A wealth of water based activities can be found in Tamarindo: relaxing on the beach, surfing, fishing, speer fishing, sailing, scuba diving, kite surfing, scuba diving & snorkeling, and estuary river boat excursions. You can also indulge in any of the land based activities as well: horseback riding, zip lines, tennis, golf, beach volleyball, hiking, bicycling, shelling, and jeep/ATV tours. If you time your visit right, take advantage of local marathons, triathlons, and standup paddleboard competitions. Tour operators are available in town to arrange excursions for all Costa Rica parks and sites. Finally, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to view nature and wildlife in the areas in and around Tamarindo. There’s so much going on!
After dark, there’s plenty of live music and night club activiy for all age groups. You’ll notice plenty of postings on town telephone polls and in the shops. Typcially an earlier entertainment program for the ‘older’ crowd who wants in bed before 11pm, and a a later club scene lasting into the wee hours for a more youthful party group. “Lose your wallet” at the Diria Casino.
- Mini golf, especially fun at night when it cools off. BYOB.
- Sunset Sail tour, includes lunch and beverage, snorkeling, some offer a kayak,
etc. In my experience, the Marlin del Rey is the fun ‘party boat’. As the largest catamaran in the harbour, you’ll meet people from all over the world. Boats typically leave around 1pm from the beach just south of Noguis. Favourites are: Blue Marlin, Antares.
- The Beach, main attraction.
- Surfing and Surf lessons. Available everywhere. We’ve had good luck (all ages) with Neptuno, Matos, and Kellys; basically all just out the front door from the condo community. Check in with these shops for best local breaks.
- Stand Up Paddleboard. Available in Tama Bay, or better yet, Las Catalinas.
- Mtn Biking: Las Catalinas, with bike rentals. All levels.
- Golf: at Reserva Conchal (Robert Trent course) or Hacienda Pinilla (Mike Young course)
- Don’t miss sunset on the beach, a nightly ritual. Prepare yourself in advance with bug spray, as the “no see ums” like to feast at sunset.
- Feria, or farmer’s market in Tama on Saturday mornings. Food, crafts, entertainment, etc. A Thursday night feria has been added, basically a low key fiesta/gathering of the local talent and treats.
- There may be a fiesta in the neighboring town of Villa Real or in the region. If so, take advantage local cultural attraction. The kids will enjoy it too. Bullfighting, carnival, food, etc Costa Rica style. Quite often there’s a parade through town in advance of the fiesta. Go after dark for the most excitement.
- Leatherback Turtles come nest on the Playa Grande beach typically late November to January. One goes to witness this wonder of nature at night. If you consider going, make sure the turtles are coming ashore and that they are being seen. Ask around before you book this.
- Los Altos de Euros Spa. (Women will especially enjoy this) They can pick you up at the condo. http://losaltosdeeros.com/
- Revive Wellness Spa Tamarindo: fitness, massage, couples massage, yoga, other wellness. It’s the best, and at the beach! http://www.revivewellnesslangosta.com/
- Tour to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano You can easily drive here for a fun day / overnight trip. Try out one of the ‘lodges’ for many bundled activities.
- Live music Don’t miss Joe Hrbek saxophone (from Brooklyn), and the talented Jesse Bishop. These musicians play around town with various names/groups. There’s an open mike night at Pasa Tiempo .
- Food Trucks selling fresh pineapple, etc. and “lunch lady” parked on the main street daily. Also, farmer’s market in Villa Real every Monday and Friday.
- Don’t miss a Pipa from Dennis, coconut water fresh from the coconut. Very healthy. You’ll hear Dennis on the street and see him pushing his little cart, he’s a character with big voice. I don’t buy pipas from anyone else; just to support this community institution.
- Spend the day in Avellanas at Lola’s. It’s another festive beach, with palm trees, excellent food and drink, and very laid back. Almost like the CR version of Margaritaville.
- Sailing in Potrero Bay. If you know how to sail (or want to learn), you can rent small boats. Safe and fun. http://costaricasailing.com/sailingschoolblog/
- Pura Adventura: zip lines, horseback, mtn bike. Just outside of 27 de Abril. Closer in adventure and quality operation. About a 20 minute drive from Tama. http://www.canopypuraaventura.com/
- Sportfishing: many boats for full day or half day, out of Tamarindo. My favourite has been Kingfisher II, out of Potrero Bay (about 35 minutes north)
- Sometimes there are vendors offering Parasailing and wave runners off the beach. It’s a free for all, no regulation or licensing required. I’ve not tried either of these in Tama.
- ATV tours seem to be popular, though many of the companies take you on the principal backroads rather than real trails in the jungle. Those roads are dusty, and get boring quickly.
- I’ll suggest Don Grant from Get Lost in Costa Rica getlostincostarica.com as a guide I trust. He’ll show you a good time for whatever adventure you’d like to try. He works well with families, and accommodates all ages. Consider him your cheer leader and guide.
NOTE: As Tama is a tourist destination, you’ll find everyone wants to sell you a tour or activity. Try to find one source you trust, as I did with Don Grant (above).