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Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Just wanted to get some opinions on visiting Tamarindo. We have 2 kids, 10 and 7. We like having a town nearby for some for culture but don't like anything too rowdy or artificial. Has Tamarindo maintained it's culture and charm or is it just too busy? (My parents went there in 1976!) We usually vacation in Tulum, Mexico and stay on the beach in small, quiet hotels and eat in town but want to try something new. Is Tamarindo a fun, safe bet? My kids like adventure and beach fun. Daughter likes to surf and 7 y.o son wants to try as well. Any input before I go ahead and book for Feb/2012 would be great!

1. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

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Removed on: 01 September 2011, 15:47
Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Thanks for your input! I tried Casa Cook, it looked perfect but alas, it was booked. It looks we will have a condo in a very small complex in town walking distance to the beach (5 min) and close to the fun of town. We prefer more nature"ish" accommodations but we will make it work! Thanks for your help. Feel free to give any advice!

Uvita, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
2,649 posts
44 reviews
3. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Tamarindo is one of the most popular beach towns in Guanacaste, for Costa Rica standards IMO it is considered crowded in comparison but nothing like Cancun. It has developed a lot since 1976 and has a lot of tourist infrastructure.

February is a great time to visit the Pacific coast, with the south pacific Osa (just North of Dominical all the way down to the Osa Peninsula) being more green and full of wildlife at this time of year and has many Eco & Naturie accomodation.

There are many beach locations in Guanacate province that are not as developed maybe Hattie and others might chime in to give you some options to compare.

Edited: 28 August 2011, 17:21
Toronto
Level Contributor
1,158 posts
4. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

If I had to pick places in Costa Rica that had "maintained their culture and charm", Tamarindo would be near the bottom of that list. Before everyone leaps on me for trashing Tamarindo, let me say that if's a perfectly fine place for a vacation. The OP also says that he wants adventure, beach fun and surfing. Tamarindo would be a good choice for those things.

But in terms of culture and charm, that ship has sailed. Too busy, too much development. It doesn't reflect the "real" Costa Rica.

Like I said, an absolutely fine choice for a vacation as long as you know what to expect when you get there. Culture and charm isn't it.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Oh oh, now I am nervous! Any suggestions? We are flying into Liberia (got tickets on points and had to book fast) We don't mind driving from the airport. In Mexico we drove about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs and felt that was enough with two kids. We are not yet locked into the condo. We also have a req. out to someone in Playa Grande but are worried a little about the surf and currents being too rough to relax. Anyone want to weigh in?

Edited: 28 August 2011, 17:39
Tamarindo
Level Contributor
533 posts
22 reviews
6. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Tamarindo isn't exactly the capital of Costa Rican culture, but that's normally how tourist towns are. St. Tropez is not "France" and Cancun is not "Mexico". However, its not as if its full of strip clubs, casinos, and neon lights. I encounter several surfers, families, couples and backpackers every day in my business and its very rare that anyone complains about the town. It is actually quite small with just two main streets. You can walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes. You will also meet many people from all over the world. I've always considered Tamarindo a mini London; if you could hear every conversation in a busy restaurant, you would hear about five different languages being spoken.

Playa Grande is quite nice as well, but you are right, the surf is at a much more advanced level and the rip currents are much stronger.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Thanks Puramar. Tamarindo kind of sounds a lot like Tulum, which we do like. We may have to try and visit some villages while we are there. (Any suggestions?) I have actually never been to Cancun, only flown into it and from the air does NOT seem like a place I would EVER want to go!!! I think I will bag the idea of Playa Grande. It's nice to be more in a natural setting but maybe the benefits of being in Tamarindo need to be considered too. Also, it seems there are more choices for when we do eat out. We will have to visit Playa Grande for the day instead of the other way around! Thanks for your input. I love getting advice from people who actually live there. Feel free to keep it coming!

Toronto
Level Contributor
1,158 posts
8. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

Tamarindo isn't all that different in its makeup from the main drag of downtown Tulum. It's actually a bit smaller. You should be quite comfortable in Tamarindo.

Much like Tamarindo, I'm not sure that Tulum fits in the "culture and charm" category anymore, either. It's become pretty built up in recent years. I was first there in the late '80s, and it's changed a bunch.

I see the Mexican feds. recently struck down a plan by the town of Tulum to allow tourism and housing developments inside the National Park. Thank goodness.

Happens everywhere, unfortunately. As soon as someone finds an undiscovered gem, it's not long before the word gets out. And no one can resist the allure of tourist and development $$$, least of all the local officials.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

That's why we decided it was time to try something else. That and Mexico just seems too iffy right now. Even a place like Tulum. We started going there about 12 years ago. My kids love it but they will love Costa Rica too! Thanks for the input on Tamarindo. I think it will work out just fine. Any advice on the area would be welcomed.

Jaco, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
1,067 posts
4 reviews
10. Re: Is Tamarindo too crowded?

I think you will enjoy Tamarindo. I don't get there nearly enough, but I really like the feel of the town and love the beaches there and in the area. Be sure and get out and explore the nearby beaches... As said, Playa Grande is great. Also, check out Avellanes (sp).

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