12 Best Things to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica: Top Attractions to Visit

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica, is a traveler’s playground, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Start your day catching waves in a surfer’s paradise, even if you’ve never popped up on a board before—local surf schools will have you riding in no time. Take a break from the beach to explore the Tamarindo Estuary, where wildlife abounds and the mangroves tell a story of Costa Rica’s ecological diversity.

Foodies will revel in Tamarindo’s dining scene, where the catch of the day is served up with a side of sunset views. As evening falls, the town’s nightlife beckons. Sip on a cold cerveza or dance the night away under the stars—there’s a vibe for every traveler.

Seeking a quieter moment? Wander down to Playa Langosta for a more serene beach experience. Or, for a different kind of thrill, zip-line through the forest canopy and get an adrenaline rush with a view.

Tamarindo encapsulates the essence of Costa Rica’s pura vida lifestyle. Whether you’re here to chill or chase adventure, this coastal gem delivers, leaving you with memories etched as deeply as footprints in its sandy shores. To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Mojave Desert.

The top places to visit in Tamarindo, Costa Rica right now
This article on the Best Things To Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Places to Visit in Tamarindo

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Tamarindo? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this diverse vacation spot in Costa Rica. So keep reading to discover all these unique Tamarindo places to visit.

Are you looking to go kayaking, try stand-up paddleboarding, and do sport fishing? Or would you prefer to explore the local mangrove and estuary with boat tours and kayak rentals? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Tamarindo can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Tamarindo that you should know about.

1. Tamarindo Beach

If you’re kicking off your Tamarindo adventure, there’s no better start than hitting the famous Tamarindo Beach. This stretch of sand is the heart of the town. It’s a place where the waves are as welcoming to beginners as they are challenging for the pros. The beach is a surf mecca that draws enthusiasts from around the globe. Yet it’s also perfect for those looking to lounge under the sun with a good book.

Among the best things to do in Tamarindo is to enroll in a surf school and test your balance against the friendly swells. The beach is lined with shops ready to outfit you with all the gear you’ll need. Plus, there are expert instructors who can have you standing on a board before you know it. But surfing isn’t the only draw. The beach is also a prime spot for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and simply enjoying a tropical cocktail at one of the many beach bars.

As the sun dips low, Tamarindo Beach transforms. The sky’s palette shifts to warm oranges and pinks, and the beachgoers gather to watch the spectacle. It’s a communal moment, where the day’s excitement winds down to a peaceful close, and plans for the next sun-soaked day begin to take shape.

Exploring Tamarindo Beach is one of the best things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Start your adventure at Tamarindo Beach, a surfing mecca with waves for all levels and a perfect spot for sunbathing.

2. Las Baulas National Marine Park

For a change of pace, head over to the Las Baulas National Marine Park, a haven for nature lovers and a pivotal nesting ground for the endangered leatherback turtles. Visiting this park offers a rare opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. This is especially true during the nesting season from November to April.

The park is not only about turtles; it’s a hotspot for birdwatching and exploring the mangrove forests via kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. The estuaries here are teeming with life, and guided tours can provide insightful commentary on the delicate ecosystems. They also share information about the conservation efforts in place to protect them.

If you’re up for more active pursuits, the park’s trails invite you to hike and discover secluded beaches. Here, the only footprints you’ll find in the sand are your own. It’s a quieter side of Tamarindo’s surroundings, where the hustle of beach life gives way to the whispers of nature.

Remember to check the tour schedules in advance, as the park regulates visitor access to ensure minimal disturbance to wildlife. This commitment to conservation makes every visit here not just a pleasure but also a contribution to the ongoing efforts to preserve Costa Rica’s natural wonders.

Visit Las Baulas National Marine Park, a haven for nature lovers and a crucial nesting ground for endangered leatherback turtles.
Visit Las Baulas National Marine Park, a haven for nature lovers and a crucial nesting ground for endangered leatherback turtles.

3. Playa Grande

Nestled on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Tamarindo offers a surf experience that caters to every level. Beginners flock to the main beach, where the gentle waves provide the perfect setting for your first stand-up on a board. Surf shops and schools line the beachfront, each ready to share the stroke of surfing with eager learners.

For the seasoned surfers, Tamarindo’s Playa Grande is the local secret just a stone’s throw away. It’s known for its consistent breaks and less crowded lineup. This beach is part of the Marino Las Baulas National Park. It’s a protected area that not only offers challenging waves but also a chance to surf among the natural beauty of Costa Rica’s coastline.

After a day riding the waves, the town’s lively atmosphere takes over. The beachfront comes alive with the chatter of surfers sharing their day’s adventures. Local eateries serve up fresh seafood. The sunset sessions are an unmissable Tamarindo tradition. During these sessions, you can watch the sky paint itself in hues of fire as the last surfers catch their final waves of the day.

In Tamarindo, surfing is more than a pastime. It’s a connection to nature, a form of expression, and a continuous celebration of the pura vida lifestyle that defines this corner of Costa Rica.

Surf the local secret, Playa Grande, offers a surf experience for every level.
Surf the local secret, Playa Grande, offers a surf experience for every level.

4. Canopy Vista Tamarindo

Tamarindo’s Canopy Vista Tamarindo offers an exhilarating zip-lining experience that stands out in Costa Rica’s adventure landscape. Here, you’re not just zip-lining; you’re embarking on a journey through the heart of the tropical dry forest, unique to this part of the country.

Strapped securely in your harness, you’ll soar over the treetops, catching glimpses of the Pacific Ocean’s azure waters in the distance. Canopy Vista Tamarindo’s course is designed to thrill with long, fast lines that give you a rush of speed. It also provides a panoramic view that’s hard to beat.

The guides at Canopy Vista Tamarindo are experts not only in safety but also in the local ecology. They offer insights into the flora and fauna that make this region special. Between lines, they’ll share stories about the forest and its inhabitants, turning your adventure into an educational experience as well.

After your zip-lining adventure, take the time to explore the trails that wind through the forest floor. It’s a quieter, more introspective adventure that complements the high-flying excitement of the zip lines. Canopy Vista Tamarindo is more than just an activity; it’s a comprehensive experience that highlights the best of Tamarindo’s natural wonders.

Experience the thrill at Canopy Vista Tamarindo, where an exhilarating zip-lining adventure takes you through tropical dry forests.
Experience the thrill at Canopy Vista Tamarindo, where an exhilarating zip-lining adventure takes you through tropical dry forests.

5. Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour

In Tamarindo, the Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour is a must-do for anyone looking to blend relaxation with a touch of adventure. This sailing experience takes you along the stunning coastline, where the blue of the sky meets the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific.

Your day begins with a warm welcome aboard a spacious catamaran. You can lounge on the netting as the boat glides over the waves. The crew is known for their hospitality. They ensure your glass is never empty and your plate is always full of fresh local snacks.

As the catamaran anchors in a tranquil bay, you have the chance to snorkel among vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. It’s an underwater world that’s easily accessible and endlessly fascinating. For the more adventurous, there’s the option to kayak or paddleboard, adding an active twist to your day at sea.

The return sail is timed perfectly with the sunset, one of the coolest things to do in Tamarindo. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky is a spectacle of colors. You’re in the front row, out on the water. It’s a serene end to an action-packed day. Experiences like the Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour capture the essence of Tamarindo’s coastal charm.

Indulge in the must-do Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour, seamlessly blending relaxation with a touch of adventure.
Indulge in the must-do Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour, seamlessly blending relaxation with a touch of adventure.

6. Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge

If you’re in Tamarindo and looking for a unique experience, the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem. It offers a glimpse into Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystem, a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife. You can find howler monkeys, crocodiles, and a myriad of bird species, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. It’s a stark contrast to the bustling beach scene and a reminder of the natural beauty that lies just beyond the town’s borders.

A guided riverboat tour through the mangroves is the highlight here. As you meander down the estuary, your guide will point out the subtle wonders of this ecosystem. It’s not just about spotting animals; it’s about understanding the intricate balance of this unique environment. The guides are knowledgeable and passionate, often sharing stories and facts that enrich the experience.

For those seeking tranquility, the gentle hum of the jungle and the soft splash of oars in water provide a calming backdrop. It’s a stark contrast to the bustling beach scene and a reminder of the natural beauty that lies just beyond the town’s borders.

The Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge isn’t about the adrenaline rush. Instead, it’s a chance to slow down and appreciate the smaller, often overlooked aspects of the wild. It’s a reminder that sometimes the best adventures are the ones that bring us closer to nature’s quiet marvels.

Explore the Wildlife Refuge is one of the best things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Explore the Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for diverse wildlife, offering a unique glimpse into Costa Rica’s ecosystem.

7. Tamarindo Church

For those who’ve ticked off the main attractions in Tamarindo, the Tamarindo Church offers a unique slice of local life. This isn’t your typical tourist stop. It’s a place where community and culture converge, offering a heartfelt peek into the everyday lives of the town’s residents.

The church itself is modest, but it stands as a beacon of the town’s spirit. Visitors are welcomed to join the services, often followed by community events that are as much social as spiritual. It’s a chance to meet locals, share stories, and understand the fabric that weaves this community together.

Beyond the spiritual, the church often becomes a hub for local events, from charity fundraisers to cultural celebrations. Participating in these events is one of the Tamarindo things to do that gives back to the community.

Engaging with the town through the church’s activities offers a different perspective on Tamarindo. It enriches your travel experience with genuine connections. It’s not just about the sun and surf; it’s about the warmth of its people and shared moments.

Explore local life at Tamarindo Church, a heartfelt slice where community and culture converge beyond the typical tourist stops.
Explore local life at Tamarindo Church, a heartfelt slice where community and culture converge beyond the typical tourist stops.

8. Tamarindo Night Market

If you’re searching for a more off-the-beaten-path experience in Tamarindo, the Tamarindo Night Market is the place to be. Every Thursday evening, the town transforms into a bustling hub of local artisans, food vendors, and live music. It offers a vibrant slice of Costa Rican nightlife.

The market is a feast for the senses. Stalls are laden with handcrafted jewelry, unique souvenirs, and local artwork. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a memento that supports the local economy. Food stands dish out everything from traditional Costa Rican fare to international cuisine. You can taste your way around the globe in just a few steps.

Live performances add to the atmosphere, with local musicians and dancers showcasing their talents. It’s a place where both tourists and residents mingle, drawn together by the shared love of good food, great finds, and lively entertainment.

Visiting the Tamarindo Night Market isn’t just about shopping or eating; it’s about immersing yourself in the community’s pulse. It’s a chance to experience Tamarindo’s dynamic culture and connect with the town in a way that daytime explorations might not reveal.

Experience the Night Market, a Thursday evening transformation into a bustling hub offering a vibrant slice of the nightlife.
Experience the Night Market, a Thursday evening transformation into a bustling hub offering a vibrant slice of the nightlife.

9. Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo is a surfer’s haven, perfect for those eager to ride the Costa Rican waves. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the camp offers tailored surf lessons that cater to every skill level. The instructors are seasoned surfers who prioritize safety and fun. They ensure you get the most out of your time on the water.

The camp isn’t just about surfing; it’s a place to connect. The on-site eatery is a great spot to refuel with some local cuisine after a day on the waves. For those looking to relax, the beachfront location is ideal. You can sunbathe or enjoy a good book with the sound of the ocean as your backdrop.

Witch’s Rock is more than a surf camp; it’s a slice of the Tamarindo lifestyle. The friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere make it easy to see why this spot is a favorite among visitors. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the local surf culture, meet fellow travelers, and create memories that last a lifetime. If you’re looking to add some active adventure to your Tamarindo trip, Witch’s Rock should be on your list.

Surfer's paradise at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, offering tailored lessons for all skill levels by seasoned instructors.
Surfer’s paradise at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, offering tailored lessons for all skill levels by seasoned instructors.

10. Tamarindo Diria Golf Resort

Tamarindo Diria Golf Resort offers a lush escape for those looking to hit the links in a tropical paradise. This well-manicured course provides a challenging yet enjoyable round for golfers of all levels. With its fairways lined by native trees and homes to diverse wildlife, it’s a round of golf accompanied by the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

The resort itself boasts amenities that cater to non-golfers as well, with pools and spa services that promise relaxation. The dining options on-site offer a taste of local and international cuisine. This is perfect for refueling after a day on the green or exploring the town.

One of the best things to do in Tamarindo for those who appreciate golf is Tamarindo Diria Golf Resort. It’s a testament to the variety of activities the town offers. The resort is a place where sport, leisure, and nature coalesce, providing an experience that’s both invigorating and calming. Whether you’re perfecting your swing or enjoying a sunset from the 19th hole, the resort is a highlight. It’s a serene environment for many visitors to Tamarindo to enjoy.

Escape to Tamarindo Diria Golf Resort, a lush tropical paradise offering a challenging yet enjoyable golf experience.
Escape to Tamarindo Diria Golf Resort, a lush tropical paradise offering a challenging yet enjoyable golf experience.

11. Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary Tour

For those seeking a blend of adventure and education, the Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary Tour is a must. Glide through the mangroves in a kayak or on a boat tour, where the natural world is your classroom. You’ll learn about the delicate ecosystems and the myriad of wildlife that calls this place home. The wildlife includes crocodiles, monkeys, and a plethora of bird species.

This tour isn’t just about passive observation. It’s an interactive experience that brings you up close with nature. The guides are knowledgeable and passionate, often sharing stories and insights that enrich the experience. It’s a chance to understand the importance of these environments and see conservation in action.

The mangroves are a stark contrast to the bustling beach life, offering a tranquil retreat. It’s one of the unique things to do in Tamarindo that leaves a lasting impression about the diverse beauty that Costa Rica harbors. The mangrove and estuary tour offers enriching hours for nature enthusiasts or those seeking something different and unique. It leaves you with a deeper appreciation for Tamarindo’s natural wonders.

Experience the Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary Tour, glide through mangroves, and learn about delicate ecosystems and diverse wildlife.
Experience the Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary Tour, glide through mangroves, and learn about delicate ecosystems and diverse wildlife.

12. Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course

Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course offers a unique golfing experience for enthusiasts looking to tee off in paradise. This 18-hole championship course was designed by Mike Young. It stretches across a breathtaking landscape, blending tropical forests with the azure backdrop of the Pacific. The golf course is a challenging yet rewarding round for golfers of all levels.

Golfing at Hacienda Pinilla is one of the best things to do in Tamarindo for those who appreciate the sport. The course is meticulously maintained, with fairways that meander through scenic vistas, offering glimpses of local wildlife along the way. IIt’s not uncommon to spot iguanas basking in the sun or hear howler monkeys in the distance. These experiences add to the immersive Costa Rican golfing experience.

After a round, visitors can relax at the clubhouse, where refreshing drinks and local cuisine await. The friendly staff and top-notch facilities ensure a comfortable and memorable visit. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or looking to try something new, Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course is a must-visit. It’s ideal for a leisurely day on the greens under the warm Tamarindo sun.

Experiencing the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course is one of the best things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Experience golfing paradise at Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course, blending tropical forests with the Pacific backdrop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Tamarindo

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Tamarindo? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Tamarindo:

What makes Tamarindo a unique destination in Costa Rica?

Tamarindo stands out for its vibrant beach culture, consistent surf conditions, and a lively town atmosphere. It’s a hub for both relaxation and adventure, offering a mix of serene beach days and active pursuits like surfing and zip-lining. The town’s diverse dining scene and nightlife add to its appeal as a well-rounded holiday spot.

Can beginners learn to surf in Tamarindo?

Absolutely, Tamarindo is ideal for beginner surfers. The beach boasts consistent waves and numerous surf schools offering lessons. The gentle breaks provide a safe environment for learning, and the warm, inviting waters make it a perfect spot for those looking to catch their first wave.

Surfer walking along the coastline carrying a surfboard during sunset.
Surfer walking along the coastline carrying a surfboard during sunset.

Is Tamarindo suitable for family vacations?

Yes, Tamarindo is family-friendly, with a variety of activities that cater to all ages. From beach outings and surf lessons to wildlife tours and horseback riding, there’s something to keep every family member engaged. Plus, the town offers a range of accommodations to suit different needs and budgets.

What wildlife can you see in Tamarindo?

Tamarindo’s rich ecosystem is home to an array of wildlife, including howler monkeys, iguanas, and a variety of bird species. The nearby Las Baulas National Marine Park is a sanctuary for leatherback turtles, and the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge offers mangrove tours to spot crocodiles and other aquatic creatures.

Are there cultural experiences available in Tamarindo?

While Tamarindo is known for its beaches and nature, visitors can also engage with local culture. The town has art galleries showcasing Costa Rican artists, and the Tamarindo Night Market is a place to experience local crafts, food, and music.

What are the best day trips from Tamarindo?

Day trips from Tamarindo can include visits to Rincon de la Vieja for hiking and hot springs, Palo Verde National Park for river safaris, or a boat trip to the secluded beaches of the Catalina Islands for snorkeling and diving. Each offers a unique way to explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica beyond Tamarindo.

Is Tamarindo Costa Rica worth visiting?

Tamarindo is a must-visit for its perfect blend of natural beauty and tourist amenities. With its renowned surf spots, diverse wildlife, and vibrant nightlife, it offers a quintessential Costa Rican beach experience. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or looking for relaxation, Tamarindo’s charms cater to all.

Closing Thoughts on Exploring Tamarindo

Exploring Tamarindo offers a slice of paradise with a side of adventure. It’s a Costa Rican gem where every traveler can find their niche, from the thrill of riding the Pacific waves to the simple joy of a sunset stroll on the beach.

The town’s laid-back atmosphere is contagious, making it easy to slip into the ‘pura vida’ way of life. Here, the days are as full as you want them to be, packed with outdoor activities, or relaxed and sun-soaked.

Tamarindo is more than a destination; it’s a vibrant experience that stays with you. It’s a reminder that life doesn’t have to be rushed and that sometimes, the best thing to do is just fly to Costa Rica and watch the waves roll in.

The top things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the top things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment