What to do during your week in Tamarindo
Ever wonder what the perfect 7-day Tamarindo vacation itinerary would be? There are so many things to do in Tamarindo that it’s hard to decide. Plus, you want the right combination of adventure and relaxation: enjoying Tamarindo and getting out to see the sights. Nothing could be worse than running yourself ragged on vacation, trying to have fun. But then again you don’t want to be bored–and heaven knows you don’t want your kids to be bored, either!
We’ve put together the perfect 7-day Tamarindo vacation itinerary that combines just the right amount of activity with relaxation, AND it’s family friendly!
Day 1: A traveling day that ends with dinner in Tamarindo
The truth about Day 1 is that you’re going to spend most of it traveling. Depending on where you come from, you’ll be landing in the airport in Liberia sometime in the afternoon or evening. Because you are a savvy traveler who reads important vacation information blogs before your trip, you will already have contacted Tamarindo Shuttle, and when you get off the plane a van will be waiting to take you to your Tamarindo vacation rental. Nice work!
Get to your home away from home and get settled in. If you’re lucky, you’ll be here in time for sunset, and you can hit the beach to get your vacation started off Tamarindo-style: a cold drink in your hand and sand on your toes. After sunset, you can get busy working on the first real event of your Tamarindo vacation: dinner!
You’ll have plenty of chances this week to cook in the kitchen of your Tamarindo vacation rental, so we think tonight you should go out. You want to pick some place where the food is delicious and the atmosphere is fun. Here are some of our first-night-in-Tamarindo restaurant suggestions:
–Pangas: Pangas Beach Club has the best food and the best atmosphere in Tamarindo. It’s a popular place, so make a reservation.
–Nogui’s: Nogui’s Restaurant is right on the beach. It’s a great place for sunset, and for dinner even if you miss the sunset.
–Fish and Cheese: Fish and Cheese is an amazing Italian restaurant in Langosta. Live music on Mondays and Fridays, closed Sundays. A reservation is a must!
–El Mercadito: This is an open-air 12-kitchen food market set in a semi-circle around a sailboat set up as a bar. Lots of live music, a play area for kids, and yes, there are literally 12 kitchens.
–Wave: Wave is a delicious Italian restaurant with generous plates, great prices, and live entertainment almost every night.
By the time you’re done with dinner, Tamarindo’s bars will be looking lively. Stop in for a goodnight cocktail, but don’t stay up too late tonight. You’ll be tired and tomorrow’s fun is going to start early!
Day 2: Estuary Tour in the morning, Sailing trip in the afternoon
It’s the second day of your vacation, but it’s really your first full day in Tamarindo. Today you get to become acquainted with the ocean! Get up, make some coffee and have breakfast early because this morning you’re going on an estuary tour! The exact time of the tour will depend on the tides, so it might be bright and early, or you might have time for a swim in the pool first.
You’ll get down to the estuary and a boat with a sharp-eyed and knowledgeable nature guide will take you up into the winding Las Baulas National Park Estuary. You’ll see all types of water and marsh birds, land crabs, and probably crocodiles as the sun brings them out to bask. Your guide will tell you about types of trees and about the delicate saltwater ecosystem that thrives there in the park. The tour will take about 2 hours.
When you’re done, head home and have a light lunch, but don’t dawdle and don’t eat too much, because, between 1 and 2 pm, you’ll be getting on a sailboat or catamaran for an afternoon of sailing, sun, snacks, snorkeling, and an open bar!
This is one of Tamarindo’s most fun half-day activities! You’ll make new friends, enjoy your favorite drinks, and hopefully get to observe dolphins, manta rays or even whales as you sail north toward a spot where they’ll anchor the boat for some snorkeling. Most boat cruises also offer kayaks and stand up paddle boards if you’d like to give either one of those water sports a try after the mothership drops anchor. Guanacaste’s reefs are populated by colorful fish, so this is your chance to put on fins and a mask and go meet them! If snorkeling is not your style but you love the water, jump in with a pool noodle and get the staff to toss you a beer.
You’ll sail back into Tamarindo Bay right at sunset. There’s no better place to be than on the water to appreciate the peacefulness of a tropical ocean sunset. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day in Tamarindo.
You’ll be getting back onto the beach as it’s getting dark, and chances are that in spite of the snacks you had on the boat, you’ll be hungry. This might be a great night for an early dinner at El Chiringuito, which is right there at the spot where the dingy will bring you onto the beach. It’s a beach bar/restaurant, so you don’t have to go home to shower and change first–just pull up a chair and ask to see a menu. If you’re tired from your day’s activities, or the kids are needing some downtime, you could also swing by the supermarket on your way home, pick up some of your family’s favorite comfort food, and head back to your vacation rental home. You haven’t spent much time there today, so it could be a good night to lay low and relax there.
Day 3: Eco Adventure Park–full day!
You are never going to forget the fun you will have on this 3rd day of your Tamarindo vacation. Today, we’re taking you and your group of family or friends to our favorite Eco Adventure Park, and we’ve taken care of everything! We’re picking you up after breakfast and driving you north toward Costa Rica’s more mountainous regions where you will get to go horseback riding, river rafting, visit an animal sanctuary, and take the canopy tour with the longest zip-line in Costa Rica! This is not just any zip-line, this is a superman ocean-view zip-line that is almost a mile long and is the closest experience to flying that you will ever have in your life. Of course, lunch is included in this full-day adventure package, and the adventure center includes plenty of beachfront, so bring your bathing suits! More swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking are part of this surf-and-turf day of adventures.
You’ll be home in time for dinner and you are going to be hungry! We think tonight you should go out for pizza! Why not? Tamarindo’s favorite pizza places? We have lots of them! Try La Baula, La Esquina, Fish and Cheese, El Mercadito has pizza, El Sapo, Pachanga, or Antichi Sapori. All of them make fantastic pizza.
Day 4: Surfing! and a Tamarindo beach day
You weren’t going to come to Tamarindo and not try surfing, were you? Good! That would be a terrible idea. Another bad idea would be to spend every day so busy on side trips that you don’t get to enjoy Tamarindo. This is your day for that!
It’s possible to surf any time of day, although the optimum conditions for Tamarindo surf lessons usually involve the tide being not too high and not too low. This has more to do with the quality of the surf than safety–Tamarindo is a sandy beach and you aren’t going to hit the reef at any tide. No worries there. Surf lessons usually last an hour or two and often include the option of keeping the board for a few hours afterward so you can practice a bit on your own. Almost nobody wants to be done when the lessons are over, so plan to spend some extra time at the beach. Your instructor will help you decide ahead of time whether morning or afternoon surf lessons will be the best for you, and you have the rest of the day to do as you please. Remember sunscreen today!
Before afternoon surf lessons or after a morning session, walk the beach and browse the boutique stores in Tamarindo. Lounge by the pool at your vacation rental for a change. Read a book on the beach or take a nap. We’ve been keeping you busy, so spend the day relaxing. You could hire a private chef to make you dinner at home tonight, pick up something for the grill if you have a grill master in your entourage, or go out to one of the Tamarindo restaurants. You won’t have time to try them all in only 7 days, but try to sample as many as you can.
Day 5: Beach Tour Day
Today is the day you will go exploring a bit on your own, or at least that’s what we think a perfect 7-day Tamarindo vacation itinerary would have you doing today. By now you’ve done some things, you’ve experienced Tamarindo, you’ve gotten some sun–it’s time to get in a rental car and strike out on your own. Nervous? Don’t be! We’re going to name a few beaches to the north and a few beaches to the south. You won’t be able to get to all of them, so pick a direction and go for it. There are plenty of little restaurants and grocery stores along the way to anywhere you could go, so don’t feel like you need to bring the kitchen sink. Bring some water and hit the trail! If you’re ambitious and want to go as many places as possible, you’ll want to get your rental car the night before and start this day early. If sleeping in is more your speed, do it today because you won’t be doing it with what we’ve got in store for you tomorrow.
If you decide to go south, you’ll find Avellanas and Playa Negra within an hour’s drive. A little further south, you’ll find Playa Blanca, Junquial and Marbella. There are dozens of small coves and beaches along the way that you can visit, so a day of going south will be a fun day of sun, sand, and exploring.
Going north, the first beach you’ll come to is Playa Grande. Beyond Playa Grande, you could visit Bahia de los Piratas, Conchal, Brasilito, Flamingo, Potrero, Sugar Beach and Playa Danta. Another option would be to head north toward Liberia and spend the day between Ocotal, Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Panama.
Pack your sunscreen, the charger for your phone, the water we mentioned, beach towels, any reading material you like to keep on hand for relaxing and get going. You can be sure to be back in Tamarindo for sunset, or enjoy the sunset from any of the other beaches along the way. We especially recommend the closer beaches–Avellanas to the south or Playa Grande or Brasilito to the north–just for the convenience of not having a long drive back to Tamarindo after dark.
Day 6: Fishing!
We hope you went to bed early last night because today you’re going fishing! Costa Rica is famous for sportfishing, so you don’t want to miss this chance to cast a line in. Also, you haven’t been on a boat now for several days, and what’s up with that?
Sportfishing charters leave at 7 in the morning from the beach and can be arranged for a half day (5 hours, back by noon), 3/4 day (7 hours, back by 2: oo), or full day (9 hours, back by sunset). Unless you’re a hardcore fisherman, a half day is probably the right trip for you, although do consider whole-day. 3/4 and full day trips get further offshore and are able to pull in the truly spectacular big-game fish that you definitely want to pose with in a photo.
If you choose the half-day fishing trip, this means you’ve got a free afternoon. You’re probably ready for your last hours of vacation downtime since tomorrow you have to pack your bags and say goodbye. Now that you’ve been in Tamarindo for almost a week, you have an idea what you like best about it and you can spend the afternoon doing that: enjoying your vacation rental home, hanging out at the beach, doing some Tamarindo shopping, pampering yourself at a Tamarindo spa, getting back on that surfboard…whatever you wanted one more chance to do.
And now, it’s your last night in Tamarindo. You’re almost a local by this time, so do what the locals do: get to your favorite sunset bar as the sun is getting low, and sit right down in the sand to watch the day say goodnight. You can go back home and get fancy for dinner, you can order up as it gets dark. By now you’ve realized that shorts and a t-shirt are the right attire everywhere in Tamarindo, so enjoy it while you can.
Day 7: Beachfront breakfast and the trek home
We hate to say goodbye, but that’s what day it is. The perfect 7-day Tamarindo vacation itinerary involves lots of early mornings, so you haven’t had much time for leisurely beachfront breakfasts like the one we’ve planned for you today.
Best beachfront breakfast spots: El Chiringuito, Nogui’s, La Palapa, Pangas for Sunday brunch, and Breakfast Grinds are our favorites. Kick back and enjoy the sound of the ocean as you sip your coffee and watch the light change as the sun climbs higher. You can grab a few last souvenirs on your way home, take a last splash in the pool before you go, and be ready to hop in when the shuttle van pulls up outside your house.
Are you in? Contact us now and let us help you set up the perfect 7-day itinerary for your group!
This blog post was written by Diana Zimmerman for Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo, a full-service concierge and vacation rental company located in Tamarindo, Playa Langosta, Hacienda Pinilla, and Playa Flamingo.