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?
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
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Never hang a purse or bag on the back of your chair at a restaurant.
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoid people trying to “help” you at the bus station.
- 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:
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.