Tamarindo is located on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Province of Guanacaste at 110° 17.908'N and 85° 50.674'W. The town has approximately 2,000 full time residents, and can swell to 5,000 people during the tourist season. The main draws of the town are surfing and eco-tourism.
Tamarindo is a long beach, with excellent waves near the mouth of the estuary. Currents can be pretty strong, especially on a falling tide. Tamarindo has two main breaks for advanced surfers; Pico Pequeño a rocky point in front of the Hotel Tamarindo Diriá and the excellent river mouth break called El Estero. The rest of the beach breaks are perfect for learning.
The biggest waves you'll ride can get up to 12 feet, although only during November and December. Tamarindo is a great place to use as a home base as you explore many of the breaks to the North and South including Casitas and Playa Grande to the North and Langosta to the South.
Playa Grande beach is also where the Leatherback Turtle comes to lay its eggs. The leatherbacks take over the beach from November to April, digging their nests up to one meter deep, lay their eggs and cover the pit with sand, and return once again to the sea. After 60 to 90 days, the hatchlings emerge and immediately make their way to the water.
There are lots of other eco-friendly activities including watching turtles during their nesting season at night, diving, snorkeling, body surfing, zip-lining, estuary trips, horseback riding and fishing. During the December to April period when the water turbidity is low, fishing may be done from the shore with Jack’s, Dorado, Sea Bass and Rooster Fish among the possible catches.
The beaches in the area are generally clean and recent efforts by the government and local business organizations are proving themselves. Unfortunately, the area has become a boon to developers who have cut corners and not installed proper infrastructure including black water treatment. While the beach has not regained its Blue Flag Status, in September 2008, it did get a clean bill of health from the Costa Rican Government.
Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste is the most accessible location along the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica with an airstrip serviced 7 days a week from San José by two airlines: SANSA and Nature Air provide several flights daily. Private charter services are available as well. However, visitors should be cautioned that during the rainy season, the airport is frequently closed due to the weather. The closest airport that can accommodate IFR landings is 75 km to the north east in Liberia.
The international airport in Liberia, Guanacaste is open to international flights from a variety of carriers. The airport is about a 75 minute drive from Tamarindo through newly paved roads.
Scheduled daily bus service to and from San José, as well as surrounding communities, is available by a variety of companies. There is also a paved highway from San José for those who wish to rent a car and drive the countryside. The average time from San Jose to Tamarindo is 5 to 6 hours depending on traffic.
The town also has a fairly moderate nightlife, and features some local musicians on a semi regular basis.