Flying into Playa Tamarindo (Tambur, just outside Playa Tamarindo) on a tiny NatureAir flight was awesome. A bit of turbulence but for the most part, a smooth flight and easy landing. Dismounting the flight we struggled to find a cab but eventually were able to flag one to take us to Pura Vida Hostel. The last ones to arrive to the dorm, we claimed two top bunks with our backpacks, exchanged hellos and headed to dinner. From then on, we were inseparable from our new dorm-mates. We would wake up, eat food, surf, swim, sun bake, shower and head out to the clubs every night except for one night when we all laid on our respective beds and talked until midnight about anything and everything.
New Years Eve was no exception – a big night, we headed to our fave beach club that boasted an open bar and sand between the toes, combined with various DJs and rum cocktails, it was an eventful evening. We danced, played in the sea, watched the fireworks, drank inappropriate amounts of rum, talked shit and had the time of our lives. The beach was packed, literally as tight as a tin of sardines. Parties were going off in the streets, rouge fireworks setting off all around us. People were dancing, pushing, laughing, drinking, having a joyous evening and ringing in the new year. It had such a fun vibe and the happiness was infectious.
There was so much that happened through Tamarindo – too much to write. There are so many blurry or slanted photos that I can look at and remember inside jokes or moments; lazy afternoons that melted into evenings in a smear of a pink and purple sunset, topped off with a few rum and cokes courtesy of El Be happy hour. Absolutely amazing place to spend a few days but don’t be surprised if those few days turn into a week or longer, soon enough you will be walking around the town as if you were a local.
- Stay in a hostel! If you are staying during peak season, book a few days in advance to avoid struggling to find a place amongst all the travellers and Costa Ricans.
- Be aware of your belongings – pickpockets are not in short supply here! Avoid leaving anything on the beach when you go swimming without supervision.
- Catch as many sunsets as you can – it’s not only the most beautiful time of day but everyone crowds on the beach and the beach bars during sunset and it’s a great vibe. Bring a cooler, beers, towel, dog, bike, whatever and make some new mates!
- When crossing to Playa Grande, take the boat across! There are crocs that roam the waters, and we have seen them firsthand.
- Check out what specials are on during the week – most clubs and bars have ladies nights where all ladies drink for free until a certain time. Easy pre-drinking!
- Waves are small to medium, good for learning, but for more advanced surfers head to Playa Langosta or other nearby towns. Hiring a car is cheap and easy out of peak season, less than $30USD per day!
- Green Papaya is an amazing restaurant – average prices but the food is outstanding and huge portions. The front terrace also has swings across the tables instead of chairs.
- Hard to access by public bus to or from San Jose – you have to change 5 times in random places. I would suggest a shuttle if you have $50 to spare. It’s not a short journey and it’s worth the extra comfort! (also a lot of CR shuttles have wifi, which is a bonus for entertainment).