Tamarindo, Costa Rica
District and Town
The coastline in Tamarindo
|• District and Town||123.53 km2 (47.70 sq mi)|
|• District and Town||6,375|
|• Density||51.6/km2 (134/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Costa Rica Standard Time)|
Tamarindo is a town and district of the Santa Cruz canton, located on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Province of Guanacaste. Tamarindo is the largest developed beach town in Guanacaste, and the second-largest in all of Costa Rica, behind Jacó (Not including port towns such as Puntarenas or Quepos). The district has a population (as of 2011) of 6,375 (3rd biggest district of Santa Cruz, second being Veintisiete de Abril and first Santa Cruz itself). The main attractions are surfing and eco-tourism.
Towns belonging to the district besides Tamarindo are Villarreal, Santa Rosa, Garita Nueva, Hernández and San José de Pinilla.
Playa Tamarindo is a long, rocky beach with excellent waves near the mouth of the estuary. Currents can be strong, especially on a falling tide. Tamarindo has two main breaks for advanced surfers: Pico Pequeño a rocky point to the right of the Hotel Tamarindo Diriá and the excellent river mouth break across from Cabinas Tsunami called El Estero. The rest of the beach breaks are perfect for learning. The biggest waves can reach a height of up to 12 feet, although this is a rare occurrence and is only seen during November and December.
Some eco-friendly activities that may be done in Tamarindo and neighboring beaches include: watching turtles during their nesting season, 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.
The beaches in the area are generally clean and recent efforts by the government and local business organizations are proving themselves. 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. The town is trying to regain its Blue Flag Status.
Common things to do in Tamarindo are: ATV Tours, Estuary Safari, Horseback Riding, Kayak Tours, Massages, White Water Rafting class or Tubing, Tours, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Spa & Beauty, Sport Fishing, Sailing, Sunset Sailing, Surfing Lessons, Tennis Classes, Turtle Nesting Tours and Zip Line / Canopy Tours.
Tamarindo is the most accessible location along the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica with an airstrip. There is a scheduled daily bus service to and from San José, and a paved highway from San José with an average driving time of 3.5 to 6 hours depending on traffic.
Liberia to Tamarindo
The average driving time from the Liberia international airport to Tamarindo is about an hour along route 21 through Palmira, Filedelfia and Belen, and then on route 155 through Huacas. This route is paved all the way, but with just one lane in each direction. However, just as you reach the small town of Villareal, there is a busy 3-way intersection with route 152. It has no traffic lights but does have proper signalisation. However, it is still wise to be careful as motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians will often go right through the intersection without stopping or even slowing down.
Route 152 into Tamarindo has a steep hill with a blind curve, therefore additional care is needed both entering and leaving Tamarindo. There are also many shops along this route, so it is common for cars to appear without warning. The last turn into town, just as the ocean appears, has a tall cliff on the left with limited views of oncoming traffic. There are often cars and trucks parked on both sides of the road, sometimes leaving only a single lane for vehicles in both directions.
The nearby town of Villareal has a both a public Elementary school and a public High-school, two full size soccer fields, multiple restaurants, two large stores, multiple hardware stores, a police station, a church, several car repair shops and a fuel station.
Just east of the centre of Tamarindo, there is a 3-way intersection. To the left is the road that leads to the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, and also a secondary exit from Tamarindo. To the right is the road that leads to Langosta.
Shopping and Services
A branch office of the regional law firm Expertis Legal is located in Tamarindo center.
There are 4 supermarkets in the area.
- SuperCompro (Well Hidden from the general public, next to the Park).
- Super 2001 (on main road near intersection, almost at the end of tamarindo).
- Supermercado Las Palmeras (upon entering Tamarindo, on the other side of Aqua).
- Automercado, very upscale and air-conditioned, on the road towards Tamarindo.
There is a fair-sized farmers market between the beginning of the road to Langosta every Saturday morning, which has a variety of items for sale, not just food. You will usually find at least a few dozen vendors there. There is also a smaller farmers market in Villareal, at the corner of the soccer field, every Friday morning, but it only has fruits and vegetables.
There are 3 banks in Tamarindo.
- Banco Nacional de Costa Rica on the road from the center of town, has parking, 2 ATMs and Security. It closes at 3:45pm.
- Another two are in Plaza Conchal Commercial Center, below Expertis Law firm, and at very end/back of the shops. These are open later hours than Banco Nacional. Both have ATMs.
- There are two ATMs,in front of Subway and another inside Super Compro.
Retail shops and restaurants love the American dollar. However, as a rule of thumb, don't use anthing over a $20 bill...forget using a $100. You will get change in colons.
There are several shops in Tamarindo that sell and rent surf boards. They also sell related equipment and clothing.
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