You couldn’t accuse it of having a secluded, deserted beach. But living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica certainly has its rewards.
As one of the country’s most popular beach towns with a large expat community, Tamarindo has a lot of advantages and amenities.
Where to Live
You’ll find a variety of options when it comes to housing, from low-cost apartments and condos to large ocean-view homes. Three bedroom homes five minutes from the beach in and around Tamarindo can be had for well under $200,000; two bedrooms for around $150,000.
A plethora of vacation rentals also means you can easily visit for a month or two to try out living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica before you make a permanent move.
Tamarindo is a very walkable town. So no matter where you live the beach and town will be only, at most, 10 to 15 minutes away.
As a popular vacation spot, the medical care in Tamarindo isn’t what you’d find in other communities. There are doctors and dentists in town, and a few minutes drive further inland.
But for treatment for serious conditions, you’ll want to head to Liberia, the capital of the Guanacaste province. There you have a large public hospital (open to legal residents, including expats, only unless it’s an emergency) and two private clinics, one associated with Clinic Biblica and the other with CIMAHospital. They are near the international airport outside of town.
Water Sports Galore
If you’re into water sports, Tamarindo is your place. Surfing, of course, dominates. It’s actually the perfect place for beginners, with tame waves along most of its length. There are also bigger breaks for more experienced wave riders. More than a dozen surf schools are strung along the beach, ready with boards and expert instructors.
Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are also popular here.
For a town of about 4,000, it’s surprising just how many different types of food you can find.
The many Italian expats here have brought several restaurants dedicated to their home cuisine. La Baula is an open air place specializing in my personal favorite, wood-fire pizza baked in a brick oven.
You can also find gyros and falafel (Middle Eastern food is very rare in Costa Rica) at Falafel Bar. Just $4.50 for a big pita sandwich – and they don’t skimp on the ingredients.
Also try LongBoard BBQ, which has great American-style barbecue with awesome smoky sauce, another rarity in this country. It’s cheap too, a pulled pork sandwich with side is just $5.
In addition to these choices, you’ll find sushi, ceviche, American sports bar fare, gourmet sandwiches, Mediterranean, Asian fusion… the list goes on.
Of course, there are several restaurants and bars right on the beach. It’s the perfect place to enjoy sunset.
That’s where the “not a secluded beach” part comes in. You’ll soon learn living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica that the beach is the community gathering place. And sunset is peak time – a celebration of sorts.
People walk their dogs, surfers get one last session in, kids are playing, impromptu soccer games are held, cocktails enjoyed. It’s the place to meet with friends or make new ones.
And that sense of community is one of the things that makes Tamarindo special.
Getting to Tamarindo is easy. The DanielOduberInternationalAirport in Liberia offers many flights from North America and Europe. It’s just an hour taxi ($50) or bus ride ($3) to Tamarindo, with frequent service offered. You can also get private transport for $20 through the Tamarindo Shuttle (tamarindoshuttle.com).
From JuanSantamariaAirport in San Jose, the trip by bus is about four to five hours and costs less than $10. Private transport by van or shuttle will run you about $50 per person. You might consider renting a car for the trip.
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