In a hot surf destination like Tamarindo, the options for hotels, activities, food, and everything else are endless. Which is a good thing – it means you are sure to find something you will love! But it also can make trip planning a bit overwhelming. Luckily, we have put together this handy little guide to hopefully aid in making some of these decisions a little easier. Here’s to an epic Tamarindo surf vacation!
PICKING A HOTEL:
I would say picking a good hotel is one of the most important parts of planning your vacation. If you are not comfortable where you are staying, it is hard to enjoy the other aspects of your trip. Getting a good night of sleep is important in a place like Tamarindo where your days are sure to be full of all kinds of exciting adventures! You will also want it to be located in a convenient place so that you don’t have to spend all of your time getting to and from your hotel. This not only eats away at your time to spend doing things you enjoy, but it also adds extra costs in transportation. It is nice to be able to just walk everywhere you want to go and be close to all kinds of different restaurants, bars, and shops!
The Iguana Surf Boutique Tamarindo Hotel is conveniently located right on the main street in town that runs parallel to the beach. Your room is literally steps away from the sand and the waves, so sunbathing and surfing are easy. It is also surrounded by great places to eat, drink, and shop. The options are endless! If you are looking for a more quiet atmosphere for your Tamarindo lodging you can select one of their condos located on the other side of town and are only one block from the beach! Either are perfect for your Tamarindo surf vacation!
PICKING A SURF SHOP:
Another integral part of a successful Tamarindo surf vacation is having a good one-stop surf shop for all of your needs while you are in town. The surf shop should also be located in a convenient location close to the beach, and perhaps more importantly, close to the surf break so you don’t have to drag your board along the beach forever. It is also important that it is credible and has been around for a long time – you want to be working with people you can trust and count on!
The Iguana Surf Shop is located right downstairs from the Iguana Surf Hotel. So once again, just right across the street from the beach. And it is on the correct area of the beach for surfing as well. The southern part of the beach is not very surf-able and you won’t find many people there. The main break at Tamarindo Beach is right across the street and just slightly to the right from Iguana Surf, so you do not have to walk far at all with your boards to get to the best spot to surf in Tamarindo!
Iguana Surf is the oldest Tamarindo surf shop and has been loved and respected by visitors and locals alike since 1989. After a visit to Iguana, you are certain to walk away with a smile on your face! And the best part is that they have it all… tours, transfers, surf lessons, surf rentals, and everything else you could possibly need on your Tamarindo surf vacation. If you are a beginner surfer, start with a surf lesson with one of our awesome instructors. Or if you are a seasoned pro on the waves, then this is the perfect spot to rent a board that will help you surf the waves in Tamarindo fearlessly. With incredible people, great prices, and convenience beyond compare, what more could you really ask for?
PICKING WHERE TO EAT:
If you are looking to get the most local and authentic food experience possible, there are a couple must-try spots that are both delicious, inexpensive, and a great bang for your buck at any time of day. Although it might sound funny, there are a few different people who sell food out of the trunks of their cars every day on the street. You can find them parked on the main street of Tamarindo right on the corner by the restaurant Patagonia. For just 2,500 colones or about 5 dollars, you get a huge serving of rice, beans, your choice of meat, homemade chips, salad, plantains, and more. It will fill you up and give you a taste of a real Costa Rican cooking.
For a similar experience of casado but from an established restaurant, Wrap Soda is one of the go-to’s. For breakfast, get a typical gallo pinto with rice and beans, eggs, cheese, and sausage–all bound to start your day off right. For lunch or dinner, you can order more typical casado with rice and beans, salad, plantains, and a choice of meat. A very popular option of meat with casado is “pescado a la plancha”, which means “grilled fish”. This option will rock your world. When in Tamarindo, fish should be at the top of your list of things to try as it is caught right here, often the same day it is cooked. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
Besides typical food, there are tons of other options in Tamarindo sure to satisfy the whole family. Here are a few of our favorites for a nice dinner out with your loved ones!
Patagonia advertises themselves as an Argentinian grill, featuring me any delicious appetizers, meat dishes, pastas, seafood, and different specials every night. It is a great spot to open a bottle of wine and enjoy a slow, high-quality meal.
The lively Green Papaya is a must-try if you like mexican flavors. With some of the best chips and dips in the world and a huge array of burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, it will satisfy your Mexican bone. The prices are fair and the portions are huge, and you are served in an outdoor seating setting where some of the chairs are actually swings. If you are craving a margarita, that is a great spot to go as well.
La Baula definitely takes the cake for the best pizza in town while maintaining a classy atmosphere for the feeling of a nice dinner out. The menu is extensive so there is a pizza for everyone, and they are the perfect size to order a few and share among family or friends. The owner is Italian so the flavors are as authentic as it gets, and you are guaranteed to leave satisfied and happy. Pro tip? Order a size of gorgonzola cheese for your pizza. We put it on everything!
For awesome seafood, El Chiringuito is one of the most recommended. They serve a variety of options from fresh fillets to octopus, all caught locally and cooked with fresh, organic ingredients. With a relaxed but slightly upscale atmosphere, good music, and string lights, it is best for going out to dinner.
Nogui’s is another amazing spot that has gathered it’s good reputation over all of the years it has been established in Tamarindo. Back when Tamarindo was a tiny little town and didn’t even have a paved road, Nogui’s was the only restaurant in town. It has grown since then and attracted visitors from all over.
Bar Jolly Roger is a popular spot for sunset beers and dinner. And it is conveniently located out on the balcony of the Iguana Surf Hotel! Watch the sunset and have a few happy hour beers, and then it is the perfect time to order a burger, some french fries, or choose one of their 24 flavors of chicken wings to snack on for dinner while watching the sunset over the beach. They also offer black bean burgers and cauliflower wings for vegetarians!
PICKING OTHER ACTIVITIES:
Besides surfing, Tamarindo is full of other activities that you won’t want to miss. You can choose from all your classic tours like snorkeling, horseback riding, ATV’s, zip-lining, and more. They are all a blast. Reservations for everything can be made at Iguana Surf! There are always plenty of activities going on around town as well! Here are a few of our favorites:
Live Music @ El Vaquero: Every Day, 4pm – 7pm
After your afternoon surf session, walk up the beach to El Vaquero, a local beachfront restaurant and bar. Enjoy live music, happy hour specials, and undoubtedly a killer sunset. This is where you will find a lot of the locals hanging out, and Robert August has been known to enjoy this spot pretty often as well!
Tamarindo Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8am – 1pm
This is one of my personal favorite things that Tamarindo has to offer. Visit the farmers market for your morning coffee and a fresh pastry, to buy awesome handmade goods to bring home as souvenirs, or do some grocery shopping from local farmers that bring their goods to Tamarindo every Saturday. You can find everything from farm fresh eggs, to produce, to incredible cheese!
Open Mic @ Longboards: Every Wednesday, 7:30pm
Got a little diddy in your back pocket? Bring it out at this relaxed open mic night that is fun for the whole family. Max, who leads the open mic, will even let you use his guitar.
Beer Pong Tournament @ Sharky’s: Every Sunday, 9pm
Grab a partner and sign up to compete in a beer pong tournament that will take you back to your college days. Always lively and a great place to talk to people from all over the world!
Tamarindo Night Market: Every Thursday, 6pm
The Tamarindo Night Market is a must see during your visit. There are tons of vendors selling food, drinks, jewelry, and other handmade goods from all over the world. In one evening you could check out traditional art from the Czech Republic, try some authentic Spanish tapas, and finish it off with a signature drink from Brazil! Live music and friendly faces all around.
Hopefully now with a little more information and some of the real insider scoop in your back pocket, you are ready and excited to start planning your Tamarindo surf vacation! With so many incredible things to see and do, you really can’t go wrong. We are excited to welcome you to paradise! See you soon!
If you need more information contact us today and we will assist you in booking your Tamarindo surf vacation!