Our feature property this month is a beautiful 4-bedroom classic Tamarindo beach house called Casa Xanadu. Casa Xanadu is perched on top of the mountain above the beach, and it offers an ocean view that does not stop!
Between the comfort of the open breezy home, the refreshing infinity pool and the mesmerizing view, you will for sure not want to leave when it’s time to go.
Casa Xanadu sleeps 8, which makes it great for groups of friends traveling together or family combinations where Grandma comes along or Aunt Sally and Uncle Mike bring the cousins.
Families with older children who can swim will love how the pool keeps the kids busy all day long while the grown-ups enjoy relaxing in the rest of the house.
Surfers will love watching the breaks along Playa Grande from the pool and the terraces of Casa Xanadu.
The whole house is air conditioned, of course, and the kitchen has got everything you can imagine needing. No one in your group feels like cooking while on vacation? No problem! Our Concierge can set you up with a chef who can come to the house to do all the meal prep and service for you.
At Casa Xanadu, you’ll definitely want rental cars to ferry you up and down the hill, and our concierge can get that set up for you, too. All of Tamarindo, with its fun bars, wide variety of restaurants, many languages, and colorful shopping opportunities lies along the coast just below Casa Xanadu.
There are so many exciting things to do in and around Tamarindo that we can’t begin to list them all—you’ll have to contact our Concierge who is the local specialist in fun times and will help you narrow it down.
Right now, as the rainy season concludes, all of Tamarindo is lush and green and the views from Casa Xanadu are especially pretty.
Rainy season sunsets are the ones that spark spectacular displays of color, so take our advice, get those flip-flops into the suitcase, grab your passport and get to Casa Xanadu as fast as you can.
Tamarindo is the perfect vacation destination for health-minded travelers. Pretty much everything you need is within walking distance, it’s never too cold to be outside doing something fun and active, and fresh fruits, vegetables and fish abound. Healthy people are attracted to places like this so we have a surprising number of fitness centers and yoga studios for a town this size.
So how to be as healthy on your Tamarindo vacation as you are at home? Great options are everywhere! We’ll break it down into two categories for you: What To Eat and What To Do.
WHAT TO EAT
Healthy eating in Tamarindo is easy, especially for healthy people who are used to searching out healthy foods!
1.Pimienta Verde Organic Market
In the beginning of 2018, Tamarindo’s first organic grocery store opened its doors. Fresh produce arrives on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and there is a lot more on the shelves than fruits and vegetables. They offer organic grains, pastas, sauces, honey, snacks, Kombucha, health and beauty products, oils and more. The store is new and the market for organic products in Costa is only now emerging, so you might not be able to find everything on your list there, but Automercado and its boutique supermarket Vindi do have organic products offered alongside non-organic.
2.Juice Café Tamarindo
We also have a new juice company! Juice Café Tamarindo offers a line of cold-pressed organic juices and other healthy treats. Their grain-free granola blows every other granola you can ever imagine directly out of the water! Place your order on line or drop by to see what they’ve got ready. And lucky you—it’s right beside the organic market!
La Bodega is a small café/market focused on providing organic foods to Tamarindo. Stop by for breakfast, lunch or to check out the goodies in their small store.
4.Find menu items that fit into the diet that makes you feel like a rock star:
vegan, vegetarian, low/no carb, Mediterranean, raw foods…
We aren’t saying you can’t find killer cheeseburgers and fries around here (you can!) but if you have a preferred way of eating that you’ve worked into your lifestyle, we can help you find the right dining. It’s all here! Vegans will love our vegan spot called Pura Vegan in El Mercadito. Vegetarians will have lots of choices, and especially love the traditional no-meat Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto with eggs. Low and no carb diets are easy to stick to in Tamarindo restaurants with the many fresh salads that are served with seared beef, grilled chicken, shrimp or raw ahi tuna. Any one else getting hungry? Anyone following a raw foods diet will be happy here. Whole raw foods are easy to find in the form of salads, fruit plates, and amazing sashimi. Mediterranean diet your style? Check out the Falafel Bar with the menu that does not stop, and the carpaccio on the menu at Pangas.
WHAT TO DO
Staying active during your Tamarindo vacation is easy, in fact, don’t forget to relax! There are tons of healthy things to do in Tamarindo. Here’s what the locals like:
Tamarindo has several gyms and fitness centers that offer work-out equipment, trainers, and classes of various kinds.
Several yoga studios, centrally located, offer fabulous classes from morning to evening. Our concierge can also help you book your own private instructor so that your Tamarindo yoga experience can be completely tailored to your needs and preferences.
Do we really need to say this? Probably not, but it’s on the list! Nothing will wear you out like surfing does, so get out there and catch some waves. If you’re not a surfer, this is your chance to become one. Tamarindo surf lessons are the perfect way to get started! Currents are gentle here, and below you is just sand, no rocks. If surfing isn’t your thing, check out a tide chart and plan a low-tide beach walk or run. That’s what the locals do! Won’t that be cool? Come on, let’s go running. Shoes? Why?!
4.Rent a Bike
Park that rental car in the shade and rent a bike. There are all kinds of bikes to rent here: beach cruisers, mountain bikes, fat-tire bikes to ride in the sand… If you visit during the busy season between the end of December and the end of March, you might be glad for a bike for more reasons than your health! The amount of traffic in the narrow Tamarindo streets can be an exercise in patience, but if you have a bike, you can just zoom on by. No lie. (That may be a tip from insiders who know…)
Top off all that heathy eating, surfing, biking, yoga, and beach runs with a massage to work the knots out of your muscles. Tamarindo is a great place for a relaxing massage or Tamarindo muscle therapy. Tables set up along the beach offer relaxing massages in the shade, and top-class spas offer relaxing or deep-tissue massages in an air-conditioned environment. We also know the best masseuses in town, so if you prefer that the massage table come to your Tamarindo vacation rental, let us know and we can arrange for you and your travel group to get massages right at home.
Any questions or have other ideas about how you’d like to leave Tamarindo healthier than you came? Contact us today and let us help you get it sorted.
You look at Costa Rica and are impressed by all the fun things there are to do, all the awesome places there are to go. I mean, there are surfing beaches, swimming beaches, volcano hikes, horseback rides, cushy resorts, whitewater rafting, rain forests, cloud forest, tropical dry forests, zip lines, animal rescue centers, snorkeling, sailing, fishing…and that’s just off the top of my head! You check it out on the map and you see that things really aren’t all that far apart so you make a list of everything you’d like to do during your week of vacation: the west coast, the volcanoes in the central valley, white water rafting, the east coast… You wouldn’t want to miss any of it!
Ok, stop the presses.
Yes, Costa Rica is a small country, often compared to the US state of West Virginia, or the European country of Denmark, but don’t let that fool you. It is a country of secluded beaches, rolling hills, open plains, and river basins split down the center by the towering volcanic cordillera that runs the length of the Americas. This geography, coupled with Costa Rica’s status as a “developing nation” means that here you are not going to find super highways that connect these relatively close locations. Narrow, twisty, bumpy roads designed for the nominal traffic flow of Costa Rica in the 1970s can take longer to navigate than what you think. Expect to travel 60-70 miles per hour down Costa Rica’s freeways? Think again. A 50-100 mile (80-160 km) drive can often take two to four hours on narrow roads that wind through the countryside. It’s beautiful. It’s not speedy.
You made the right choice when you decided to base your Costa Rica vacation in a Tamarindo vacation rental. There are tons of things to do in Tamarindo, and lots of fun day-trips and Tamarindo tours are available without requiring you to pack your bags and move to a different location. The planning stage is the right time for you to think about how much relaxing you want to do during your vacation and how much work. Work? Well, yes. Work. Navigating Costa Rica’s roads isn’t difficult, but it can be exhausting. You won’t get lost because there aren’t that many places to make a wrong turn, but you will for sure have your patience tested on a trip of any length.
Want to explore a place other than Tamarindo during your vacation? Good idea! The key question is, “How much time to you have?” If you’re going to be in Costa Rica for a week, pick one other place. Ten days? You could probably swing two. Two weeks? Now we’re getting into the territory of where you could do something REALLY exotic like surf Pavones, or visit Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, or tour the Bribri Indigenous reserve in the mountains near Cahuita. If you’re the umbrella-drink-in-hand-at-the-all-inclusive-resort-type, though, those remote options might be a little too much adventure for you. Not judging. Just saying it’s not for everybody. You could explore both coasts: first Tamarindo, Flamingo, Coco, Avellanas, Playa Negra, Junquillal, then the Caribbean coast–Limon, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero…
So, back to how to plan a week vacation that won’t run you into the ground.
Spend a few days in Tamarindo and then a few days on an Arenal tour. Or a Monteverde tour. Or check out Malpais and Santa Teresa. Go to La Carolina Lodge and check out the cobalt-blue waterfall.
Remember, you have to get back to fly out of Liberia and you don’t want to spend half your trip on the road. Or spend the whole time based in a Tamarindo beach resort and let us fill your days with daytrips and local adventures. Unless you refuse to get off the couch, it is impossible that you will (a) be bored (b) run out of things to do. Physically impossible.
Have 10 days? Lucky you. Out of Tamarindo you could see both Arenal and Monte Verde. Or you could go to the Central Valley area and check out the volcanoes like Poas and Irazu. In the mountainous areas there, white water rafting can be quite an adventure. Go see the scarlet macaws and the white-faced monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park. Or modify the one-week plan with some added day trips to places like Buena Vista Lodge Costa Rica or Diamante Eco Adventure Park and then go spend a few nights at one other spot that’s not too far away.
Really the best advice we can give you, other than don’t try to see all of Costa Rica in a week, is to contact our Concierge who knows everything there is to know about everything awesome there is to do in Costa Rica. Each group is made up of different personalities, different interests, and has a different number of days to fill. Christina Gonzales from Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo has got you covered. Nicaraguan-born and Costa Rica/USA raised, she’s got the language skills, the cultural knowledge and the vibrant personality to bridge all the gaps and to hook you up.
This month we’re featuring one of our favorite family-friendly vacation rental properties. Villa Pacifica, located in the Los Lagos community of Hacienda Pinilla is the perfect spot to base your family vacation in Costa Rica.
This luxury vacation rental condominium offers 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and can accommodate up to 10 guests. The home includes a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen and two separate living areas. A first floor living room adjoining the kitchen and dining area is complimented by a second floor tv lounge with additional couches and a flat screen tv. The kids want to watch a movie and you need to get a few things done on-line? No problem. This tropical villa has the space you need to get relaxing done your way.
Beautiful and spacious terraces span both levels of the home, providing the outdoor living area that you dream of in a tropical vacation rental. Enjoy your morning coffee on the terrace by the kitchen, listening to the birds that live in Hacienda Pinilla, and watching for monkeys to swing through the trees. The upper balcony that runs along the tv lounge and master bedroom is the perfect place for a late-afternoon cocktail while you wait for the sun to sink into the Pacific Ocean.
Another thing that makes Villa Pacifica perfect for family vacations is that there are so many fun things to do in Hacienda Pinilla. Is your family an active family? Then Villa Pacifica is the place for you! For one, you can easily walk to Mansita beach from Villa Pacifica, and there the real fun begins. Hacienda Pinilla is bordered by 3 miles of pristine coastline where you can wander the beach to your heart’s content, surf, sunbathe, and snorkel in the tidepools. And that’s just the first thing on the activity list.
Almost endless miles of hiking and mountain biking trails weave through Hacienda Pinilla’s 4,500 acres, from wooded mountain tops to the sandy beach and back again. This is the perfect place to take in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province in its natural form. The Hacienda’s 18 hole golf course is Costa Rica’s finest and most beautiful course, and is a fantastic place to see deer, monkeys, birds of all kinds, and even the occasional shy wild cat or friendly coati.
As if that wasn’t enough fun for an entire family, Hacienda Pinilla offers a tennis center, an equestrian center that leads guided horseback rides, and an amazing beach club that sets in front of a breathtaking surf break. The beach club has a fitness center, a spa, an unforgettable bar and restaurant, and a children’s’ play area. Are you convinced yet?
In case you need one more reason to reserve Villa Pacifica today for your family vacation, we can add that the Los Lagos community where Villa Pacifica is located adjoins the JW Marriot Resort. At the Marriot, you will find a variety of restaurants, a gym, and a spa.
At Villa Pacifica, you are located only 15 minutes down the road from Playa Tamarindo and all of the fun that our bustling little beach town provides. Our tour concierge can help you set up your family’s ideal vacation itinerary. Would your kids like the excitement of a zip-line? How about surf lessons for everybody? We can pick you up at Villa Pacifica and take you for a fun day trip some place really special like Rincon del la Vieja National Park, or a jungle boat safari in Palo Verde.
Villa Pacifica has the advantage of a quiet, restful location where you can separate yourselves from the busyness of Tamarindo hotels and have quality family time, but still have 100% of the options for fun.
Contact us today and let’s get your reservation on the books while there’s still time!
It’s dinner time in Tamarindo and one thing you have for sure is too many choices! Where to go? What’s good? What’s everybody’s favorite?
Lucky you, you just asked a whole pack of Tamarindo locals and we are going to hook you up with the 5 restaurants you can’t leave Tamarindo without trying. Don’t even think about it. These places serve our favorite dishes, they’re always good, and they’re fun places to hang out in. Nobody loves good food and great times like the Tamarindo locals, and nobody insists more on fair prices. So relax. We’ve got you covered. It’s going to be a great night.
Pangas Beach Club
The Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo hands-down number one Tamarindo restaurant choice is Pangas Beach Club. It’s a little hard to explain the ambiance at Pangas without sounding sappy. There is actually something magical about that spot on the beach where the ocean meets the Las Baulas estuary and giant Laurel de La India trees grow. That’s where Pangas Beach Club is located, and that’s one of the reasons we love it. Most of the Pangas’ seating is right on the sand. Comfortable cushioned chairs at wooden tables under the canopy of trees give such a relaxed atmosphere to Pangas, that you never want to leave.
They serve lunch and dinner all week, and breakfast as well on Sundays. This is a great place to come for sunset! Pangas Beach Club, of course, has cold beer, and they have a full bar and a yummy appetizer menu. Pangas’ menu is based on local ingredients like fish, beef, and lots of fresh vegetables. Reservations are a good idea because Pangas does a lot of special events like weddings (you’ll see why the minute you walk in the door) which means on those nights the restaurant is closed to regular diners.
Seasons, owned and run by Israeli chef Shlomy has been a Tamarindo favorite since 2003. The menu at Seasons is “Mediterranean Gourmet,” and everything on it is delicious! Seasons is located in the Arco Iris hotel, on a breezy wooden patio beside the pool. Ask any Tamarindo local what their favorite appetizer, dinner, or dessert is at Seasons, and he or she will have answers for you—guaranteed. Seasons has a full bar and serves a mean martini.
Seasons takes cash only and is open for dinner only, every night of the week. Reservations are a good idea because it’s a local favorite.
La Baula is one of Tamarindo’s original restaurants. We love it for that reason, we love it because we love their pizza, we love it because we love the beautiful open dining area, and we love it because we love the play area outside for the kids.
La Baula’s menu is simple. They have thin-crust Italian pizza with any and every imaginable topping, a fantastic mixed veggie salad with or without tuna, a few flavors of gelato, and a tiramisu you must not leave town without trying. Those are the only choices, you say? And this is one of your top 5 picks? Yes, you heard us right. Go to La Baula and try it out. You’ll see what we’re talking about. They are open for dinner only every night of the week. Their full bar is sure to have your favorite after-dinner drink from the old country.
Patagonia, being an Argentinian grill, is Tamarindo’s favorite place for steak. Their menu includes lots of other options as well, but we’re just saying: you want steak? Go to Patagonia. Make a reservation, too, because Patagonia’s dining area is smaller than their fan base and it is always full. They serve lunch and dinner daily.
El Mercadito is one of the newer additions to Tamarindo’s dining scene and it has been an immediate favorite. It isn’t exactly a restaurant, however, it’s more like it’s name suggests: a little food market. El Mercadito is an open-air upscale food-court style market with the Medusa Bar created out of an actual boat, right in the middle. What’s not to love? It’s the restaurant with 100 things on the menu. The individual restaurant kitchens that surround the bar and shady seating area include: Asian poke bowls, a completely vegan kitchen, a tropical curry kitchen, sushi, an Argentinian grill, Venezuelan arepas, burgers of all types, a French bakery, and an ice cream shop.
The best thing about El Mercadito, besides the fact that everybody in your group gets to have their favorite thing for lunch or dinner, is that it’s budget-friendly. Nothing there costs more than $12 and all of it is fabulous because each type of food comes from a kitchen that specializes in that. And at the Medusa Bar, try the champagne sangria. Just try it.
Still have questions about dinner or about how to book the best Tamarindo vacation ever? Contact us and let us help you sort out the answers!
Before you decide that calling a vacation rental condo “perfect” is an exaggeration, put your skepticism aside and listen to what Tamarindo Sunrise Condos right in the heart of Tamarindo beach, have to offer—especially for families. The Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are Tamarindo’s best-kept secret for Costa Rica family vacations.
PROXIMITY TO THE BEACH
Not to boast, but there are no Tamarindo condos closer to the beach than Sunrise Condos Tamarindo. Open your door at Sunrise, walk through the gated guarded parking lot, pass the fabulous Santa Rita cafe by the entrance, cross the street and there you are–on the sand.
If you are thinking of a family vacation in Tamarindo, we don’t have to tell you why that in itself makes Sunrise perfect. No getting Grandma in and out of the car. No sandy kids with wet bathing suits in the back seat, and no trying to figure out where to park. You’re at the beach and somebody needs the potty? No problem! Cousin Susie is a grumpy teenager and sick of hanging out with the younger tykes? It’s ok. Let her sleep in. She can wander over when she wakes up and meet you for a late-morning swim. You forgot something at the condo? No worries! We could go on, but we know that in planning a family beach vacation in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, you don’t need us to convince you of why you want to be close to the beach. It goes without saying.
Tamarindo Surf lessons, Tamarindo snorkeling, and Tamarindo fishing trips are right outside your door at Tamarindo Sunrise Condos. Literally.
PROXIMITY TO EVERYTHING
It stands to reason, right? Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are located in the literal center of Tamarindo, so the beach isn’t the only thing that is amazingly close.
At the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos, you are no more than a five minute walk from: an amazing variety of delicious Tamarindo restaurants, several grocery stores, fun bars that often feature live music, and Tamarindo shopping at a plethora of souvenir stores and Tamarindo surf shops.
This makes vacationing with a family easier because each day’s exploration leads to interesting places that catch the eye and can provide discussion about what to do tomorrow. Or for dinner. Or if Joey brushes his teeth after only being asked once.
At the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos you’ll never find yourself at a loss at to what do do in Tamarindo. In addition to nearby activities like Tamarindo ATV tours, Tamarindo horseback riding, Tamarindo canopy tours and Tamarindo Turtle tours, Sunrise Condos are a great jumping-off point for local day trips.
Let us book you a day trip to the Buena Vista Lodge at Rincon de la Vieja National Park, the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs or Palo verde National Park. How about a tour of Monte Verde or an Arenal Volcano tour? In the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos, you’re at the perfect spot to begin any adventure.
THE AWESOME POOL
This is no ordinary hotel pool we’re touting, here. The Tamarindo Sunrise Condos actually have an exceptional swimming pool–especially for kids.
It’s an oversized free-form pool with a segmented kiddie pool where the little ones can splash and play without slipping into water that’s too deep for them, for one. The deep end of the pool is surrounded by a fun water feature that older kids and young-spirited adults will love. A wide walk-behind waterfall pours over a drippy cave-like corridor and is lots of fun to explore and jump through. Even with all that fun going on, the pool at the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos is big enough for the rest of the guests to relax and cool off in peace. Surrounding the pool is a large tile sun-terrace lined with loungers that are available 24 hours a day to all Sunrise guests.
THE OCEAN VIEW
The Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are across the street from the beach, so of course they have an ocean view! We offer 9 different condos within the Sunrise Resort, many of which afford stunning views of the surf, the ocean horizon, and famous Tamarindo sunsets.
Some units offer ocean views from a bedroom, some from the living area, some from the terraces, and some from all of the above. Check out the possibilities we offer and pick the one you like the best. Of course you’re going to spend plenty of time at the beach on your Tamarindo family vacation, but having an ocean-view vacation rental at Sunrise makes it all the more special.
The Tamarindo Sunrise Resort is surrounded by secured grounds, the entrance to which is gated and guarded 24 hours per day. This gives an invaluable level of added security to you, your vehicles, and the belongings in your vacation rental. Costa Rica is known to be a country that is safe, throughout, for tourism, but having that added precaution just helps you to relax on a family vacation and enjoy the ride.
THE ON-SITE PARKING
Even the parking at Sunrise is created with a forethought to convenience, which, as you will find out when you get here, is not always the case in Tamarindo. Each condo in Tamarindo Sunrise has a dedicated parking space, and plenty of room to maneuver a vehicle that you don’t drive every day. And as we mentioned before, the guard at the entrance to the parking lot oversees all entrances and exists to the premises.
WE OFFER MULTIPLE UNITS
Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo manages 9 individual units within the Sunrise Condos, so don’t just bring the kids–bring everybody! Bring the aunts and uncles. Bring Grandma and Grandpa. Bring the next-door-neighbors. The more, the merrier, and Sunrise Condos has room for everyone.
Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are not just the perfect family vacation destination–they’re actually perfect for everyone. Planning a romantic get-away instead of a family vacation? That’s easy. Get your sweetie and come to Tamarindo Sunrise Condos without the kids! All of the same excellent amenities apply. What about a surf trip? Even better!
There’s no place surfers feel more at home than at Sunrise, right across the beach from the waves you love to ride. And with the number of units Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo manages at Sunrise, you can even base your group travel occasion here at Tamarindo Sunrise with us. Retreats, reunions, special event occasions–any reason at all that you might be looking for a spot to base a group of any size in Tamarindo– Sunrise Condos Tamarindo is the perfect spot to land and unleash adventure.
Contact us today & we can assist you in booking your Sunrise Condo in Tamarindo, Costa Rica!
If you’re looking for things to do in Tamarindo, we’ve got the solution for you. This weekend (September 1st), the town of Santa Rosa, just 5 miles from the beach, is going to be throwing a party–and it’s not like any party you’ve been to before. Each town in the Guanacaste province holds a weekend of “fiestas” once a year, with vendors of food and pretty much everything, dances, lots of guaro and beer, bull riding, and a real Guanacaste “arreo.” You don’t want to miss it. The Santa Rosa Tope happens once a year and over 10k horses with locals dressed up in typical clothing will meet the bulls and commence the fiesta/party!
What’s an “arreo?” The word refers to old-school cattle roundups that date back to a time when Guanacaste’s culture revolved around ranching. Very few modern-day fiestas include arreos, which makes Santa Rosa’s fiestas stand out as a favorite in the area. On Saturday morning, horseback riders of all stripes will gather in the central Plaza of Santa Rosa and prepare for the 6 mile ride to a cattle ranch in the town of Cana Fistula. This ranch, owned by the Vallejos family, carries on the tradition of hosting the arreo with cattle roping events, music, food, dancing, and plenty of alcohol in various strengths. Revelers also arrive on motorcycles, ATVs and in cars to join the real cowboys for a day of bravado and testosterone. How better to celebrate the rough-and-tumble cowboy roots of Guanacaste heritage? In the late afternoon, the raucous caravan exits the cattle ranch and rides back to continue the festivities in Santa Rosa, driving cattle, raising dust, raising cane, and drinking more beer.
Although Santa Rosa’s fiesta officially kicks off on Friday, by Thursday evening there will be plenty of eating drinking and dancing going on in the center of town. Bull riding competitions will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. There is an entrance fee to watch the bull riding. For a small fee, you can stand close to the corral and watch, or for a few dollars more you can pay for a seat in the bleachers. Although it is technically not permitted to climb the corral fence and watch the bull riding perched on top, if you get there early enough you can squeeze in.
Many Costa Rican men and boys, emboldened by the libations, enter the bull riding ring and run around taunting the bull, trying to provoke it to chase them. If you drank too much and decided to join them, you would not be the first foolish tourist to do so. You would also not be the first one to get seriously injured, or end up lying on the ground in you underwear after the bull grabs you with his horn by your surf trunks and throws you around a little (true story). So, please–don’t. Demonstrate your bravery on the dance floor.
It would be a good idea to take cash (colones) to the fiesta. Established bars and cantinas may take credit cards, but the food vendors, clothing/souvenir vendors, and the beer tents will not. Wear comfortable shoes, and keep your wits about you. Small-town fiestas are not the premier place for pick-pocketing, but it all depends how much you drink and how aware you are of your surroundings. Do not ever set your bag down on the ground or hang it on the back of your chair, and just be aware of where your money, phone, etc is at all times. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What to expect? Crowds. Loud, lively music from marimbas, brass bands and loudspeakers. Lots of people dressed up in their Sunday best. Friendly drunks. Grandmas, children, dogs, and uncle Jimmy. Mountains of yummy greasy food. Traffic jams. Lots of people on horseback. Some amazing dancing. At least one guy having to get carried out of the bull ring. A hangover.
You’re coming to Costa Rica and you have a few questions. Costa Rica travel guides are everywhere, but don’t you wish you could talk to someone who lives here? Somebody who would tell you what’s really going on with out trying to sell you something? You’ve got your Tamarindo vacation rental lined up. You get it about Arenal tours of the volcano being a must-see, the things to do in Tamarindo that are must-dos, and you’re smart enough to have figured out yourself that you’re going to need sunscreen. But, seriously. There’s more you want to know to feel sure you’re making the right decision about your Tamarindo vacation. Right?
Great news! You do have a friend in Costa Rica! You have quite a few of them, actually. Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo has drafted a Tamarindo vacation guide for you that is unlike any other. It’s wise, it’s honest, it’s entertaining, and it answers the questions behind your questions. It even includes some vacation hacks—short cuts to a safer, more enjoyable visit.
Here’s a look at the contents of our Tamarindo Vacation Guide:
1. Is it going to rain?
This segment answers all of your questions about the weather in the province of Guanacaste where Tamarindo is located. Learn when the wet season and the dry season occur, what to expect during each, and learn how the wind direction effects ocean water temperature.
2. Omg. Is there a bug in here?
Maybe the most important information you need to know before coming to Costa Rica is found here. Learn about Costa Rica’s biodiversity and get a clear grasp on realistic expectations for what you might experience in a Tamarindo vacation rental.
3. Is the tap water safe?
Even if we say it is, we know you’re going to buy bottled water anyway, just to because. No harm in that. But can you brush your teeth with it? Make coffee? Cook? It’s a good thing you have a friend among the Tamarindo locals to ask these questions to.
4. What do you mean Mother Nature loves to play tricks?
In this chapter of the Tamarindo Vacation Guide, learn about the common challenges created by a tropical climate. It’s true—we never have to shovel snow here, but that doesn’t mean Mother Nature hasn’t got any tricks up her sleeve. We know you want to know about them before you get here, so don’t miss this section.
5. The electricity just went off. Now what?
In your town utilities are like air—everywhere all the time. In our town we have fantastic first-world service…except when we don’t. Of course we wouldn’t lie to you about it and here’s how to prepare.
6. What about sharks, crocodiles, and rip tides?
Learn about the habits and habitats of marine life with big teeth. Find out whether your fears are founded or unfounded. Learn how to pick a safe spot on the beach to surf or swim. Get life-saving info on what to do if you are ever caught in a rip tide anywhere in the world, ever.
7. Why is this taking so long?
You do realize you’re headed from the busy modern world to a relaxed culture in a Third World country, right? It’s one of the world’s safest countries and it’s for sure the world’s happiest country, but it might not be the speediest.
8. So, what’s the story of Tamarindo, anyway?
We know you’re going to fall in love with Costa Rica and with Tamarindo. We did–that’s why we’re here working hard to create amazing Tamarindo vacation rentals to share with you. We know you’ll be curious about how (and how recently!) Tamarindo turned from a sleepy jungle into the vibrant destination you see today.
Then come the 9 vacation hacks to keep you safer and more relaxed. Following, we give you our short list of restaurant recommendations. The expertise of foreign locals who have lived in Tamarindo, Costa Rica for over 20 years is just what you need to get ready for your vacation. Don’t stress. It’s going to be awesome. And if you forget the sunscreen or your toothbrush, don’t panic. Stores carry these things. Where do you think we get ours?
1. You Can Use Dollars for a Slightly Lower Exchange Rate.
Most businesses in Costa Rica will take Costa Rican colones or US dollars. In popular resort areas like Tamarindo, some businesses even list their prices in dollars just to take the mystery out of money for their clients.
Most businesses are happy to exchange dollars to colones for you. The up side to this is that you don’t have to spend your precious vacation time standing at line in the bank waiting to change money. The down side is that you probably won’t get the optimum exchange rate. The favor isn’t free.
The dollar to exchange rate fluctuates so it’s impossible to say what, exactly, it will be during your visit. At this moment, an average exchange rate is 560 colones per dollar. If this is what you would get at the bank, a shop or restaurant will likely calculate a dollar’s value at 550 colones or even 500. It’s not because you’re a tourist. It’s because. Somebody is going to have to go to the bank, which is never fun, and if it’s not going to be you, it’s going to be someone else.
Let’s do the math and figure this out: 560 colones = 100 pennies. That means 1 cent = 5.6 colones. If you lose 10 colones per dollar at that rate, it means you are paying $1.8 cents per dollar for the pleasure of not going to exchange money yourself. Spend a $100, and you have just paid 18 cents. Let’s say you get a really “bad” exchange rate—your money is changed at a rate 50 colones less per dollar than what it’s worth. How much money are you giving away? Starting with a base rate of 560 colones per dollar, you would be giving away $0.9 cents per dollar. For every $100 you spend, you’d be losing $0.90 cents.
Our advice: Lighten up. Don’t complain about getting a “bad rate.” It’s not that bad. Tamarindo does have several banks at which you are welcome to get in line, but what do we do? We contribute to the local economy and do more interesting things with our time than pinch a few pennies. Time is money, right? Spend it doing something you enjoy.
2. Bring: Small Bills in Good Condition
That said, the safest thing you can do to avoid problems getting businesses to accept your dollars is stick to $20 bills. Bigger bills can be more difficult to exchange, so stick to small ones.
And the bills need to be in good condition. Costa Rican banks often refuse to accept damaged foreign currency, so do yourself a favor and don’t bring it. The restaurant won’t take it if they know they can’t deposit it at the bank. Leave the dogeared bills at home and bring the pretty ones. Easy.
3. Credit Cards Can Save the Day
Costa Rica is Central America’s most developed country, so it’s possible that you won’t need much cash at all. Almost everyone takes credit cards. Supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, surf shops, tour companies, souvenir stores…all of these normally take credit cards, which can be extremely convenient. Watch for the “cash only” or “solo en efectivo” signs that are usually displayed in businesses that do not take plastic.
4. Tip or no tip?
Is tipping a thing? It depends where you go. In areas of Costa Rica that see few tourists, no, tipping is not a thing. In Tamarindo and the outlying areas, yes, tipping has become a thing. Because world customs around tipping are so diverse and Tamarindo is full of diverse nationalities, you do not absolutely have to tip anyone anywhere. But your servers, the housekeeping staff, tour operators, etc. have come to appreciate and expect tips from pleased customers.
By Costa Rican law, all restaurants add a 10% service charge to their food, so do keep in mind that half of the amount you might usually tip for food is already included in the price on the check.
5. Bartering is Not a Thing.
Bartering is not a thing. The price is the price. If you are buying Costa Rica t-shirts for your 8 nieces and nephews and are willing to pay cash, it would be appropriate to ask about a discount. If you are buying necklaces or colorful bird-shaped whistles from peddlers on the beach, it is all right to discuss the price.
If you’re getting into a Tamarindo taxi and feel that you are being over charged, you probably are. You can ask for a better price if you’re feeling ambitious. You might get it, but you probably won’t. We all (you, me, and the taxi driver) know your other choice is to walk, so don’t be mad if the ride is pricy.
If you choose to contest a price and you aren’t getting anywhere, don’t insist. It won’t help. Since bartering is not a Costa Rican custom, testy tourists wearing expensive sandals who complain about prices don’t make the greatest impression. We thought you should know this so that you can save yourself both the energy of haggling and the disappointment of feeling your bartering technique is lacking. It’s probably great; you’re just in the wrong country.
The rainy season, also known as the Green Season, is beautiful. Almost everyone who lives in Costa Rica prefers the rainy season to the dry season. It’s cooler, shadier, the blasting winds disappear, and the clouds create the prettiest sunsets. It almost never rains all day, but, well…it’s not entirely impossible. If it does rain all day, it won’t be the first time in recorded history. So. What to do in Tamarindo on a rainy day?
There are boring options like refusing to leave your Tamarindo vacation rental or Tamarindo hotel all day, staying cooped up inside with the air conditioner running, watching tv. But really. You didn’t come all the way here to do that, did you? You can do that at home and save the plane ticket. Explore!
Rule #1: Do Not Stay Inside.
Ok, there is only one rule, and that’s it. Staying inside all day will make you grumpy, and we can’t have that on vacation. Your hotel has porches or terraces or a pool rancho or a restaurant–an outdoor area of some type for relaxing. If it doesn’t, you need a new hotel. You could do that today. Your vacation rental has a balcony or a patio with comfortable lounge furniture or hammock. Right? Sit outside and read a book. You do read books, don’t you? If you didn’t bring one, your hotel or vacation rental has got to have something you can read while you relax a little and listen to the rain.
You just need to get outside, sit down and soak in the zen of the sound of rain for a while. You don’t think the sound of the rain is “zen?” We can tell how much time you’ve spent sitting outside listening to it. Give it a try. You won’t get to experience the zen of tropical rain on rich foliage anywhere but in the tropics. Outside. In the rain. Yes, its humid. Your skin loves it. It makes your hair curly? You’re on vacation. Wear a hat.
You’re going to get hungry, so venture out. There are a few things to do in Tamarindo in the rain. For walking in the rain, don’t wear flip flops. Wear your shoes or other sandals. Yes, they are going to get wet, but flip flops in the rain are a terrible idea. They slosh mud and water all over the back of your legs with every step, and they are easy to slip in. If you have a choice of foot wear, wear something else. It will dry.
Is it thundering and lightening? Probably not, or it won’t for long. Truly rainy days are usually part of large storm system; they’re not interminable local thunderstorms. So if there’s no lightening, take a beach walk. The rain is warm. Put on your bathing suit and get wet! Who cares? The beach is beautiful in the rain. You won’t get a sunburn. If your hotel or vacation rental supplies umbrellas, you could take an umbrella—or don’t. You didn’t come to the beach to stay dry, did you? Come on. Live a little.
Hit the cafes. Tamarindo is full of awesome little cafes where you can sit and have a coffee or a natural fruit juice and munch of something yummy if you want. Go café hopping. Who’s counting?
How about the bars? There’s that too, depending on the time of day. Or, heck, if it’s early you can always go home and take a nap. Lots of unique bars exist in Tamarindo with chilly drinks and great snacks. Bar hopping in the rain? We can think of worse things.
Scope out the stores. At first glance, you may think they all have the exact same thing, but they don’t. Go in and have a look around. Buy some early holiday gifts. Get your mom a birthday present for next year. This could be fun to combine with bar or café hopping. You weren’t going to leave Tamarindo without a “Pura Vida” t-shirt, were you?
Practice your Spanish. Almost everyone who attends customers in Tamarindo speaks at least two languages. Try it out. Remember of any of that French from high school? Your server or the cashier at the t-shirt shop may surprise you.
Go to a Tamarindo spa for the day. Enjoy 1.5-hour massage, facials, scrubs, wraps, gourmet lunch and more surrounded by the tropics with the rain.
Go to a gym.
Attend a yoga class.
Chances are the rain will clear up before the day actually ends, or at least stop for a little while at some point. Whatever you do, make sure you’re at the beach at the end of the day. There may be an unexpected magnificent sunset. Or maybe not. There’s still no better place to end a day in Tamarindo than at the beach overlooking the water. Maybe a lot of water, if it’s been a rainy day. But in the end, every day in Tamarindo is a good day, isn’t it?