Travelers can access many exciting, one-of-a-kind Guanacaste attractions within one-hour of Tamarindo. Try to hang ten with the locals at Langosta Beach or take a day trip to the indigenous community of Guaitil - however you want to spend your day.
A short southbound stroll down Tamarindo’s expansive beach brings you to a gentle curve around Tamarindo Bay. Here, you’ll land on Langosta Beach, a favorite of more experienced surfers with bigger waves and smaller crowds. Walking the beach, you will have the best luck at low tide, when the ocean recedes to provide ample walking space.
A roundabout route (30-minutes by car) brings you to the postcard-worthy shores of Avellanas, a popular beach just 9 miles (about 14 km.) south of Tamarindo. Laid-back and luxurious, Avellanas is favored by surfers for its consistent waves and its prevailing reef break, dubbed "Little Hawaii" - a challenge even for the expert wave riders out there. Avellanas is known as a peaceful, less-developed alternative to Tamarindo and although its main claim to fame is surfing, the scenic sands and warm waters make this beach the perfect escape for anyone to take a day trip. Rip currents can be strong so be sure to stick to shallow waters when swimming.
Another easily accessible beach and renowned Gold Coast surf break is Playa Grande - just a few miles north of Tamarindo Beach. Bordering the Tamarindo Estuary, Playa Grande is a 25-minute roundabout drive and many surfers prefer to carry their boards along the beach. This more direct route requires crossing the Estuary where you can cross via a $2 ferry ride. Some choose to paddle their boards across the river mouth, but beware - crocodile sightings have been noted as these giant creatures stray from their estuary home into more open waters. Use the boat and avoid becoming a hungry croc's dinner.
Once you make it to the other side of the estuary you'll come across a fun break known as "Casitas", which caters to beginners and avid surfers alike with its steady sets. Keep walking and you'll end up in Grande, where boarders can surf large and consistent breaks. The town of Playa Grande caters to the surfing crowd and has a few inexpensive and mid-range hotels. The town also has a small supermarket and a spattering of restaurants although most surfers choose to stay in the more happening locale of Tamarindo.
A 10-minute drive south Avellanas is neighboring Playa Negra. Despite its name - which means “black sand” - Playa Negra is actually golden brown with distinguishing strips of dark gray sand crisscrossing the beach. Like Avellanas, Negra is relatively undeveloped and known for its surf. A spattering of surf shops on the beach offer lessons and board rentals, but Negra isn't known for being beginner-friendly. Competent surfers are usually the ones venturing to Negra for its famous reef point breaks and incomparable barrels. But, the beach isn't designated, "surfer's only," and it attracts all types of beach-goers - especially between December and April when steady breezes and ideal conditions make Negra a lovely place to visit. In general, the rocky reef and strong currents are not ideal for swimming and while it can be fun to watch the surfers, Playa Negra is more geared towards the surfing community and less towards the sunbathing community.
Strong steady waves and welcoming warm waters attract both novice and seasoned surfers to Tamarindo Beach. Travelers flock for sunbathing, surfing and other sporting activities so during high season (between December and May) expect large crowds and plenty of locals trying to give you a surf lesson. A great destination for a day at the beach, Tamarindo’s shores are ideal for people-watching and swimming. But, with the hoards of novice surfers taking lessons just off shore, many experienced surfers prefer to escape the crowds and head to a more secluded surf spot.
Las Baulas Marine Park covers a range of terrain on the Guanacaste Gold Coast encompassing the beaches of Playa Grande, Carbon, Ventanas and Langosta and also includes the Tamarindo Estuary. Playa Grande is known as one of the largest leatherback turtle ...
Situated at the mouth of the Tempisque River and acting as a watershed for all major area rivers, Palo Verde National Park is a slice of wetland sanctuary in the middle of Costa Rica's driest province. The 45,500-acre park is a mosaic of 15 different habitats, including mangrove ...
The indigo waters surrounding the Catalina Islands serve as a haven for a spectacular array of marine life. Made up of 20 small islands, the Catalina archipelago is a scuba paradise. Divers take the plunge in hopes of sighting one of the many species of rays known to dwell in the...
Although it's just 30-minutes away, the indigenous community of Guaitil remains a world apart from the touristy, nightlife-centered town of Tamarindo. Guaitil houses one of Costa Rica's largest remaining Chorotega indigenous populations. The Chorotega people are best known for their skill at crafting exquisite pottery and day trips to Guaitil usually feature a demonstration of artisan techniques – clay mining, natural colors, sun-drying and more. The welcoming community makes for a wonderful place to purchase a meaningful souvenir to represent your experience in Costa Rica; most pieces cost between $15 and $150.
Situated in Portegolpe, a 20-minute drive from Tamarindo, the Monkey Park is both a tourist attraction and a shelter for monkeys and other endangered species. Volunteers and staff help raise orphaned and injured monkeys and other local wildlife in a rich habitat where visitors can observe howler monkeys swinging through the trees and thriving in their new environment. Stroll along the park's nature trails or check out the butterfly garden when you're not hanging with the monkeys in the wildlife refuge. Monkey Park, Portegolpe, Guanacaste. Mon.-Sun. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (2653-8032) $15 Guided Tour.
The saltwater jungle of the Tamarindo Estuary lies at the heart of this wildlife refuge. Spanning 1,200 acres, the mangrove estuary serves as the natural border between Tamarindo and Playa Grande. Its winding canals are home to ospreys, herons and kingfishers in ...