As a peerless tropical paradise destination, Tamarindo offers an incredible choice of activities to fill the days of your vacation stay here. Aside from being recognized as a world-class destination for surfing and sportfishing, Tamarindo is framed by national parks and wildlife-filled estuaries ready for exploration and is perfectly situated as a hub for day trips to visit volcanoes and cloud forests or go zip lining, river rafting and much more.
The Tamarindo area is rich in biodiversity, and there are a variety of tours by boat or by foot that will allow visitors to come face-to-face with crocodiles, coatimundis, howler monkeys and a large number of bird species.
With a variety of local breaks and nearby beaches with more surf spots, Tamarindo is justly renowned as one of the best surfing destinations in the world. With great weather year’ round and water temperatures averaging in the 80’s, all you need is a rash guard and some sunscreen and you’re ready to go. Tamarindo is a great place for the accomplished surfer, but is also the perfect vacation destination for the beginning surfer, with a number of easy surf spots and lots of local surf shops offering board rentals and surf lessons.
Tamarindo is well known as one of the “hot spots” for world-class sportfishing and offers a great fleet of boats and crews with the variety to fit the needs of the seasoned angler as well as the novice. The Tamarindo fleet works together and can accommodate a group of any size.
Charters offered depend on how long you want to be out on the water and what you’d like to catch: half day trips for fishing inshore looking for roosterfish, snapper, grouper, jacks, mackerel and other species; full day trips to focus on offshore species such as sailfish, blue, black and striped marlin, mahi-mahi, and yellowfin tuna; and 3/4 day trips for those who want to do a little of everything without spending all day on the water.
Fishing licenses are required in Costa Rica; we have an illustrated guide on how to purchase your license online from the Costa Rica fishing institute.
Tamarindo Bay is formed by a cape to the north, Cabo Velas, the beaches Playa Carbón and Playa Ventanas southeast of the cape, and the two main beaches Tamarindo Beach and Playa Grande. Playa Grande is known as one of the largest leatherback sea turtle nesting sites in the world. Every year between October and March, hundreds of leatherbacks come ashore to lay their eggs. Tours take place at night when the turtles are nesting. You can find more information on the leatherback turtles here.
The ocean-side entrance to the Las Baulas National Marine Park is Tamarindo Estuary, a natural mangrove estuary that fills and empties with the tides, and is a nature lover’s and bird watcher’s paradise. Estuary tours are given on boats by guides at the Las Baulas National Marine Park Ranger Station. Tours take 3 hours and begin at different times throughout the day depending on the tides.
Kayaks can be rented to paddle through the mangroves of the Tamarindo Estuary or cavort in the waves on the beach in front of Tamarindo.
ATV tours are available to allow motorized explorations of the jungles and woods and hills that surround Tamarindo. You will typically always reach an area where you can see howler monkeys,
As the birthplace of zip lining, Costa Rica has an exciting array of canopy tours offering visitors the opportunity to go flying through the trees high above the ground. There are a number of great canopy zip lines in the Tamarindo area, and tours usually take 1 – 2 hours. This is an activity for those who are normally active and physically fit.
When you’re vacationing in the tropics, it’s easy to do too much and wear yourself out. Fortunately, there are a great variety of spas locally that can offer the chance to rejuvenate your system with a Costa Rican mud wrap or a papaya-sugar exfoliating body scrub, not to mention a great number of local masseuses that can provide the ultimate in relaxation as you relax with the sound of the ocean.
For all those golfers who aren’t sure what to do while their spouse soaks up the sun on the beach or spends the day at a spa, there are two world class golf courses within 30-minutes of Tamarindo. Hacienda Pinilla, a luxurious 4500-acre estate 15-minutes away from Tamarindo offers an 18 hole, par 72 Mike Young designed course that winds between the exotic shoreline and the dry tropical forest. Reserva Conchal, a short 25-minute drive from Tamarindo, hosts another spectacular 18 hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones II.
A number of local cowboys bring their horses to Tamarindo for riding tours throughout the local trails, and these are great opportunities to get close hand experience with the area flora and fauna.
A sailing cruise is a spectacular way to view the Tamarindo area from the water. The ocean is rich with life, and it is common to see dolphins, turtles, rays, a variety of fish and even whales while on a sailing cruise. The most popular cruise is the sunset cruise. These range from catamarans that take large groups and offer plenty of food and drink, to exotic sunset cruises on schooners offering gourmet chef-prepared tasting menus with drinks and live entertainment.
SNORKELING & SCUBA DIVING
Scuba diving and snorkeling tours are available in Tamarindo and offer a great way to experience the great biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean up close. Local dive shops offer affordable day trips for snorkelers, regular dive trips for certified divers, and standard PADI certification courses for more adventurous beginners. Morning or afternoon excursions aboard catamarans may also include dolphin watching and snorkeling options.
Divers can find a rich aquatic life just below the surface of the water with common spottings of colorful schools of tropical fish, spotted eagle rays, turtles, white tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and other species. Whales are often seen from September to March, and large schools of cow-nosed and devil rays can be spotted between January and March.
A great side trip to take for a day is to go river rafting. Beginners can book a full-day tour on the Colorado River (Class II-III), while experienced rafters will love the challenging Tenorio River (Class III-IV).