Costa Rica: Pura Vida en Tamarindo

Posted by Lauren

On Thursday, April 12th, I boarded a plane in San Francisco to begin the first leg of my trip to Costa Rica. After a red-eye flight, I found Kerry and Jacquelyn in the airport. There were only three things between the three of us and our other two friends, Fran and Krish, who made it to Costa Rica the day before:

1. Layover in Miami – literally my first sight of Kerry was her with some beef jerky HAHA

2. Short flight to Liberia, Costa Rica

liberia costa rica flight

3. Unbooked shuttle ride to Tamarindo (very last minute)

liberia costa rica transporation tamarindo

We lucked out and found a cheaper, transportation alternative. Our “guide” suggested we stop for something to drink, so we grabbed a six-pack some Costa Rican cheetos and hit the road. When we pulled up at the Best Western: Vista Villas, Fran and Krizia were waiting for us. We all shouted and jumped, ecstatic for finally unifying our group! We checked into our amazing hotel room and gaped at the view before commencing a photo shoot :) of course.

tamarindo costa rica 4

…then we brought it indoors…

tamarindo costa rica 6

We rehydrated and set out to wander the city of Tamarindo. There are a few main streets, including one right along the beach; plenty of surf shops, excursion businesses, hotels, and restaurants to explore!

tamarindo costa rica 3

We stopped for food at a place with an outdoor patio and enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner. The ceviche was great, extremely fresh, and served alongside crackers. I ordered some type of mahi mahi dish which, I enjoyed… but I liked my mojito better :)

tamarindo costa rica 2

Each of us ordered a different drink and then we shared, round-robin style. That became a theme of the trip. No double ordering! Between the five of us, we always had five different dishes + drinks. Smart, right?

tamarindo costa rica 1

We walked along the beach, enjoyed the sunset, and just relished the moment. It was very peaceful and the water was just heavenly. Can we please get warm water like that up in Santa Cruz, please?

tamarindo costa rica beach day

When we got back to the hotel, we changed into our swimsuits and went for a swim at the hotel’s pool. It had a swim up bar, so we chatted more with Gilbert (an expat from Salinas) and Javier (who is an excellent salsa dancer). My hair turned an unusual shade of green, so I refrained from getting back in the pool the following day. Post-swim, we showered and got ready to dance the night away…

Our hotel hosts a “ladies night” on Friday’s, so all we had to do was walk out of our room and BAM! party time. Live music, free drinks, great dancing... super fun!

costa rica best western vista villas friday

The bottom, right picture – the “cheers” shot – shows six hands. One of them is of a girl named Mandy who kept calling us “California Girls.” She went to CR with her boyfriend, but I guess they got into a fight and broke up – so she left for Tamarindo. I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like, but she seemed like a resilient Chicago chick who focused on the bright side of things…

The next morning we woke up early and enjoyed our hotel’s continental breakfast (cereal, pastries, fruit, coffee, juice). The view from the open-air restaurant/patio was unreal. Take me back!!!!

costa rica best western vista villas breakfast

Activity of the day: All-Day Adventure Tour of Hacienda Guachipelin! I found this good description, so I’m copy-pasting it ;)

Hacienda Guachipelin adventure tour

The excursion was a little over an hour away, but our trusty driver, Piña, got us there quickly and safely! (He was so sweet!)

Activity 1: Horseback Riding!!

Adventure Tours Hacienda Guachipelin horseback riding

We rode to a beautiful, crystal clear swimming hole and literally jumped right in!

Adventure Tours Hacienda Guachipelin swimming pool

We rode back to the stables, boarded a bus, and went tubing in El Rio Negro. No camera pictures because of obvious reasons… but the tubing was definitely my favorite part of the whole excursion!

Adventure Tours Hacienda Guachipelin tubing

That picture ^ is from the Trip Advisor site, fyi. After getting wet in the river, it was time for lunch! And man, was everything delicious!! In the photos below, you will see chips, the serving station, tomatoes + salad, cantaloupe (AMAZING!), pumpkin (we had to ask what it was), cucumber + cheese squares, fajita veggies + beef, and…

Adventure Tours Hacienda Guachipelin lunch

…the bottom, right-most foot item, kind of red in color, in the collage above ^ was some type of chickpea dish. That stole the show for me… I wish I knew what else was in it!

Because riding a horse isn’t enough… one could ride a giant ox? bull? what is that thing called??

Adventure Tours Hacienda Guachipelin animals

And the final event of the day: ziplining! There were seven zip lines throughout the canyon course, an area to repel (upside down!), swing on a Tarzan rope, and rock climb. Pretty sweet stuff…

Adventure Tours Hacienda Guachipelin zip lining costa rica

On the way home, Piña suggested we stop at his friend’s bar for a drink. Umm… sorry Piña, but I was hungry at that point! He really wanted to stop and seemed trusty enough, so I warned him about my hunger and he promised NACHOS! Ok, Piña, whatever you want!

El Paso del Vaquero went from a “1 round” stop to a “4 rounds” stop, but we all loved every minute of it! Also, since we were far away from Tamarindo, we didn’t have the touristy inflation prices to deal with! The nachos are in the second picture, Piña is in the third picture, the fourth picture has a really funny item – basically fries and hot dogs, and the fifth picture is of tasty plantain cakes, which we covered in guacamole:)

costa rica vaquero bar

The plantains were really good! Definitely happy we stopped!

Back at the hotel, I face planted into the couch and didn’t wake up until 4 am when I let the girls back in the room. Oops. I missed the memo on the trip’s Rage Calendar, apparently.

costa rica rage calendar

** I learned about the Rage Calendar one day too late. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. #swearI’mnotagrandma

Their night looked fun though!!

tamarindo costa rica 2nd night

Muchos Imperiales. Jordan: Imperial is the Costa Rican beer; it’s everywhere. Drink it, enjoy it. That is my most important tip for when you head to CR!

Sunday morning I went for a very HOT, very short, 2 mile run around Tamarindo. 90 something degree weather is no bueno for running! We all ate breakfast at the hotel, packed up our bags, and stashed them in the lobby. From 11 to 3 we rested on the beach, swam in the warm Pacific Ocean, ate more nachos (from Eat at Joe’s), and I read a book I’ve been meaning to read for a year or so.

tamarindo costa rica beach

Piña drove us to the next hotel of our trip, one in Playa Flamingo. Before I write anything about the second half of our trip, I just want to say that the Best Western Vista Villas was a wonderful hotel pick (Kerry did the choosing so we all have her to thank).

The staff was accommodating, friendly, and down to party! The room was huge and comfortably fit all five of us on sleeper sofas, a trundle, and a normal bed (duh). We had a kitchen area, a fridge, and a gorgeous view! Here are some room shots from right before we left (it’s messy, fair warning).

costa rica best western vista villas messy hotel

Ok…. Part II of the trip is “coming soon.” HAHA, soon, riiiiight… here’s what the Sunday “beach day” did to me, to keep you laughing until the next post:

Any bad sunburn tales? Anybody also been to Tamarindo? I’d love to hear your stories!


Comments (8)

  1. Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers

    AHHHHH This is great!

    a) thanks for the Imperial tip. Muchos cervezas, check.
    b) Sunscreen. DON’T FORGET IT. Except we aren’t checking bags, so maybe we will just bring a batch of tiny sample sizes.
    c) French fries + hot dogs on one plate! Yummy.
    d) Horseback riding, white water rafting, I LOVE ADVENTURES!!

    Amazing. Chomping at the bit for Part 2.
    Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Six Pack Sunday: French Braids, French Fries, and French WaterMy Profile

  2. Sugar Coated Sisters (Post author)

    Looks like such a blast!!! I’m glad I finally got to see all the pictures :) The horseback riding, ziplining, water hole diving, etc. all looks like such a blast. I can see why you didn’t want to come back to the “real” world :(

    I bet you loved the family sharing style of meals and drinks… otherwise you would have major meal envy!

    I think our NY trip next year will top this ;)

    – Nicole

    1. Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers

      Side note: You know what’s very close to NY… PA. Just saying.
      Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Triangle Bucket List: Take Me Out to the Ballgame…My Profile

  3. Kristine @ Running On Hungry

    I am so so so so so jealous! This trips looks amazing!!! And holy sunburn! Aloe, aloe aloe aloe!
    Kristine @ Running On Hungry recently posted..Bit AgainMy Profile

  4. francesca

    this is the best summary of tamarindo! can we please go back?! i love all the pic collages… :)
    francesca recently posted..New Themes: Everyday and OriginMy Profile

  5. Pingback: Red Devil is also a place in Alaska | Sugar Coated Sisters

  6. Pingback: pura vida: video | braided days

  7. Trevor

    Lol…. I was just checking our SEO rankings for BEST WESTERN TAMARINDO PHOTOS, and guess what page popped up??? He he he… Gilbert and Kevin are totally perving in one of those pics…. Go stangs!


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