A Few Tips for Spending Time in Tamarindo
This is a collection of some random, yet very relevant, tips for your time in Tamarindo.
1) Wear Bug Spray – The mosquitos can get nasty in Tamarindo if you’re not wearing bug spray, especially in the morning and about an hour before to an hour after sunset. The mosquitos can be completely prevented with some spray, we’d recommend bringing spray with you almost anytime you go out, especially at night.
2) Tipping is Standard – some of the country does not work for tips, but in Tamarindo we have a very americanized culture and tips are a standard addition when dining. We typically tend to tip around 15% to 20% (just like in the states) depending on the service. Many waiters & waitresses prefer to receive tips in cash rather than as a part of your credit card charge so they don’t have to pay the fee’s. If you have cash, use that, otherwise, tipping on a credit card slip is just fine.
3) Beach Vendors are Annoying – you will notice an entire community of beach vendors when you head to the beach during the day. If you want pottery or jewelry they have some nice things, but the vendors can get a little annoying. Just ignore them or waive them off with a “No Gracias” and they’ll keep moving on. There are also some younger “vendors” that try to give you creations (very beautiful) made out of Palm leafs and then request a cash donation, they will hound more than regular vendors but with enough “NO” replies, they will move on.
4) ATM’s – There are a few ATM’s in town. The one we frequent the most is at Plaza Conchal (across from the food court) at the top of the hill. There is an ATM at the Auto Mercado & one at the Diria as well. Most ATM’s will offer you Colones or Dollars, your choice, so be sure to check the exchange rate to see what’s the better deal.
5) Currency – The Costa Rican currency is the Colon, but almost everyone (99%) in Tamarindo also accepts US Dollars. At the time of this writing (Jan 2014) the conversion is approx $20 = $10,000 colones. It’s really easy to figure out how much things cost. Multiply the price by 2 (double it) and then take off three zeros. For example 8,000 colones, doubled is 16,000, then take off three zeros and you get $16.
6) Petty Theft Exists – As a general rule of thumb, don’t leave things sitting around or unattended, they could disappear. Crime is extremely low in Tamarindo, but there is theft, so just be smart about your possessions and you should be just fine. Follow general common sense rules, lock your doors, lock your car, don’t leave things sitting around unattended. It’s simple.