RECOMMENDED DAY TOURS AROUND TAMARINDO
Canopy and Zipline Tours
You will see many Canopy Tours advertised; some are better than others so do your home work. The hiking experience itself is very enjoyable until you reach the launch platforms. If zipping down a cable from great heights over streams and rivers like a Toucan gets you going, then go for it! Safety is of utmost importance with all tour operators and the guides of these tours are experts at what they do. The nearby Rincon de la Vieja National Park is famous for Canopy and Zipline Tours and can be visited as a half day trip.
To get up-close to a volcano a visit to the Rincon de La Vieja National Park is an obvious choice as it is not far from Liberia. Hot springs and mud baths mixed with a wide variety of walking and hiking paths, passing waterfalls along the way. The park is best enjoyed with an overnight stay and you might be lucky enough to see lava flows from this active volcano at night. Alternatively, a tour to Arenal Volcano can include a soak in one of the hot springs, a hike around the foothills of the volcano or a scenic horseback ride through the countryside with the volcano as the backdrop.
Tours to Nature Parks
Many vacationers find that taking a hike on the nature trails around the Santa Rosa National Park makes a good break from going to the beach. Palo Verde National Park and Ostional National Wildlife Refuge are not too far away as well. At these nature parks you can see an interesting variety of birds and animals in their natural habitats. More information about the national parks in northern Guanacaste can be found in Biodiversity and National Parks in Costa Rica – Northern Guanacaste.
Monteverde Cloud Forest
From Tamarindo it is also possible to take a trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Here the scenery is totally different; you experience a true cloud forest, with ferns that date back centuries and moss laden trees like you would find in the national parks of Canada and The States. The bird life here is vibrant and can be experienced during guided walks through the reserve. What a contrast to spending a day on the beach! The outing can be arranged at the Tamarindo Info Center or through any tours or travel agents.
Closer to home you can watch giant leatherback turtles nesting at Playa Grande and Playa Langosta under the Las Baulas National Park protection. A guided night tour is the only recommended way to visit this area; watching these giant turtles wobble ashore, dig holes, lay their eggs and then disappear back into the ocean is simply unforgettable. The nesting season runs from October and the night tours last a few hours.
ATV Backcountry Trips
For the more adventurous an ATV Tour can be exhilarating and the tour guides are used to personalizing the trip to suit individual tastes, whether it be beaches, river beds or up into the hills for some fantastic views. Tours can be a few hours or a full day, just make sure you pack plenty of water.
Four Wheel Drive Tours
A similar experience can be had with a 4 wheel drive tour through some of the horse and cattle ranches in the heart of Guanacaste, over rivers and streams and onto some beaches as well; these tours usually include wildlife sightings, visits to volcanoes, photography, swimming or a BBQ around a camp fire. Guides on these tours will talk about the history and way of life of the Ticos and Guanacaste’s geographical features.
Backcountry and Mountain Biking
The whole Guanacaste region has so many dirt roads and tracks for those looking to enjoy some long bike rides, as a variety of day trips are easily organized by the tour agents in Tamarindo. Biking offers an excellent alternative in seeing the country, such as the Nicoya Peninsula with stopovers at Nosara, Playa Pelada, Playa Guiones, Samara and Mal Pais.
Back to Playa Grande and Tamarindo itself, horseback riding is another way to enjoy sightseeing, and is usually combined with a Tico breakfast or lunch. Horse Riding and Ranching go hand in hand and Guanacaste is the best place in Costa Rica to experience it; here is cowboy country and the local culture very much revolves around cattle-raising. During the ride there are opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy a swim at a waterfall. Tour options are either half day trips on the coast or full day tours to the volcanoes or a ride through the cloud forests.
Off the horse and into a boat, it is very relaxing to float up the Tamarindo river estuary. With its tidal and mangrove areas protected as a Wildlife Sanctuary, this is a great spot for early morning birdwatching. The guided tour highlights the educational aspect as to how this eco system works. Ospreys, kingfishers, numerous kinds of herons and eagles are commonly sighted. River floating is an experience not to be missed by bird watchers.
The following are examples of the variety of tours generally available:
• Buena Vista Combo Tour, where you do a zip line and a horseback ride then on to mud baths.
• Arenal One day Tour, lunch with view to the Volcano, going over hanging bridges, and a visit to the hot springs.
• Monteverde Sky trek or Sky walk, cable through the cloud forests on 11 zip lines from 40 meters to 770 meters, and heights from 20 to 130 meters.
• Palo Verde National Park and Wildlife Safari, where you pass through the largest natural water flow areas of the region, with all the birds that go with it
• Guanacaste Real Horseback Riding, 10 minutes from Tamarindo on real healthy horses, through forest and streams
• ATV Tours, end up on a hill overlooking playa Grande
• Congo Trail Canopy Tour, an adrenalin rush through high trees and dry forests
• Corobici River Floating Tour, rubber floating and bird watching, great for photography
• Snorkeling by boat, a three hour ocean trip visiting coves and caves and seeing coral fish in the warm waters off the main beach
• Outriggers and kayaking tours
• Fishing trips, half and full days inshore or deep-sea
• Catamaran Tour, from Flamingo and Tamarindo daily to a snorkeling location in a modern catamaran, with all equipments, soft drinks and snacks thrown in.
• White water rafting, class 2 to 4, with professional guides for a wet and wild day out!