A Tale of Two Beach Towns
Tamarindo and Flamingo. At one point in time, Playa Flamingo appeared to be the place poised to develop on Costa Rica’s “Gold Coast”. The best rumor about these sister cities is that Tamarindo was developed largely by one of the three business partners who once shared the dream of Flamingo. When the partnership split up, the land around Tamarindo was the disowned partner’s severance. That being true or not, it’s no matter to the people who live in Tamarindo and Flamingo. They have no quarrels with each other.
These twin cities may be close in proximity but offer such different experiences from town to waterfront. We’re going to cover some of the differences, but then we’re going to talk about the real beach of Flamingo, and how to get there.
“So what’s the deal with Flamingo?”
Flamingo, unlike Tamarindo, has no real town center. There is a shopping center which sometimes functions as the place to meet up, but it’s not like in Tamarindo, where there is definitely a crossroads. Don’t write Flamingo off as disorganized though. The town is simply organized differently.
The peninsula, which most people think of as Flamingo, is mostly hotels, homes, and a few scattered businesses. There are places to dine, drink, and kick up your heels, without a doubt. You just won’t likely find people milling about the streets too long after sundown. The people of Flamingo like their town this way.
East of the peninsula, there are many homes, some of which are massive, stretching up into the hills above the bay. Flamingo’s kind of one big suburban development. It’s also a great place to raise a family, or own Costa Rica vacation rental property. One thing is for certain: it’s beautiful.
“So how do I get there?”
Driving to Flamingo from Tamarindo is as easy as following the signs for Brasilito, and passing through that town to Flamingo. Taking the left split to Flamingo, not Portrero, you will drive straight towards one of Flamingo’s beaches on the north side of the peninsula. In fact, if you don’t turn left at the cross you will land in Flamingo’s marina. There is a beach here which is mostly brown sand. Other than the boats, and the unfinished breakwater of a once-planned marina, there isn’t much to see. Keep driving…
What you’re looking for is the beach on the south side of the peninsula. You have to drive through the peninsula, staying to the left and following the signs. Eventually, you’ll find yourself driving next to the ocean again, but this time pointed towards the mainland. The sand here is the closest thing Costa Rica has to a white sand. Find a spot and park. Don’t forget to lock your vehicle and take everything with you.
The beach in Flamingo is not as developed as Tamarindo, but it’s also not as crowded with vendors and newbie surfers. You can safely swim in the water here without worrying about errant boards clobbering you on the head. If you stay late enough you’ll see an amazing sunset. Some people erroneously believe that’s where Flamingo got her name. The sunsets blaze over the bay with flamingo pinks almost nightly. The real reason is that early settlers from foreign lands saw the local bird called the Roseate Spoonbill, which looks like a flamingo with a duck’s bill. They foolishly named the area after the local “flamingos,” and the name stuck.
‘Tis a far, far better place you eat…
Save time when visiting Flamingo to stop in one of her eateries, or hit Brasilito on your way back to Tamarindo. There are a bunch of places to grab a bite to eat. I don’t know about you, but a day at the beach always leaves me hungry. Most people go to Don Brasilito’s, but don’t overlook all the food options. Brasilito is densely populated with eateries for such a one-horse town.
Horizon Pacific Management & Rentals is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Horizon Pacific offers vacation rentals, property management, long-term rentals, as well as a complete concierge service. Providing you with a local contact during your stay, Horizon Pacific is a company you can trust, with the experience you need.