Tamarindo is a long beach, with excellent waves near the mouth of the estuary. Currents can be pretyy strong, especially on a falling tide, so watch your positioning. Tamarindo has three main breaks for advanced surfers; Pico Pequeño a rocky point in front of the Hotel Tamarindo Diriá Pico Grande, a reef break that has destroyed many a fin box of mine and the excellent river mouth break called El Estero. The rest of the beach breaks are perfect for learning...
I left in 2011 after a half decade of living the dream there, so some of the breaks will have changed with shifting sands and so forth.
Playa Tamarindo River Mouth
The river mouth, called by some ‘El Estero’ and by most, well, ‘The River Mouth’ provides some really nice rights and, on good days, some pretty sick little barrels. Best incoming, mid-tide. It’s best for the intermediate to advanced surfer.
Playa Tamarindo - Pico Pequeño / Pico Grande
Pico Pequeño / Pico Grande is a reef break smack in the center of the Tamarindo beach. Pico Pequeño is like the towns party wave (seriously sometimes like 10 guys on one wave), it’s heavily populated with all the local groms. This is a serious ‘locals only’ spot. Pico Grande is a nice right off the outer rocks of Pequeño. Less crowded, it’s a spot for the more advanced surfer… the take off spot is right by the rocks so better stick it or risk getting banged up. Both breaks best mid to high tide.
And beginners...puleeeze take a lesson before paddling out there. They will teach you safety, etiquette and what beer tastes best at the end of the day! If you need some recommendations on who to learn with, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not a surf instructor and am not affiliated in any way with any school, so you'll just get the straight goods.
The biggest waves you'll ride can get up to 12 feet, although most of the year, they are smaller on the main break. Tamarindo is a great place to use as home base as you explore many of the breaks to the north and south. There are several breaks in town including Rivermouth and Langosta, but the real attraction is that you're centrally located in a town that is big on nightlife.
Easy to get to, Tamarindo, Costa Rica is a top tourist destination as well, with the winter months (October through March) being the peak weeks. Don't get discouraged. Six to seven foot days are common from April through July.
Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste is the most accessible location along the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica with an airstrip serviced 7 days a week from San José by two airlines: SANSA and Nature Air provide several flights daily. Private charter services are available as well. Scheduled daily bus service to and from San José, as well as surrounding communities, is available by a variety of companies. There is also a paved highway from San José for those who wish to rent a car and drive the countryside (4-5 hrs. to Tamarindo).
The international airport in Liberia, Guanacaste is open to international flights from a variety of carriers. The airport is about a 75 minute drive from Tamarindo. (although I've done it in 45 minutes...by way of the monkey trail (a 4 x 4 cart path)!)
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