By Jennifer LaCharite
We are halfway through another difficult year. Thankfully travel restrictions are easing, along with our collective fear, and people are ready to travel again!!!
Having been separated for so long from our families and friends, canceled vacations and long lost get-togethers have become our reality, but now many people are looking to break their isolation in a big way. Group trips, beach vacations, exciting adventures, abundant nature, and immersive cultural experiences – if these are the types of things you’re looking for in your first big vacation post-isolation then Iguana Surf Camp has you covered!
So, why not get a group together and close out the year with a Costa Rica Surf trip?
Iguana Surf is the only surf camp in Tamarindo willing to take on large groups while practicing all required Covid precautions, such as practicing social distancing, wearing masks indoors, and ensuring proper sanitation measures are carried out. In fact, Iguana Surf Camp closed our shared dorm rooms at the beginning of the pandemic and offers private rooms at no extra cost, all to ensure our clients have the best and safest vacation we can provide.
Beach holidays in Costa Rica are enjoyed all year round, but things typically start to ramp up around Christmas time. A mostly Catholic country, Costa Rica celebrates Christmas in a big way – Christmas decorations, festive lights, manger scenes, and even fireworks! You’ll see a lot more fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but anytime between Christmas and New Year’s, there is a good chance of seeing the night sky light up!
The best time to visit Costa Rica is from mid-December to April (the dry season). This peak tourist season boasts plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal time for exploring rainforests and lounging on beaches. With December being at the end of the rainy season, the beaches are still lush and green, whereas by April the beach towns like Tamarindo will become drier and many of the trees will drop their leaves.
A busy time for tourism, those looking to travel to Costa Rica for Christmas and New Year’s will need to book their plans a few months in advance. Not only is this a busy time for international tourism, but local tourism as well – everyone is looking for a way to spend their beach holiday in Costa Rica! Costa Rican school children will be on their longest break and their parents will be planning beach vacations with their Christmas bonuses, which typically amount to one month’s salary. While busier, vacationers will find everyone in high spirits and sporting a relaxed vibe. Think of summer vacation in North America with a “Pura Vida” attitude.
Since people in Costa Rica have time off of work and school and have extra money to spend, Christmas and New Year’s typically has a lot going on. This is the time of year when fiestas take place. Fiestas in Costa Rica is like a fair and rodeo mixed into one, with many small towns and bigger cities hosting their own event. While these events have been canceled the past two seasons, we are hopeful they will be back in the New Year. Full of happy Ticos (locals) and plenty of typical cuisines to sample in one spot, these events are a must-see during your Costa Rica beach vacation.
While Christmas is a quieter, family-based event in Costa Rica, New Year’s Eve is the main event. Even those families who couldn’t be together for Christmas will definitely be getting together for New Year’s Eve. It’s the biggest party of the year, full of revelers and fireworks displays, the excitement is contagious! If you want to sample a traditional Costa Rican New Year’s Eve, be sure to have a pork roast (pierna de cerdo) dinner. And if you’re the superstitious type, get yourself a bunch of grapes to eat at midnight, 12 to be exact, eaten at the chimes of the midnight clock, for 12 months of good luck. Alternatively, eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes for the year ahead. For the hopeful traveler, walk around the block with your suitcase at midnight to ensure a year full of travel. These are just a few examples of Costa Rican New Year’s Eve traditions.
If you find yourself in Tamarindo on New Year’s Eve you are sure to find a party – even in the streets! The party scene in Tamarindo is attended by vacationers and locals alike. The bars will be open and bumping! And you won’t want to miss the fireworks display on the beach at midnight. It’s the perfect way to ring in a new year that is hopefully full of possibilities and new adventures.
With the buzzing atmosphere surrounding the Christmas and New Year holidays, it’s common to see fire dancers and other performers along the Tamarindo beach at sunset, which people can easily watch from the beachfront bars or along the beach itself. There will also be beach bonfires to enjoy and lots of live entertainment. This is a family-friendly environment, with many locals and tourists bringing their kids to watch the fun from the beach, after all, sunset takes place at 6 pm so there is plenty of time to watch the performers before bedtime.
Since December is essentially the beginning of the dry season, you won’t have to worry about rain during your beach holiday in Costa Rica. It will be hot and sunny in Tamarindo in December and January, with daytime highs around 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). The weather will be perfect for soaking up the sun and playing in the waves at the beach. Even though these months are considered to be a busy holiday season, you will find there is plenty of space at Tamarindo beach. The beautiful tan-colored sand beach stretches about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from end to end.
While some are content to lay on the beach for their entire vacation, others are more eager to try something new while visiting the beach. Thankfully if you’re at Tamarindo beach, you’re already in the perfect spot to try out surfing! It’s the most popular destination to learn the sport. The waves right out front of Iguana Surf Shop are ideal for those learning to surf. And for those with more experience, there are plenty of breaks worth exploring along Tamarindo beach. Just rent a board, ask our surf coaches about the best spots for your level of experience, and get in the water!
We know the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations will be distracting but don’t let your Costa Rica surf trip get away from you! At Iguana Surf, we like to get people started surfing early on in their trip so that when they (undoubtedly) fall in love with it, they have the rest of their vacation to keep going at it. It is always disappointing to watch people do their first lesson on the last day of their trip and then they have to leave without being able to give it another shot!
Many of us like to start the New Year off right with a list or goal in mind for the coming year. We know a Costa Rica surf trip will give you and your group a new sense of purpose and a new list of goals heading into 2022 – goals of staying up on the board longer and living a more “Pura Vida” lifestyle.