Today’s post takes us to the Northwestern province of Guanacaste and the popular beach town known as Tamarindo. It is the “Jaco” of Guanacaste (as much as Jaco is the “Tamarindo” of Puntarenas). It is a bustling beach community that has become increasingly commercialized over the years. Nevertheless, it is extremely popular for the party atmosphere, beautiful beach and good waves.
Today’s 10 cool things takes a deeper than average look at what there really is to do in Tamarindo (and the surrounding area).
Cool Thing #1: Visit El Viejo Wetlands Wildlife Refuge
El Viejo is a wildlife refuge located about an hour away from Tamarindo. There you can engage in a number of activities, including a boat tour of Palo Verde National Park (great for bird watchers), a canopy tour, a historic tour, or a horseback ride. They have packages that include your selection of some or all of the above activities. Great family fun.
Cool Thing #2: Excursion to Santa Rosa National Park
This is the historic location where in 1856 Costa Rica repelled an invasion attempt by the notorious “filibusterer” William Walker. The epic event was known as “the 2nd battle of Rivas” and it is where a young farmer named Juan Santamaria volunteered to set fire to a farm house known as “La Casona” where Walker’s forces were housed. He was mortally wounded in the attempt, but succeeded and this marked a major turning point that led to Costa Rica’s repelling the invasion attempt. The renovated farm building still stands today and is the park’s major attraction. The park is also home to an important and endangered eco-system, the tropical dry forest. And there you will find the beautiful beaches of Playas Nancite and Naranjo. Naranjo is where the famous Witch’s Rock is located….for the surfers!
Cool Thing #3: Immerse in culture in Guaitil
This tiny little town about an hour away from Tamarindo is famous for one thing, Chorotega pottery. This is a style of making pottery that was handed down by the Chorotega indigenous tribe that once dominated this area in the pre-Columbian era. You will find that almost the entire pueblo is dedicated to the art and there are ample opportunities for buying beautiful pieces there. You will also get the chance to see the process they use from start to finish. Really cool and interesting stuff!
Cool Thing #4: Turtle watching at Playas Grande or Langosta
Beaches in this area are important nesting grounds for many species of endangered sea turtles, including the leatherback, olive ridley, and carey. Playa Grande is most notable for the nesting of giant leatherbacks, which nest there during a period that extends from October to February of each year. Playa Langosta is another nesting ground for this species. The three beaches of Playa Langosta, Grande and Ventanas together form the Las Baulas Marine National Park.
Cool Thing #5: Take a sunset cruise
Tamarindo is known for its spectacular sunsets. A super romantic (and cool) way to see one is on a boat in the ocean. And there are a couple great options in the area for doing so. See website links below.
Cool Thing #6: Go diving or snorkeling
There are some good snorkeling and diving opportunities in the area. Probably the best known and accessible are the Catalina Islands about 10 miles north and 45 minutes out to sea.
Cool Thing #7: Go see the Rincon de la Vieja volcano
Many of our customers want the Arenal and Tamarindo combo, since all their friends have mentioned the Arenal Volcano as a must see in Costa Rica. Well, I am not going to argue with that, but Arenal is too far away from Tamarindo to see in a day’s time. Rincon de la Vieja, however, is close and spectacular. Yes, it is an active volcano. But unlike Arenal, you can hike to the crater. And the Rincon de la Vieja National Park is one of the most beautiful in the country.
Cool Thing #8: Go for a swim at the Llanos de Cortez waterfall
This is a place few know about, except the locals. It is about 20 minutes from Liberia right off the Pan American Highway. From Tamarindo it will take around 1.5 hours to get there. Just a cool place to hang and chill out from the Guanacaste heat. You’ll probably be the only ones there.
Cool Thing #9: Go for a horseback ride on the beach
Well, Guanacaste is the cowboy culture of Costa Rica and there is no better way to partake of that culture than a ride on the beach. You find that opportunities abound for doing so. Take advantage of one!
Cool Thing #10: Play a round of golf
Wait a minute, is golf cool? Well, I guess for its many aficionados it is. Costa Rica is no golf mecca (thank the Lord!), but one area where you can find some good play is Tamarindo. There are actually two gorgeous 18-hole courses nearby, one at Hacienda Pinilla and the other at Westin Playa Conchal Resort.
Hey, writing about these 10 cool things to do in Tamarindo has me itching for a road trip.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that at Package Costa Rica, we can customize Costa Rica vacations to include any or all of these 10 cool things to do in Tamarindo.