- Arenal Volcano – Dormant volcano in the rain forest approximately 3.5 hours from Tamarindo. Lots of hiking and other outdoor activities. One of the world’s highest ziplines at SkyTrek where you literally fly through the clouds in a primary rain forest. http://skyadventures.travel/skytrek/. Great restaurants like Gingerbread and Tinajas. Lake Arenal is a large beautiful lake nestled into the mountains. It is a destination for avid kite surfers and offers boat tours and rentals or just as beautiful to drive around. La Fortuna waterfall has a huge 200 foot drop that you can swim in the adjoining pool and river. Hop in the car and drive over, save yourself the money from paying for a tour. Institute Oasis is an amazing animal rescue that offers tours and volunteer opportunities http://www.institutoasis.com/daily-tours-costa-rica/. Baldi and Tabacon are the famous fancy hot spring hotels there. Los Lagos is great hot springs that are much cheaper. There are also free hot springs near the Tabacon.
- Rincon De Le Vieja – Active volcano approximately 1.5 hours from Tama. Whitewater rafting through rapids of any level. ATV rentals, horseback riding and numerous waterfall hikes. Check out the bright blue river running through the park! Lots of wildlife, volcanic mud baths and natural hot springs.
- Rio Celeste – This is one of my favorite things in all of Costa Rica. Approx 1 hour from Arenal or 3 from Tamarindo. Beautiful blue volcanic river merging with a mountain spring creates this bright blue colored water cascading over a waterfall. It’s a muddy 1-2 hour hike (rent the rubber boots in the parking lot or bring your own) depending on how far you go. You can get to the waterfall and back in less than an hour. Take your time though and pay attention as there are Tapirs and Spider Monkeys in the surrounding forest.
- Monte Verde Cloud Forest – Hanging bridges above the cloud canopy. Amazing views and plentiful wildlife including slothes. Fantastic wildlife hiking and crazy waterfall rappelling.
- Llanos De Cortez Waterfall – Closest waterfall to Tamarindo a little over 1 hr away. Great little day trip and it’s practically free. About a 50 foot river fed waterfall that you can climb on the rocks behind and take a short hike to the top. A second smaller hot spring fed waterfall that you can take the 10 foot leap off of the top into the spring pool below.
- Tamarindo – Cool, very active hippy surfing beach. The most popular on the coast and best for beginning surfers. The town itself is busy, has grocery stores and about 100 bars and restaurants.
- Playa Grande – Great beach for beginner and intermediate surfers. Small town with a few bars and restaurants. Much more quiet than it’s neighbor Tama.
- Playa Negra – The best beach for advanced surfers with beautiful breaks and amazing curls. Not much in the way of bars and restaurants, fairly quiet and desolate. Lots of rocks in the breaks so be careful.
- Playa Avellanas – Also a great surf beach. Fairly quiet. Great beach bar called Lola’s (stop and say hi to Lolita the giant house piggy).
- Playa Minas – Really beautiful desolate beach. Great for snorkeling, swimming and hiking to the adjoining beache that are almost always empty. Also there are usually turtles and bioluminescence during the new moon.
- Playa Danta and Dantita – Really pretty desolate beach with lots of shade. Good snorkeling and swimming. Small restaurant on Danta and paddle board rentals.
- Playa Ventanas – Quiet white sand beach, very clear water. Directly next to Grande.
- Playa Carbon – Short hike from Ventanas. One of the most private beaches. Black sand and volcanic rock along the shore. Take some time to explore the wildlife swimming in the tide pools. Good snorkeling at the far end.
- Playa Conchal – One of the prettiest white sand beaches in Costa Rica. Very clear water, lots of shade and fairly private. Get some shade under a tree and keep an eye out for some Manta Rays in the water. Snorkeling on the far end.
- Playa Flamingo – Very popular white sand beach. Great place to catch a sunset on the beach at coco loco.
- Samara – Great little hippy chic surfer town. Nice beach, full services restaurants and bars. Very hilly area makes for some beautiful vistas.
- Nosara / Playa Garza / Playa Guionies – Also a very hippy surf town. Lots of bars and restaurants. This is like the yoga capital of Costa Rica.
Activities – Contact us for any tours or activities and we can set you up with the best operators
- Surfing – One of the best beginner surfing beaches in Costa Rica. Rent a board for 10 bucks or take a lesson. I have recommendations for both.
- ATV – Take a tour to secluded beaches and down some great local dirt roads to see real Costa Rica
- Spear fishing All day experience trip or a private group with your friends for a few hours.
- Sunset boat cruise and snorkel. Lots of Booze, snorkeling in a secluded bay only accessible by boat and watching the sun fall into the ocean from the boat. Each one is a different experience. Ask me.
- Sunday Funday Bar Crawl – Awesome Sunday adventure on the magic school bus exploring quiet beaches, local bars without tourists and beautiful vistas along the way.
- Sunset – It is a daily event here. Walk the in the sand and stop at the beachfront bars like Vaquero, El Be, Johnny Tamarindo, NoGi’s, Ocho and La Palapa as the sun falls into the ocean. Don’t like the sand? Walk up to Eagles Nest or check out The Rooftop for amazing views.
- Markets – Thursday night and Saturday Farmers market. Thursday is more crafts with some booze and food while Saturday is more produce.
- Tours – Go to the waterfall, up to the mountains, zipline or check out some Crocs in the estuary. It’s all super close and easy to do. Lots of other options available. Let us know what you’re interested in.
- Yoga – There is a yoga place on every corner to get your stretch on, balance your chakras, have a psychedelic breathing or music journey. Also available for private sessions on all.
- Golf – Nearby at Hacienda Pinella or PGA course at Playa Conchal
- Hang out at Langosta Beach Club or Capitan Suizo and enjoy a seat at the pool overlooking the ocean while grabbing some drinks or having a bite.
- RCR – White water rafting about 1 hour from Tamarindo. Great day trip, super fun for groups or just a couple people.
Nightlife and Music
Great bars like Sharkeys, La Oveja Negra, Chiringito, El Be and Noguis among others. Most have live music nightly. Enjoy a drink on the beach and watch the sunset. Big party nights: Thur Pacifico Fri Monkey Bar and Sat Sharkeys. Music: Max Gea, Tony Pug, and Steph and Jesse are the best regulars in town. Also Fri night at Monkey for Latin music.
Food – Fantastic restaurants all within walking distance of town
- Dragonfly – International cuisine open for dinner. Favs: Filet, Red Snapper and churro ice cream.
- Green Papaya – Good tacos and cool atmosphere sit outside at the swings and get some Barbacoa tacos and great chips and salsa
- La Esquina – Best wood fired pizza in town, also great pasta and homemade desserts.
- Falafel Bar- Great Falafel and Hummus plates.
- EL Mercadito – High end food court with an assortment of food and bar area. Live music most nights.
- Patagonia – The place for steak in town. Argentinian grill with great meat and sides. Skip the fish.
- Shrimp Hole – Exactly what it sounds like. Assortment of really good shrimp dishes.
- Pangas – The only place worth eating on the beach. A little higher end all the way at the far north end of the beach. Usually need reservations.
- Sharkeys – Most popular sports bar in town, tacos are decent but not known for food.
- Sprout – Also North end of town across from Witches Rock. Good food, probably best salads.
- Surf Shack – The place for a burger in town! Go on friday for free french fries.
- Jolly Roger – Best wings in town, over 30 flavors and great ocean view.
- Pechanga – Homemade Italian pastas.
- Pasta Cesara – Homemade empanadas to go. Super cheap and tasty, great to grab and go.
- Street Food – Grab a chicken skewer from one of the guys on the street (get it spicy) or a cassado out of the truck of the car in front of Patagonia, Best local food you can find.
- Little Lucha – Best tacos in town, Mexican street food style.
- La Bodega – Good breakfast sandwiches
- Breakfast Grinds – Great breakfast burrito, skip the waffles
- Waffle Monkey – What it sounds like, waffles
- Seasons – Fantastic restaurant for pretty much anything
- Longboards – Good BBQ, chips and salsa