Tamarindo or Tamagringo

(continuer en français) – Last updated: December 20, 2022

Tamarindo beach on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is probably the most frequented beach in the country by foreign tourists, especially beginner surfers attracted by the easier waves. To the point of earning the unappealing nickname of Tamagringo.

So don’t expect to discover the lifestyle of the Ticos, the nickname of the Costa Ricans, and it’s difficult to see the pura vida here. At best, one can see a few farms from the dusty roads on the way there. In Tamarindo, the traditional village is located several kilometres inland from the coastline, where foreign visitors congregate.

Although the distance from the capital San José is only 155 miles, 250 kilometres, the roads are not very fast and it takes a good half-day’s journey by car or bus. Arriving from abroad it is easier to land at Liberia airport, 46 miles, 75 kilometres away, which is mainly designed to accommodate tourist flights.

As a result, the level of quality standards in Tamarindo, and therefore prices, is higher than in the rest of Costa Rica. More than anywhere else, there are hotels, restaurants, shops and even a French bakery run by foreign residents, often with experience from their home country. It is true that an expatriate can indeed consider settling in Tamarindo to run a profitable business.

The locals, however, provide the necessary labour to keep the resort running. Many of them come to take advantage of the presence of foreign visitors to try to earn some money. On the beach, they regularly pass by to offer their services, such as these cleverly constructed carts selling various sweets or ice creams directly where the holidaymakers are.

As everywhere in Costa Rica, there is a diversified offer of recreational activities. On a stay of several days it will be possible to vary the occupations. Nearby, there is a mangrove, sea turtle nesting grounds and even populations of sloths and crocodiles. To get around, bicycles, horses and ATVs are available.

Of course, everything that revolves around water can be practiced in Tamarindo, whether it is surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, jet skiing, snorkeling or diving, it is all possible and accessible. Small shops selling tours or renting equipment are numerous along the beach. Surfing remains the dominant activity, mainly for beginners, but there are a couple of interesting breaks for the more experienced.

Walking, running, cycling along the beach, especially when low tide uncovers a firmer stretch of sand, is the easiest activity in Tamarindo. There is the entertainment of bathers and surfers, but also the performance of pelicans taking off heavily, gliding for a moment before swooping vertically in pursuit of a fish unwisely close to the surface.

Given the heat, it is tempting to spend the hottest part of the day in the drafts under the shade of the palm trees. Several straw huts await the holidaymaker whose ambition is to do nothing. Even offering to dine in this relaxing setting, with the table in the sand.

Then comes the sunset. Tamarindo is ideally positioned, facing west to watch the sun go down towards the horizon.

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Tamarindo or Tamagringo

Tamarindo beach on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is probably the most frequented beach in the country by foreign tourists, especially beginner surfers attracted by the easier waves. To the point of earning the unappealing nickname of Tamagringo. So don’t expect to discover the lifestyle of the Ticos, the nickname of the Costa Ricans, and it’s difficult to see the pura vida here.

Sámara, the sleepy beach

Getting to Sámara is not always easy, as if it had to be a deserved treat. Most of the roads are still dirt roads, continually traveled by all kinds of vehicles, rutted after rain, and it often rains.

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    • I also drove through Nosara and Guiones which I found much more natural with houses mixed in with nature. Tamarindo, with its more classical aspect, may also appeal to those looking for this type of comfort. Thanks for commenting, better days are on the way!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My only two experiences with Costa Rica involved docking at Puntarenas, but the two excursions, one to a jungle cruise and one to Natua Wildlife Refuge are both highlights of my cruising experiences over the years.
    I understand there are many North American expats retired in the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Costa Rica is working hard to preserve nature and make it accessible to visitors. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it. I noticed more expats working than retired in Costa Rica. However, pensioners are more evident in some parts of Panama, which will be my next stop. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The beach here looks lovely. We won’t be going as far south as Tamarindo, but will stay in Playa Hermosa and then on toward the volcanoes northeast of Liberia (Volcan Tenorio) and then to Monteverde and Lake Arenal. Your photos are beautiful and it looks very laid back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You will get a good sample in Plaza Hermosa, usually the weather is warm which explains the slow pace of life in the lowlands. Higher up in the mountains, the weather is more suitable for hiking.


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