Located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica lies Tamarindo. A surf town that is not lacking when it comes to night life, amazing weather and never ending activities! Here is The Tamarindo Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Stay + Play!
My ultimate favorite in Tamarindo and number one on my Tamarindo Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Stay + Play. Nordico is a cozy little coffee shop with a great balcony overlooking all of the Tamarindo happenings. Great coffee, eats and of course, wifi.
The best cafe if you’re looking to knock out some work. A hidden gem that has a plethora of food (great vegetarian and vegan options, too!). After the breakfast crowd, the cafe is almost empty allowing you to spread out and enjoy the relatively quiet vibe.
The cutest of all the cafes! If you’re looking to fuel your best creativity, this is the place. Not to mention, they have a perfect view of the ocean if you’re wanting to hit some afternoon waves.
Things to do
Tamarindo is a surfers paradise. Literally, people come from all over the world to surf here. It is a wonderful place to learn for the first time surfer. Many travelers that come for an extended period of time, or who plan to continue traveling onward, invest in a board from a local or a surf shop. I’ve heard them sold for as low as $50, but i believe the average is around $100-200 for a used board! If you’re not planning to surf much, you can rent one for around $8-$10 USD.
Costa Rica is filled with all the yogi vibes. There are tons of Yoga Teacher Training schools around the country. Ser Om Shanti yoga studio is great for both experienced and new yogis!
Rent A Car
There is no shortage of amazing beaches in the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica. Daily car rentals are as low as $10 a day and although gas prices aren’t the cheapest, loading up a car with friends and fellow travelers keeps the cost extremely low! I booked my rental car through Expedia to ensure the best price! Some amazing beaches near Tamarindo are:
Playas Del Coco
One of my favorite days in Tamarindo consisted of an ATV tour! For $20 a person (6 hours), some friends and I went back roading through the Costa Rican jungle to Playa Avellanas for some sun and surfing. Post Avellanas we headed to a secret sunset spot with absolutely no one around!
Every Thursday in Tamarindo there is a night market. Locals come and sell their art, jewelry, clothing and handmade goods. Of course there is no shortage when it comes to food either! Make sure to try one of the desserts while you’re there!
Walk to Langosta
A beautiful, less crowded oasis 20 minutes from the center of Tamarindo. The waves are much bigger, which is great for experienced surfers! The beach is long and open making for an absolutely amazing sunset.
Places to Eat
Tamarindo is definitely not lacking when it comes to food options, but because I was trying to save money while in Tamarindo, there wasn’t many times that I splurged on food. Local street food it is! But that’s almost better right?
On Central Ave, is where I spent most of my time picking up a smoothie for 1500 colones and an empanada for 1200 colones! If either of these places have a name, then I must be in need of glasses.
Walking on Central Ave toward Calle Central there is a small shopping plaza. It has an ATM, Laundry service and tiny, no name cafe with the best empanadas I found in Tamarindo (my favorite is the cheese and spinach!).
On the opposite side of the road, you will see an outdoor seating area with a couple of restaurants. In this area is the cheapest and best smoothies in Tamarindo!
For the best street food, visit the lovely car lady. For $4 USD you can get a whole plate of food, which I was never able to finish! She is located on Calle Central in a blue car.
I’d be lying if i said I went here just once. A little on the pricier side for those on a backpacker budget, but if you can splurge just once- do it here. Indoor and outdoor seating with the cutest Costa Rican vibes!
Places to Stay
The best hostel in Tamarindo by far. The staff is absolutely amazing and the vibe is top notch. Dorms range from $10-$12 per night. There is a wonderful pool, great food and awesome activities every day. Surfboard rental is fairly cheap and they have surfing packages for those aspiring surfers out there! Less than a 5 minute walk from the beach!
My personal fave! Dreamsea is located 10 minutes outside of Tamarindo in the jungle. It’s own little world filled with amazing people and an amazing vibes. You can stay here for little to no cost as a general or qualified volunteer. In addition, you can stay as a guest!
The local currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colon. Roughly 600 colones equals 1 USD.
Prices in Tamarindo are comparable to cheaper western prices.
Coffee: $3-5 USD
Meals: $8-10 USD
Beer: $1 at the supermarket. $2-5 at a local bar/restaurant. (El Be for Happy Hour is the best!)
Most Taxi drivers charge 1000 colones per person for a ride outside of town
Costa Rica has two seasons. The dry season, also known as summer, and the rainy season, also known as winter. The dry season begins in November and lasts until May. During this time you can expect extremely high temperatures and lots of sun. From experience, make sure you have 50 plus sunscreen on deck!
The winter season begins in May and lasts until November. Because of its location, you can still expect loads of sun in Tamarindo during this time, with an hour or two of rain per day.