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Tamarindo (Playa Grande, Langosta)

What used to be an off-the-beaten-track surfer’s mecca/fishing village is today one of the biggest, most vibrant vacation destinations in Costa Rica. Thanks to major improvements to the area’s roads and infrastructure, what used to be a bumpy, pothole-ridden trek is now a smooth ride from both the Liberia (LIR) and San Jose (SJO) international airports.

If you’re looking for a one-stop holiday destination akin to what you find on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, then Tamarindo is where you want to be. The beach is hopping with action from sunrise until sunset. Sunbathers, surfers, strollers, and barefoot soccer matches are regular features. During the high season and holiday weekends, live music and crowds spill from the beachfront bars onto the streets and along the surf.

In town, you’ll find every type of cuisine, classy boutique shops, souvenir stands, and everything in between. The same goes for lodging. All budgets are welcome, and the more money you’ve got, the better and better the accommodations are.

Tamarindo’s surf is consistent year-round, especially from December through May. Experienced surfers can arrange for a boat or taxi ride over to two of the world’s most famous surf spots, Witches Rock and Ollie’s Point.

The idyllic Playa Langosta, to the south, borders Tamarindo and is much calmer and quieter. Visitors come for its beautiful white-sand beaches and upscale resorts.

To the north of Tamarindo is the renowned Tamarindo Estuary and the Marino las Baulas National Park and Playa Grande. On the coastline around the park and estuary, you’ll find fabulous surfing. Nature lovers also flock to the area to see the abundant wildlife, including giant sea turtles that migrate seasonally to the warm sand of Playa Grande to lay their eggs.

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