I had an amazing amazing time in Costa Rica! I went to celebrate with a group of women for my friend's birthday! We stayed on the beach side in Tamarindo!
In this post you will find the following recommendations : accommodations, excursions, spas, restaurants/bar/beach clubs/gelato, and a packing list! Enjoy :)
3 things you must know before coming to Costa Rica:
Costa Rica is a pretty small country, the third smallest in Central America. However when you visit, you will find there is still a lot of land to cover in order to experience Costa Rica in its entirety.
In addition to the beach side of Costa Rica, there is a rainforest side and other pockets in between that are worth visiting!
I met a couple who did a 10+ hour road trip through the country. Can you say, troopers?! The roads are unpaved and extremely bumpy.
I do still highly recommend renting a car though. The "town"/excursions were about 25-30min away form our airbnb. Towards the end of my trip, I ended up staying at a hotel closer to town and it was still quite hilly and too hot to be walking up and down during the day...Rental car, rental car, rental car :)
Second thing is that you will hear locals and visitors saying "Pura Vida" this phrase was adopted by Costa Ricans 50yrs ago, meaning "pure life" or "simple life". It's a fun mindset to adopt while you are there and beyond!
The third is, Tamarindo is pretty "couply" , so it a great getaway for couples.However if you are a solo traveler please keep in mind as you plan your trip, just in case something like this would bother you! Majority of my trip I was with the girls and when I was alone, I was at the Wyndham resort and ended up making friends with a few couples; so it is all about what makes sense for you!
1.This is the beautiful and luxurious airbnb that we stayed in. We had a private chef prepare breakfast and a couple dinners for us. You can find them on instagram at Pure.Dream.Life . Every meal was fantastic!
For Breakfast we had a variation of : eggs, french toast, bacon, plantains, fresh fruit, avocado toast, and sausage
For Dinner one night we had a 3 Course meal.
The Appetizer was a Caribbean ceviche, the Main course was Surf and Turf, and the Dessert was Passionfruit cheesecake and caramelized pineapple with ice cream! YUM!
2. For the last few days of the trip I stayed at the Wyndham Tamarindo! I had a great time! The food was good, every guest gets an ocean view room due to the set up of the hotel. As a guest you also get to experience the amazing infinity pool with a pool bar that overlooks the ocean! Not to mention the lobby was very tropical and gave me the dream resort feel.
The associates and staff were all so great. The bathrooms were pretty modern with LED light mirrors and stainless steels nobs and handles. Each room had a balcony with chairs. Needless to say, I did not want to leave. As aforementioned, this hotel was pretty "couply". This is something to keep in mind if you plan on doing a solo trip, if that would bother you :) I stayed there majority of the time solo and made some pretty cool friends!
Pictured: Chill Pool bar vibes
Restaurants, Gelato and Drinks:
Lolas Playa Avellana - Between the palm trees and the lights, this was a cute place to go for drinks and appetizers and also to feel the tropical vibe. I got some pretty amazing calamari here. However, they are known for their fresh tortillas and tacos!
We decided to just get drinks and appetizers here because we really had our eyes set on my next restaurant recommendation, IL Rustico!
Il Rustico - Many of us were intrigued by the lasagna. Now, to be honest, the photos for the lasagna did fool us a bit. But with a little more parmesan cheese and salt we achieved the taste we were looking for. The pizza on the other hand, was immaculate!!
Caveat: I always wonder if pizza tastes as good I feel it does.. I say this because pizza is my favorite food so I feel like unless the pizza has no cheese on it or the dough is rock hard and tastes like cardboard, I will like it lol.
But I surveyed a few of the girls and they agreed, the pizza was bomb! And the customer service and greenery paired with the light were even better!
Ocean Bar & Restaurant - I loved this restaurant for many reasons. 1) my food was tasty, 2) my drink was tasty, 3) they have a live band, and 4) they had wish notes we could leave to come back to ( captured in video the to the right). The rule was that we had to write down our wish(es) and clip them to the cascading string of wishes...when the wish comes true, we are encouraged to come back to the restaurant and take a photo under the wish or at least under the stream of wishes. Cute, right?! :)
Drinks: Most of us at the table decided to order the Pura Vida Drink! (1 oz Cacique liquor · 1 oz triple sec · 2 oz pineapple juice · 2 oz orange juice · 1 oz grenadine · lime to garnish · ice.)
It was bomb! Not every location makes it so I was happy to enjoy it at this restaurant.
Food: They had great entree options but the pizza lover in me wanted to try the Hawaiian pizza. I was definitely in the mood for it
Pangas Beach Club- This restaurant had an elegant beach vibe to it. It was a beachfront restaurant with palm trees and stringing lights. After visiting a few restaurants , I realized this was the night vibe at most restaurants in Tamarindo. I loved a consistently beautiful aesthetic :)
I shared the honey wings with one of the girls as an appetizer and it was pretty good. Then I ordered a lobster risotto and IT WAS BOMB!! huge but bomb. I could have easily split it with someone. I was very happy with it!
Venetia Gelati & Caffé - The Gelato
was something my friends and I were looking forward to every night after dinner. They have about 22 flavors. My go to was the "Selva Negra"this flavor was a combination of Cherry, vanilla, and chocolate!
I encourage a few of the girls to try it, and they enjoyed it as well!
We took a sunset Catamaran boat from the Tamarindo beach. It was fun! We shared the boat with quite a few groups. They had music, complimentary food and drinks, dancing, snorkeling and tubing options available.
One of the most noteworthy excursions Costa Rica has besides zip lining is ATVing! We booked this excursion through the airbnb. I liked to company we booked with. Unfortunately, because it was booked through the airbnb, I do not have the name of the company. However, there are a plethora of ATV companies you can leverage when booking. Viator normally has some good deals!
Some of our friend's went to Coco's Beauty Spa and fell intrigued by the "Four hands massage". They reported back and said that they loved it. The pricing here was pretty traditional $125- $200.
The appointments at Coco's during the times we needed were all booked up so one of the girls found a company that did massages on the beach. This opportunity instantly caught our attention! Did I mention, the massages were $50?! Some of the girls were jokingly a little skeptical but we messaged Tamarindo Massage via whatsapp and coordinated appts for morning to midday!
One thing I must say is that Costa Rica is very very hot! We went the last week of March and it was 95-97 degrees each day.
Because of this, we decided to book a morning massage, because who wants to be sweating while getting a massage?! Yuck!
We timed it perfectly , 11am, 90min therapeutic massage, $50 on the beach! It was so great, you hear the waves and birds and faint voices. It was truly relaxing and therapeutic :)
Beach Massage Details:
Tamarindo Massage by the Sea! Head to this hotel - La Palapa Beachfront. You walk through the mini entrance straight back to the restaurant and ask the servers for the Tamarindo Massage is and they will direct you. It will be to your right on the beachfront!
Last minute Packing Suggestions:
Antigen Covid Test at Home Kit - clinics overseas are charging $50+ for covid test to get back in the states. If you have a home kit, I highly recommend you bring it to prevent the $50+ fee
Layers and light clothing
Cash - maybe $300 for a week. If you rent a car and park it along the street, someone will ask you to pay to watch your car. Additionally, the Tamarindo Massage and a few other places like the ATV excursion was cash only. It helps to have extra on hand, if needed
Pills for motion or sea sickness if you decide to do the Catamaran cruise or an excursion like it
Water Bottle for day trips
Closed toe shoes- although I wore my birkenstocks to go atving and I was fine. It may be best to have closed toe shoes for zip lining though!
Change of Clothes - it gets super hot an it's nice to be able to go home and shower to put on a fresh outfit besides your pjs
Good luck planning your stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica! I hope this post gave you a little more insight. For any questions, please DM me at asya_nicole on Instagram! Happy Traveling!