Where to Stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Are you dreaming of sun, surf and sand? Is it time to set your sights to a little past Mexico and the Caribbean? Is it time to dip your toes into the beauty of Costa Rica\’s North Pacific Coast. Quaint yet bustling, and full of charm, your stay in Tamarindo will be nestled between sprawling mangroves, coastal dry forests, and endless miles of pristine beaches. 

This former fishing village in Central America has blossomed into a world-renowned surfing mecca, biodiversity hotspot, and outdoor adventure paradise. With these considerations in mind, and with accommodation options to match, choosing where to stay in Tamarindo isn\’t as easy as point, click and go. It takes a little homework to make an incredible holiday in Costa Rica.

Today, there are hundreds of varied lodging options in Tamarindo, from hotels and vacation rentals to resorts and bed’n’breakfasts. All spread out over four distinct neighborhoods, including downtown Tamarindo and the outlying beaches of Playa Langosta, Playa Grande, and a little further away still – Playa Avellanas.

So come along with us as we show you the best places to stick your toes in the sand and surf!

Places to Stay in Tamarindo, and surrounding areas

Finding the best places to stay in Tamarindo means choosing between the downtown hub and remote expanses on the outskirts. Tamarindo is a small, remote surfing village, but it’s no longer a secret destination and can get quite busy during the high tourism season.

Starting off, decide between three options for your Costa Rica vacation:

  • Staying in downtown Tamarindo: the tourist hub
  • Staying in Playa Langosta: on the outskirts but within easy reach of downtown
  • Staying in Playa Grande or Playa Avellanas: blissfully isolated from it all.

Tamarindo: Best Spot to Stay in the Middle of the Action

Tamarindo at night
Tamarindo is known for it’s vibrant nightlife

Tamarindo is the starting off point for vacationers visiting Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region. It’s about 40 miles from the nearest airport, Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport. And although the local population hovers around 6000 during the high season (November to April), the tourism footprint quickly multiplies that many times over. 

Therefore, downtown Tamarindo can be quite busy. It’s also where you’ll find the bulk of hotels and restaurants, a lively beach scene, vibrant nightlife, plenty of shopping, and dozens of tour guides.

Top 5 Hotels in Tamarindo:

Tamarindo is brimming with world-class hotels and boutique lodges. Travelers have reviewed the following accommodations as the top 5 hotels in the city:

Best Vacation Rentals in Tamarindo:

Many travelers in Tamarindo prefer to stay in a vacation rental because they offer the conveniences of home, have more space, provide greater privacy, and are more affordable than traditional lodging. 

The best places to rent a home in Tamarindo include: 

Playa Langosta: Best for Quiet, Luxury Stays Near Tamarindo

Playa Langosta in Tamarindo
Playa Langosta is close to Tamarindo yet a world away

Playa Langosta is nestled between the Las Baulas National Marine Park and Playa Tamarindo. It boasts a stunning crescent-shaped, soft sand beach, coastal forests, reefs, and eco-adventure activities like horseback riding, birding, kayaking, and ziplining. It’s also a prime surfing spot known for fewer crowds and the surfing break for advanced surfers known as La Casita.

Beyond nature and beaches, Playa Langosta is known for its swanky vibe, boutique shops, cocktail bars, and international restaurant scene. The laidback, upscale area is just 1.5 miles south of downtown Tamarindo and is ideal for those seeking luxury and solitude plus nearby conveniences in Tamarindo.

Best Hotels in Playa Langosta, Costa Rica:

Playa Langosta is most famous for the Occidental Tamarindo, the only all-inclusive resort in the Guanacaste province. It’s a sustainable 4-star property featuring nearly 200 rooms last updated in 2010, restaurants, bars, a swimming pool, and a spa. There are also a few boutique lodges in the area. 

Travelers rate the following hotels as the best in Playa Langosta:

Best Vacation Rentals in Playa Langosta

The best places for vacation rentals in Playa Langosta include:

Playa Grande: Best for An Authentic Surf Village & Unspoiled Beaches

Playa Grande surfer tourists
Playa Grande is for the surfing purists

Playa Grande is a tiny, remote community located 13 miles north of Tamarindo. However, Tamarindo has no direct access, and the drive through the interior takes about 45 minutes. 

The pristine area is part of the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas conservation area, actively protecting the local nesting ground for leatherback sea turtles. For this reason, infrastructure is not allowed on the beach to protect the turtles from light pollution, and the coastline is beautifully wild and pristine.

There is only one hotel on the three miles stretch of beach, Hotel Las Tortugas, as it was there before the conservation area was established. However, about a half-mile inland from the beach, there is an authentic surfing village with a few hotels, food stalls, and tour providers.

Even so, most people visit Playa Grande as a day trip from Tamarindo. Otherwise, many travelers opt to stay in beachfront vacation rentals north of the reserve.

Best Lodging on Playa Grande, Costa Rica:

There are very few hotel options close to the beach on Playa Grande, but the two favorites are:

Best Vacation Rentals in Playa Grande:

Most people staying more than a day in Playa Grande opt for vacation rentals located north or east of the reserve.

  • Please contact VIP Tamarindo for more information on townhouses, condos, and private villa rentals in Playa Grande.

Playa Avellanas: Best for Eco Travelers

Playa Avellanas bird
Playa Avellanas is for those looking for a closer connection to nature

Costa Rica is a well-known eco-tourism destination, but today eco-travelers are looking outside Tamarindo to get a taste of the raw landscapes Costa Rica first became famous for. Playa Avellanas is among the most sustainable stretches of coastline in Guanacaste and is often referred to as ‘Little Hawaii’ for its charming dirt roads, pristine nature, and abundant wildlife. 

Playa Avellanas is accessible from Tamarindo via 12 miles of interior roads that pass through the locally beloved Hacienda Pinilla. Residential housing and eco-lodges make up the area, as well as the 400-acre JW Marriott Guanacaste with 300+ rooms, seven restaurants, and bars.

Best Lodging in Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica

With a high-end resort and a sprinkling of eco-lodges, there are several great lodging options in Playa Avellanas:

Top Vacation Rentals in Playa Avellanas:

Playa Avellanas is quickly jumping on the residential tourism trend with many condos, townhouses, and villas popping up in the area. Emerging vacation rental communities include:

Whether you want to immerse in Tamarindo culture, sink into Playa Langosta luxury, or escape from it all in Playa Grande or Playa Avellanas, we can help you find the perfect place to stay. Just give us a call at VIP Tamarindo!