Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Last updated
District and Town
Beach Tamarindo, Costa Rica.jpg
The coastline in Tamarindo
Costa Rica location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Costa Rica
Coordinates: 10°17′57″N85°50′24″W / 10.29917°N 85.84000°W / 10.29917; -85.84000 Coordinates: 10°17′57″N85°50′24″W / 10.29917°N 85.84000°W / 10.29917; -85.84000
CountryFlag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Province Guanacaste
  District and Town123.53 km2 (47.70 sq mi)
 (November 2011)
  District and Town6,375
  Density51.6/km2 (134/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-6 (Costa Rica Standard Time)
View of Tamarindo Beach. Vacaciones Tamarindo kids CRC 35 scenic.JPG
View of Tamarindo Beach.

Tamarindo is a town and district of the Santa Cruz canton, located on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Province of Guanacaste. The town of Tamarindo is the largest developed beach town in Guanacaste and the district has a population of 6,375 [1] as of 2011 . Main attractions in the area are surfing and eco-tourism.

Santa Cruz (canton), Costa Rica Cantón in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Santa Cruz is the third canton in Guanacaste Province in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 1,312.27 square kilometres (506.67 sq mi), and has a population of 60,495. Its capital city is also called Santa Cruz.

Nicoya Peninsula peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula is a peninsula on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is divided into two provinces: Guanacaste Province in the north, and the Puntarenas Province in the south. It is located at 10°N 85.4166667°W. It varies from 19 to 37 miles (60 km) wide and is approximately 75 miles (121 km) long, forming the largest peninsula in the country. It is known for its beaches and is a popular tourist destination.

Costa Rica Country in Central America

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a sovereign state in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.


Towns belonging to the district besides Tamarindo include Villarreal, Santa Rosa, Garita Nueva, Hernández and San José de Pinilla. [2]



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 Cabinas 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 June, July and August.

Estuary A partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea

An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.

Some eco-friendly activities that may be done in Tamarindo and neighboring beaches include: watching turtles during their nesting season, diving, snorkeling, body surfing, zip-lining, estuary trips, horseback riding and fishing. During the December to April period when the water turbidity is low, fishing may be done from the shore.

The nesting season is the time of year during which birds and some other animals, particularly some reptiles, build nests, lay eggs in them, and in most cases bring up their young. It is usually in the spring.

The beaches in the area are generally clean and recent efforts by the government and local business organizations are proving themselves. While the beach has not regained its Blue Flag Status, [3] in September 2008 it did get a clean bill of health from the Costa Rican Government. The town is trying to regain its Blue Flag Status. [4]

Common things to do in Tamarindo are: ATV Tours, Estuary Safari, Horseback Riding, Kayak Tours, Massages, White Water Rafting class or Tubing, Tours, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Spa & Beauty, Sport Fishing, Sailing, Sunset Sailing, Surfing Lessons, Tennis Classes, Turtle Nesting Tours and Zip Line / Canopy Tours.


Tamarindo is the most accessible location along the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica with an airstrip. There is a scheduled daily bus service to and from San José, and a paved highway from San José with an average driving time of 3.5 to 6 hours depending on traffic.

Tamarindo Airport airport in Costa Rica

Tamarindo Airport is a private airport that serves Tamarindo, a coastal resort in Guanacaste province, Costa Rica. It receives daily scheduled flights from San José and Liberia, and private charter services are available. During the rainy season, the airport is frequently closed due to the weather.

Panoramic view of Las Baulas National Marine Park and Playa Grande, located 2 km from downtown Tamarindo. Las Baulas National Marine Park Panorama 3 CRI 08 2009.jpg
Panoramic view of Las Baulas National Marine Park and Playa Grande, located 2 km from downtown Tamarindo.

Liberia to Tamarindo

The average driving time from the Liberia international airport to Tamarindo is about an hour along route 21 through Palmira, Filedelfia and Belen, and then on route 155 through Huacas. This route is paved all the way, but with just one lane in each direction. However, just as you reach the small town of Villareal, there is a busy 3-way intersection with route 152. It has no traffic lights but does have proper signalisation. However, it is still wise to be careful as motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians will often go right through the intersection without stopping or even slowing down.

Route 152 into Tamarindo has a steep hill with a blind curve, therefore additional care is needed both entering and leaving Tamarindo. There are also many shops along this route, so it is common for cars to appear without warning. The last turn into town, just as the ocean appears, has a tall cliff on the left with limited views of oncoming traffic. There are often cars and trucks parked on both sides of the road, sometimes leaving only a single lane for vehicles in both directions.


The nearby town of Villareal has a both a public Elementary school and a public High-school, two full size soccer fields, multiple restaurants, two large stores, multiple hardware stores, a police station, a church, several car repair shops and a fuel station.


Just east of the centre of Tamarindo, there is a 3-way intersection. To the left is the road that leads to the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, and also a secondary exit from Tamarindo. To the right is the road that leads to Langosta.

Shopping and Services


A branch office of the regional law firm Expertis Legal is located in Tamarindo center.


There are 4 supermarkets in the area.

Farmers Markets

There is a fair-sized farmers market between the beginning of the road to Langosta every Saturday morning, which has a variety of items for sale, not just food. You will usually find at least a few dozen vendors there. There is also a smaller farmers market in Villareal, at the corner of the soccer field, every Friday morning, but it only has fruits and vegetables.


There are 3 banks in Tamarindo.

Retail shops and restaurants love the American dollar. However, as a rule of thumb, don't use anthing over a $20 bill...forget using a $100. You will get change in colons.

Surf Shops

There are several shops in Tamarindo that sell and rent surf boards. They also sell related equipment and clothing.

See also

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  1. Estadísticas Vitales 2011 - INEC
  2. "Tamarindo" . Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  3. http://www.blueflag.org/
  4. Tamarindo News