While we initially had some reservations about including a place nicknamed “Tamagringo” in our travel plans we have no regrets about the time spent in this lively Costa Rican town. There are certainly other places to go in Costa Rica to get off the beaten path but if you don’t mind venturing to well-known, popular destinations or just prefer more modern conveniences we would not hesitate to recommend a stop in Tamarindo. We spent three lovely nights here witnessing fantastic sunsets, trying our luck at surfing, and taking a couple of road trips. Overall, while I often prefer solitude and seclusion there’s something about Tamarindo that has my heart aching for a return trip. Fingers crossed, someday!

looking down the beach in tamarindo costa rica

Why we love Tamarindo:

  • Laid back fun with lots of things to do for all ages
  • Choice of restaurants, liveliness, and nightlife
  • Big beach for finding space, water sports, surfing.
  • Easy to set up base for day trips up and down the coast.

Things to do:

  • Very calm waters for beginner level surfers or take a tour out to the bigger waves
  • Day trip for a mountain bike ride at Las Catalinas (https://www.puravidaride.com/mountain-bike/)
  • Day trip for beach hopping at Playa Avellanas, Playa Grande, Playa Conchal


  • Surf Shack for burgers and shakes
  • Eat At Joe’s has a nice traditional menu, fun drinks for the kids, and a sweet ocean view on the beach
  • Green Papaya for chilling on a swing while enjoying your shrimp tacos
  • Antichi Sapori: honestly the best pizza we’ve ever had. The owner is from Italy and puts great effort and pride into his saucy creations.


  • We stayed at Capitan Suizo because of the great reviews and cute bungalows. It’s also located down the beach from town so offers a little bit of seclusion away from the crowds but is still within walking distance of all the action. The open air restaurant served a great selection of drinks and a wonderful buffet breakfast every morning. We booked surf lessons through the hotel, which was a convenient option.  They work with great people and include additional board rental time when booking through them. Sometimes you think you might want to try new places when you return to a destination but if we go back to Tamarindo we will definitely be staying at Capitan Suizo.
pool view at capitan suizo tamarindo costa rica

Extra Tips:

Many people will recommend splitting a Costa Rica trip into 3-4 destinations and yes, this a decent starter trip or introduction to the country and all that it offers. But the best way to get to know an area is to spend more time there and Tamarindo is a destination you could easily spend a week at and never get bored…unless you want to!

howler monkey in tamarindo
playa conchal
large iguana in tamarindo