Tamarindo Tourist Attractions
While most villages on the Nicoya Peninsula have lost their traditional occupations to tourism, Tamarindo remains an active fishing village. Fishermen set sail at dawn and their fresh catch is offered in all of Tamarindo's restaurants. The village is spread along the last 1.5km/0.93mi of Tamarindo Beach, a popular surfing spot.The good surfing in the area has somewhat changed Tamarindo into a surfing town (not unlike 1950s California). However, nearby natural attractions and beaches make Tamarindo attractive to all travellers.There are several options for accommodation in various price ranges as well as restaurants and equipment outfitters. Cycling in the area is also popular.
Baulas of Guanacaste Marine National Park
Created in 1991, this marine park covers 420ha/1,037ac of land that is mostly mangrove swamp on the northern side of the Matapalo River estuary. All six Costa Rican mangrove species are present in the swamps; tea, white, red, buttonwood along with two species of black mangrove. 22,000ha/54,340ac of the Pacific Ocean are protected within the boundaries of the marine park.A variety of crabs, otters, raccoons, coatis and howler monkeys can be spotted in the area. However, the park's main attraction and reason for protection are the leatherback turtles' nesting grounds found on Grande Beach.Before the park's formation boatloads of tourists arrived to view (and often harass) the turtles. Today, you must be accompanied by a guide and view the turtles from specific areas.
Useful tips: Tamarindo hotels and agencies organize turtle watching tours in the park. The entrance fee is usually only charged for night turtle watching tours. A limited number of visitors are allowed in the park at one time & turtle sightings are never guaranteed.
This beach is Costa Rica's most important nesting ground for leatherback turtles. Throughout October and March more than 100 turtles can be seen nesting and laying their eggs overnight.Each season, about 2,500 nests are made. Playa Grande is also a favorite surfing spot, as the breaks found here are believed to be the most consistent in the country.
World of the Turtle
This is a very informative exhibit about leatherback turtles that is narrated over headphones in a number of languages. From here, night tours to watch the turtles are offered, and many of the guides are reformed poachers.
This large, attractive beach is most popular with surfers and windsurfers. The shore is rocky in some places and the water can be rough, so care should be taken when swimming. Scuba diving, snorkelling, and sportfishing are also popular activities in the area.