Here is a brief timeline of our amazing trip to Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Day 1: After a crazy start to our travels, we arrived in Tamarindo, complete with carsickness, and quickly got settled. We eat our first of many platanos fritos (comida típica) and enjoy our first beverages on the beach.
Day 2: Beach, our first encounter with pipas (definitely NOT the same thing as pipas in Spain!), a scuba lesson in the smallest pool of life, and then a delicious dinner at The Dragonfly. Best tuna steak of my life, maybe the best dish of the trip!
Day 3: Scuba time! We saw white tip sharks, eels, a turtle, and many schools of fish during our two dives. Our favorite activity of the trip…exhilarating! We finished the day with glorious sushi at Bamboo Sushi Club and drinks at the Wild Panda.
Day 4: Chilled. Braved some olas locas on boogie boards and played in the pool.
Day 5: Surf’s up! Way harder than it looks…
Day 6: Aventura Navidad. We rambled over to the next beach, Playa Grande. To get there, we had to cross an estuary that we later found out is riddled with crocodilos gigantes. (There was not a single sign to warn us of this.)
JUST KIDDING. It was more like this…
Once we made it across, we rambled along, unearthing sea creatures and taking photos. We found that the truth really is out there (in the form of sand dollars) and that sand crabs don’t like to be bothered. Once there, we stopped at the tasty Taco Star stand, refueled, and continued on with our search for the black sand of Playa Carbon, but abandoned that plan once the sun started to set (5:30!). We stopped to enjoy the view, and caught a glimpse of some humpback whales! As we set back, we learned two important lessons. 1) No one is allowed on the beach after dark as it is a protected nesting area for leatherback turtles and 2) There are no boats to take you back across the estuary 😦 Thank god for cabs!
Day 7: An all-day excursion that featured white water tubing, zip lining, rock wall climbing/repelling, horseback riding, and hot springs at Volcán Rincon Vieja. Could have done without the horseback riding…especially since our guide dropped us at the wrong tubing location and we had to wait over an hour and a half and then crashed someone else’s tour! The tubing was pretty intense. It had two major drops that required a careful setup of multiple Ticos to grab our hands before and after as well as corral us off to the side in case we fell off (which Charlie and I both did). ¡Que día agotado! On the drive back, we were lucky enough to see a group of howler monkeys feasting in a tree 🙂
You know I had to have pizza at least once…: The best was by far La Pachanga, which was just excellent Italian food in general. It reminded me of restaurants I ate at in both Rome and Spain. La Esquina comes in second based solely off of a late night sample. La Baula is supposedly the best around, but I beg to differ.
Restaurants to skip: Chun’s, Wok N Roll, Seasons by Shlomy, and Gallo Fino. Chun’s is straight up horrible and we heard from the locals that the owners like to get drunk and fist fight each other in the street. Wok N Roll came highly recommended to us, but we found even the Korean food (one of the owners is Korean) to be bland. Seasons was just horribly over-rated and priced, which was surprising based on reviews we read. We should have known not to go Gallo Fino once we realized it was owned by Hotel Tamarindo Diria, but oh well. Not bad food, but not great either.