295km (183 miles) NW of San José; 73km (45 miles) SW of Liberia
Tamarindo is the biggest boomtown in Guanacaste—and in some ways, I think the boom has gone a bit too far, a bit too fast. The main road into Tamarindo is a helter-skelter jumble of strip malls, surf shops, hotels, and restaurants. Ongoing development is spreading up the hills inland from the beach and south to Playa Langosta. None of it seems regulated or particularly well planned out.
Still, the wide range of accommodations, abundant restaurants, and active nightlife, along with very dependable surf, have established Tamarindo as one of the most popular beaches on this coast. The beautiful beach here is a long, wide swath of white sand that curves gently from one rocky headland to another. Fishing boats bob at their moorings and brown pelicans skim the water’s surface just beyond the breakers. A sandy islet off the southern end of the beach makes a great destination if you’re a strong swimmer; if you’re not, it makes a great foreground for sunsets. Tamarindo is very popular with surfers, who ply the break right here or use the town as a jumping-off place for beach and point breaks at playas Grande, Langosta, Avellanas, and Negra.