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What to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Tamarindo is full of things to do to keep you busy and full of adventures. We have other lists of things to do outside of Tamarindo, but this page is dedicated to activities that are based out of Tamarindo for the most part. Whether you want to learn to surf and take surf lessons, or zip through the canopies or relax on the beach, here is a selection of things that will keep you moving and experiencing Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Surfing – Learn to Surf or Head out to the Waves
Tamarindo is known for its’ perfect waves that range from easy/beginner to pro level surfers and everything in between. Whether you need to take a surf lesson or just want to head out and catch some waves, Tamarindo is packed with surfing options and experiences.
Learn more about Surfing in Tamarindo as well as a complete guide to Surf Instructors in Tamarindo on our page dedicated to surfing: Surfing in Tamarindo
Catamarans & Sail Boats & River Boats in Tamarindo
There are a number of boats in Tamarindo that cater to the booze-cruise crowd, the tour crowd and the fishing crowd. Here are a few of our favorites that we have experienced first hand.
Marlin Del Rey Catamaran (Facebook)
We have been on the Marlin Del Rey more times that we can count and each time it is a fantastic journey. The boats are in great condition and the crew is top-notch. The Marlin is the largest boat in the bay. The tour consists of a sail/motor around up north around the coast line to a secluded cove. Complimentary drinks (adult and kids) are available from the moment you board the boat which makes for a fun adventure. At the cove you can snorkel, swim, paddle board, and enjoy the sun. After water time, lunch (2-3 pm) is served which is typically a delicious bbq chicken, salads, chips and snacks. It’s actually very good! Lunch is followed by a leisurely drive back to Tamarindo for a stunning sunset view, more drinks and some dancing if you’re in the mood. Arrive back in Tamarindo around 6 pm, just in time for dinner.
The Blue Dolphin Catamaran (Facebook)
The Blue Dolphin also leaves from Tamarindo and is a smaller Catamaran. The journey is very similar to the Marlin Del Rey as far as the snorkeling, sunset etc goes. Lunch is also served on the Blue Dolphin. The smaller size of the boat can create a more connected experience if you are with a large group of friends or family. It can also feel a little small if you want more space 🙂 Overall, it’s a great tour and we’d recommend it.
The Antares Sail Boat (Facebook)
The Antares is a beautiful sail boat based out of Tamarindo. The boat itself has an incredible history, be sure to ask for the story from the crew. The Antares is a different type of sailing trip than the catamarans as the Antares is waiter-based vs. self serve based. So drinks and food are brought to you, you don’t go get them yourself. The Antares is not as stable as a catamaran (because it’s a sail boat!) so be sure to medicate yourself if you are prone to sea sickness. The food on the Antares is quite spectacular and a major step up from the other boats in town. The Antares is a little hard to board (via a vertical ladder) so we would not recommend this trip for folks who have any difficulty walking or going up a ladder.
The Tamarindo River Tour
There are a number of local boat owners who offer Tamarindo River tours in their Pangas (the boats in the river). We took our tour with a wonderful man named Victor Hugo. We have also been on the driver named Ruben, he’s the driver to Bula Bula. The River tour is a fun adventure for sure. The first time we went on the tour our family commented the entire time that the tour was exactly what Disneyland tries to create in the jungle cruise, but this was real life! We saw crocs, monkeys, spiders, snakes and more. Be sure to let the driver suggest a time for you based on the tides. The river changes dramatically when the tides go up and down. It’s a super cheap trip ($20-$30 ish?) and really fun to experience, especially the first time.
We have never been sport fishing to be honest, but Tamarindo has a number of charter boats available for half or full day fishing charters. Any tour operator in town can help get you set up with a charter company. If you’re looking for a recommendation, one of our good friends in Tamarindo is a Captain and runs Tamarindo Charter Company (Facebook) – Lee is a great man and has been a captain in the waters around Tamarindo for many years.
ZipLine Tours in Tamarindo
There are quite a few zipline tours outside of Tamarindo, but just recently a new zip line tour opened up right in Tamarindo and it’s a great tour. Everyone we’ve spoken with (including our kids!) have said repeatedly that this is a legit zip line experience and finally you don’t have to drive an hour or two to experience an amazing Costa Rica Zipline adventure.
Hilltop Adventure Park (Facebook)
We were very impressed with the experience and the staff at Hilltop Adventure Park. The kids school (TIDE Academy) took a field trip to the new zip line tour and the staff and students all agreed that it was a fantastic zip line tour right in Tamarindo. We would for sure recommend this tour to anyone looking for a fun lip line experience.
Other things to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Outside of the traditional activities, there are some other fun things to do in Tamarindo that don’t involve booking a tour. Here are a few of our favorites.
Bolas Locas Mini-Golf (Facebook)
We’ve taken a break from the waves a few times and headed over to Bolas Locas Mini-Golf and it’s a pretty fun course. It’s rarely crowded and the 18 hole course offers some challenge while weaving in and out of hoes themed around Costa Rica. If you’re looking for a economical alternative to the beach, mini golf is a good option. Plus you can grab some Ice Cream from Beach Treats when you finish your round!
Rent a Golf Cart
There are a number of locations in Tamarindo to rent a golf cart for the day or for the week. Our Favorite is Pura Vida Electric Cars. They offer golf carts that are more rugged, golf carts that seat 6 people and more. Prices vary based on the duration and features of the specific cart but it’s safe to assume around $50 to $75 a day. Golf carts are fun because they allow you to explore more of town in an open-air vehicle. Drive to the end of Langosta, head up to the hills of Tamarindo or take a drive to the largest grocery store in town (Auto Mercado).
Here is an advertisement we created in partnership with Tamarindo Films for Pura Vida Electric Cars:
Tamarindo Skate Park
It may not be the most impressive skate park in Costa Rica, Tamarindo is proud to have a skate park for skateboarders to enjoy. Can get crowded right after school and on weekends, but it’s a fun place to hit up if you want to get your skate on.
Go for a Walk
By far the cheapest thing on our list, walking can be a fun adventure in Tamarindo. Take a walk from the river all the way to the point on the south side. If the tide is low, you can walk all the way to Langosta to see another beautiful beach. If the beach isn’t your style, head to the hills of Tamarindo for a more secluded jungle walk. To learn more about other options for staying active in Tamarindo see: Exercise in Tamarindo
Day Trips Around Tamarindo, Costa Rica
We have an entire page dedicated to trips outside of Tamarindo, yet there are two that need to be included in this list of Tamarindo activities.
Lola’s Restaurant / Playa Avellanas (Facebook)
If you want to visit one of the most beautiful beaches in the area and sit in a tropical laid back restaurant sipping your favorite cocktail, you can’t skip a trip to Lola’s located at Playa Avellanas. It’s a perfect tropical day. The food at Lola’s is quite spectacular. We love the pizzas, fish and chips, chicken skewers, ahi and so much more. Lolas is about 30 minutes by car from Tamarindo, so if you don’t have a rental car, you can hire a van to take you or you can catch the Avellanas Express Shuttle (Facebook) to bring you over.
Surf Trips around Tamarindo
The big surf shops around town all offer surf trips all over the area. There isn’t a day that goes by without surf trips headed out to the best destinations in Northern Costa Rica, so check with one of the major shops and book your trip.