Holiday Visit to Costa Rica – Tamarindo’s Hidden Gifts

Holiday Visit to Costa Rica – Tamarindo’s Hidden Gifts

The secret spots near Tamarindo that you won’t want to miss during your holiday visit to Costa Rica!!

The Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is easily one of the most beautiful places on the planet. With sweeping white-sand beaches, great surf, dense, lush jungles, crashing waterfalls, powerful volcanoes, and an incredible amount of biodiversity, it really has it all. Tamarindo is a popular town to visit because of its location right on the beach, great selection of restaurants, bars, shops, and fun activities, proximity to a large airport, and the general feeling that the community of Tamarindo cultivates. There are almost too many tours and activities to choose from… which is why we recommend getting off the beaten path a bit and checking out some of the secret spots located around Tamarindo that are a little less talked about. Read on to learn more, but you have to promise to keep the secret! 

Playa Minas

Prefer the lesser-known beaches to get away from crowds? Then you must put Playa Mina on your list. This secluded beach in Guanacaste has soft white sand, stunningly clear water and you can have it all to yourself! 

Although a little bit tricky to get to, if you have maps or Waze you should be able to head right to it. The road is unpaved and a little bumpy which is common in Costa Rica, but you shouldn’t have any issues if you go slow. There is no designated parking, but you will see when you arrive that you can just park anywhere under the trees. Be sure to lock up! Once you arrive, you will be stunned by the bright blue water and a long stretch of white sand. It is in a little cove so looking to both sides, there are gorgeous rocky lookouts. The water is usually pretty calm and always crystal clear. Swimming, snorkeling, and fishing are all options! Playa Mina doesn’t have bathrooms, tables, or any other infrastructure. And that’s what makes it one of the best beaches: it’s not developed, crowded, or commercial. Just a beautiful beach and that’s it. 

La Senda

Have you ever wanted to check out a labyrinth? What about the largest labyrinth in the world? If you have, you are in luck. And even if you haven’t, this incredible masterpiece is worth everyone’s attention! La Senda is a magical place located on a two and a half-acre farm in Santa Rosa, just about 15 minutes away from Tamarindo Beach. An expert in energy work, Sergio Salas, oversaw the creation of the labyrinth around two energy centers found in the middle of the forest, close to an indigenous sanctuary. The labyrinth is almost 2 miles long and has more than four thousand cacti. Walking the labyrinth takes about an hour and the energy-charged zone provides a unique and memorable relaxing and positive energy re-charging experience. The property also has an organic farm and offers other activities such as wellness retreats, farm-to-table dinners, horseback riding tours, and cooking classes. Visitors can also enjoy delicious meals prepared with organic ingredients grown on the farm. There are also a number of events going on at La Senda, from wellness retreats to music festivals. Be sure to check out what is happening during your visit and take advantage of this unique place! 

Las Catalinas 

Las Catalinas is like a little slice of heaven. Walking among the buildings, it truly feels like you are walking through the alleyways of Europe, and it was designed to be that way. Less than five years old, Las Catalinas is the result of investors that had the idea to create some old world charm in a paradise setting. This beachfront little town has shops, hotels, and restaurants, walking paths, and water fountains. One thing you won’t find is cars. The town is car-free and designed to be enjoyed on foot! If you want to be a little further away from the hustle and bustle, it is a great place to stay and there is a wide variety of room options. But Las Catalinas is also perfect for just an afternoon visit! There is a beachfront restaurant called Limonada that has all kinds of great options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Grab some food and then walk down to the beach, Playa Danta, to catch some rays and play in the waves. There is also a place where you can rent equipment like paddle boards or surfboards, so you don’t have to bring any of that with you when you visit! 

Learn more on the Las Catalinas website: 

Playa Danta

Playa is the beach where Las Catalinas is located. Danta is a black sand beach, which means that there is either soil mixed in with the sand, volcanic dust, or both. Although a popular place for sunbathing and picnics, Danta never gets nearly as busy as the beach in Tamarindo. It is a very peaceful place to enjoy the afternoon. And equally as calm is the water that is found at Playa Danta. The way that this little bay is situated on the coastline combined with the directions that swells usually arrive from in Costa Rica makes this one of the best places to SUP or stand up paddleboard in the whole country. There are no big waves breaking that you need to get past, and little chop once you get out. Danta is also ideal for kayaking and snorkeling for the same reason! So switch up your afternoon surf session for a SUP session and check out what this hidden little paradise has to offer. Playa Danita, Playa Danta’s smaller neighbor, is also gorgeous and never crowded. Be sure to make a day of it and check out both! 

Local Surf Trips

Of course one of the most enjoyable ways to see some of the other amazing beaches in the area is to surf them! The waves in Guanacaste are unbeatable, so you absolutely must surf as much as you can. Tamarindo Beach is great, but after a while, you might be ready to see something different and get away from the crowds a bit! Playa Grande is the next beach north, with fun waves and lots of room. Playa Langosta or Playa Avellanas is to the south, two more awesome spots to spend the day. Both are accessible by car from Tamarindo, and are about 30 minutes in either direction. The easiest way to ensure that you will get to the right spot is to go on a surf trip with Iguana! You won’t have to worry about getting lost, getting your boards onto a rental car, or any other little details. Just head to the shop and hop in our adventure van! It is more fun to explore these spots with folks who know the waves and the area well. Our awesome instructors have grown up surfing these spots so they are super helpful and always a blast to surf with. From the moment you arrive at the shop, they can talk to you about the best kind of board for you to use based on the waves and your ability level, help with waxing, and dish all the best secrets for success on the Costa Rican waves. You can book a surf trip anytime by emailing, calling, or just walking into the shop! 

Mar Vista 

This gem is slowly being discovered, but is still a nice, relaxing place to spend an afternoon and get out of town a little bit! Lounging at the beach is nice of course, but sometimes it is nice to switch things up a little bit and go to the pool. One of the most beautiful pools ever is located up on a hill about 20 minutes outside of Tamarindo on the way to Playa Flamingo. It is a magical place called Mar Vista, which is a restaurant and bar featuring an infinity pool and a sweeping view of the ocean, with plenty of nice tables and lounge chairs to enjoy. The pool is free to access, they just ask that you spend a small amount (it varies depending on the time of year) on food or drinks while you are there using the facilities. The owners try to source local and sustainable ingredients in a farm-to-table concept, offering conscious and delicious dishes. The lunch menu runs from 12-4 pm, which is a great time for friends and families to come and enjoy the food, pool, and the children’s playground. A more elegant dining experience is offered from 5-8, where guests can take in the sunset and enjoy a high-quality meal. You can even just come for a drink and to enjoy the view. Overall, it is an amazing place to spend the day or go out for a nice dinner and watch the sun go down. And for the quality and views that you will get, it is not a big price to pay! 

With a plate stacked high full of incredible places to see and things to do, the only problem is not having enough time to do everything! So be sure to plan a nice long trip to take in the best of what the Guanacaste region has to offer. Now you are in on all the secrets… Use them wisely!! Contact us for more info!

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