Finding a soothing spot to relax can be difficult, especially if you live in a big city. Sometimes, you just find yourself dreaming about sandy beaches, friendly people, and great food. Sounds like a daydream, right? There’s actually a small place in Costa Rica that fits that description. Welcome to Tamarindo, an excellent vacation spot on the northwest Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, famed for its sparkling beaches and restaurants that offer great food.

What to expect

Tamarindo is a small community of friendly people. It is most famed for its beaches and sands. If you want to go surfing or horse riding along the beach, it is the place for you. Lately, Tamarindo is becoming a popular tourist destination. Expats from Europe, the United States, and Asia all eager to unwind and get some distance from the fast pace of life in crowded cities come here to have a good time either alone or with families. The recent influx of expats has driven prices of accommodation a bit higher. However, overall, prices in Tamarindo remain much lower than those in European cities. If you get tired of watching the waves and would like to sample the local cuisine, the beaches are packed with trendy bars and restaurants.


No trip to the restaurants in Tamarindo would be complete if you didn’t try the following dishes:

  • Casados. Possibly the most common dish, the casado is made of rice, beans, peppers and assorted vegetables often with a choice of meat. You can have beef, chicken or fish, always grilled but never fried.
  • Ceviche. Ceviche is fish marinated in lime and a generous helping of herbs and vegetables.
  • Gallo Pinto. A breakfast dish composed of rice mixed with beans, a serving of eggs, beef and plantain. If you are spending the night at one of the hotels, you should consider ordering this breakfast. You have to try it at least once.

Gestures to avoid

Tamarindo is by and large a welcoming and accepting community. The influx of expats all year round means the people are used to seeing foreigners interested in buying real estate in Costa Rica, and treat them with respect. They are understanding of cultural differences. However, if you really want to make it easier for yourself, learning a few phrases in Spanish will be a good idea. While most of the restaurants and hotels will have at least one staff that speaks English, people appreciate the gesture when you make the effort to talk to them in their language. Another thing to note is transactions take a little longer to process in Tamarindo. Get used to being patient and waiting for things. Getting angry about it won’t speed up the process and what’s the point anyway, you came to relax not live life at full speed.

Tamarindo is a lovely location with something for everyone. Whether you are a businessman tired of visiting glass and steel capitals of the world or just a city dweller looking to escape into a different world for some time, you will find something new to sample in Tamarindo. The best part is your trip doesn’t have to be expensive. Prices are low compared to European cities and if you are on a really tight budget, you can find plenty of hostels and low-cost accommodations to cater to your needs. If you love traveling, you just have to see this place at least once.