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TAMARINDO COSTA RICA

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Tamarindo is the largest developed beach town in Guanacaste, and the second-largest in all of Costa Rica. Its main attractions are surfing and eco-tourism.

Playa Tamarindo is a long, rocky beach with excellent waves near the mouth of the estuary. Currents can be strong, especially on a falling tide.

Tamarindo has two main breaks for advanced surfers:

Pico Pequeño a rocky point to the right of the Hotel Tamarindo Diriá.

and the excellent river mouth break across from Hotel Tsunami called El Estero.

The rest of the beach breaks are perfect for learning. The biggest waves can reach a height of up to 12 feet, although this is a rare occurrence and is only seen during November and December.

In Tamarindo you can do a lot of eco-friendly activities such as watching turtles during their nesting season, diving, snorkeling, body surfing, zip-lining, estuary trips, horseback riding, surfing, stand up paddle, yoga, fishing and more!

The beaches in the area are generally clean and recent efforts by the government and local business organizations are proving themselves.

How to Get to Tamarindo, Costa Rica?

How to get to Tamarindo from San José?

By Bus

The cheapest way to get to Tamarindo is with the Bus Company Alfaro bus.

Where to Catch the Alfaro Bus?

The Alfaro Bus terminal is located at the Coca Cola bus station in San Jose. The exact location is the intersection of Avenida 3 and Calles 14/16.

The bus station is about 30 minutes away from the airport by car/taxi.

The Alfaro bus departs every day at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm, it will stop at a restaurant (typical Costa Rican food) for about 30 minutes and you can stretch your legs or use the bathroom.

Alfaro Bus Terminal - Google Maps location

Renting a car to get to Tamarindo

You can rent a car in San Jose, and have it waiting for you right at the SJO airport so you can leave right away to Tamarindo as soon as you arrive to Costa Rica.
You can rent a car for as long as your trip will last, or you can rent one just for one day and drop it off at Tamarindo.

Getting a Transfer to Tamarindo

There are different companies that offer transfers to Tamarindo

you can book a Transfer from SJO internation Airport to Tamarindo here.

Booking.com
Click here to check the PLACES TO STAY page for Tamarindo

TOURS AND THINGS TO DO IN TAMARINDO

TAMARINDO SAFETY TIPS

Ticos (Costaricans) are generous people that will go out of their way to help you, and in general Tamarindo is a safe place, you just need to take certain precautions while traveling as you would anywhere in the world.

 Just have a general sense of awareness in your surroundings and you’ll be fine!

  1. Don’t carry a lot of money on you. This shouldn’t be much of a problem as ATMs are easy to find in most areas of Tamarindo and credit cards are widely accepted. If you decide to carry cash keep it in a money belt, neck wallet, or a secure place in a bag with a zipper.
  2. Keep your passport in a safe place like a hotel safe. Photocopy the first page of your passport (with your name, photo, etc.) and the page with your stamp allowing entry into Costa Rica, and carry that with you instead.
  3. Never hang a purse or bag on the back of your chair at a restaurant.
  4. If you’re traveling with a laptop, tablet, phone, etc. keep it locked in the hotel safe when you’re not using it.. As a precaution, you can install tracking software like the Prey Project.
  1. Keep any valuables you have on you or in a small bag at your seat. Buses have an overhead compartment that is fine to use for most things, but you wouldn’t want to keep anything valuable up there as someone could easily grab the bag and then exit the bus.
  2. Avoid people trying to “help” you at the bus station.
  1. Legal taxis are red and have a triangle as a stamp on the doors. Legal taxi has a meter or “maria” which should be turned on when you enter the taxi, but keep in mind, that taxi drivers in Tamarindo don’t use the meters in their cars, so set the price before you even get in the car. NEVER get into a cab, tell them where you are going, and expect to get a fair rate upon arrival. Remember, almost all taxis are negotiable, so if they give you a high price, don’t be afraid to offer them a lower one, there are plenty of other taxis that will take you where you want to go.
  • For the most part, you don’t have to worry about crime at hotels. If you’re staying in an area that has problems with theft, the hotel will most likely have a guard on duty.

  • Even with security measures, it is always good to be vigilant and keep your belongings locked in the hotel safe.

  • Vacation rentals present a unique problem. They usually don’t have the same level of security, and thieves often know which houses are vacation rentals. They also know that tourists don’t always take the necessary precautions.

  • If you are concerned about crime in the area you’ll be visiting, pick a vacation rental that has security measures in place. A guard, security system, gate, deadbolt, safe, etc. all go a long way towards keeping a property secure. Even when you are home, don’t leave valuables in sight from windows and especially within arm’s reach of screened windows since they can be easily torn or cut.

  • Whenever you leave or are sleeping, always be sure to lock the house’s windows and doors.

One of the most common crimes that occurs in Costa Rica is bags being stolen from the beach.  Never leave your bag unattended while you swim, as thieves are often not far away, and will grab your bag then run off on a nearby beach trail. If you’re traveling with more than one person, take turns swimming and be sure that someone stays up on the sand with the bags. One way to avoid this problem altogether is not to bring anything valuable with you. If you only have a towel, sunscreen, and flip-flops, there is nothing of value for anyone to take.

Here are some cool safety gadgets you can get on Amazon:

Keep Safe Portable Lock Box
Master Lock 5900D Personal Safe
Waterproof Pouch Set with Waist

If you’re planning to go to the bars and clubs at night, stay in a group. Take a cab home or drive yourself, don’t walk, and specially avoid the beach at night.

If you have questions about Tamarindo or suggestions, please leave us a comment here

THE 10 BEST Costa Rica Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

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For the  adventurous, adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts, Costa Rica serves up a great variety of adventure and extreme tours, such as canopy ziplines, class II-III whitewater rafting, ATV tours, suspension bridges, canyoneering, waterfall rafting, bungee jumping, parasailing, rock climbing and ultralight Flights. These activities guarantee an adrenaline rush—and a ton of fun!

Keep reading so you can find out about Costa Rica’s most extreme adventures and where to book this tours for your next vacations in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has some of the most exhilarating and heart-stopping experiences that the world has to offer! These tours are safe—the country enforces very stringent safety requirements—but you’ll feel anything but secure as you rappel through the interior of a strangler fig or belly-crawl through caves as old as the dinosaurs.

Ease in with whitewater rafting on a class III-IV river, or up the ante with big daddy class V rapids; jump down into the abyss on wet-and-wild waterfall rappelling tours; and round out your entrée to Costa Rican adventure with one of the nation’s most extreme canopy tours. Next up, seriously intense adventures like cave spelunking, ultralight flights, bungee jumping and rock climbing.

Whatever your adventure fantasy, these tours are sure to get your heart pumping and your mind racing: they’re an exhilarating thrill ride through the best and most beautiful that Costa Rica has to offer. 

EXTREME ADVENTURES IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rican spelunking is perfect for adventurers  who yearn to explore the unexplored. With one of the largest cave systems in the Americas, the country does not lack for sparkling stalactites, meandering underground rivers and fantastical cave formations. Venado Caverns, near Arenal, is a semi-developed caving destination, with caves that are 10-15 million years old and that feature impressive formations, like the Altar Room and Giant Papaya.

For less touristic spelunking fun, head to Barra Honda National Park (near Nicoya), where you’ll descend into a below-sea-level abyss to explore caves that began forming 70 million years ago.

There are no paths or handrails here—Barra Honda is pure, rugged spelunking.

Venado Caves Underground Experience from La Fortuna Private Tour - Click the image for information about this tour

You have a few good options for bungee jumping in Costa Rica:

Monteverde Bungee Jumping

La Balsa River Bungee Jumping

The Colorado River Bridge near Alajuela.

Bungee/extreme machine in Jaco.

In Monteverde, a canopy tour offers a 150 Meters jump from an aerial tram.

Bungee purists prefer the Colorado Bridge jump, which has been perfecting its awesome jumps for more than 20 years and in Jaco, a manufactured bungee free-falls 130 feet and includes a water touchdown.

There are several ziplines in Costa Rica that are fast enough, long enough and extreme enough to curl your toes. Look for tours that involve Tarzan swings (free-fall from a platform), Superman ziplines (soar belly-down, like the Man of Steel), tree rappelling, rock climbing, mini-bungees, or the option to ride upside-down. A spectacular location, like over waterfalls or by an active volcano, also lends thrill. Some of the best, most extreme canopy tours are located in Arenal (up to 60 mph!), Rincon de la Vieja (rock climb a river canyon!) and Monteverde (nearly 600 feet off the ground!).

Golfito Canopy Tour by Golfito Monkey Tours

Costa Rica has some of the best paragliding conditions in the world.

There are many first-class paragliding locations all over the country and excellent flying conditions year-round.

Few other places in the world boast 320 days of flying a year.

The common denominator is the excitement and anticipation, there are days when the thrill is electrifying. If the winds are between 12 to 25 kilometers per hour coming from the west-southwest the day will be a blast of fun.

Paragliding Tandem Tour in Jaco, Costa Rica - Click on the image for info

If you’ve ever dreamed of flying like a bird, you’re going to love this awesome activity. You’ll soar hundreds of feet above the ocean, a thin cable your only tether to the world below.

With the wind in your hair, your legs dangling over a 600 feet of open air, you’re treated to the nation’s most spectacular views.

It’s an incredible, exhilarating experience that you can have over the sparkling Pacific and powdery sands of Manuel Antonio and Playas del Coco.

Parasailing in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Enjoy the Costa Rican rain forest in a totally different way.

The Arboreal Tree Climbing Tour has turned the trees of Costa Rica into a climbing wall for an amazing experience with nature.

Trees prepared with handholds attached by straps as to not damage the trees.

Each tree is a different height and climbing difficulty.

Experience the great canopy of the rain forest up close and first hand as you climb to the tops of the trees and look out over the forest.

Safety is first and the belay system ensures all guests are comfortable and secure.

Expert climbers will control your belay on the way up and down to reduce any possible error.

It’s the ultimate fantasy—an adventure in three dimensions. Board a tiny two-seater “ultralight”—a lightweight, fixed-wing aircraft—for an extreme (and extremely beautiful) sightseeing adventure. You’ll feel as light as air on this open-air flight, and will enjoy the adrenaline rush as panoramic vistas unfold before your eyes. The best part of this extreme adventure is its scenic byproduct: beautiful views that will be forever embedded in your mind (and camera memory). Ultralight tours depart regularly out of Samara, Tambor, and Jaco.

If you’re looking for the ultimate adventure—and a quintessential Costa Rican experience—you have to try your hand at waterfall rappelling, also known as canyoning. Harness up, check your carabiners and belay down! You’ll scale the mossy cliff face as a roaring waterfall cascades over your shoulders, spitting cool mountain water into your face. For the biggest adrenaline rush, choose rappelling tours that scale 180+ foot falls and incorporate horseback riding, ATVs and other exciting methods of transportation; Los Chorros (in the Central Valley) and Arenal are great choices.

Epic—that is the only way to describe whitewater rafting in Costa Rica.

The country’s rivers are legendary and the world’s most passionate paddlers make it their mission to navigate Costa Rica’s freshwater waves at least once in a lifetime.

You’ll find class III-IV rapids (and tours) on many rivers, including the:

Río Toro, Río Sarapiquí, Río Peñas Blancas, Río General, Río Cucaracho, and the Río Naranjo.

But if you’re in search of pure, unadulterated and totally extreme whitewater, head straight for the incredible class IV-V rapids on:

the Pacuare (near Turrialba), Reventazón (also near Turrialba), Upper Balsa (near Arenal) and the Cucaracho (Rincón de la Vieja).

Are you ready to test your quad-riding skills on this challenging tour?

this tour will make you experience the most fun outdoor adventure that you´ve ever had, while you are driving your own 4×4 ATV between farms, muddy areas, little creeks and trails in the middle of the forest, you will have a lot of fun and you will feel the adrenaline to the top, prepare to get wet and dirty!

What's the most extreme activity you have ever done ? Let us know in the comments.

COSTA RICA WILDLIFE CALENDAR

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We decided to dedicate a whole article and create a COSTA RICA WILDLIFE CALENDAR to help you chose what time of the year to visit Costa Rica, if you are looking to spot a specific animal.

Costa Rica host 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

With nearly 30% of the country dedicated as national parks and wildlife reserves, wildlife abounds in Costa Rica.

Iconic species include howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, blue morpho butterflies, three-toed sloths and humpback whales. No need for binoculars here – Costa Rica’s wildlife is ubiquitous!

Click on the list to skip to the section:

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Humpback Whales

Humpback whales are the most common whales in Costa Rica because it has the longest humpback whale viewing season in the world. Both the Antarctica and Alaska humpback whales overlap for a period of time in Costa Rica during their migration.

BEST TIME TO SEE WHALES IN COSTA RICA

Antarctica humpback whales: July to November
California humpback whales: December to April
North Atlantic humpback whales: December to March

In the months of Oct to Nov, the early birds and late risers overlap. August and September are the best months to see humpback whales in Costa Rica as they are very common all up and down the Pacific coast.

BEST PLACES TO WHALE WATCHING IN COSTA RICA

Drake Bay:  Drake Bay is one of the most isolated places in Costa Rica and has excellent whale watching opportunities.

Click here to book a whale watching tour in Drake Bay

Marino Ballena National Park: There’s a reason why this is called the Whale National Park, this is one of the best places to see humpback whales!

Click here to book a Whale watching tour in Marino Ballena

Golfito: Humpback whales come to the Golfo Dulce bay from July to October to give birth and breed their calves, so Golfito is the ultimate place to spot humpback whales in Costa Rica

Book a whale watching tour in Golfito here

Whale watching Tour in Golfito - Golfito Monkey Tours
Viator

Dolphins

The best place to see dolphins & whales in Costa Rica is the Golfo Dulce, but you can spot them almost everywhere in the country pacific coast.

Most of the Dolphins you can spot here are residents in Costa Rica, so you can spot them year round.

Possibilities  to spot dolphins on a dolphin tour  in Costa Rica are incredible high!

Costa Rica Whales & Dolphins Chart

Turtles

You can see sea turtles on both the Caribbean and Pacific, some turtles are present all year long.

  • Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Leatherback sea turtle and Pacific Green sea turtle: all year long
  • Leatherback sea turtles: Feb to July
  • Atlantic green sea turtles: June to Nov

The best time of year to see turtles in Costa Rica is the rainy season or July – December. This is when the mass gatherings are the most intense.

The best time to come see the turtles on shore is during Arribadas (synchronized mass gathering of turtles). It is appropriately named because during this period of time you can see up to ten thousands turtles coming to the beach to nest at once. They come 24/7, even during the day!

This happens in only a few places in the world, with 2 of them in Costa Rica: Ostional and Playa Naranjo for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.

Costa Rica Turtles Nesting Chart

TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK TOURS

Best places in Costa Rica to see sea turtles are:

  • Las Baulas National Park: This national park was established in 1990 to protect turtles from poachers. You can see them on Playa Grande in Oct – May laying their eggs. You have to reserve in advance for a spot and it is for turtle viewing only.
  • Tortuguero: This national park is in the Caribbean North. It is one of the most important endangered green turtle nesting sites in the Western Hemisphere. Turtles come here from the months of July to October to lay their eggs. In November, you can see babies hatching.
  • Santa Rosa National Park: Naranjo and Nancite, two beaches in the park are very mportant for sea turtle nesting. It is difficult to visit this national park since the road is in extremely bad condition and is usually closed off in rainy season.
  • Ostional Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is one of the most important places for turtles in Costa Rica, specifically the Olive Ridley turtle.
  • Gulf of Papagayo: It is common during July – September to see turtles mating in the water. Mostly Olive Ridley sea turtles as they then nest in Playa Naranjo or Ostional.
  • Caño Island: It is common to see turtles, particularly juveniles at Caño Island and you can snorkel with them.
  • Osa Peninsula and Corcovado: Many of the beaches are nesting sites for 3 species of turtles.
  • Montezuma: The Atlantic Riley turtle lays their eggs on this beach. The local community does baby sea turtle releases in February.
  • Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge: Located on the south Caribbean coast. Leatherback turtles nest here from March – May.
  • Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge: Although this is a popular surfing beach, it’s also part of the Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge. During rainy season, up to 40 turtles nest per night.

CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR TURTLE TOURS

Sloths

Sloths are plentiful throughout Costa Rica but may be difficult to spot to the untrained eye. A professional naturalist guide can help point them out. As a general rule, the further south you go along the Pacific coast, the more likely you are to see wildlife as the concentrations are higher. The South Pacific and Osa Peninsula are prime wildlife watching destinations.

WHICH SLOTH SPECIES LIVE IN COSTA RICA?

There are six sloth species in the world, and two types of sloths: two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths.

Two of the six sloth species live in Costa Rica:

  1. Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus Hoffmanni): It’s nocturnal and much more difficult to find. If you do find them during the day, they’ll probably be napping.
  2. Brown-throated Sloth (Bradypus Variegatus):The most common three-toed sloth in the world is the diurnal Brown-throated sloth. They are a bit smaller in size than Hoffman’s sloth as they slightly more active.

BEST TIME TO SEE SLOTHS IN COSTA RICA

All year long.

BEST PLACES TO SEE SLOTHS IN COSTA RICA

The best places in Costa Rica to see sloths are Manuel Antonio, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, La Fortuna and the Osa Peninsula. They are abundant in more humid areas since the forests are green all year long so they always have food.

However, they are not common in Guanacaste where it is very dry. If you are in Guanacaste/Puntarenas (Tamarindo/Coco/Samara/Montezuma/Santa Teresa) and want to see a sloth, you will need to travel to the rainforest or visit an animal sanctuary.

Animal rescue centers or sanctuaries where you can see sloths are Jaguar Rescue Center, Toucan Rescue Ranch and Diamante Eco Adventure Park.

ARE YOU A SLOTH LOVER?
CHECK OUR TOURS!

Monkeys

Four different species of monkeys are in Costa Rica: White-face Capuchin monkeys, Howler monkeys, Squirrel monkeys and Spider monkeys.
The Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park is the only place where you can find all four species of monkeys.

Squirrel monkeys are only found in the southern part of Costa Rica such as Corcovado and Manuel Antonio National Park.

Howlers and white face monkeys can be seen all throughout Costa Rica. In particular, howlers are especially common in Guanacaste.

Spider monkeys are more common in the Osa Peninsula but can also be seen in Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste.

Best time to see monkeys in Costa Rica is all year long.

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If you want to spot monkeys in their natural habitat you should book a tour with a tourist guide that knows the area and will help you spot them on the trees.

Toucans

6 different species of toucans are found in the rain forests of Costa Rica. The Black-mandibled toucan is the largest of the six and all can be seen in the tropical and subtropical forests.

Best time to see Toucans in Costa Rica

All year long but best during rainy season when the fruits they like are in season. Sometimes you can see up to 10 or more toucans in one tree!

Best places in Costa Rica to see Toucans

You can’t see all 6 toucans in one place in Costa Rica, but you can see up to 3 in one.

In Monteverde, you can see the Emerald Toucanet, Keel billed and Black Mandibled Toucan.

In Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula you can see the Black Mandible and Fiery Aracari .

In La Fortuna you can see the Black Mandibled, Keel-billed and the Collared Aracari.

It is very hard to see the Yellow-eared toucanet though.

Some other excellent places to see toucans in Costa Rica are Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Poas, Uvita, Boca Tapada, Osa Peninsula and Bijagua.

What's your favorite animal in Costa Rica? Let us know in the comments

Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography in Costa Rica 2018

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Quick Answer: Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography in Costa Rica

  1. Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR
  2. Nikon D5 20.8 MP FX-Format Digital SLR
  3. Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera
  4. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR
  5. Sony a99II 42.4MP Digital SLR Camera
  6. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR
  7. Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR

Choosing the right camera for your wildlife photography trip in Costa Rica can be an overwhelming process if you don’t know what you’re looking for in a camera or in a lens for that matter. So let us remove all that pressure and provide you with a helpful guide for you to pick the best camera for your wildlife photography vacations in Costa Rica.

SENSOR:Cropped 23.5 x 15.7 mm CMOS sensor (APS-C), 20.9 MP AUTOFOCUS: 153 AF points Frame Rate & Burst: 10 fps up to 200 frames, 79 RAW ISO Range: Native ISO 51200, extend to ISO 1640000 LENS MOUNT: Nikon F mount (AF coupling & contacts) EXTRAS: WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps, time-lapse up to 9999 frames. Includes Li-ion battery, charger, USB & HDMI cable clip, DK-17 eyepiece, USB cable and strap.

This camera features a cropped (APS-C) CMOS sensor with 20.9 megapixels, a great balance between high-quality images and the advantages of the smaller and lighter DX lenses in the Nikkor line.

Even with a telephoto lens, you’ll stay agile and are able to capture exquisite details, colors and textures.

In low-light conditions, you can still use every bit of light with a native ISO range of 100-51,200. Down to an exposure value of -4, the Nikon D500 can still bring out rich details in shadows.

The camera is up to the task of shooting moving animals thanks to fast technology: the EXPEED 5 processor is paired with a fast Multi-CAM 20k autofocus system featuring 153 AF points. Great for taking photos of Costa Rica’s wildlife!

This effectively gives you a frame rate of 10 fps with excellent subject acquisition in a wide range of situations.

For fast reading and writing of images, you can use XQD memory card technology, but there is also a second slot for regular SD cards.

The build of the Nikon D500 is durable, rugged and ergonomic, using magnesium alloy and carbon fiber materials. With water-drop and dust resistance, you can go all-in to get that breathtaking shot.

If you can use the eye-level viewfinder at difficult angles, the 3.2” tilting LCD touchscreen is there to help you out.

You can also shoot 4K Ultra HD video at 30 fps, and the camera has a range of connectivity options so you can transfer images via cable, WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC.

This camera is an investment where you receive excellent value for the money.

This camera that will not only perform well during all sorts of wildlife photography in Costa Rica, but might well stay with you a lifetime. This is the overall the best camera for wildlife photography in its price range.

SENSOR: Full frame 35.9 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor, 20.8 MP
AUTOFOCUS: 153 AF points
Frame Rate & Burst: 12 fps up to 200 frames, 200 RAW
ISO RANGE: Native ISO 102400, extend to ISO 3280000
LENS MOUNT: Nikon F mount (AF coupling & contacts)
EXTRAS: 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps, time-lapse with auto-ISO. Includes Li-ion battery, charger, USB & HDMI cable clip, DK-17F eyepiece, strap, body cap, accessory shoe & battery chamber cover.

This Camara, great for Wildlife Photography in Costa Rica features a full frame CMOS sensor with 20.8 megapixels, the equivalent of shooting 35mm film.
With image stabilization and a new mirror driving mechanism, you can confidently track your subject matter even during high-speed continuous shooting, excellent for bird photography.
The camera uses the same fast and reliable autofocus system as the D500 with 153 AF points, 99 of which are cross-type points.
Thanks to improved noise reduction and color fidelity, you need not fear night shots as the camera performs in near darkness with an exposure value of -4. Should you need to shoot with flash, the camera supports Advanced Wireless Lighting for expanded flash photography, excellent for nigh photography tours in Costa Rica !
If you’re serious about photography and want the best wildlife photography camera, the Nikon D5 is your perfect match !

SENSOR: Full frame 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor, 20.2 MP
AUTOFOCUS: 61 AF points
Frame Rate & Burst: 16 fps, 170 RAW
ISO RANGE: Native ISO 51200, extend to ISO 409600
LENS MOUNT: Canon EF Mount (excluding EF-S and EF-M lenses)
EXTRAS: Built-in GPS for geotagging, 4K UHD video at 60 fps and Full HD at 120 fps for slow motion. Includes battery pack & charger, wide strap, eye cup, cable protector and interface cable.

The Canon EOS-1DX Mark II is among the fastest DSLR cameras available and therefore an excellent choice as the best camera for bird photography in Costa Rica. The full frame CMOS sensor is equipped for high-speed signal reading and features 20.2 megapixels.
The full frame sensor of the EOS-1DX Mark II features gapless micro-lenses for enhanced low-light performance, resulting in less noise in dark areas of the image even at higher ISO speeds.
The standard ISO range is 100 to 51,200 with powerful noise reduction. Expansion is possible down to ISO 50 and up to 409,600. Full auto or manual ISO are possible.
You can also shoot professional videos with this camera: 4K Ultra HD is possible at up to 60 fps, while Full HD delivers 120 fps, giving you slow-motion capabilities.
Geo-tagging your Costa Rica wildlife shots is easy to do thanks to the built-in GPS.
The camera’s 3.2” touch panel TFT LCD guides you reliably through all settings. In-camera optical corrections include elimination of lens aberration, distortion and diffraction correction for shooting at a small aperture.
The shutter uses lightweight carbon fiber blades for uncompromised performance. If you don’t mind spending more on a full-frame DSLR for wildlife photography in Costa Rica, this camera is the perfect candidate.

SENSOR: Full frame 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor, 30.4 MP
AUTOFOCUS: 61 AF points
Frame Rate & Burst: 7 fps
ISO Range: Native ISO 100-32000, 50-102400 extended
LENS MOUNT: Canon EF Mount (excluding EF-S and EF-M lenses)
EXTRAS: 4K UHD video at 30 fps, WiFi, NFC, GPS for geo-tagging. Includes battery pack & charger, wide strap, eyecup, cable protector and interface cable.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a full frame DSLR at almost entry-level price with comparable specs to the previous model.
You get a fast and accurate autofocus. Same as on the EOS-1D X Mark II, the camera incorporates 61 AF points, 41 of which are cross-type while all points are compatible down to f/8, even with lens extenders attached.
Capturing moving animals is straightforward with a wide area for subject tracking with consistent focus. Apart from shot-to-shot precision, low-light performance is good with an intensity limit of EV -3.
With a solid ISO range, signal-to-noise ratio is great thanks to a special algorithm for high-level light sensitivity at high resolution, maintaining fast shutter speeds while suppressing blurring from camera shakes.
You can record professional videos in 4K UHD at 30 and 24 fps, whereas Full HD delivers a frame rate of 60 and regular HD even 120 fps. The 3.2” touch-sensitive LCD allows for fast and intuitive operation.
With built-in GPS, you can collect crucial location data along with your wildlife shots. WiFi and NFC allow you easy transfers of your images without a cable connection.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV comes with all the advantages of a full frame camera at a very attractive price for such advanced technology making one of the best cameras for wildlife photography in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Driving Tips

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Renting a car for your vacations in Costa Rica gives you the freedom to stop and go as you please, opening up a world of possibilities, and with a little knowledge and experience, you’ll lose the nerves and be ready to take on the open road for yourself.

Costa Rica is a place where you can climb a smouldering volcano one day, then fly through the jungle canopy on a thrilling zip-wire the next.

Where you can combine excursions to spot acrobatic humpback whales off the Pacific coast, then soak in hot springs in a cloud forest and later learn about how some of the best coffee in the world is grown.

In this small Central American country, the next adventure is only ever a short drive away.

You will need the following documents to rent a car in Costa Rica
  • Valid Drivers License
  • Passport (Foreigners)
  • ID (Costa Rican Citizens)
  • Credit Card
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GENERAL INFORMATION

  • There is no requirement for an international driver’s license. In general, the rules of the road are probably similar to what you’re used to back home.
  • Lanes are marked with double solid lines when passing is not allowed and hatched lines when passing is permitted, but be aware that most of the roads to get to beach towns are dirty roads with any lines at all.
  • Speed limits (in kilometers) are posted with signs, though usually not as frequently as in the US or Europe.
  • Seatbelts are required.
  • Children under the age of 12, subject to certain height and weight limits, are supposed to be restrained in car seats or booster seats.

Although these are technically the requirements, enforcement is another issue.

The rules are bent everywhere you go.

ROAD CONDITIONS

Roads in Costa Rica vary from well paved two-lane highways to pothole-ridden dirt roads with venturesome river crossings, impossible to cross without a 4×4 vehicle.

Most of the roads in and around the capital of San Jose are nice and smooth, but once you get out of the city, conditions can change a lot.

PRECAUTIONS WHEN DRIVING IN RAINY SEASON

If you’re traveling in the rainy season (May to November), something to watch out for is washouts and landslides. Some roads are more prone to these events than others and it’s always good to ask your hotel about current conditions before setting out. Roads to be extra cautions on are Route 2 between San Jose and San Isidro de El General; Route 32 between San Jose and Limon/the Caribbean coast; and Route 27 connecting San Jose to Puntarenas and Jaco.

Route 32, Zurqui, Costa Rica

ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS WHEN DRIVING IN COSTA RICA

  • Slow down and be careful. You are in an unfamiliar environment, and the unexpected is the rule rather than the exception.
  • Due to the lack of street lights you should drive with extra care and caution when driving at night and only drive at night if necessary.
  • Always be alert and drive defensively. You might find pedestrians, dogs, cows (Sometimes wild animals such as monkeys, sloths or raccoons) wandering around the main roads, potholes and lots of drivers doing whatever they want.
  • Cones & Flares—The Tico version of orange cones and highway flares is a branch or pile of sticks in the road. Slow down, there is probably a dangerous situation ahead.
  • Do not leave anything of value in your car, ever—Not only is it likely that it will be stolen, but you may be responsible for the damage the thieves do getting it out.
  • Tickets—Modern traffic enforcement exists in Costa Rica and you can expect to face radar guns Some countries in Central America have well established cultures of “tipping” and bribery; Costa Rica is not one of them. There are no circumstances when it is appropriate to pay your “fine” on the roadside.
  • You can have your rental agency pay the fine for you when you return the car in.
  • Stay off the area just above high tide line—Driving is allowed on some Costa Rican beaches, but please avoid the sand between the high tide mark and the trees because this is where the sea turtles make their nests.
  • Don’t count on road signs for navigation—Although the situation is slowly improving there are very few.

Top 10 Surfing Destinations in Costa Rica

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A man surfing a wave in Costa Rica
Top ten Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

SURFING DESTINATIONS IN COSTA RICA

With the name Costa Rica meaning the “rich coast”, it certainly lives up to its name by having some of the best surfing destinations in the world. On this article we will show you the top 10 surfing spots in Costa Rica that you don’t want to miss out
 Thanks to consistent, high-quality waves and a variety of breaks, Costa Rica has been one of the world’s top surfing destinations for decades and the reasons are quite obvious..

1. Playa Guiones, Nosara

A sunset and the waves of Playa Guiones

This beach has earned the first place on the Top 10 Surfing Destinations in Costa Rica because is known for having one of the most consistent waves in Costa Rica. It features a beach break that peels to the right and left over a sandy bottom. The beach break has multiple peaks all along the shoreline. During the low tides, the waves are more steep and fast perfect for short boarders while during the mid to high tides, the waves are smooth so the long boarders will have a fine time.

On good days, the waves ride to a long distance reaching up to 300 meters. The waves are gentle and smooth which makes them perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. The southern end of the beach is best for beginners. Seasoned surfers won’t be disappointed either. The surf spot is quite fun to ride and on good days when big swells are picked up, the waves can even provide a nice challenge. The beach break is sometimes called ‘the beginner’s spot’ which is not so accurate. Even though the bottom is sandy and waves small, extreme caution should be taken when the swells get too huge as they cause the waves to become powerful and strong with many rip currents and undertows. During such conditions the beach break gets potentially dangerous for novices.

Let’s continue with our Top 10 Surfing Destinations in Costa Rica

2. Playa Tamarindo

Man walking on the beach in Costa Rica

Playa Tamarindo is a world famous tourist destination located on the northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

Playa Tamarindo lies in a sheltered bay formed by a cape called Cabo Velas, It’s a long white sand beach with superb waves near the tidal river mouth also known as an estuary. 

The currents are really strong particularly when the tides fall. There are two main surf breaks here; Pico Pequeño and El Estero. These surf breaks are more or less geared towards the advanced surfers. Beginners and novices can practice surfing or rest in the beach. The waves are quite challenging and they can rise up to 12 feet during the months of November and December! The estuary is relatively unsafe for swimming because there are just too many rocks offshore which often become exposed at a low tide.

During the past 10 years, Tamarindo has become very well known as a favorite surfing spot and beach party town. 

3. Playa Avellanas

 The third place in our Top 10 surfing destinations in Costa Rica: Playa Avellanas! boasts world-class waves that break consistently year round. Situated in a very receptive location for surf, Avellanas can handle the big swells and provide quality waves on smaller days that are perfect for learning. 

There are five main peaks (not including the secret spots) along Playa Avellanas that work on different tides, offering all day surf sessions if you can handle it. 

Water temperature seldom drops below 28 C (82 F), so leave your wetsuit at home!

4. Playa Hermosa, Jaco

Jaco Beach in Costa Rica

When you plan a surf trip to Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica, you want to make sure you head to the right one.

There are two beaches with the same name, one in Guanacaste and one in Puntarenas.

Both have beautiful blue waters and great vistas, but the one in the Puntarenas province is the one with the best waves.

Surfers flock to this haven to enjoy the consistent swells and clean, pristine sands.

It is thanks to this cleanliness that the beach was awarded a Blue Flag award.

5. Salsa Brava, Puerto Viejo

a men riding a wave

The reef right in front of Puerto Viejo is the spot for more advanced surfers. Surfline says: Salsa Brava loosely translated means “angry sauce”, and if that ain’t a groovy little metaphor, nothing is. 

It’s called Costa Rica’s heaviest and best wave, and believe it: pound for pound, it’s as intense as any coral reef double-up right tube in the world.

 

6. Playa Pavones, Golfito

Pavones is home to one of the longest left breaking waves in the world!

 Pavones in Golfo Dulce is a sheltered point break that has unreliable waves The best wind direction is from the east. Groundswells more frequent than windswells and the ideal swell angle is from the southwest.The break here is a left hand point. Best around low tide when the tide is rising. When it’s working here, it can get crowded. Take care of rocks in the line up.

7. Playa Naranjo

Playa Naranjo features epic golden sands, strong and open breaks and a large rocky formation just off of the coastline that the locals have dubbed Witch’s Rock. The surf is consistently strong and clean groundswells are of common sight, making it perfect for those surfers to take the larger outside sets or for the surfer who likes the smaller inside waves.

Surfers should note that the breeze at Witch’s Rock most often blows from the northeast, making a southwest swell the best situation for the biggest waves. Witch’s Rock has an A-frame wave that breaks both left and right, assuring that surfers of all styles will be able to catch the waves.

8. Santa Teresa and Mal Pais

The beaches of Santa Teresa offer some of the best surfing experiences in Costa Rica. They boast of world class breaks and ideal surf conditions all through the year. Santa Teresa’s main attraction is the consistent waves. This remote tropical town is located at the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

a man riding a wave on a beautiful blue ocean

It is ideal for a surfing holiday as it is free from the hustle and bustle of big city life. You can enjoy surfing and relaxing in this topical paradise which boasts of white sand beaches, blue lagoons, rainforests teeming with wildlife and plenty of silence and solitude. You can have a whale of a time in the several beaches near Santa Teresa and Mal Pais. These beaches enjoy great popularity among surfers because of their excellent surfs. Santa Teresa holds many international competitions for surfers. Novices can learn the art of surfing while on vacation here.

9. Playa Negra

Playa Negra is a fabulous surf point for those who are seeking a thrilling challenge. For a hardcore surfer, the incredible surf break with Playa Negra Regional Surf Guideits consistent right hand barrels is really fun to ride. Although the beach is easily reached, the take off zone is a very small area accommodating only about a dozen of surfers. To this date, the black beach is regarded by many veteran surfers to be one of the best surf points in Costa Rica.

10. Playa Dominical

Dominical is one of the better known surf spots of Costa Rica, and even if it’s te number 10 in our Top 10 Surfing Destinations in Costa Rica, it’s worth a visit to check its good waves.

The swells, from the Northwest and the South, hit the open, unprotected beach with their full power. The hollow waves at Dominical are powerful! This is not a beach for beginner surfers or swimmers. The waves are easier to surf during high tide. They become hollower and faster at lower tides. Dominical can hold swells up to 10 feet and waves faces can built up to triple overhead! There is no guarantee for perfect waves here, if the sand banks are not in the right position waves might just be average.

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I hope you liked our Top 10 Surfing Destinations in Costa Rica, please leave us a comment if you have any questions about any of this surfing spots or share your experiences with other travelers

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