We stayed at Mango Condos for a month during our stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Overall, Mango was one of the cheaper Tamarindo condos we looked at renting. We were quite happy with the value that we got for the price, despite a couple of minor problems.
Price. We negotiated with the ever-patient owner, Julius, and got our two bed, one bath unit at Mango condo for a month, starting in mid-January, for $1,200 USD. When we went, the Tamarindo economy was still in a bit of a funk, but prices were starting to pick up again, so you might pay more.
Security. The condos have a secure, locked front entrance, with separate keys for each condo. There are three levels, with condos facing either the dusty front street or the big leafy trees in back. A troupe of howler monkeys traveled through trees in the back a couple of times, making for some great wildlife watching out back. Because the condo is about a three minute walk from the beach, none of the condos have ocean views.
Pool. The pool is nice but small, with a small kiddie pool and an attractive fountain. It's great for a quick plunge, but not really big enough to hang out at all day. It's in the center of a small courtyard, and out of the sun most of the day. The cafe tables by the courtyard are a great place to read the local paper or enjoy a drink...
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...
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.
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...
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...
This winter we decided to make it a work season. We usually enjoy celebrating Canada's coldest season simply by not being here. Hockey lovers, skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, cross country skiing lovers and all those other winter pastime people are pretty much crazy in our minds. Sure, if you're stuck here anyway you should make the most of it and provided the weather is nice all of those can be quite enjoyable. We however, would much rather be just about anywhere else during the season of snowstorms, windchill warning days and "the greyness" as we like to call it.
Since we were trapped here for the winter and Micki's contract was scheduled until May we decided that a short warm vacation was in order. We never knew how much of an adventure we'd have before we even got on the plane though...
Before our kids and even before he was my husband, Charles and I spent a year traveling in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. We dove the Great Barrier Reef, saw ancient Angkor temples in Cambodia, and watched wild orangutans playing in the Sumatran jungle.
We came out of that with a commitment: We weren't going to live a conventional life. It was travel for us; the open road and all that it offers. We were going to be digital nomads.
We made a plan: travel every winter, and come back to Canada in the summers to earn some money, enjoy the sun, and visit family.
And then we had children...