Totally Tamarindo: Ten Things to Do in Costa Rica’s Most Popular Tourist Destination

¨You don’t start work today.¨My workaway boss informed me when I arrived to Aldea Hostel in San Jose, ¨I don´t want you to waste your time- go somewhere fun, take a trip.¨

A quick google search revealed that there was a direct bus leaving at 230 to a beach town called Tamarindo. 5 hours. I could do that.

I threw my stuff into my backpack, got to the bus station and hopped on. Google images had shown pictures of pristine beaches, perfect for surfing. After my month in New England, all I wanted was a chance to stretch out in the sun. Below are ten activities you can do on a tight budget ($25.00 or less per day) in Tamarindo.

Stay At Sunset Hostel and Hang out On The Roof

I stayed at Sunset Hostel in Tamarindo. This ended up being the perfect choice for me. It was less than five minutes away from the bus stop, and directly above a grocery store. Since I did the majority of my own cooking in Tamarindo, it was perfect. Additionally, the hostel staff had great vibes, and were willing to help you with anything you had questions about. Perhaps the best feature of this hostel was the rooftop. Everyone staying there seemed to be trying to do the same thing: explore Tamarindo on a budget. When I was at the hostel, we would bring all of our food and drinks on the roof, lay out in the hammock, enjoy music, and tell stories. I was only there for four nights, but the ambiance found in this hostel helped me to make friends quickly. And, it gets better. This place was only five minutes away from the beach. Although it was the only hostel I stayed at in Tamarindo, I definitely recommend checking it out.

Learn To Surf

Hostels will help you to book surfing lessons in Tamarindo, and they are usually less than $30.00. If you already know how to surf, than you can skip the lesson, rent a board and spend the entire day enjoying the waves. Surfing is a very common activity and you can either go solo or with a group of your friends. As you travel through Costa Rica, you will not regret this choice. Surfing is incredibly fun, and after you pick it up, you can do it at many of the other beaches in this beautiful country.

Have a Picnic on The Beach

Fruits and vegetables were not expensive in Tamarindo, but meat and cheese were. For this reason, I recommend buying fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, making food at the hostel, grabbing your scarf or towel and heading to the beach. There is nothing like a good beachside picnic. It’s beautiful, cheap and you will basically have the place to yourself.

Take a Boat To The Little Island off The Coast of Tamarindo, and Enjoy Your Own Private Beach

If you walk to the end of the Beach in Tamarindo, you will see one, maybe two small boats. You can take this boat over to the island across from the main bay of Tamarindo. The boat costs only 100 colones round trip. Once there, you will have the entire beach to yourself, a and you can hunt for seashells, hermit crabs or driftwood. You can also just enjoy having the entire beach to yourself.

Dance at Pacifico

Pacifico is a local club in Tamarindo. When I was there, there was no cover. The club has great live music, a fun ambiance, and lots of people. It is within walking distance from all of the restaurants, pubs and bars; and, more importantly, the beach. Happy Hour is from 6-8pm, and it’s a great way to save on drinks.
Buy Costa Rican Juice and Sip It in The Sunshine

After a night of dancing at Pacifico, you’ll wake up needing breakfast. Luckily, Costa Rica has a lot to offer! Not only is the coffee in Central America absolutely amazing, but every restaurant will serve Costa Rican Juice: fresh fruit, of your choice put through a blender with ice, and just a little bit of water. Cool and refreshing, it is a perfect was to start your day. In Tamarindo, I treated myself to one of these every morning, after making myself fruit salad, yogurt and coffee at my hostel. Every juice I sipped was worth the 750 colones (about $1.50 USD).

Read in A Hammock

My hostel not only had excellent wifi, but a hammock outside as well. While there, I frequently enjoyed reading in the hammock to relax. If your hostel doesn’t have one, there are plenty of places to set one up at the beach, and some of the beaches already have them set up for you.
Watch The Beachside Sunset and do some Yoga

Tamarindo is known for it’s incredible beachside sunsets. Almost everyone heads to the beach to watch the sun fall behind the waves and admire the magnificent skyline. One of the best times to do yoga is at the end of the day, and when you are surrounded by the sounds of a peaceful harbour and sights of beautiful pink skies, you can not help but feel at peace.

Go To Happy Hour At Any of The Beautiful Restaurants Abutting the Beach

All the restaurants in Tamarindo offer a happy hour complete with daily drink specials. Nogui’s at the beach is one such place offering incredible happy hours. With chairs facing the beautiful surf, delicious food and beverages and excellent staff, it is impossible to feel stressed in this atmosphere.

Look For Wildlife as You Explore the Beachside

Tamarindo is home to much of the Costa Rican Wildlife. Not only can you find small hermit crabs crawling along the shores; you can also find dolphins, turtles and monkeys. Additionally, you may see enormous grasshoppers, which are startling at first, and then they become interesting. If you are really feeling adventurous, for a small fee you can ride horses up and down the beach.

So, after all of that, here are 10 things for you to do in Tamarindo that won’t blow your budget! Happy travels!


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