There is a fun holiday that you might not know about: Thursday, August 15th is International Relaxation Day! Now that’s a day worth celebrating. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I could really use right about now -a Tamarindo vacation! There are all sorts of ways we can take a break from our busy daily lives to decompress and treat ourselves a bit. Getting a massage, going to the spa, or laying on the beach are all things that quickly come to mind.
But these things are often expensive and hard to make happen and let’s be honest, it is hard to really relax at all when you are still in close proximity to your work, to-do lists, and the daily hustle and bustle. In order to really, truly celebrate International Relaxation Day, why not make a trip of it and come have the time of your life in Costa Rica? No matter what your ideal relaxation situation is, there is no better place to do it than in Tamarindo. All of your relaxing beach fantasies can become reality, and once you’re here, there are a number of ways to relax to the max without spending much, if anything at all!
The beach and the ocean are two of the most relaxing and healing places in the world, and luckily they are very easily accessible and among the many free things to do in Tamarindo! The long, gorgeous beach that is right in town makes it easy to find a nice spot for yourself where you don’t have to worry about absolutely anything (except maybe remembering to re-apply sunscreen). Just bring a towel, some water, and maybe a good book and you will be good to go for the afternoon.
There are also nice beach lounge chairs with umbrellas for shade that you can rent if you don’t want to lay in the sand! Someone will come up to you and ask you to pay if you sit down, and then you can expect to give them about $10 for two chairs for the day. There are also people constantly walking by selling cold coconuts, water, beer, and even cocktails like fresh mojitos or piña coladas. If you want to take your relaxation to the next level, it never hurts to indulge in a nice, cold beverage. These will all be just a few dollars each.
If you would like to get out of town a little bit and see something new, Playa Flamingo is a great place to go to chill out. This is a more upscale area with nice hotels and restaurants and many gorgeous beaches. The main beach of Playa Flamingo is the most popular, probably because of its easy accessibility, white sand, and perfectly blue waters. But there are also a number of other smaller beaches around the area that are less crowded, if not completely empty. If you ask at the reception in one of the local hotels, they will surely be able to point you toward some of the hidden gems that are hard to explain through writing.
But rest assured that you will be able to find a gorgeous lounging spot in Playa Flamingo and enjoy the perfect free way to relax. And on your way back, don’t forget to stop and get some ice cream in the plaza area. You can find everything from normal cones, to gelato, to ice cream rolls that are created with whatever ingredients you choose and rolled upright in front of you. A cheap and delicious snack!
If you prefer to do your lounging at the pool, one of the most beautiful pools ever is located up on the 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 12-4pm, 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. 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!
As for spas and massages, many of the ones you will find around Tamarindo offer similar pricing to those in the states. However, there are ladies that have massage tables set up on the beach offering beach massages for very affordable rates. You can tell them what kind of massage you are looking for or where you want them to focus, pay them in cash (usually around $20 for half an hour or $40 for an hour), and they will get to work.
Honestly, although non-traditional, my beach massages have been some of the best I have experienced in my life. And forget the sound machine – you will have real ocean waves crashing in the background and a consistent breeze coming off the water to put you in an incredible state of relaxation. Plus, you get to help out local women who need the money and the work. It’s truly a win-win!
I don’t know about you, but I find grocery shopping oddly soothing and there is absolutely no better place to do it than at the Tamarindo Farmers Market, which happens every Saturday right in town. It is a very welcoming and relaxing atmosphere, and always an amazing way to start the day. Walk down and grab a cup of local coffee, find a fresh-baked pastry, and then stock up on fresh produce for snacks at the beach later. You are sure to meet some very kind people and learn something new.
For all you yogis out there, you know how relaxed and refreshed a good yoga practice can make you feel. There are a number of amazing studios in Tamarindo that offer daily classes in various styles at very affordable prices. Mermaids and Sailors, ReFLEXion, and Om Shanti are a few of the most popular studios in town worth checking out.
Surprisingly enough, surfing is also an oddly relaxing sport and a great way to take your mind off things. You must be completely concentrated and in the moment to focus on what you are doing and watch the waves, so it is a great way to clear your mind. Although you might get a little tired physically (which is good for you!), you are sure to come out of the water calm, clear, and refreshed. It is also a great activity to try with friends or family! Surfing in Tamarindo is very popular, so the prices are affordable and you can easily find something that will work with any budget. Head over to Iguana Surf, Tamarindo’s oldest surf shop, for the friendliest faces and great deals.
No matter what your itinerary for your Costa Rica vacation, you are sure to head home more relaxed than you have ever been, ready to take on the world with fresh motivation. There is no better way to relax than spending time at the beach, pool, or even trying a new sport like surfing! And of course, nothing is more calming than a classic Tamarindo sunset. Your only worry will be that you won’t want to leave! Come see for yourself!