30 For Free Things To Do In Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, in Guanacaste province, has a vibrant day and nightlife. There are so many places to see and activities to do that you might have to plan for longer stays. While Tamarindo is one of the most expensive towns in Costa Rica, you won’t miss things you can do for free. 

Vacations can be expensive, but you can still have fun on a budget. Fortunately, on our last visit to Tamarindo with my husband, we came up with a list of free activities one can enjoy. And Voila! After one week, we came up with a list of 30 things you can do in Tamarindo for free. 

Free Things to Do in Tamarindo

You might not get free accommodation in Tamarindo unless you visit a friend, but you can get some budget-friendly accommodation options. There are several high-quality hostels in Tamarindo.

However, there are so many free activities you can do in Tamarindo. 

Visit the market.

One of the best ways to learn about an area’s culture is to visit the local market and interact with the community. You can visit the farmers market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the busy tourist season (December to May), the farmer’s market takes place twice weekly.

  • Tama market is held on Saturdays, and local vendors display a variety of fruits, vegetables, homemade goods, and arts and crafts. The market is near Oneida Park, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. A live music performance is also present. 
  • The Tamarindo night market is held at Plaza Palma every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. Various activities occur, from live entertainment to selling handcrafts, food, craft beers, cocktails, and jewelry.Sunbath at the Beach

Tamarindo has several public beaches that you can visit. While soaking up the sun, lay out your beach towel and lie on the powder-soft sand of Playa Tamarindo. You kids can build sand castles or swim in warm ocean waters. 

Visit the Playa Grande if you want to do your sunbathing in isolation. The beach doesn’t have public amenities, though, and you must carry your water umbrella for when the sun is too hot. 

Sunset Watching

There is no fee for watching the sunset at the end of a busy day. Most of the beaches in Tamarindo have the best sunsets. Langosta, Coconut, Tamarindo, and Avellana are some of the few Tamarindo beaches with beautiful sunsets. 

You don’t have to go to the beach to watch sunsets. Ask the locals or the staff where you’re staying about the best places to watch the sunset apart from the beach. Tamarindo Hill is one of the free places you can watch the sunset. 

Enjoy local art.

Most local artists in Tamarindo do not display their work in galleries. They display their artwork on the beach, on the streets, or on market days. Tamarindo has several popular art galleries, including the Junior Rodriguez Art Gallery, La Galleria, and the Tamarindo Art Gallery. 

You can visit and admire the various artworks by international and local artists. La Galleria showcases artwork from a variety of artists from around the country. You can visit Yerba Buena in Langosta, an art gallery studio that showcases the work of a local artist, Marie Soledad. 

Beach Bar Hopping

Several local bars hold various activities, and you don’t have to drink to attend. Because Tamarindo has a vibrant nightlife, you will find bars holding events such as karaoke, live music, and dancing on different nights. 

Find out which bars are hosting events and attend them. You can dance the night away at Crazy Monkey Bar. Sharky’s Sports Bar has a ladies’ night, karaoke, and live music. There are open mic sessions at Ovenja Negro (Mondays) and Wild Panda (Wednesdays). 

Most bars in Tamarindo host a ladies’ night, and you can get free alcohol as a lady. Find out which bars don’t charge an entrance fee and ensure you’re on time. 

Sloth Spotting Adventure

In Tamarindo, you can easily spot sloths on pathways or roads. Take a walk along most of the roads leading to the beach, and if you’re keen, you can spot sloths in the trees. 

You can ask locals where you can sight a few sloths for free, and they will be happy to point you in the right direction. 

Bird watching

With over 300 bird species, you don’t have to visit a park or a bird sanctuary to watch birds. Sit outside on your hotel balcony and quietly observe the birds nesting. Take a few photos and later research them. 

Standing on the street in town is also another way to see and identify the various birds in Tamarindo. 

Swimming at the Waterfall Pool

The closest waterfall to Tamarindo is Llanos de Cortés Waterfall. It’s between Liberia and Bagaces. While the entrance is free, if you have car parking, it will cost around $5. Swimming in its clear pool at the base is free. Llanos de Cortés is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Costa Rica. 

Considering there are no public swimming pools in Tamarindo, the waterfall is the most exciting place to swim away from the beach. 

Beach Hopping

Tamarindo has a variety of beaches; you can plan and decide to visit each one in one day. Before heading to Playa Conchal, you can start with Playa Flamingo, which has pinkish sand (though it’s not sand but tiny pink shells). 

While at Playa Conchal, head over to Playa Piratas(the pirates cover), a well-hidden beach. Remember to thoroughly cover Tamarindo Beach. Playa Avellanas, one of the cleanest beaches in Tamarindo, is also worth a visit. A mile south of Tamarindo is Playa Langosta, where you can spend the whole day quietly. 

Visit some hot springs.

Go on the hunt for some free hot springs near Arenal Volcano. Baldi Hot Springs, Eco Termales, Rio Chollin, and Eco Termales are hot springs around Arenal volcano.

Observe turtle nesting.

Playa Grande, near Tamarindo, is one of the places where sea turtles visit annually to lay eggs. At night, especially between November and April, you will see various leatherback sea turtles visit the beach to lay eggs. 

The turtles bury their eggs. You might be lucky to see some turtles hatch!

Hiking on Free Trails

The Tamarindo Tree Route is a free hiking trail. It starts at the center of Tamarindo town and goes to several hills, where you will see howler monkeys and different bird species. The hiking trail passes through a farm and loops through the forest, with some areas overgrown.

Hike along the trail from Mansita Beach to Avellanas Beach. The trail takes you through the forest and along the beach. 

A hike through Zonchiche Hill will give you a perfect view of the Tamarindo sunset. The hike begins in the middle of Tamarindo town. 

Watch Football 

Once in a while, locals play football at the beach in the evening, and it’s one of the most exciting events. Both visiting foreigners and some locals may also choose to play football or other games at the beach. Since Tamarindo beaches are public, no one will charge you. 

You can even decide to join the games. Ask the locals where they have organized soccer matches, and you can visit them to watch. Iguana Surf occasionally organizes fun games for friends, staff, and surf campers, and you can find out when to come out to watch. 

At Volcano Brewing Company, taste craft beer.

We had a wonderful time with my husband, tasting the various craft beers. Sit at the oceanfront and taste the Gato Malo, volcano IPA, and other craft beers. You can also taste some of their nachos if you’re hungry. 

On certain days, there is live music entertainment while you slowly sip the Costa Rican beers

A live fire show 

There are live fire shows on Playa Tamarindo every night from 7 to 7.30 p.m. Choose the best spot and watch this 30-minute show before retiring for the night or at the TamaOnda bar and restaurant, where you can have your meal or drinks. 

TamaOnda bar and restaurant is responsible for the nightly dancing fire show. 

Explore Tamarindo Town.

Walking is the only way to know a town. Walk around the town and discover the town’s best restaurants and bars. Explore some of the antique shops in town. 

If you visit any other beaches in Tamarindo, take some time and walk around the town center. Langosta, for example, has gorgeous houses and luxurious resorts.  

Visit the Tamarindo church.

You can visit the Tamarindo church, one of the few English-speaking churches in Tamarindo, and volunteer to work for a few hours at the feeding center or the kid’s ministry. 

We had an exciting time at the church and spent the whole Sunday. 

Window Shopping

A stroll around town while you do some window shopping will not cost you anything. Visit the various art and craft shops and see some of the beautiful handcrafts the local community makes. 

Traditional Festivals

Depending on which months you visit Tamarindo, you might be lucky enough to attend a local festival, which is usually free. 

  • Fiestas Zapote: Runs from December 25 to January 5. The main activities are bullfights, traditional Costa Rican foods, dancing, and carnival rides. 
  • Ocaso festival: You’ll have five days of non-stop music from January 1 to January 4, filled with dancing, drinking, and meeting new friends. Apart from drinking, the other two activities are free. Beach clean-ups

It might not be your idea of a way to spend your vacation, but it’s an activity that will make you feel good at the end of the day. Imagine knowing that you spent a few hours helping clean up the trash that can wash into the ocean and affect marine life. 

Pictures of seagulls lying dead on the beach, choked by plastic, are some of my worst sights. Hence, if I visit a beach and there’s a cleanup, I always participate. 

Volunteer at wildlife sanctuaries.

One of the best ways to see wildlife-free is to volunteer to help in animal rescue and conservation. The primary purpose is to nurse sick or injured animals before returning them to their natural habitats. 

Crocodile Viewing

While there is no specific place to see the crocodiles in Tamarindo, some did report seeing some at the beach. However, you may spot one or two crocodiles in the estuary at the north end of Playa Tamarindo.

Visiting local communities

We found the locals in Tamarindo very welcoming; we engaged in several activities and learned a lot about their way of life. While the locals took my husband on a fishing expedition, I joined the women and learned to make some traditional foods. 

I have always wanted to learn how to make gallo pinto and patacones, and the women were willing to teach me. 

Watching the surfers,

I never thought that watching surfers would be an exciting activity. My husband convinced me to do it for one hour; we would do something else if it were not interesting. We spent the whole afternoon watching the surfers!

You can learn a few things from watching the surfers, especially the more experienced ones. Visit Langoste Beach and watch the more experienced surfers make their moves. The waters in Langoste are wilder and have stronger waves. 

Star Gazing

You can watch the sky and try to identify the different stars. The beach is the most exciting, but ensure you are not isolated at night, as it might be unsafe. Look for a place where many people are sitting, such as a beachfront bar. 

Alternatively, you can sit on your hotel balcony or in any safe public area and count and watch the stars. 

Sporting events at the playground

Tamarindo has a free playground for local children to play on. You can take a ball and play with your kids or other people. 

There is a basketball corner where you can join some locals for a friendly game. 

Skating

Most locals in Tamarindo skate at the skatepark, but the streets are a bit too busy. The Integral Development Association of Tamarindo (ADI) has renovated the Oneida park as a safe space for people to skate in Tamarindo. 

While listening to music, you can sit on the bench and watch other people skate. 

A bonfire on the beach 

You can arrange a bonfire at the beach if you visit Tamarindo with friends. Alternatively, start one and see how fast a few people will join you. Roast some marshmallows as you get to know each other, and you might build lifelong friendships. 

Plenty of dry wood is always on the beach; you can even practice starting a fire with dry twigs. However, before leaving after having fun, you must put off the bonfire.  

Watching the Town from a Lookout

Tamarindo has a variety of lookouts to visit. There is one route down the road from Iguana Surf to Villa Real. There is a gravel road between Crazy Monkey Bar and Best Western that will take you to the top. 

You’ll see Tamarindo going up to Playa Grande and Allevanas.

Free Yoga 

You can set your yoga mats on the beach and practice yoga against the beautiful Tamarindo sun. Alternatively, you can join free yoga classes on Sunday mornings at the Las Tortugas Hotel in Playa Grande

Now, if you aren’t afraid to spend a couple bucks, I really suggest you do some scuba diving in Tamarindo!

Conclusion

Well, you now have 30 activities you can do in Tamarindo for free! We had so much fun doing some activities that we returned late to our accommodations. 

Please share some of the free activities you did when you visited Costa Rica. 

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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