals are like that.  The park guides can predict what time the tide will be right for turtles to appear, and that’s about it.  Not every turtle tour sees a turtle, just like not every fishing trip produces a meal.

First, your group meets up on the Tamarindo side of the estuary where the park guides give a briefing:  No noise, no camera flashes or lights of any kind, etc…  Light and noise are very upsetting to nesting turtles who want nothing more than to be alone in the dark to lay their eggs.

Next, you go down to the estuary and get in a boat that takes you to the other side.  You have to stay together as a group when you get to Playa Grande, and this is for several reasons.  One reason is, as I mentioned, it’s illegal for people to be wandering around on the beach where turtles are trying to nest.  The more we leave them alone, the better, and the national park employs guards to enforce this.  Another is that the only lights allowed are the ones the guides have.  If you wander off, you won’t be able to see.  It’s amazing how well your eyes adjust to the dark and how not-dark the beach is at night, especially on clear nights with starlight or moonlight, but still—stick together because if your guide receives a call on his radio from a monitor stationed down the beach stating that there is a turtle coming out of the water, you don’t want to be left behind.

tamarindo turtle tours
Photo credit: The Howler Magazine

 

It’s a little hard to describe the magical eeriness of watching a prehistoric turtle almost the size of a VW bug emerge from the sea in the dark and drag itself up onto the land.  It is stunningly clear that these turtles are not land animals.  I mean, all turtles are slow, but a Baula sea turtle in the sand can barely move.  The amount of effort it takes them to drag their immense bodies, so agile in the water, from the water across the sand past the high tide mark is almost inconceivable.  It takes a long time.  No drama, no excitement, just an immense amount of work for this turtle, who may be up to 100 years old, crawls to the spot she chooses on instinct, clumsily digs a hole in the sand with her flippers, positions herself, and drops dozens of eggs into it.  That finished, she will use her flippers to push sand back into the hole on top of the eggs.  Then she laboriously turns and crawls back to the water.

tamarindo turtle tourContact our local experts to book your Tamarindo turtle tour and experience magic in Costa Rica!

Planning A Costa Rica Thanksgiving in Tamarindo

Costa Rica

November is nobody’s favorite month–unless you’re in Costa Rica.  Here, November is the most beautiful month of the year!  It’s green, not too hot, and the rain is usually over, so… of course it’s a family favorite destination for Thanksgiving!

You have two things to get sorted out about a Costa RicaThanksgiving in Tamarindo:  what to do about the meal, and what to do with the day.

We have three great ideas for you about how to come up with a Tamarindo Thanksgiving dinner for your family and friends.

costa rica thanksgiving

  1. You can cook it yourself in your Tamarindo vacation rental, hire a chef to cook it for you in your vacation rental or make reservations at one of our Tamarindo restaurants.

Costa Rica thanksgiving

Photo credit: rawpixel

Auto Mercado is the American-style grocery store just on the outskirts of Tamarindo, and guess what.  They carry frozen turkeys.  You’ll pay more for a turkey here in Costa Rica than what you would in the US, but remember that Thanksgiving isn’t a Costa Rican holiday, nor are turkeys something that Costa Ricans traditionally eat.  Run out there and get one right away if you like baking these birds because there are lots of Thanksgiving dinners being made in Tamarindo and only one place to buy a turkey.  You can buy all the other Thanksgiving dinner ingredients there as well:  potatoes, vegetables, bread for stuffing, bouillon cubes, yams, pumpkin for the pies, Crisco for the crusts, and whipped cream for the top.  Hurry up, though.  There’s going to be a run on celery and prepared pie crusts any minute.

auto mercado

2. Private chefs are the ideal way to get the most out of your Tamarindo Thanksgiving. Spend the day enjoying your family and your Tamarindo Vacation rental while your chef prepares you a meal to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your home. Let someone else take care of the planning, the shopping, the cooking, the serving and the clean-up while you take care of the relaxation.

Photo credit: Sander Dalhuisen

3. The third option you have for Thanksgiving in Tamarindo is to enjoy a meal at one of our restaurants. The favorite, by far, is Pangas Beach Club.  Pangas Beach Club, sitting alongside the peaceful beauty of the estuary right on the sand of Tamarindo beach, is cooking up the best Thanksgiving dinner in town.  It starts out with a salad bar, moves along to squash soup and then the full meal: turkey baked in a Guanacaste-style outdoor oven, stuffing, gravy, almond green beans, mashed potatoes, and mashed sweet potatoes.  Dessert, of course, follows.  Pumpkin pie or pecan pie–you decide.

 

Pangas costa rica

So there you go.  One of these options will solve the riddle about where dinner is coming from.

If you choose not to do the cooking yourself, the next question is what to do with the rest of the day.  Chances are, it’s going to be gorgeous.   Top three choices are:

  1. Spend the day at the beach. Surf, swim, take a beach walk and feel thankful for a warm day in a sunny place.

tamarindo vacation rental

  1. Enjoy the amenities of your luxury Tamarindo vacation rental like the pool, the a/c, the comfy couches and the oversized flat screen tv. Do nothing–you’re on vacation.

costa rica vacation rental

3. Do something unforgettable that you and your family will remember for years to come. How about the thrill of a zip-line on Thanksgiving day?  Go kayaking up the estuary with a knowledgeable local guide.  Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Costa Rica, so everything is open–no worries about that.  Have you booked a surf lesson yet?  That would be a way to make sure this Thanksgiving day is one nobody in your family will ever forget.

Photo credit: Anita Denunzio

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo has the connections you need to make your tropical Thanksgiving fantastic.  We still have a few last minute rental options open, so contact us if you’re looking for a place to stay.  If you’ve got accommodations sorted out already, but need to make dinner or activity plans, let us help you.  We can get you a chef, a reservation at Pangas, and a day of Thanksgiving adventures–but hurry!

The 5 Best Beaches Within 30 Minutes of Tamarindo

Tamarindo

The best beach within 30 minutes of Tamarindo is, of course, Tamarindo!  We’re not saying this because we’re biased Tamarindo residents or anything, we’re saying this because it’s empirically true.  You’ll see.  Why is Tamarindo Beach the most awesome beach in Guanacaste?  Here are 5 reasons:

  1. It’s sandy. Big deal?  Yes.  A rocky beach is a lot less fun to walk or sunbathe on.  It’s a lot trickier to swim at a rocky beach, and meetings with rocks do not make for great surf lessons.  For a laid back beach vacation, you definitely want a sandy beach like Tamarindo.
  2. It’s in the back of a bay. This means a normal day in Tamarindo has gentle or no ocean currents and small to medium sized waves.  If you’re a solid surfer looking for barrels, you may find them here or you may have to pick one of our other 5 faves.  But no matter,  we think Tamarindo still wins because the rest of your family / travel group will be able to have a great, safe day doing what they do while you’re off tearing it up.
  3. It’s gorgeous. It just is.  The mountains, the bay, the boats at anchor, the lava rock outcroppings, the royal palms and the quaint little restaurants along the beach…  Come on.  It’s the best.

  1. Everyone can surf. Yes, even you.  The Tamarindo surf has something for everyone.  If you’re a beginner, it’s the ideal place to learn.  If you are an experienced surfer, paddle out at the main beach or at the estuary within 2 or 3 hours of the high tide and you’ll catch hours of fun rides.
  2. It’s Activity Central. You don’t have to bring the kitchen sink to the beach with you in Tamarindo.  You can buy beverages and food, the sunscreen you forgot, flip flops when the tide comes in and makes off with yours, you can go for a meal, get a massage, or even decide it’s time to head for the shade but still enjoy sitting on the beach in Tamarindo, because, as you can see, TAMARINDO HAS IT ALL.

But, venture out during your stay in Tamarindo and be amazed by beautiful beaches, gorgeous wildlife and more. Make sure you pack you beach bag before leaving your Tamarindo vacation rental and get ready for a day of adventure and relaxation.  There are other amazing beaches to see nearby, and you can enjoy Tamarindo when you come back from exploring.

 

#1 Top Pick:  Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is our number one favorite beach after Tamarindo.  You will never find another beach like it in Costa Rica, maybe not in the world.  The word “concha” in Spanish means “shell,” and as its name suggests, Playa Conchal entirely covered in seashells.  As in, there’s no sand–just shells.

We’re not exaggerating, but you might have to see it to believe it.  In fact, we suggest that you do.  Years ago, Playa Conchal was covered with shells of all shapes and sizes, but today, due to its popularity, it is mostly covered with pieces of shells.  Thank you very much, Everybody In The World, for helping yourselves to what belongs in Costa Rica.  It’s still an amazing beach to visit, still completely unique, and is still a great place to snorkel.  You can’t surf at Conchal, but you can explore the tidepools, stroll, swim, and hunt for pretty shells.  But do the beach a favor and put them back please.  Playa Conchal needs its shells.  It doesn’t know what to be without them.

 

#2 Top Pick:  Playa Brasilito

Brasilito is the cool little fishing village that you have to go through to get to Playa Conchal.  For some reason, whereas many of Guanacaste’s beach towns have become modern meccas of luxury, Brasilito remains a quaint fishing village of a traditional Costa Rican style.  We love it!

Enjoy a Costa Rican meal for a Costa Rican price.  Wander around through the little streets past souvenir shops, simple homes, small groceries, and on to the sandy beach.  Brasilito is safe for swimming, a relaxing spot to bask in the sun, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a surfable wave.  Most visitors combine a visit to Conchal with a visit to Brasilito since one is on the way to the other.  For as close to each other as they are, the vibe, the scenery and the beach itself is so completely different that they could just as well be 100 miles apart.  Go check it out.

 

#3 Top Pick:  Playa Langosta

Langosta Beach is a must-see, especially if your starting point is Tamarindo.  Langosta is our sister beach to the south and you can get there without actually leaving town.

Langosta Beach

Just like Brasilito and Conchal are radically different, you won’t believe how different Langosta is from Tamarindo. Langosta’s geography is much more open to the deep water, so the waves in Langosta are significantly bigger and stronger than Tamarindo’s waves.  Surfers love this, of course, but Langosta isn’t only for surfers.  Langosta beach at low tide is a beautiful place for beach-walking, shell-hunting (admire and put back, please), tide pool-snorkeling and for watching the spectacular tropical sunsets.

 

#4 Top Pick:  Playa Avellanas

Avellanas is a spectacular beach, and deserving of a day of your vacation.  You can walk for miles along Playa Avellanas and the series of small sandy beaches it connects to as you go north from the spot you’ll park.

Avellanas is a great beach for surfing, with waves that are generally bigger than Tamarindo’s waves, but is not rocky like Langosta, so non-surfers will have a better time swimming or finding a spot to sunbathe or relax.  The popular Lola’s Restaurant by the parking area in Avellanas is a great place to have a cool drink in the shade, or get lunch.  Playa Avellanas has a fabulous laid-back vibe and is by far one of the most beautiful beaches you will find in Costa Rica.  Take it from the locals who have seen a lot of Costa Rica’s beaches!

 

#5 Top Pick:  Playa Grande

If you’re a die-hard surfer, you might shuffle Playa Grande to the number one spot.  Playa Grande, as its name suggests, is a very big beach, and there are lots of breaks along the sand it spans.  Playa Grande is our next-door neighbor, beginning on the other side of the Las Baulas estuary, and stretching for miles.

The Las Baulas National Park, dedicated to the preservation of the nesting grounds of giant Baula sea turtles, encompasses all of Playa Grande, meaning that the coast line is almost completely untouched.  This is a huge plus if you are a sea turtle, a surfer, a fish, a bird, a mangrove tree or a lover of long solitary beach runs.  It’s not such a huge plus if you like the easy life with beach chairs, umbrella-decorated drinks, and nearby sources of water, or shade.  You can get to Playa Grande by taking a boat across from Tamarindo across the estuary, or you can drive there.  The drive will set you down in a small collection of hotels, restaurants and grocery stores, so don’t think we mean you will be completely removed from civilization in Playa Grande.  The one thing you don’t want to do is attempt to walk, swim or paddle across the estuary to Playa Grande from Tamarindo.

Large volumes of water move through the channel and it is not walkable.  Large crocodiles also reside there, making a swimming or paddling a bad idea if you like your spot at the top of the food chain.  Boats are cheap and run all day.  Take one.

Ready to hit the beach now?  Get your passport, get a hat, and get down here.  Our Concierge can answer any further questions you have about what to do during your Tamarindo vacation, and help you get set up.  Contact us today and we will assist you in booking your next trip and planning all your adventures!