What to Expect: A Month-By-Month Guide to Tamarindo’s Dry Season

Hey!  Great news!  The rainy season is ending and the dry season is starting!

In the coming months, the province of Guanacaste where Tamarindo is located will receive little or no rain.  The weather forecast from now until sometime in May is:  HOT AND SUNNY!!  This is a great time to book a Tamarindo vacation rental and come enjoy the sun with us.

Following is a month-by-month idea of what to expect during the dry season in Tamarindo.

December

December is gorgeous.  The countryside is still green from the rains that fell in the rainy season, but the sky is blue, and the wind is off-shore in the mornings.  It still sometimes turns on-shore during the middle of the day, but this does have an advantage that you might not be aware of.  Yes, it will mess up your mid-day surf, but it keeps the water temps warm by pushing the top sun kissed layer of water toward the beach.

Overlooking green Tamarindo under December’s clear sky.

December evenings can be cool enough to be comfortable even without a/c.

December marks the start of the Papagayo winds.  Papagayo winds are a seasonal north wind that blows through the western regions of Costa Rican and Nicaragua from December through March.  This pattern is so consistent that locals exclaim, “It feels like Christmas!” every time a stiff north breeze begins to blow.  Expect sun and lots of cooling breezes in December in Guanacaste.

December is a great month to try your luck at Tamarindo Sportfishing.

January

January is hotter than December.  The mountains are dry by January, while a little green may remain in the countryside in low-lying areas that retain a bit of water.  Trees drop their leaves and take a little rest. The breeze that started in December has increased into a full-on wind that often blows 24 hours a day.  The ocean water temperature drops considerably as the off-shore wind pushes the sun-warmed surface layer out to sea and the cold water wells up from underneath.

How’s this for a January day at the beach?

Expect hot.  Expect wind.  Expect sun.  January is a great time to escape the cold of the north and head to the tropics.

In January, get in on a Tamarindo turtle tour to watch the Baula sea turtles lay their eggs.

February

February is hotter than January.  It is also windier.  In January, you thought it couldn’t possibly get any windier, but guess what.  It can!

February brings dry hills and bright flowers to Guanacaste.

By February, the countryside in Guanacaste is dry.  The trees that dropped their leaves at the start of the dry season do the last thing you would expect:  they burst into bloom.  Throughout the month of February, driving through the dry Guanacaste country side, you will find the hills peppered with pink trees, yellow trees, purple trees, white trees…  It’s a different aesthetic than the lush green of the rainy season, but just as beautiful in a more surprising way.

Take an Arenal tour in February.  Chances are good for clear weather and great volcano views.

March

March is hotter than February.  In February, you thought it couldn’t possibly get any hotter, but guess what.  It can!  March is kind of a wild card, but here’s what you can be sure of:  it’s going to be hot, sunny, and windy.

Looking onto the dry Tamarindo hills from the water under a March full moon.

At some point in March, we often begin to note the approaching change of seasons back to the rainy pattern, although don’t expect to get wet.  The ocean water is still spring-suit temperatures because of the months of off-shore winds, but those winds begin to calm in March.  They may stop altogether for several hours or several days.  The sky clouds over from time to time and the air begins to feel humid.  Locusts start to sing in the trees.  Now locals say, “It feels like Semana Santa!” which means Holy Week, or Easter.

During your March visit to Tamarindo, spend a day at the Buena Vista Lodge and Adventure Center at the Rincon de La Vieja National Park.  It will be a day you will never forget!

April

We may or may not get our first rain shower of the year in April.  It still isn’t the rainy season, so don’t worry.  The trees in Guanacaste somehow sense the rains approaching, and push bright new leaves even though not a drop has fallen.  The Papagayo winds that sandblasted everybody at the beach and turned the water chilly at the beginning of the year are pretty much over by April.  Mornings and evening breezes are off-shore, and during the day wind direction is 50/50.

An April zip-line ride through the tropical dry forest at its driest.

We kind of hate to say this, but April is hotter than March.  It’s really hot.  If you love to be hot, you should plan to come to Tamarindo in April.  It will be perfect for you.

If you visit us in April, cool off with a Monteverde tour of the mountainous regions and cloud forest.

May

If the rains haven’t begun in earnest at the end April, they will most likely begin in May, thus bringing an end to the dry season.  And how do Tamarindo locals feel about the end of the dry season?  We love it just as much as we love the beginning of it.  There’s only one thing we love as much as when the rainy season ends, and that’s when it starts again!

The clouds return in May, with beautiful sunsets and showers to follow

We love the dry season’s sunny days, crisp Papagayo winds and clear, starry nights.  But by the time May rolls around, we’re ready for a good thunder storm to cool us down, settle the dust, and bring the color green back to Guanacaste.  We’re ready to put away our spring suits and surf in just our bathing suits.  We’re ready for a break from the wind and happy to enjoy the lazy cover of afternoon clouds.

Be sure to take a Tamarindo Snorkeling tour during your May visit.  The water should be warm and clear.

There’s no wrong time to visit Costa Rica or Tamarindo.  Each month of the year has its own magic.  With the dry season coming on strong, book your trip now for guaranteed sunshine and good time.  Find out what your own favorite thing about the dry season in Tamarindo is!


The Most Magical Night You Will Ever Spend at The Beach: Baula Turtle Nesting

By OneJungleMonkey, your expat expert on all things Tamarindo

Hey!  So you’re coming to Tamarindo.  And, yay, you’re coming during Baula (Leatherback) turtle nesting season!  Obviously, you’re going to want to sign up for a tour to see these incredible prehistoric mega-turtles.  The nesting of the giant Baula sea turtles is one of the most amazing things you will see during your visit to Costa Rica—and you will see a lot of amazing things.  I’ve seen a lot of amazing things myself.  I’ve lived in Costa Rica, mostly in Tamarindo, since 1995 and boy do I have some stories to tell.  I’ll be blogging about them for you so that when you get here, you’ve got some inside local knowledge tucked in with your passport.

Leatherback turtles are rarely seen on the beach in the daylight. This one was caught by a photographer and an early dawn.

Before you even have time to ask, let me tell you:  yes you do need to sign yourself up for a “Tamarindo tour turtle” to see these turtles.  Playa Grande, where this endangered species lays its eggs, is a national park and is highly patrolled during the night to keep people from bothering the turtles or stealing their eggs.  Turtle eggs are yummy, or at least some people think they are, and humans cause leatherback turtles enough problems without also eating future generations!  If you are caught wandering Playa Grande after dark without special permission, you will be escorted from the park by some unhappy park rangers.

The turtle nesting tours take place a night at Las Baulas National Park because the turtles only come out of the water in the dark.  They can’t run, and they don’t have big teeth, sharp claws or terrifying roars, so the cover of night is their best defense against predators.  They return, year after year, to the beach where they hatched, to dig a hole, lay their eggs, bury the eggs, and return to the water.  During this process, the turtles appear to be in a trance-like state in which they ignore us completely.  Believe me–when you’re standing there in the night on the dark star-peppered beach watching this giant prehistoric creature do something it does over and over for perhaps up to 100 years…it’s pretty amazing.


Photo credit: Ticotimes.net, David Clow

I saw the sea turtles twice, both times many years ago.  I’ve chosen not to go back because honestly, I think (or imagine?) that our presence bothers them somehow, no matter how unobtrusive we attempt to be.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t go!  I just mean I’ve had my turn—two of them, in fact.  Both times I was lucky enough to actually see a turtle.  You don’t always.  Wild animals are like that.  The park guides can predict what time the tide will be right for turtles to appear, and that’s about it.  Not every turtle tour sees a turtle, just like not every fishing trip produces a meal.

First, your group meets up on the Tamarindo side of the estuary where the park guides give a briefing:  No noise, no camera flashes or lights of any kind, etc…  Light and noise are very upsetting to nesting turtles who want nothing more than to be alone in the dark to lay their eggs.

Next, you go down to the estuary and get in a boat that takes you to the other side.  You have to stay together as a group when you get to Playa Grande, and this is for several reasons.  One reason is, as I mentioned, it’s illegal for people to be wandering around on the beach where turtles are trying to nest.  The more we leave them alone, the better, and the national park employs guards to enforce this.  Another is that the only lights allowed are the ones the guides have.  If you wander off, you won’t be able to see.  It’s amazing how well your eyes adjust to the dark and how not-dark the beach is at night, especially on clear nights with starlight or moonlight, but still—stick together because if your guide receives a call on his radio from a monitor stationed down the beach stating that there is a turtle coming out of the water, you don’t want to be left behind.

tamarindo turtle tours
Photo credit: The Howler Magazine

 

It’s a little hard to describe the magical eeriness of watching a prehistoric turtle almost the size of a VW bug emerge from the sea in the dark and drag itself up onto the land.  It is stunningly clear that these turtles are not land animals.  I mean, all turtles are slow, but a Baula sea turtle in the sand can barely move.  The amount of effort it takes them to drag their immense bodies, so agile in the water, from the water across the sand past the high tide mark is almost inconceivable.  It takes a long time.  No drama, no excitement, just an immense amount of work for this turtle, who may be up to 100 years old, crawls to the spot she chooses on instinct, clumsily digs a hole in the sand with her flippers, positions herself, and drops dozens of eggs into it.  That finished, she will use her flippers to push sand back into the hole on top of the eggs.  Then she laboriously turns and crawls back to the water.

tamarindo turtle tourContact our local experts to book your Tamarindo turtle tour and experience magic in Costa Rica!


Planning A Costa Rica Thanksgiving in Tamarindo

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November is nobody’s favorite month–unless you’re in Costa Rica.  Here, November is the most beautiful month of the year!  It’s green, not too hot, and the rain is usually over, so… of course it’s a family favorite destination for Thanksgiving!

You have two things to get sorted out about a Costa RicaThanksgiving in Tamarindo:  what to do about the meal, and what to do with the day.

We have three great ideas for you about how to come up with a Tamarindo Thanksgiving dinner for your family and friends.

costa rica thanksgiving

  1. You can cook it yourself in your Tamarindo vacation rental, hire a chef to cook it for you in your vacation rental or make reservations at one of our Tamarindo restaurants.

Costa Rica thanksgiving

Photo credit: rawpixel

Auto Mercado is the American-style grocery store just on the outskirts of Tamarindo, and guess what.  They carry frozen turkeys.  You’ll pay more for a turkey here in Costa Rica than what you would in the US, but remember that Thanksgiving isn’t a Costa Rican holiday, nor are turkeys something that Costa Ricans traditionally eat.  Run out there and get one right away if you like baking these birds because there are lots of Thanksgiving dinners being made in Tamarindo and only one place to buy a turkey.  You can buy all the other Thanksgiving dinner ingredients there as well:  potatoes, vegetables, bread for stuffing, bouillon cubes, yams, pumpkin for the pies, Crisco for the crusts, and whipped cream for the top.  Hurry up, though.  There’s going to be a run on celery and prepared pie crusts any minute.

auto mercado

2. Private chefs are the ideal way to get the most out of your Tamarindo Thanksgiving. Spend the day enjoying your family and your Tamarindo Vacation rental while your chef prepares you a meal to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your home. Let someone else take care of the planning, the shopping, the cooking, the serving and the clean-up while you take care of the relaxation.

Photo credit: Sander Dalhuisen

3. The third option you have for Thanksgiving in Tamarindo is to enjoy a meal at one of our restaurants. The favorite, by far, is Pangas Beach Club.  Pangas Beach Club, sitting alongside the peaceful beauty of the estuary right on the sand of Tamarindo beach, is cooking up the best Thanksgiving dinner in town.  It starts out with a salad bar, moves along to squash soup and then the full meal: turkey baked in a Guanacaste-style outdoor oven, stuffing, gravy, almond green beans, mashed potatoes, and mashed sweet potatoes.  Dessert, of course, follows.  Pumpkin pie or pecan pie–you decide.

 

Pangas costa rica

So there you go.  One of these options will solve the riddle about where dinner is coming from.

If you choose not to do the cooking yourself, the next question is what to do with the rest of the day.  Chances are, it’s going to be gorgeous.   Top three choices are:

  1. Spend the day at the beach. Surf, swim, take a beach walk and feel thankful for a warm day in a sunny place.

tamarindo vacation rental

  1. Enjoy the amenities of your luxury Tamarindo vacation rental like the pool, the a/c, the comfy couches and the oversized flat screen tv. Do nothing–you’re on vacation.

costa rica vacation rental

3. Do something unforgettable that you and your family will remember for years to come. How about the thrill of a zip-line on Thanksgiving day?  Go kayaking up the estuary with a knowledgeable local guide.  Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Costa Rica, so everything is open–no worries about that.  Have you booked a surf lesson yet?  That would be a way to make sure this Thanksgiving day is one nobody in your family will ever forget.

Photo credit: Anita Denunzio

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo has the connections you need to make your tropical Thanksgiving fantastic.  We still have a few last minute rental options open, so contact us if you’re looking for a place to stay.  If you’ve got accommodations sorted out already, but need to make dinner or activity plans, let us help you.  We can get you a chef, a reservation at Pangas, and a day of Thanksgiving adventures–but hurry!


The 5 Best Beaches Within 30 Minutes of Tamarindo

Tamarindo

The best beach within 30 minutes of Tamarindo is, of course, Tamarindo!  We’re not saying this because we’re biased Tamarindo residents or anything, we’re saying this because it’s empirically true.  You’ll see.  Why is Tamarindo Beach the most awesome beach in Guanacaste?  Here are 5 reasons:

  1. It’s sandy. Big deal?  Yes.  A rocky beach is a lot less fun to walk or sunbathe on.  It’s a lot trickier to swim at a rocky beach, and meetings with rocks do not make for great surf lessons.  For a laid back beach vacation, you definitely want a sandy beach like Tamarindo.
  2. It’s in the back of a bay. This means a normal day in Tamarindo has gentle or no ocean currents and small to medium sized waves.  If you’re a solid surfer looking for barrels, you may find them here or you may have to pick one of our other 5 faves.  But no matter,  we think Tamarindo still wins because the rest of your family / travel group will be able to have a great, safe day doing what they do while you’re off tearing it up.
  3. It’s gorgeous. It just is.  The mountains, the bay, the boats at anchor, the lava rock outcroppings, the royal palms and the quaint little restaurants along the beach…  Come on.  It’s the best.

  1. Everyone can surf. Yes, even you.  The Tamarindo surf has something for everyone.  If you’re a beginner, it’s the ideal place to learn.  If you are an experienced surfer, paddle out at the main beach or at the estuary within 2 or 3 hours of the high tide and you’ll catch hours of fun rides.
  2. It’s Activity Central. You don’t have to bring the kitchen sink to the beach with you in Tamarindo.  You can buy beverages and food, the sunscreen you forgot, flip flops when the tide comes in and makes off with yours, you can go for a meal, get a massage, or even decide it’s time to head for the shade but still enjoy sitting on the beach in Tamarindo, because, as you can see, TAMARINDO HAS IT ALL.

But, venture out during your stay in Tamarindo and be amazed by beautiful beaches, gorgeous wildlife and more. Make sure you pack you beach bag before leaving your Tamarindo vacation rental and get ready for a day of adventure and relaxation.  There are other amazing beaches to see nearby, and you can enjoy Tamarindo when you come back from exploring.

 

#1 Top Pick:  Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is our number one favorite beach after Tamarindo.  You will never find another beach like it in Costa Rica, maybe not in the world.  The word “concha” in Spanish means “shell,” and as its name suggests, Playa Conchal entirely covered in seashells.  As in, there’s no sand–just shells.

We’re not exaggerating, but you might have to see it to believe it.  In fact, we suggest that you do.  Years ago, Playa Conchal was covered with shells of all shapes and sizes, but today, due to its popularity, it is mostly covered with pieces of shells.  Thank you very much, Everybody In The World, for helping yourselves to what belongs in Costa Rica.  It’s still an amazing beach to visit, still completely unique, and is still a great place to snorkel.  You can’t surf at Conchal, but you can explore the tidepools, stroll, swim, and hunt for pretty shells.  But do the beach a favor and put them back please.  Playa Conchal needs its shells.  It doesn’t know what to be without them.

 

#2 Top Pick:  Playa Brasilito

Brasilito is the cool little fishing village that you have to go through to get to Playa Conchal.  For some reason, whereas many of Guanacaste’s beach towns have become modern meccas of luxury, Brasilito remains a quaint fishing village of a traditional Costa Rican style.  We love it!

Enjoy a Costa Rican meal for a Costa Rican price.  Wander around through the little streets past souvenir shops, simple homes, small groceries, and on to the sandy beach.  Brasilito is safe for swimming, a relaxing spot to bask in the sun, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a surfable wave.  Most visitors combine a visit to Conchal with a visit to Brasilito since one is on the way to the other.  For as close to each other as they are, the vibe, the scenery and the beach itself is so completely different that they could just as well be 100 miles apart.  Go check it out.

 

#3 Top Pick:  Playa Langosta

Langosta Beach is a must-see, especially if your starting point is Tamarindo.  Langosta is our sister beach to the south and you can get there without actually leaving town.

Langosta Beach

Just like Brasilito and Conchal are radically different, you won’t believe how different Langosta is from Tamarindo. Langosta’s geography is much more open to the deep water, so the waves in Langosta are significantly bigger and stronger than Tamarindo’s waves.  Surfers love this, of course, but Langosta isn’t only for surfers.  Langosta beach at low tide is a beautiful place for beach-walking, shell-hunting (admire and put back, please), tide pool-snorkeling and for watching the spectacular tropical sunsets.

 

#4 Top Pick:  Playa Avellanas

Avellanas is a spectacular beach, and deserving of a day of your vacation.  You can walk for miles along Playa Avellanas and the series of small sandy beaches it connects to as you go north from the spot you’ll park.

Avellanas is a great beach for surfing, with waves that are generally bigger than Tamarindo’s waves, but is not rocky like Langosta, so non-surfers will have a better time swimming or finding a spot to sunbathe or relax.  The popular Lola’s Restaurant by the parking area in Avellanas is a great place to have a cool drink in the shade, or get lunch.  Playa Avellanas has a fabulous laid-back vibe and is by far one of the most beautiful beaches you will find in Costa Rica.  Take it from the locals who have seen a lot of Costa Rica’s beaches!

 

#5 Top Pick:  Playa Grande

If you’re a die-hard surfer, you might shuffle Playa Grande to the number one spot.  Playa Grande, as its name suggests, is a very big beach, and there are lots of breaks along the sand it spans.  Playa Grande is our next-door neighbor, beginning on the other side of the Las Baulas estuary, and stretching for miles.

The Las Baulas National Park, dedicated to the preservation of the nesting grounds of giant Baula sea turtles, encompasses all of Playa Grande, meaning that the coast line is almost completely untouched.  This is a huge plus if you are a sea turtle, a surfer, a fish, a bird, a mangrove tree or a lover of long solitary beach runs.  It’s not such a huge plus if you like the easy life with beach chairs, umbrella-decorated drinks, and nearby sources of water, or shade.  You can get to Playa Grande by taking a boat across from Tamarindo across the estuary, or you can drive there.  The drive will set you down in a small collection of hotels, restaurants and grocery stores, so don’t think we mean you will be completely removed from civilization in Playa Grande.  The one thing you don’t want to do is attempt to walk, swim or paddle across the estuary to Playa Grande from Tamarindo.

Large volumes of water move through the channel and it is not walkable.  Large crocodiles also reside there, making a swimming or paddling a bad idea if you like your spot at the top of the food chain.  Boats are cheap and run all day.  Take one.

Ready to hit the beach now?  Get your passport, get a hat, and get down here.  Our Concierge can answer any further questions you have about what to do during your Tamarindo vacation, and help you get set up.  Contact us today and we will assist you in booking your next trip and planning all your adventures!


Casa Xanadu Featured Property of the Month

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Our feature property this month is a beautiful 4-bedroom classic Tamarindo beach house called Casa Xanadu. Casa Xanadu is perched on top of the mountain above the beach, and it offers an ocean view that does not stop!

Casa Xanadu Balcony

Between the comfort of the open breezy home, the refreshing infinity pool and the mesmerizing view, you will for sure not want to leave when it’s time to go.
Casa Xanadu sleeps 8, which makes it great for groups of friends traveling together or family combinations where Grandma comes along or Aunt Sally and Uncle Mike bring the cousins.

Casa Xanadu Master Bedroom

Families with older children who can swim will love how the pool keeps the kids busy all day long while the grown-ups enjoy relaxing in the rest of the house.

Casa Xanadu Pool

Surfers will love watching the breaks along Playa Grande from the pool and the terraces of Casa Xanadu.
The whole house is air conditioned, of course, and the kitchen has got everything you can imagine needing. No one in your group feels like cooking while on vacation? No problem! Our Concierge can set you up with a chef who can come to the house to do all the meal prep and service for you.

Casa Xanadu Kitchen

At Casa Xanadu, you’ll definitely want rental cars to ferry you up and down the hill, and our concierge can get that set up for you, too. All of Tamarindo, with its fun bars, wide variety of restaurants, many languages, and colorful shopping opportunities lies along the coast just below Casa Xanadu.

Casa Xanadu Sky View

There are so many exciting things to do in and around Tamarindo that we can’t begin to list them all—you’ll have to contact our Concierge who is the local specialist in fun times and will help you narrow it down.
Right now, as the rainy season concludes, all of Tamarindo is lush and green and the views from Casa Xanadu are especially pretty.

Casa Xanadu Costa Rica

Rainy season sunsets are the ones that spark spectacular displays of color, so take our advice, get those flip-flops into the suitcase, grab your passport and get to Casa Xanadu as fast as you can.


How to Be Healthy During Your Tamarindo Vacation

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Tamarindo is the perfect vacation destination for health-minded travelers. Pretty much everything you need is within walking distance, it’s never too cold to be outside doing something fun and active, and fresh fruits, vegetables and fish abound. Healthy people are attracted to places like this so we have a surprising number of fitness centers and yoga studios for a town this size.
So how to be as healthy on your Tamarindo vacation as you are at home? Great options are everywhere! We’ll break it down into two categories for you: What To Eat and What To Do.

WHAT TO EAT
Healthy eating in Tamarindo is easy, especially for healthy people who are used to searching out healthy foods!

Fresh salad appetizer at Pangas Restaurant. Photo property of Pangas Restaurant
Fresh salad appetizer at Pangas Restaurant. Photo property of Pangas Restaurant

1.Pimienta Verde Organic Market
In the beginning of 2018, Tamarindo’s first organic grocery store opened its doors. Fresh produce arrives on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and there is a lot more on the shelves than fruits and vegetables. They offer organic grains, pastas, sauces, honey, snacks, Kombucha, health and beauty products, oils and more. The store is new and the market for organic products in Costa is only now emerging, so you might not be able to find everything on your list there, but Automercado and its boutique supermarket Vindi do have organic products offered alongside non-organic.

Pimienta Verde Organic Market. Photo property of Pimienta Verde
Pimienta Verde Organic Market. Photo property of Pimienta Verde

2.Juice Café Tamarindo
We also have a new juice company! Juice Café Tamarindo offers a line of cold-pressed organic juices and other healthy treats. Their grain-free granola blows every other granola you can ever imagine directly out of the water! Place your order on line or drop by to see what they’ve got ready. And lucky you—it’s right beside the organic market!

Juice! Photo property of Juice Café Tamarindo
Juice! Photo property of Juice Café Tamarindo

3.La Bodega
La Bodega is a small café/market focused on providing organic foods to Tamarindo. Stop by for breakfast, lunch or to check out the goodies in their small store.

Tuna Tacos from La Bodega. Photo property of La Bodega
Tuna Tacos from La Bodega. Photo property of La Bodega

4.Find menu items that fit into the diet that makes you feel like a rock star:
vegan, vegetarian, low/no carb, Mediterranean, raw foods…

We aren’t saying you can’t find killer cheeseburgers and fries around here (you can!) but if you have a preferred way of eating that you’ve worked into your lifestyle, we can help you find the right dining. It’s all here! Vegans will love our vegan spot called Pura Vegan in El Mercadito. Vegetarians will have lots of choices, and especially love the traditional no-meat Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto with eggs. Low and no carb diets are easy to stick to in Tamarindo restaurants with the many fresh salads that are served with seared beef, grilled chicken, shrimp or raw ahi tuna. Any one else getting hungry? Anyone following a raw foods diet will be happy here. Whole raw foods are easy to find in the form of salads, fruit plates, and amazing sashimi. Mediterranean diet your style? Check out the Falafel Bar with the menu that does not stop, and the carpaccio on the menu at Pangas.

WHAT TO DO
Staying active during your Tamarindo vacation is easy, in fact, don’t forget to relax! There are tons of healthy things to do in Tamarindo. Here’s what the locals like:

1.Gyms
Tamarindo has several gyms and fitness centers that offer work-out equipment, trainers, and classes of various kinds.

Tamarindo Fitness. Photo property of Tamarindo Fitness
Tamarindo Fitness. Photo property of Tamarindo Fitness

2.Yoga
Several yoga studios, centrally located, offer fabulous classes from morning to evening. Our concierge can also help you book your own private instructor so that your Tamarindo yoga experience can be completely tailored to your needs and preferences.

Yoga in Tamarindo. Photo property of Ser Om Shanti Yoga Studio
Yoga in Tamarindo. Photo property of Ser Om Shanti Yoga Studio

3.The Beach
Do we really need to say this? Probably not, but it’s on the list! Nothing will wear you out like surfing does, so get out there and catch some waves. If you’re not a surfer, this is your chance to become one. Tamarindo surf lessons are the perfect way to get started! Currents are gentle here, and below you is just sand, no rocks. If surfing isn’t your thing, check out a tide chart and plan a low-tide beach walk or run. That’s what the locals do! Won’t that be cool? Come on, let’s go running. Shoes? Why?!

Barefoot jogging at sunset. Photo property of lasavellanasvillas.com
Barefoot jogging at sunset. Photo property of lasavellanasvillas.com

4.Rent a Bike
Park that rental car in the shade and rent a bike. There are all kinds of bikes to rent here: beach cruisers, mountain bikes, fat-tire bikes to ride in the sand… If you visit during the busy season between the end of December and the end of March, you might be glad for a bike for more reasons than your health! The amount of traffic in the narrow Tamarindo streets can be an exercise in patience, but if you have a bike, you can just zoom on by. No lie. (That may be a tip from insiders who know…)

Rent a beach cruiser in Tamarindo. Photo property of Tamarindo Bike Shop
Rent a beach cruiser in Tamarindo. Photo property of Tamarindo Bike Shop

5.Massage
Top off all that heathy eating, surfing, biking, yoga, and beach runs with a massage to work the knots out of your muscles. Tamarindo is a great place for a relaxing massage or Tamarindo muscle therapy. Tables set up along the beach offer relaxing massages in the shade, and top-class spas offer relaxing or deep-tissue massages in an air-conditioned environment. We also know the best masseuses in town, so if you prefer that the massage table come to your Tamarindo vacation rental, let us know and we can arrange for you and your travel group to get massages right at home.

Relaxing massage on the beach. Photo property of Tamarindo Active
Relaxing massage on the beach. Photo property of Tamarindo Active

Any questions or have other ideas about how you’d like to leave Tamarindo healthier than you came? Contact us today and let us help you get it sorted.


Realistic Expectations 101: How Much of Costa Rica Can You See On Your Vacation?

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You look at Costa Rica and are impressed by all the fun things there are to do, all the awesome places there are to go. I mean, there are surfing beaches, swimming beaches, volcano hikes, horseback rides, cushy resorts, whitewater rafting, rain forests, cloud forest, tropical dry forests, zip lines, animal rescue centers, snorkeling, sailing, fishing…and that’s just off the top of my head! You check it out on the map and you see that things really aren’t all that far apart so you make a list of everything you’d like to do during your week of vacation: the west coast, the volcanoes in the central valley, white water rafting, the east coast… You wouldn’t want to miss any of it!

Map of Costa Rica’s National Parks, by Viva Costa Rica
Map of Costa Rica’s National Parks, by Viva Costa Rica

Ok, stop the presses.
Yes, Costa Rica is a small country, often compared to the US state of West Virginia, or the European country of Denmark, but don’t let that fool you. It is a country of secluded beaches, rolling hills, open plains, and river basins split down the center by the towering volcanic cordillera that runs the length of the Americas. This geography, coupled with Costa Rica’s status as a “developing nation” means that here you are not going to find super highways that connect these relatively close locations. Narrow, twisty, bumpy roads designed for the nominal traffic flow of Costa Rica in the 1970s can take longer to navigate than what you think. Expect to travel 60-70 miles per hour down Costa Rica’s freeways? Think again. A 50-100 mile (80-160 km) drive can often take two to four hours on narrow roads that wind through the countryside. It’s beautiful. It’s not speedy.

Cattle is one of the things that can slow down transit on Costa Rica’s roads photo by Christian Savatier
Cattle is one of the things that can slow down transit on Costa Rica’s roads – photo by Christian Savatier

You made the right choice when you decided to base your Costa Rica vacation in a Tamarindo vacation rental. There are tons of things to do in Tamarindo, and lots of fun day-trips and Tamarindo tours are available without requiring you to pack your bags and move to a different location. The planning stage is the right time for you to think about how much relaxing you want to do during your vacation and how much work. Work? Well, yes. Work. Navigating Costa Rica’s roads isn’t difficult, but it can be exhausting. You won’t get lost because there aren’t that many places to make a wrong turn, but you will for sure have your patience tested on a trip of any length.

Stay in Tamarindo staff enjoying a zip line canopy tour staff photo
Stay in Tamarindo staff enjoying a zip line canopy tour – staff photo

Want to explore a place other than Tamarindo during your vacation? Good idea! The key question is, “How much time to you have?” If you’re going to be in Costa Rica for a week, pick one other place. Ten days? You could probably swing two. Two weeks? Now we’re getting into the territory of where you could do something REALLY exotic like surf Pavones, or visit Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, or tour the Bribri Indigenous reserve in the mountains near Cahuita. If you’re the umbrella-drink-in-hand-at-the-all-inclusive-resort-type, though, those remote options might be a little too much adventure for you. Not judging. Just saying it’s not for everybody. You could explore both coasts: first Tamarindo, Flamingo, Coco, Avellanas, Playa Negra, Junquillal, then the Caribbean coast–Limon, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero…
So, back to how to plan a week vacation that won’t run you into the ground.
Spend a few days in Tamarindo and then a few days on an Arenal tour. Or a Monteverde tour. Or check out Malpais and Santa Teresa. Go to La Carolina Lodge and check out the cobalt-blue waterfall.

Rio Celeste is an fun place to visit during your stay at La Carolina Lodge. Photo from La Nacion newspaper, November 2015
Rio Celeste is an fun place to visit during your stay at La Carolina Lodge. – Photo from La Nacion newspaper, November 2015

Remember, you have to get back to fly out of Liberia and you don’t want to spend half your trip on the road. Or spend the whole time based in a Tamarindo beach resort and let us fill your days with daytrips and local adventures. Unless you refuse to get off the couch, it is impossible that you will (a) be bored (b) run out of things to do. Physically impossible.
Have 10 days? Lucky you. Out of Tamarindo you could see both Arenal and Monte Verde. Or you could go to the Central Valley area and check out the volcanoes like Poas and Irazu. In the mountainous areas there, white water rafting can be quite an adventure. Go see the scarlet macaws and the white-faced monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park. Or modify the one-week plan with some added day trips to places like Buena Vista Lodge Costa Rica or Diamante Eco Adventure Park and then go spend a few nights at one other spot that’s not too far away.

Sunset at Manuel Antonio Nacional Park staff photo
Sunset at Manuel Antonio Nacional Park – staff photo

Really the best advice we can give you, other than don’t try to see all of Costa Rica in a week, is to contact our Concierge who knows everything there is to know about everything awesome there is to do in Costa Rica. Each group is made up of different personalities, different interests, and has a different number of days to fill. Christina Gonzales from Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo has got you covered. Nicaraguan-born and Costa Rica/USA raised, she’s got the language skills, the cultural knowledge and the vibrant personality to bridge all the gaps and to hook you up.

Tamarindo snorkeling tour photo from Keteka.com
Tamarindo snorkeling tour – photo from Keteka.com

Contact us right now and let’s see what we can figure out for your vacation!


Featured Property of the Month – Villa Pacifica

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This month we’re featuring one of our favorite family-friendly vacation rental properties. Villa Pacifica, located in the Los Lagos community of Hacienda Pinilla is the perfect spot to base your family vacation in Costa Rica.

Dining area and first floor living room - staff photo
Dining area and first floor living room – staff photo

This luxury vacation rental condominium offers 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and can accommodate up to 10 guests. The home includes a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen and two separate living areas. A first floor living room adjoining the kitchen and dining area is complimented by a second floor tv lounge with additional couches and a flat screen tv. The kids want to watch a movie and you need to get a few things done on-line? No problem. This tropical villa has the space you need to get relaxing done your way.

A kitchen to feel at home in - staff photo
A kitchen to feel at home in – staff photo

Beautiful and spacious terraces span both levels of the home, providing the outdoor living area that you dream of in a tropical vacation rental. Enjoy your morning coffee on the terrace by the kitchen, listening to the birds that live in Hacienda Pinilla, and watching for monkeys to swing through the trees. The upper balcony that runs along the tv lounge and master bedroom is the perfect place for a late-afternoon cocktail while you wait for the sun to sink into the Pacific Ocean.

Upper balcony terrace - staff photo
Upper balcony terrace – staff photo

Another thing that makes Villa Pacifica perfect for family vacations is that there are so many fun things to do in Hacienda Pinilla. Is your family an active family? Then Villa Pacifica is the place for you! For one, you can easily walk to Mansita beach from Villa Pacifica, and there the real fun begins. Hacienda Pinilla is bordered by 3 miles of pristine coastline where you can wander the beach to your heart’s content, surf, sunbathe, and snorkel in the tidepools. And that’s just the first thing on the activity list.
Almost endless miles of hiking and mountain biking trails weave through Hacienda Pinilla’s 4,500 acres, from wooded mountain tops to the sandy beach and back again. This is the perfect place to take in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province in its natural form. The Hacienda’s 18 hole golf course is Costa Rica’s finest and most beautiful course, and is a fantastic place to see deer, monkeys, birds of all kinds, and even the occasional shy wild cat or friendly coati.

Hacienda Pinilla’s spectacular golf course -  photo property of haciendapinilla.com
Hacienda Pinilla’s spectacular golf course – photo property of haciendapinilla.com

As if that wasn’t enough fun for an entire family, Hacienda Pinilla offers a tennis center, an equestrian center that leads guided horseback rides, and an amazing beach club that sets in front of a breathtaking surf break. The beach club has a fitness center, a spa, an unforgettable bar and restaurant, and a children’s’ play area. Are you convinced yet?
In case you need one more reason to reserve Villa Pacifica today for your family vacation, we can add that the Los Lagos community where Villa Pacifica is located adjoins the JW Marriot Resort. At the Marriot, you will find a variety of restaurants, a gym, and a spa.

The beach club at Hacienda Pinilla - photo property of haciendapinilla.com
The beach club at Hacienda Pinilla – photo property of haciendapinilla.com

At Villa Pacifica, you are located only 15 minutes down the road from Playa Tamarindo and all of the fun that our bustling little beach town provides. Our tour concierge can help you set up your family’s ideal vacation itinerary. Would your kids like the excitement of a zip-line? How about surf lessons for everybody? We can pick you up at Villa Pacifica and take you for a fun day trip some place really special like Rincon del la Vieja National Park, or a jungle boat safari in Palo Verde.
Villa Pacifica has the advantage of a quiet, restful location where you can separate yourselves from the busyness of Tamarindo hotels and have quality family time, but still have 100% of the options for fun.

Master bedroom at Villa Pacifica - staff photo
Master bedroom at Villa Pacifica – staff photo

Contact us today and let’s get your reservation on the books while there’s still time!


Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo Picks: 5 Top Restaurants in Tamarindo

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It’s dinner time in Tamarindo and one thing you have for sure is too many choices! Where to go? What’s good? What’s everybody’s favorite?

Lucky you, you just asked a whole pack of Tamarindo locals and we are going to hook you up with the 5 restaurants you can’t leave Tamarindo without trying. Don’t even think about it. These places serve our favorite dishes, they’re always good, and they’re fun places to hang out in. Nobody loves good food and great times like the Tamarindo locals, and nobody insists more on fair prices. So relax. We’ve got you covered. It’s going to be a great night.

Pangas Beach Club

Pangas Beach Club Tamarindo
Pangas Beach Club Tamarindo

The Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo hands-down number one Tamarindo restaurant choice is Pangas Beach Club. It’s a little hard to explain the ambiance at Pangas without sounding sappy. There is actually something magical about that spot on the beach where the ocean meets the Las Baulas estuary and giant Laurel de La India trees grow. That’s where Pangas Beach Club is located, and that’s one of the reasons we love it. Most of the Pangas’ seating is right on the sand. Comfortable cushioned chairs at wooden tables under the canopy of trees give such a relaxed atmosphere to Pangas, that you never want to leave.

They serve lunch and dinner all week, and breakfast as well on Sundays. This is a great place to come for sunset! Pangas Beach Club, of course, has cold beer, and they have a full bar and a yummy appetizer menu. Pangas’ menu is based on local ingredients like fish, beef, and lots of fresh vegetables. Reservations are a good idea because Pangas does a lot of special events like weddings (you’ll see why the minute you walk in the door) which means on those nights the restaurant is closed to regular diners.

Seasons

Seasons Restaurant
Seasons Restaurant

Seasons, owned and run by Israeli chef Shlomy has been a Tamarindo favorite since 2003. The menu at Seasons is “Mediterranean Gourmet,” and everything on it is delicious! Seasons is located in the Arco Iris hotel, on a breezy wooden patio beside the pool. Ask any Tamarindo local what their favorite appetizer, dinner, or dessert is at Seasons, and he or she will have answers for you—guaranteed. Seasons has a full bar and serves a mean martini.
Seasons takes cash only and is open for dinner only, every night of the week. Reservations are a good idea because it’s a local favorite.

La Baula

La Baula Pizza
La Baula Pizza

La Baula is one of Tamarindo’s original restaurants. We love it for that reason, we love it because we love their pizza, we love it because we love the beautiful open dining area, and we love it because we love the play area outside for the kids.
La Baula’s menu is simple. They have thin-crust Italian pizza with any and every imaginable topping, a fantastic mixed veggie salad with or without tuna, a few flavors of gelato, and a tiramisu you must not leave town without trying. Those are the only choices, you say? And this is one of your top 5 picks? Yes, you heard us right. Go to La Baula and try it out. You’ll see what we’re talking about. They are open for dinner only every night of the week. Their full bar is sure to have your favorite after-dinner drink from the old country.

Patagonia

Patagonia Restaurant
Patagonia Restaurant

Patagonia, being an Argentinian grill, is Tamarindo’s favorite place for steak. Their menu includes lots of other options as well, but we’re just saying: you want steak? Go to Patagonia. Make a reservation, too, because Patagonia’s dining area is smaller than their fan base and it is always full. They serve lunch and dinner daily.

El Mercadito

El Mercadito de Tamarindo
El Mercadito de Tamarindo

El Mercadito is one of the newer additions to Tamarindo’s dining scene and it has been an immediate favorite. It isn’t exactly a restaurant, however, it’s more like it’s name suggests: a little food market. El Mercadito is an open-air upscale food-court style market with the Medusa Bar created out of an actual boat, right in the middle. What’s not to love? It’s the restaurant with 100 things on the menu. The individual restaurant kitchens that surround the bar and shady seating area include: Asian poke bowls, a completely vegan kitchen, a tropical curry kitchen, sushi, an Argentinian grill, Venezuelan arepas, burgers of all types, a French bakery, and an ice cream shop.
The best thing about El Mercadito, besides the fact that everybody in your group gets to have their favorite thing for lunch or dinner, is that it’s budget-friendly. Nothing there costs more than $12 and all of it is fabulous because each type of food comes from a kitchen that specializes in that. And at the Medusa Bar, try the champagne sangria. Just try it.
Still have questions about dinner or about how to book the best Tamarindo vacation ever? Contact us and let us help you sort out the answers!


7 Reasons Tamarindo Sunrise Condos Offers the Perfect Vacation Rental for Family Vacations

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Before you decide that calling a vacation rental condo “perfect” is an exaggeration, put your skepticism aside and listen to what Tamarindo Sunrise Condos right in the heart of Tamarindo beach, have to offer—especially for families.  The Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are Tamarindo’s best-kept secret for Costa Rica family vacations.

Sunrise Condos Poll Area
Sunrise Condos Poll Area
  1. PROXIMITY TO THE BEACH

Not to boast, but there are no Tamarindo condos closer to the beach than Sunrise Condos Tamarindo.  Open your door at Sunrise, walk through the gated guarded parking lot, pass the fabulous Santa Rita cafe by the entrance, cross the street and there you are–on the sand.

Sunrise Condos, Tamarindo
Sunrise Condos, Tamarindo

If you are thinking of a family vacation in Tamarindo, we don’t have to tell you why that in itself makes Sunrise perfect.  No getting Grandma in and out of the car.  No sandy kids with wet bathing suits in the back seat, and no trying to figure out where to park.  You’re at the beach and somebody needs the potty?  No problem!  Cousin Susie is a grumpy teenager and sick of hanging out with the younger tykes?  It’s ok.  Let her sleep in.  She can wander over when she wakes up and meet you for a late-morning swim.  You forgot something at the condo?  No worries!  We could go on, but we know that in planning a family beach vacation in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, you don’t need us to convince you of why you want to be close to the beach.  It goes without saying.

Tamarindo Surf lessons, Tamarindo snorkeling, and Tamarindo fishing trips are right outside your door at Tamarindo Sunrise Condos. Literally.

  1. PROXIMITY TO EVERYTHING

It stands to reason, right?  Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are located in the literal center of Tamarindo, so the beach isn’t the only thing that is amazingly close.

Tamarindo Beach Restaurant
Tamarindo Beach Restaurant

At the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos, you are no more than a five minute walk from:  an amazing variety of delicious Tamarindo restaurants, several grocery stores, fun bars that often feature live music, and Tamarindo shopping at a plethora of souvenir stores and Tamarindo surf shops.

Tamarindo Surf Shops
Tamarindo Surf Shops

This makes vacationing with a family easier because each day’s exploration leads to interesting places that catch the eye and can provide discussion about what to do tomorrow.  Or for dinner.  Or if Joey brushes his teeth after only being asked once.

At the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos you’ll never find yourself at a loss at to what do do in Tamarindo. In addition to nearby activities like Tamarindo ATV tours, Tamarindo horseback riding, Tamarindo canopy tours and Tamarindo Turtle tours, Sunrise Condos are a great jumping-off point for local day trips.

Tamarindo Zipline
Tamarindo Zipline

Let us book you a day trip to the Buena Vista Lodge at Rincon de la Vieja National Park, the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs or Palo verde National Park.  How about a tour of Monte Verde or an Arenal Volcano tour?  In the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos, you’re at the perfect spot to begin any adventure.

  1. THE AWESOME POOL

This is no ordinary hotel pool we’re touting, here.  The Tamarindo Sunrise Condos actually have an exceptional swimming pool–especially for kids.

Sunrise Condo Swimming Pool
Sunrise Condo Swimming Pool

It’s an oversized free-form pool with a segmented kiddie pool where the little ones can splash and play without slipping into water that’s too deep for them, for one.  The deep end of the pool is surrounded by a fun water feature that older kids and young-spirited adults will love. A wide walk-behind waterfall pours over a drippy cave-like corridor and is lots of fun to explore and jump through.  Even with all that fun going on, the pool at the Tamarindo Sunrise Condos is big enough for the rest of the guests to relax and cool off in peace. Surrounding the pool is a large tile sun-terrace lined with loungers that are available 24 hours a day to all  Sunrise guests.

  1. THE OCEAN VIEW

The Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are across the street from the beach, so of course they have an ocean view!  We offer 9 different condos within the Sunrise Resort, many of which afford stunning views of the surf, the ocean horizon, and famous Tamarindo sunsets.

Sunrise Condos Oceanview
Sunrise Condos Oceanview

Some units offer ocean views from a bedroom, some from the living area, some from the terraces, and some from all of the above.  Check out the possibilities we offer and pick the one you like the best.  Of course you’re going to spend plenty of time at the beach on your Tamarindo family vacation, but having an ocean-view vacation rental at Sunrise makes it all the more special.

  1. THE SECURITY

The Tamarindo Sunrise Resort is surrounded by secured grounds, the entrance to which is gated and guarded 24 hours per day.  This gives an invaluable level of added security to you, your vehicles, and the belongings in your vacation rental.  Costa Rica is known to be a country that is safe, throughout, for tourism, but having that added precaution just helps you to relax on a family vacation and enjoy the ride.

Tamarindo Family Vacation Rentals
Tamarindo Family Vacation Rentals
  1. THE ON-SITE PARKING

Even the parking at Sunrise is created with a forethought to convenience, which, as you will find out when you get here, is not always the case in Tamarindo.  Each condo in Tamarindo Sunrise has a dedicated parking space, and plenty of room to maneuver a vehicle that you don’t drive every day.  And as we mentioned before, the guard at the entrance to the parking lot oversees all entrances and exists to the premises.

Tamarindo Surf Lessons
Tamarindo Surf Lessons
  1. WE OFFER MULTIPLE UNITS

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo manages 9 individual units within the Sunrise Condos, so don’t just bring the kids–bring everybody!  Bring the aunts and uncles.  Bring Grandma and Grandpa.  Bring the next-door-neighbors.  The more, the merrier, and Sunrise Condos has room for everyone.

Sunrise Vacation Rental in Tamarindo
Sunrise Vacation Rental in Tamarindo

Tamarindo Sunrise Condos are not just the perfect family vacation destination–they’re actually perfect for everyone.  Planning a romantic get-away instead of a family vacation?  That’s easy.  Get your sweetie and come to Tamarindo Sunrise Condos without the kids!  All of the same excellent amenities apply.  What about a surf trip?  Even better!

There’s no place surfers feel more at home than at Sunrise, right across the beach from the waves you love to ride.  And with the number of units Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo manages at Sunrise, you can even base your group travel occasion here at Tamarindo Sunrise with us.  Retreats, reunions, special event occasions–any reason at all that you might be looking for a spot to base a group of any size in Tamarindo– Sunrise Condos Tamarindo is the perfect spot to land and unleash adventure.

Contact us today & we can assist you in booking your Sunrise Condo in Tamarindo, Costa Rica!

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