The unusual wildlife and unforgettable sunsets of Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo beach

In the summer of 2018 we spent a week in Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Normally it is very rainy in the summer there, but every year there is a short dry period called the veranillo de San Juan, or “little summer.” If you manage to hit it at the right time, the weather is hot but relatively dry and quite tolerable for summertime. The timing went well for us and we only had rain for one of the days we spent there.

Located in Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo is a surfer town, and with strong pacific waves it draws surfers, expats and other visitors from around North America and beyond. There are many restaurants, bars and travel services throughout the town and English is widely spoken there.

View from our hotel room

Next to the town is an estuary (Estero de Playa Grande) that carries the water from the nearby river into the Pacific Ocean. With did a boat tour up the river to see the Costa Rican wildlife.

View from our room. You can see the mouth of the estuary on the right
Time to hop in the boat
The colours of the local wildlife really stood out, especially blue
This colourful crab was peeking out of his hole

The iguanas were shy at first, but the boatman threw some pineapples towards the shore and they quickly came out.

The iguanas became very social

The highlight of the day were the crocodiles. This fellow decided to check us out after relaxing on a sandy area by himself.

We have his attention
Here he comes
Stealth mode
Almost hidden now
After returning we saw this one using the telephone wires to grab fruit at the edge of town

With Tamarindo facing west, the sunsets are spectacular, and they didn’t disappoint during the week we were there.

Back in town, we enjoyed swimming and day trips to nearby towns and beaches. Arenal volcano is not too far from Tamarindo and can be done as a day trip from there, as can many of the eco-parks, adventure activities and jungle treks.

There were daily shuttles from the hotel to the beach club connected with the hotel
Near the beach club
Main intersection in the town
A visit to the microbrewery at the other end of the beach
Enjoying live music
The view from the patio at Volcano Brewery
The view kept getting better
Another day is done

There was a steady influx of tourists but the town never felt too crowded. In Tamarindo American dollars are preferred to Costa Rican colones in many of the shops, although both are accepted. Depending on the store, change might be given in colones. English is widely spoken in the town and we ended up having a relaxing week there–getting good weather during the rainy season certainly helped!

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