Our Favorite Day Tours From Tamarindo – Off The Beaten Path

Tamarindo sunset

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

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

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

La Leona & Oropéndola Waterfall Combo

Welcome to La Leona Waterfall, one of Guanacaste’s best-kept secrets. Veiled within the forests surrounding Rincón de la Vieja, this blue-hued cascade features a natural stone slide and a waterfall cave: massive rocks and towering stone, arched to form the entrance to La Leona, which tumbles several stories into a cool turquoise pool below.

A moderate hike through the dry tropical forest to La Leona, then to La Oropéndola, which rushes 82 feet down a rugged cliffside and lush river canyon, splashing into the scenic White River, or Río Blanco (surprisingly turquoise, not white!). Here, you’ll have the opportunity to take a refreshing swim in the cool waters of a natural pool created by two waterfalls tumbling over the rock in a brilliant setting.

This easy daytrip is one of our favorite Tamarindo things to do. Enjoy waterfalls, hot springs, hiking and mud baths on a tour you’ll never forget!

This tour includes:

  • Roundtrip transportation
  • Bilingual guide/driver
  • La Leona Waterfall
  • Oropéndola Waterfall
  • Lunch
  • Hot Springs

Palo Verde National Park Wildlife Tour


Our tour of Guanacaste now takes us into the rivers and watersheds that form one of the country’s most important wetland sanctuaries: Palo Verde National Park, a 45,500-acre wonderland that encompasses 15 varied habitats and is easily one of (or 15 of!) our best things to do in Tamarindo.

Located at the mouth of the Tempisque River, Palo Verde rises to form critically important habitats – especially for resident and migrant bird populations. In fact, if you’re a birder (or have any interest in birds at all, really), this is your new favorite place: the park’s salt ponds, rivers, marshes, mangroves, and other habitats can house up to 250,000 birds at one time. You read that right – a quarter of a million birds, all at once! It’s also a sanctuary for one of Central America’s largest concentration of aquatic birds and is the most important migratory bird site of the Mesoamerican Pacific.

On this safari boat tour, you also get the chance to see crocodiles, white-faced monkeys, iguanas, peccaries, armadillos, deer, monkeys, and coatis, among other wildlife.

This tour includes: 

  • Roundtrip transportation
  • Bilingual guide/driver
  • 2-hour boat ride where you will see a lot of wildlife
  • Typical Costa Rican Sodita for Lunch
    Private van with AC and Wi- Fi

Tenorio River White-Water Rafting

Get your adventure fix on a thrilling white-water rafting tour through raging (or tame – your choice!) rivers. If you’re ready for a huge adventure, we invite you to test your mettle and challenge your courage to the frothing rapids of the Upper Tenorio River in Guanacaste!

Plunge through the twists, turns, and drops as you coordinate with your team to conquer the river! Because, while white-water rafting isn’t often mentioned as one of the top Tamarindo things to do, it’s definitely one of the favorites among adrenaline junkies (us included).

This tour includes:

  • Round-trip transportation
  • All rafting gear and equipment
  • Private bilingual driver
  • Snacks
  • Typical Costa Rican Lunch

Rio Celeste Hike & Tubing

Rio Celeste waterfall for families

If you’ve ever image-searched Costa Rica’s waterfalls, then this is the one you’ve seen: The rustic trail and stairs that lead down to an iconic, frothing waterfall tumbling into a celestial blue pool below.

Located within secluded Tenorio Volcano National Park, Río Celeste, so named for its eye-catching color, is the product of volcanic waters and their resulting mineral mix of sulfur and calcium carbonate – a blend that turns the river and its 100-foot waterfall into a photogenic and milky blue wonderland.

Your guided hike with our local experts takes you to each part of the amazing national park, traversing several sections that include the Waterfall, the Miradors (lookout points), the Blue Lagoon & the Teñideros (dyed rivers). Later, tackle an amazing tubing adventure down the bright blue water for a sensory experience you’ll never forget!

This tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation
  • Bilingual Guide
  • Rio Celeste National Park Hike
  • River Tubing
  • Typical Costa Rican Lunch

Coffee Tour & Guaitil Pottery Experience

Truly a special touch to your Costa Rican vacation, this authentic experience kicks off at a local coffee farm, where an experienced coffee guide will take you on a tour of the coffee process, complete with a delicious taste test!

You’ll also have a chance to experience our local trapiche (traditional sugarcane mill) history, paired with a taste sugar cane and its various derivatives… You’ll just have to wait and see (and taste) what they are! Then, after lunch, you’ll visit Guaitil, a town made famous for its rich rich cultural history and traditional knowledge of pottery making; watch as local artisans throw new creations, employing traditional methods that have been handed down for generations.

This tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation (Private van with A/C and Wifi)
  • Walk through the coffee fields
  • Taste our local Coyol Wine
  • Local Guatil Pottery making
  • Learn about the sugar-making process
  • Typical Costa Rican Hacienda Lunch

Poza los Coyotes Tour

Here’s a rare find – not a traditional tourist destination and yet, one of our favorite Tamarindo things to do!

Enjoy an amazing and unique experience as you explore Poza los Coyotes, or the Coyote Water  Hole (coyotes rarely included!). Here, the water is born of the mountains surrounding Rincón de La Vieja Volcano, pooling in a fresh river where refreshment is just a jump away. Enjoy!

This tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation
  • Bilingual Driver/Guide
  • Adventure at Poza los Coyotes
  • Typical Costa Rican Lunch

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano & National Park


Costa Rican folklore tells the legend of a once-princess who, after her father threw her lover in Rincón de la Vieja’s volcanic crater, absconded to a mountaintop and lived out her life in solitude. There, she later developed healing powers, which infused and imbued the surrounding rivers with healing properties.

Whether the story is true or just a tale, we’ll leave up to you. What we can say is that Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and its eponymous national park do have mineral-rich, volcano-fed, natural hot springs and that the hot springs are rumored to have restorative properties.

And if a soak in the hot springs (and a slather with volcanic mud!) aren’t enough to tempt you up the mountainside, then know that much more awaits. We’re talking sights to the tune of boiling mud pots, a mini-volcano, boiling hot springs (not for humans!), belching fumarolesseasonal waterfalls, and much more. Much more.

Option 1:

This Adventure Package at the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. This tour has an amazing zip line where you also do canyoning.

This tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation (private van with A/C and Wifi)
  • Zip Line with canyoning
  • Horseback riding (Optional)
  • Rappel
  • Rock Climb
  • Tubing down the river
  • Typical Costa Rican Lunch Mud Bath
  • Natural Hot Springs

Option 2:

This Adventure Package also located at the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. This tour also has an incredible scenic zip line.

This tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation (private van with A/C and Wifi)
  • Zip Line
  • Horseback riding
  • 400-meter waterslide that goes through the forest and lands in a regular pool.
  • Typical Costa Rican Lunch
  • Mud Bath
  • Natural Hot Springs

Option 3:

This is an incredible hiking tour that lasts two hours – one hour each way. Begin by hiking to a waterfall, where you’ll be able to jump in and cool down. If we’re lucky, we’ll also see plenty of wildlife!

This tour includes: 

  • Roundtrip Transportation (private van with A/C and Wifi)
  • 2-hour hike
  • Typical Costa Rican Lunch
  • Mud Bath
  • Natural Hot Springs

Where to Stay: Casa Puros Dieces

Tamarindo | 8 Beds | 8.5 Baths | Sleeps 20

Casa Puros Dieces Tamarindo vacation rental

The apex of tropical luxury – literally, as it sits atop a hillside – Casa Puros Dieces is the “perfect 10” or “pure tens,” in Spanish. And this environmentally friendly, Balinese-style home lives up to that name in every way, from its stunning ocean views to its expansive indoor-outdoor living areas.

Crafted for natural light and ventilation, Casa Puros Dieces compels you to throw open the windows and drink in the fresh ocean breeze – on of the best things to do in Tamarindo, if you ask us! Take a dip in the ocean-view infinity pool and jacuzzi, and then, to stop and drink in the view. To spend time with your family and friends, on wide sun terraces and decking, and then retreat to the luxury of your private spaces.

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Where to Stay: Casa Xanadu

Tamarindo | 4 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Sleeps 10

Casa Xanadu Tamarindo vacation home

Where can you find the overlap of one national parkone wildlife estuaryone mountain range, and two scenic beaches? At Casa Xanadu, a tropical paradise surrounded by a tropical paradise.

For here, amidst rare tropical dry forest – one of the last remaining swaths in the world – and an incredible roster of wildlife, you’ll find the perfect home base for your Costa Rican adventures. Lounge in the infinity pool, set your watch for epic sunsets, and never grow tired of the spectacular Pacific vistas. Walk softly, listen, and look closely, and the howler monkeys, parrots, and butterflies will join you!

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Where to Stay: Compass House

Tamarindo | 8 Beds | 8 Baths | Sleeps 16

Compass House Tamarindo vacation rental

Set on a hillside overlooking Tamarindo’s rooftops, the Tamarindo Bay, and Punta San Francisco toward Langosta, Compass House is a quintessential, modern-chic minimalist retreat. Here, sharp angles and muted colors accentuate the brilliant blues, greens, and the organic shapes of trees and clouds that surround the home.

From each room of the house, giant glass windows and sliding doors blur the lines between indoors and out. A kitchen spans the back of the living area, which includes an indoor dining option, and opens onto the pool terrace where an outdoor dining table made of a single slab of local wood stretches the length of the space. Here, as brilliant cloud colors illuminate the background, Compass House’s terrace is the perfect spot to watch a storm or enjoy sunset cocktails on the terrace. Welcome to paradise!

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Looking for More of Our Favorite Tamarindo Things to Do

They just happen to be our specialty!

Whether you’re venturing off the beaten path or sticking firmly to it, we can help you make the most of your time here – even and especially if you’re traveling to Costa Rica on a budget. At Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo, our job and calling are to make you feel at home, everywhere and anywhere you find yourself adventuring.

We offer everything from cozy two-bedroom condos to well-priced family vacation rentals equipped with swimming pools, a fully equipped kitchen, and so much more. Search our inventory to find your perfect vacation home!