Central America

Central America

Auto Mercado Supermarket Tamarindo Costa Rica

Supermarkets in Tamarindo

Tamarindo's expensive, and the grocery stores are no exception. Once we got used to the sticker shock after coming from San Jose, we managed to find almost everything we needed at the local Tamarindo supermarkets.

Super 2001 - Our condo was about half a block away, so this was our default place to stock up on groceries. This is a very small supermarket (only about five isles, so about the size of a convenience store in Canada or the US).

The good. Considering the store is so small, they have a respectable selection of North American staples. There are some decent bakery items (including pizza) in the cases next to the cashiers. The wine selection was good.

The bad. Not cheap, but nothing is in Tamarindo. This is the smallest of the three main grocery stores in Tamarindo...

Mandarina Tropical Juice Bar

Searching For Cheap Restaurants In Tamarindo

Tamarindo has no shortage of great restaurants. It does, however, have a big shortage of cheap restaurants. With a month to spend in Tamarindo, and a family of four to feed, we didn't want to spend a fortune on eating out. These are the best cheap eats that we found in Tamarindo on a budget.

Pizzeria La Baula

This place has me so Pavlovian-conditioned that just saying Pizzaria La Buala makes my mouth water. Pizzeria La Baula is a home run: Amazing pizzas with high quality ingredients and a comfortable, casual, attractive place to hang out.

If you're craving anything other than pizza or salads...

Playa Tamarindo Cheap Things to Do Sunset

Amazing Cheap Things To Do In Tamarindo

Tamarindo is famous for its surf breaks, and almost equally famous for being a bit expensive and full of tourists. We spent a month in town enjoying the waves, and got a chance to track down some of the best cheap things to do in Tamarindo.

Boogie boarding on Playa Langosta. While Playa Tamarindo is the most famous beach in Guanacaste, Playa Langosta is just a short walk away. The waves at Playa Langosta are generally smaller, and better for families and newbie surfers. That said, we caught the waves at Langosta at high tide on a big swell day, and managed to smash a boogie board in two. Cost: One replacement cheap boogie board from Super Compro grocery, $10.

Zip lining at New Monkey Jungle Canopy Tours. Great from begining to end. New Monkey Jungle has seven zip lines and an awesome...

View on Road from Naranjo to Paquera Costa Rica

A Rough Road that Shakes, Rattles and Rolls

Once we rented our car in Tamarindo, we knew it was only a matter of time before we headed out on a longer road trip. We had already enjoyed the nearby beaches and were looking for something a little different. We still had the condo for another week and a half at that point. For the amount we paid for the place we didn't mind taking off for a few days and staying in a hotel to break things up.

The choice was either south down the Nicoya Peninsula or east to Lake Arenal and the volcano. At the last second we chose south and let me say it was a wild few days...

Howler Monkey in the Trees in Tamarindo

Howler Monkeys or What The Hell Was That?

One thing that we've discovered since getting into Tamarindo is that wildlife can sometimes surround you without actually having to search for it. We've also found that some monkeys can be a little intimidating. I'm not talking about their body size (though some of those male dangly bits look downright painful to have while hanging onto a 30 foot branch) but rather their sound.

The male howler monkey is known for two things out here. One is those afore mentioned dangly bits and the other is for the loud howling it does. It's a bit of a unique sound and the closest I can approximate would be a cross between a Tarzan howl and a loud, deep guttural growl. They say that the howlers cry can reach almost 5 km's and is one of the loudest land animals. After hearing it firsthand, I can believe it.

Now imagine this scenario. It's five am the second morning after getting into Tamarindo. You're feeling quite comfortable and secure in your 3rd story condo knowing that thieves or any "bad" people would need to jump the 10 foot high razor blade covered outer wall then perform a spiderman feat of climbing nearly 30 vertical feet to get to your balcony. Now imagine being woken up with superhuman loud guttural screams only feet from where you're sleeping...

Boogie Boarding at Langosta Beach Costa Rica

Boogie Boarding Mishaps, Langosta Beach Club and Sweet Waves

Because of the heat in this area, we've made it a point to stay out of the sun from 12 to 2 each day. Tamarindo is crazy hot and walking out of an air conditioned place into the afternoon sun is like walking into an oven. If you're out and about at an earlier time and stay outdoors (preferably in the shade unless you like to punish yourself) it's not so bad. Just like the boiled frog parable, if you slowly roast yourself you won't realize how hot it is as the day wears on but if you jump into a boiling pot (or the rolling heat in this case) you'll quickly realize how much folly it is.

That being said, the few times we have braved the elements at a neighboring beach club called the Langosta Beach Club and it's about 2 blocks from our condo. It's owned by a French company and everyone there seems to speak French, English and Spanish. They have a nice little pool, beach loungers, a few hammocks and one of the nicest stretches of beach (at least in my mind) right in front of the place. They also have a little bar and restaurant in the pool area and serve great food at somewhat reasonable (at least for this area) prices. Their bacon and avocado sandwich is quite delicious. Smoothies aren't the cheapest we've seen but their strawberry one is heavenly on a warm day.