Tamarindo, Costa Rica

A Bustling Surfing Town With Plenty of Things to Do

The Tamarindo Vibe

Tamarindo Costa Rica is a cute (but big) beach town on the Pacific coast.

I have started calling this area the “kids pool of Costa Rica” because it is the perfect place to visit on your first trip to Costa Rica to get a feel for the country without being overwhelmed by a different culture.

The locals call it Tamagringo since it is filled with expats and tourists.

The downtown area has nice restaurants and shops that are perfect for people of all budgets.

It is also a world-class surfing destination.

Tamarindo is a great jumping-off point for tons of other adventures and its proximity to the Liberia International Airport makes it a great go-to tourist destination.

This area holds a really special place in our hearts because we actually got married just south of town on Playa Langosta.

tamarindo map

Map Of Tamarindo

Tamarindo is located on Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste Province. 

The nearest big city is Liberia, which is about one and a half hours away.

Tamarindo at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia

Popular Things to Do

surfing, rent an ATV, snorkel or diving tours

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car, walking in the downtown area

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April


Getting to Tamarindo

Flights to Costa Rica

The easiest way of getting to Tamarindo is by flying in to the Liberia International Airport. From Liberia, it is about a 1.5 hour drive to Tamarindo. From San Jose, it is about a five hour drive.

That being said, we will go through how to get here from each airport to clear things up a bit.



Transportation From Liberia International Airport

Rental Car

Renting a car and driving to Tamarindo on your own is a great option if you would like to have a car for fun day trips while in Tamarindo. The drive is on main roads the entire way and if you are a somewhat experienced driver you shouldn’t have any trouble.

We work exclusively with a local car rental company called Adobe for all our rental needs. They are the best company and we could rave about them all day. Plus, they have given us a 10% discount and other great perks to pass on to you.

You can find out more and book your car here.


Private Shuttle

If you are traveling with a group of people and don’t plan on renting a car, a private shuttle is the way to go. You can all sit back and enjoy the Pacific coast scenery while a competent driver ensures you get to your destination safely.

We work exclusively with Adobe Transfer for private shuttles. You can find out more and get a shuttle price quote here



If you are traveling as a couple or small family, a taxi is usually a more economical option rather than a private shuttle.

There is a family of certified Costa Rican taxi drivers based out of Liberia who we think very highly of. They will take very good care of you!

If you are interested in taking a taxi, click here to contact them for a price quote.

Oh, and they will give all our readers a $10 discount off the official taxi price list!


Public Bus

There is a public bus the runs from the Daniel Oduber Airport (the Liberia International Airport) to downtown Tamarindo multiple times a day. This trip will take about two hours.

As far as bus rides in Costa Rica go, this is an easy one. However, just not that if the bus is full you may need to stand for two hours.

Also, if you are coming with a lot of luggage, this is not going to be the best option for you.

You can find out more with this bus schedule.


From San Jose Internation Airport

From San Jose it will take about five hours to drive to Tamarindo.

Rental Car

The drive to Tamarindo is long, but doable. The first two hours of the drive are on a main toll highway. If you are a somewhat experienced driver you should have no trouble with this.

The tolls do not accept credit cards. They will take dollars or colones.

You will then drive on a main road that can feel like it take foreverrrr. A lot of big trucks drive this road and it is often hard to find a place to pass them.

Eventually, you will turn off on a smaller main road called Paso de Tampisque.

If you need to stop for a quick meal or bathroom, there is a small plaza with a Subway, Papa Johns, and Taco Bell located just before you make a left-hand turn on to Paso de Tampisque.

Other than that, there are not many quick food options along the way.

However, there are several gas stations if you need a bathroom break. Most of the gas station bathrooms are actually fairly decent.

From the turn on Paso de Tampisque, it is usually smooth sailing until you reach downtown Tamarindo.

Just not that police tend to hang out in the first few miles of your turn onto Paso de Tampisque controlling speeding.

We suggest downloading the free app Waze for directions in Costa Rica. It is the best and often other drivers are really great about inputting where the police are hanging out.

In other words, this drive is doable. We’ve done it many many times. However, after a long flight, driving for five hours might be the last thing you want to do.

Book your rental car here and save 10% plus many other great perks. 


Private Shuttle

A private shuttle is the most comfortable way to get to Tamarindo.

Your shuttle driver will be waiting for you when you exit the airport and will take care of everything.

You and your group can just enjoy looking out the window. Your driver will be happy to stop for pictures or food along the way.

Get a private shuttle quote here. 

Domestic Flight

From San Jose it is possible to take a domestic flight to the Tamarindo airport. This is definitely the fastest way of getting here, but it is usually a bit more expensive and we don’t suggest it for people who are scared of small planes.

You can check out your domestic flight options here. 


Public Bus

The public bus from San Jose to Tamarindo will take about five and a half hours. Just note the bus leaves from downtown San Jose, not from the airport.

This is by far the most affordable way to get to Tamarindo, but definitely not the most comfortable.

Getting Around in Tamarindo

The downtown area of Tamarindo is very walkable.

There are also several tour options which include transportation from your hotel.

However, Tamarindo is a great jumping-off point for tons of cool day trips that are often easier to organize on your own with a car.

If you opt to take a shuttle or taxi to Tamarindo you can always rent a car for just a few days if you would like to do your own exploring.

Adobe is happy to deliver a rental car to you for free within 12 miles of their Tamarindo office.

Just make sure to select Tamarindo as your pick-up location in the reservation form.

In the comments section of the reservation form, specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel in Tamarindo. 

Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and you will get a 10% discount! Score! You can find out more about it here.