Top 10 Things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
1 - Learn Spanish
Prepare before you arrive, but also be ready to engage once you get to Costa Rica. Learning a language is not easy, but diving right in and immersing yourself is a fantastic way to start. Whether you plan to further your formal education while in Tamarindo, or just want to come away with a few survival Spanish words and phrases, it’s easy to find courses that fit your pace and schedule. Check out CSI, Langua Travel's partner spanish school in Tamarindo, for more details and rates.
2 - Learn to surf
Tamarindo is home to a number of surf locations that can cater to wide array of skill sets. Whether you are just starting out on Tamarindo Beach or looking for a more advanced location such as Pico Pequeno (translation: small tip), there is a set of waves for you. There’s no shortage of surf shops or teachers either, it’s as easy as taking a stroll out to the beach. We’d highly recommend surf lessons for the first timer, but if you’ve ridden a wave before just ask around for the ideal destination for your skill set.
3 - Fish
The waters of Tamarindo Beach are home to a diverse sea life including sailfish, yellow fin tuna, marlin and wahoo, to name a few. Some of the best open water locations are no more than a few miles offshore and there are numerous boats and guided tours available in town. While the fishing is considered year-round, the ideal months are between April and August. A fun fact: September and October are generally the height of Costa Rica’s rainy season and bring with them some of the year’s best fishing.
4 - Explore Arenal Volcano National Park
For the past 43 years Arenal volcano was considered one of the 10 most active in the world with small daily eruptions and a plentiful amount of fresh volcanic rock. Now in a resting phase, Arenal is still a sight to behold towering, at its peak, some 5,437 feet over the lush hillsides below. The National Park is home to a rain forest, hot springs and it’s own lake leaving visitors with no shortage of things to do or see. This is an absolute must-visit for anyone new to Costa Rica. Shuttles and buses leave from Tamarindo to La Fortuna daily. Leave at least 2 days for this trip as travel time will be at least 3 hours each way.
5 - Snorkel and/or Scuba Dive at Tamarindo beach
Starting at Tamarindo beach is easiest, but up and down the coast there are tons of destinations for snorkeling and scuba divers. Supplies are easy to come by and scuba lessons are given daily, especially for beginners. You can expect to see a beautiful density of sea life just as easily close to the shore as you would in the deeper water.
6 - Kayak the salt-water jungle of the Rio Matapalo
Technically part of the Las Baulas National Park, this salt-water jungle serves as home to a number of species of water birds, crabs and the occasional crocodile, among others. Both self and guided tours are available to traverse its natural beauty, with the best tip being to get an early start and increase your chances of catching all the wildlife in action.
7 - Visit the tide pools at Playa Langosta
Take a trip just south of Tamarindo and you’ll discover the hidden gem known as Playa Langosta. Home to some small resorts and a number of surfing locations, Playa Langosta is also home to some beautiful tide pools naturally created within it’s rocky coves. This is another great way to get an up close view of sea life in it’s natural habitat and is a convenient trip, via land or sea, away from Tamarindo.
8 - Visit Playa Grande beach for sea turtle watching
Another stretch of beach to the north of Tamarindo, Playa Grande is a part of the Tamarindo Wildlife Sanctuary, which contains sea turtles, and other wildlife of the area. Playa Grande is just one of three beaches encompassed in the refuge and it serves as home to one of the largest leatherback turtle nesting sites in the world. Ideal months are between March and October when hundreds of leatherback sea turtles come to the beach and lay their eggs.
9 - Take a trip to Guachipelin
Just a short trip away is yet another volcano with a host of activities for visitors. Guachipelin is home to the Rincon de la Vieja volcano and National Park. Rock climbing, horseback riding, white water tubing and hot springs are a few of the attractions. The all-day adventure pass is always a popular excursion with LanguaTravel students. Participants enter the National Park around sunrise and get as much ziplining, horseback riding, whitewater tubing, mudbaths, hot springs and hiking in as they can before sunset. A hearty lunch and roundtrip transport is included for $115 per person!
10 - Eat at Dragonfly Bar & Grill
All this adventure will lead to a hearty appetite. Dragonfly is our pick for the ideal location to dine. Located on the road between the Hostel and Pasatiempo, Dragonfly places emphasis on using fresh and local ingredients for its spin on traditional cuisine. It’s far and away our favorite location in the area and we probably aren’t the first to say so. Try the filet. You won't be disappointed.