Our Favorite Places to Stay & Things To Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

beaches are the centerpiece to things to do in Costa Rica
The focal point for many things to do in Tamarindo, the area’s beaches offer sun and scenery, beauty and adventure

Tamarindo is as close as Costa Rica’s Gold Coast comes to a beach metropolis and yet, it’s the furthest thing from a city: A mile long from stem to stern, this golden-sand and cerulean-sea travel hotspot packs restaurants and shops, activities and attractions into one sand-dusted town.

For this little town lives by the motto of “surf, eat, and have fun” – and all three, we readily accept as a contractual obligation! It’s the life you lead, when you live or vacation in Guanacaste’s chilliest city by the sea.

While you may have heard about the first (surf) and be tempted by the second (eat), today we’re here to discover the third: Have fun! There are tens, if not hundreds of ways to have fun in Tamarindo. And now, we’re going to discover some of the must-dos, the must-sees, and the you-wouldn’t-want-to-miss-‘ems.

Things to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

When you visit Costa Rica (and especially the Pacific), your activities will be most often divided into land activities and water activities. Make enough time for both because, by land and by sea, Tamarindo is a wonder!

Here are some of the highlights:

Things to Do in Tamarindo: Land Activities

hanging out on a zipline tour

When you think Tamarindo, you likely think ocean. And so, we thought we start with the land: spectacular, wild, and not to be overlooked, our landscapes and scenery house heart-stopping sights and bucket-list wildlife.

Wildlife & Nature Tours: It’s undeniable that nature and wildlife are one of Costa Rica’s primary draws. And yet, many people who visit Tamarindo fail to discover even a sliver of the biodiversity our area holds. These tours change that, taking on your choice of a hike, river float (we know, technically a water activity, or other conveyance to discover monkeys and crocs, parrots and sea turtles, waterfalls and dry forests.

Canopy Ziplines: One of the most iconic things to do in Tamarindo, a canopy zipline tour offers a blend of nature and thrill, adrenaline and wonder.  Our favorite takes you into a 150-year-old Costa Rican cattle ranch, to discover 11 cables, a swinging bridge, and a heart-pounding rappel.

Horseback Riding: If you’ve ever wanted to ride down a beach or travel into Costa Rica’s backroads, then horseback can be just the ticket: Roam, explore, and discover the places and spaces that would be nearly impossible to see via car or your own two feet.

Volcano Tours: Take a full day to explore one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes, where you can hike to blue waters, discover waterfalls, soak in hot springs, slather yourself in mineral-rich mud, and so much more.

Where to Stay in Tamarindo: Puesta del Sol

Tamarindo | 6 Beds | 6 Baths | Sleeps 16

Puesta del Sol sunset house in Tamarindo Costa Rica
Puesta del Sol, the Sunset House, is where sky and sea come together – and where you make your home base, as you explore and enjoy all the many things to do in Tamarindo

Have you dreamed of flying – of rising high, your arms spread, your hair blowing in the breeze, and your heart soaring, your body ablaze with exhilaration?

Puesta del Sol is a little like that.

Set high on a hilltop overlooking the beach town of Tamarindo, this spectacular home delivers 300-degree panoramic views and architecture designed to amaze. Here, ocean breezes whip and race up the mountain, wrapping you in their refreshing chill. Here, the Pacific Ocean unfurls at your feet and swooping seabirds frame your view. Here, you’re floating above it all – almost flying, high above earth and sea, in a special paradise all your own.

Named for the sunset – or, more precisely, for the “setting of the sun” – Puesta del Sol is one of our most outstanding homes: upscale yet warm, both remarkable and welcoming. Oversized windows both frame the artwork of this view and beckon sunlight to steam indoors. An expansive infinity pool bids you to spend your mornings, your afternoons, your every moment on the terrace. Sliding glass doors blur the line between indoors and out.

And then, there’s Puesta del Sol’s namesake: the blazing tropical sunset that sets the sky on fire, a riot of jewel tones, bright fluorescents, and muted pastels. Because, while this is a home built on details and rooted in refinement, it always remembers and honors the very reasons you’re here…

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Things to Do in Tamarindo: Water Activities

surfing in Tamarindo Costa Rica

From the estuaries to the grand Pacific, here’s what awaits in Tamarindo’s waters:

Surfing & SUP: From surf lessons to stand-up paddleboarding (and even SUP yoga!), Tamarindo is well known for its epic surf, gentle waves, and everything in between. So, whether you’re a brand-new beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll find something to make your board rock and your soul soar.

Catamaran Sailing: Named a perennial favorite and an absolute must, a catamaran cruise takes you out into Tamarindo’s bays and shallows to float, swim, and snorkel (spot octopus, pufferfish, manta rays, starfish, and more!). Choose an afternoon cruise to top the day off with an incredible sunset!

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving: Private excursions will take you to the Catalina Islands, secluded coves, and tiny inlets to seek out the best underwater sights on the North Pacific coast.

Turtle Nesting: Las Baulas National Marine Park, located on the north end of Tamarindo, is one of the world’s most important leatherback turtle nesting sites. While the turtles are only in residence a few times a year, neighboring beaches also host green sea turtles and olive ridleys.

Sport Fishing: Undeniably one of Costa Rica’s most beloved ocean adventures, sport fishing offers a scenic journey and, if luck and skill are on your side, a hard-won victory. Better yet, not only can we arrange traditional sport fishing excursions, but we can also set you up for a day on a panga, for an authentic and traditional Costa Rican fishing experience!

Mangrove & Sea Kayaking: If you prefer your paddle to a motor, Tamarindo delivers with quiet kayaking adventures out into the Pacific or deep into the wilds of the town’s mangrove estuaries. Spot all manner of wildlife and venture out to where you’re nearly alone with the Pacific, for an experience few will ever have.

Where to Stay in Tamarindo: Casa Xanadu

Tamarindo | 4 Bedrooms | 3.5 Baths | Sleeps 10

Casa Xanadu oceanview vacation rental in TamarinodAt the juncture of sea and sky, of downtown and out-of-the-way, Casa Xanadu overlooks the marvels of Tamarindo: Las Baulas National Marine Park, the Tamarindo wildlife estuary, a rolling mountain range, and two scenic beaches. From here, you can see it all – including the day’s surf conditions!

For here, amidst the biodiversity afforded by rare tropical dry forest – one of the last remaining swatch in the world – Casa Xanadu is at the epicenter of wonder and wildlife: Green forest, sun-drenched sands, and the sparkling Pacific, where seabirds swoop and iguanas sun, where howler monkeys holler and parakeets squawk.

Just a few minutes from the beach – take the golf cart or follow your own two feet! – this stunning home welcomes you to four spacious bedrooms, a private infinity pool, shaded terraces, and sun-splashed balconies. Indoors, a beachy color palette and a chef’s kitchen, indoor-outdoor dining and windows to frame your every view.

Because yes, always, it’s that view. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’ll never want to leave.

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Ask our Concierge: What Are the Best Things to Do in Costa Rica?

Did you know that when you stay with Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo, you gain access to complimentary concierge services?

But it’s so much more than that. Because working with our friendly concierge, Cristina (or Cris, for short) is a shortcut to zero stress, vacation bliss. It’s saying adios to handling the time-intensive, little-things-matter, what-does-this-say-in-English? details. Because Cris – well, she takes care of everything.

Even better, her services are completely complimentary. Because we’ve all been roped into believing we can do it ourselves. We’ve all bought a $15 travel guidebook and said, “This is going to be fun!” And then, we’ve all had a moment or two that we’ve pulled out hair, lambasted the computer, and generally threw our hands up in frustration.

That’s not what you want out of your vacation.

But then, there’s also the Costa Rica quotient: Smaller than the country of West Virginia, our little nation seems like it would be easy to navigate. Keyword: Seems. Because here, where the rivers block certain roads during the green season and where it can take an entire day to travel 150 miles, there are things you should know. But you won’t know them.

Cris will. Because that’s her job. She knows all the ins and outs and, what’s more, she can advise you on the best, the bucket-worthy, and the not-everyone-knows-about-them things to do in Costa Rica. And then, she’ll build you a custom itinerary. At exactly the same price you’d book it. Only, without the hiccups and the problems and the redundancies of the uninitiated.

Welcome to your carefree Tamarindo vacation.

Where to Stay: Casa Rebecca

Hacienda Pinilla | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms

Casa Rebecca vacation rental in Tamarinod Costa Rica
Casa Rebecca, ensconced within the luxury lifestyle community of Hacienda Pinilla, stands as the epitome of the tropical lifestyle

The epitome of a tropical lifestyle, Casa Rebecca is a sleek and chic retreat ensconced within the pristine community of Hacienda Pinilla: a championship golf course, a luxurious beach club, multiple restaurants, and pristine beaches, bordered by tennis courts, walking and biking trails, horseback riding stables, and rolling cattle ranch. A slice of traditional Costa Rica, yours to explore.

For this, Casa Rebecca is your perfect spot. A retreat to walls of glass and high ceilings, a private pool and breezy terraces, this is vacation. Vacation, to the tune of sun-drenched terraces and expansive pool deck, airy indoor-outdoor living and lush tropical gardens. And, if you’re traveling with kids, they’re sure to love the bunk room – the perfect spot for a vacation slumber party!

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Ready to Choose Your Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Tamarindo?

We know, the options can be overwhelming. But, as ever, we’re here to help. Cris is here to help.

Simply put: She’ll handle everything. All the logistics. Every reservation. Airport transportation. Tamarindo transportation. From A to Z and everything in between: When you book one of our Tamarindo vacation rentals, our in-house concierge will quickly be in touch.

She’s an expert in Tamarindo travel: Digging beneath the surface and reaching beyond the norm, Cris not only makes it her job to know Tamarindo, but to get to know you, too! She’s like a real-life guidebook who expertly overlays Tamarindo’s most iconic experiences and must-do adventures with your needs, preferences, and plans. What’s more, she’ll work with your budget. Any budget – really.

It begins with our welcome packet, which you’ll receive after you make a booking. It’ll introduce you to many of our favorite things, so have a look. Start building your wish list. And then, talk to Cris and let the fun begin. It’s part magic, part expertise. And, as we said, completely free. So go ahead, pick Cris’s brain! She can’t wait to hear from you!