Did you know that there is a ferry that can be taken from Puntarenas, Costa Rica to either Paquera or Naranjo on the Nicoya Peninsula?
Tambor is a small fishing village with white sand beaches. It doesn’t have a ton going on, but that is part of its charm.
It is also a nice place to stay because you can easily drive to the busier towns of Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and Pacquera.
This is our favorite little corner of the country and we are sure you will love it as well!
Like most of the country, the dry season here runs from mid-December until April or May.
From May until August you can expect some afternoon rainstorms. They tend to roll in like clockwork around 2pm.
From mid-August until December a lot of things close down because the weather can be really rainy and there just isn’t enough tourism.
Even during the green season, this area tends to be super hot and sunny during the day.
Learn more about Costa Rica weather here.
Flying into the San Jose airport is best for going to Tambor.
If renting a car (which we recommend) from San Jose you have two options for getting here. You can either drive up like you are heading towards Liberia and then back down on the hook of Costa Rica called the Nicoya Peninsula. Tambor is located on this peninsula.
This route will take you about six hours. The roads have all recently been redone and the drive is smooth and pleasant, but long
Your other option is to drive to Puntarenas and take the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera. From Paquera it will take you about thirty minutes to drive to Tambor.
This is a great option because it means way less driving and is usually faster. It will take you about two hours from the airport to the ferry. It takes about 70 minutes on the ferry.
The problem with this route is that during high season the ferry fills up with cars fast.
However, you can pre-book your ferry ticket if you know exactly which ferry you want to take.
We have a guide to the Puntarenas Ferry here.
We suggest using Adobe for your car rental. They are the most trustworthy rental car company in this country (in our opinion) and we have a 10% discount for you. You can read more about renting a car here.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving to Tambor on your own, the cheapest option is to take the public bus. The bus leaves from downtown San Jose every day at 6:00 am and 2:00 pm.
The ride takes about five hours (the bus goes on the ferry). It’s not the most comfortable ride, but it’s cheap (under $10 per person).
Another option is to take a private shuttle. We love Adobe Transfers for this. You can find out more and get a quote here.
Unless you are planning on staying at a resort, we suggest renting a car and driving/ ferrying.
The reason we suggest this is because Tambor is great but if you are in the area you will probably want to explore other spots as well.
We always suggest Adobe for your car rental needs and they do not have an office on the Nicoya Peninsula so it is not possible to take the bus to Tambor and then rent a car with them once there.
The downtown area of Tambor is not huge. You can easily walk around.
If you plan on just relaxing on the beach and relaxing at a resort, save yourself some money and skip the rental car.
If you would like to explore the other nearby towns of Montezuma, Santa Teresa, or Pacquera you will need a rental car.
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.
Tambor is small, so most of these activity ideas are from nearby towns.
Visit Isla Tortuga –
Isla Tortuga is an undisturbed tropical island that you can visit on a day tour. It is perfect for snorkeling and relaxing on the beach.
Check out our full guide to Isla Tortuga for more info.
Hike at Curu Wildlife Reserve – The Curu Reserve is located just northeast of Tambor. Every time we have visited there have only been a few other people there. There are several trails for all skill levels, a nice beach, and plenty of tours that depart from here.
Check out our Curu Reserve guide for more info.
Go Bioluminescent Kayaking – Bioluminescent kayaking is possible year-round from Curu Reserve or departing from Pacquera. The best time to experience this unique phenomenon is during a new moon when there is very little light.
Walk the Beaches – From the pier at the end of Playa Tambor, you can walk along the beaches to El Chorro Waterfall. It is a long walk (about 2.5 miles one way) and needs to be done during low tide because you will have to walk across a river.
Take a Day Trip to Montezuma – The town of Montezuma is a short drive away. This is a great spot for visiting a butterfly farm, hiking to a waterfall, seeing sea turtles, and more! Check out our Montezuma guide for more info.
Tambor Tropical Beach Resort – A beautiful luxury beachfront hotel with a pool. Everything here is top-notch!
Fidelito Ranch & Lodge – A simple hotel on a beautiful property. The owners are extremely nice and will take good care of you.
Tango Mar Beachfront Hotel – It doesn’t get much better than this nice hotel with a pool directly on the beach. We highly recommend this place.
Lodge Margouillat – A nice hotel in the jungle. The rooms are simple but modern.
Barcelo Tambor – I struggled with adding this Tambor resort on here. It is one of the most popular places to stay in the area, as well as being one of the few all-inclusive resorts on the Nicoya Peninsula. We personally have not stayed here (I’m adding it to my list to check out ASAP) and after reading a bit, the reviews online are very mixed. However, it does have several nice pools, the only golf course in the area, and beach front access. If you visit, let us know how you liked it.
Mar y Sol – We are big fans of this place because they keep a small rotating menu of whatever is fresh and good on that particular day. It’s always delicious!
Restaurant and Cafe Cristina – The perfect little place for fresh seafood and fish. Everything is great and you feel like you are experiencing true Costa Rican home cooking.
-Tambor is a nice spot to stay, but definitely take advantage of this great location on the gulf of Nicoya and explore other nearby towns.
-We suggest spending at least four nights here to really soak in all the good stuff.
– Fun fact: This area of the country is one of the few Blue Zones in the world where people regularly live to over 100 years old. You can learn all about it in our post about Costa Rica’s Blue Zone.
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You Might Also Enjoy Visiting…
Montezuma is a relaxed beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is great for beach walking, island day tours, waterfall hiking, and more.
Santa Teresa is a popular town with backpackers and surfers. There are tons of fun restaurants and beach bars here.
Nosara is a great surfing destination, but it is also super close to Playa Ostional, a turtle migration beach.