If you’ve come to Tamarindo Beach Costa Rica, you probably want to spend some time on the beach soaking up the sun, enjoying some of the nightlife, and, most importantly, learning to surf. After all, Tamarindo Costa Rica is one of the top places to learn how to surf in the world. People come from all over to try out the mellow waves and catch a glimpse of the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.
But hanging out at the beach and surfing aren’t the only things to do when you come to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. There are several Tamarindo day trips worth checking out, whether you want to explore, have an adventure, or simply connect with nature.
Not too long ago the province of Guanacaste was mainly farmland and most people got around by horse or oxen carts. So why not explore the Tamarindo area the way it was meant to be seen? On the back of a horse!
This half-day tour will allow you to explore the pastures, mountains, hills, and beaches of the Tamarindo area but it is simple enough for all riding abilities. The quiet ride allows you to view the surroundings like nature intended and also gives you a chance to see more wildlife like howler monkeys, iguanas, and maybe even a curious pizote.
One of the most popular day trips from Tamarindo has got to be the Palo Verde Rio Tour. Wildlife is abundant within the protected zone of the Palo Verde National Park. The tour here takes you along one of the most vital rivers in the country. And at just an hour and a half drive from the beach, this is a great option for a Tamarindo day trip.
The Palo Verde National Park is a refuge for hundreds of birds, including macaws and large wading birds. It is also a great place to see the white face capuchin monkeys and dozens of crocodiles on the river’s edge. There is such a wide variety of animals to be seen along the Tempisque River that you will feel like an actual explorer viewing the shores of this waterway for the very first time!
If riding a horse isn’t quite your thing, maybe you would rather take a ride on your own all-terrain vehicle exploring the nearby beaches and tropical dry forest of Guanacaste. A Tamarindo ATV tour will have you crossing rivers and scoping out mountain views, giving you an up close and personal look at your surroundings.
Going on an off-road exploration of the rugged trails that are not accessible by car will give you a real feel for the natural landscape and it is one of the most popular half-day trips from Tamarindo.
Rincon de la Vieja National Park
What could be more adventurous than spending your day at an active volcano? The national park of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is a place built for adventure. Here you can zipline through the lush forest canopy, rappel down a rocky canyon, and raft down the white-water rapids – all in one day! After lunch, you can relax at the natural hot springs and indulge yourself in a volcanic mud bath.
At just a two-hour drive from the beach, this has got to be one of the most popular days trips from Tamarindo. Trust us, this is the type of tour you came to Costa Rica to experience!
Featured in the surf film “The Endless Summer II”, this is the ultimate surfing adventure. Witch’s Rock, or Roca Bruja as the locals call it, is a world-class surfing spot. Not for the faint of heart, this surf spot has average height of waves that range from 6 to 8 feet (about 2-2.5 meters) and on a good day 10 to 12 feet (about 3-4 meters).
It is an adventure just to reach Witch’s Rock, as this surf break is located by a massive rock off the shore of Santa Rosa National Park. The best way to get to this epic surf spot is by boat, which takes about an hour and a half to reach from Tamarindo. This surf spot is like paradise for surfers who want to experience surfing at its gnarliest.
If you plan your visit to Tamarindo between October and March you can witness one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. The “arribada” is a mass synchronized arrival of hundreds of sea turtles that arrive on the shores to lay their eggs at certain times of the year.
If you come at the right time, you can witness this mass arrival of sea turtles, including the rare leatherback, at Las Minas Beach. Taking place at night, you will watch the huge turtles emerge from the sea underneath the stars as the ancient creatures lay their eggs. This is one of the most important turtle nesting sites in Costa Rica to witness the majesty of nature.
Snorkel and Scuba Dive
Much like the world above the water, the landscape and wildlife under the sea differ from region to region. What better way to explore Tamarindo than taking a snorkeling or scuba diving tour? You can take a half-day tour from Tamarindo to snorkel one of Costa Rica’s best diving spots – Las Catalina’s Islands.
The Las Catalina’s Islands feature volcanic rock that hosts an abundance of sea life including massive manta rays, reef sharks, angel fish, silvery schools of jack, and majestic sea turtles. A short boat ride from the beach makes this an easy and highly recommended day trip from Tamarindo.
There is nothing that will give you the feeling of complete immersion in nature quite like swimming under a waterfall. Experience two incredible waterfalls on one Tamarindo day trip that will have you hiking to the blue waters of the Rio Celeste Waterfall and swimming beneath the awe-inspiring Llanos de Cortes.
The unbelievable blue waters of Rio Celeste are said to have come from when God dipped his paintbrush into the water after painting the sky. The photos you have seen online are not edited – it really is that blue! After hiking to see the falls you will continue on your hike through the Tenorio Volcano National Park where you can swim in the refreshing river. After this you will head to the Sloth and Frog Sanctuary for a tour of a rural organic farm where you will see these incredible Costa Rican creatures and indulge in a hearty lunch cooked over an open flame. End your day relaxing in the tropical oasis of the Llanos de Cortes falls and feel the fresh spray of this beautiful waterfall in the heart of Guanacaste.
While you will love the laid-back beach vibe of Tamarindo, you don’t have to spend your entire stay in the fun little surf town. There are several day trips from Tamarindo where you can discover the best of what Costa Rica has to offer.
If you are staying at the Iguana Surf Camp, you can book many of these Tamarindo day trips as an add-on at a special rate. And anyone who books a tour with us gets 15 percent off surf lessons and surfboard rentals! So, indulge your inner explorer, have an epic adventure, and immerse yourself in the abundant nature of Costa Rica!
Written by Jennifer LaCharite