Tamarindo Costa Rica Surf and Travel Guide

Tamarindo has blown up since the opening of international flights into the Liberia airport in the early 2000’s, and for good reason. Just 45 minutes or so driving will get you from the Liberia airport to Tamarindo, meaning you can easily travel, land, and get your feet in the sand in the same day.

(Read More: Which Airport – Liberia or San Jose?)

It just doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

Prior to the Liberia airport option, you had to fly in and out of San Jose which often meant sacrificing a day of travel on both ends of your trip just to getting there. The drive from San Jose to Tamarindo can easily take 5-6 hours or more, not to mention the, well, adventures that can happen along the way.

(Want a story of an adventure to Tamarindo before Liberia airport opened? Read this: One Week in Tamarindo)

This development also means that there are plenty of options for places to stay at every price level and restaurants line the beach.

Of course, convenience comes at a price – and this price is crowds. Tamarindo has been transformed from a sleepy surf and fishing village to a major tourist destination. With that come the crowds, but it doesn’t mean that Tamarindo isn’t a good fit for your Costa Rica surf trip. It just means that you need to be realistic about what you are looking for.

Here’s a pretty good video of what you can expect to see in Tamarindo.

Is Tamarindo A Good Fit For You?

Here are some of the ways that Tamarindo might be the right place for your Costa Rica surf adventure, or just for part of it:

  1. Limited time – If you are doing a short trip to Costa Rica, a long weekend perhaps, and just need to get your warm water fix, Tamarindo might be a good fit for that. Off the plane in Liberia airport (often with direct flights) and in the water an hour or so later. Sometimes this is really the only option, and it just works.
  2. Beginner Surfer – Tamarindo is a fairly protected bay. While it can certainly get solid surf that would be too much for a beginner, there is a good chance that you can find a stretch of beach to suit your needs. Additionally, as with most beach breaks, a sandy entry and exit from the surf is much safer and easier than a reef or even an rocky beach.
  3. Mix of beginners/experienced surfers in your group – Although Tamarindo beach suits beginners, there are plenty of great waves in the area to suit the more experienced surfers in your group – see our guides to Avellanas and Playa Grande to start.
  4. I like to party. You may have heard it, maybe you haven’t. Tamarindo is a serious party town. It is likely that you will be missing some dawn patrol sessions if you stay here. I am not judging. You have been warned.

Getting to Tamarindo

First: Which Airport – Liberia or San Jose?

Hotels in Tamarindo

Working on it…

Restaurants in Tamarindo

Working on it…

Get Stoked With Some Costa Rica Surf Travel Tales

Tamarindo Surf

One Week in Tamarindo

Three Weeks in Playa Avellanas Costa Rica

Dominical, Twice

A Month in Nosara

Pavones, Some Things Don’t Change

Surfing in Playa Avellanas Costa Rica

Surfing Playa Grande Costa Rica