Ideas for your free time – Northern Pacific

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A stay on Costa Rica’s Northern Pacific coast is generally about complete relaxation on the region’s fine choice of beaches. However if you do find yourself getting restless, a number of tours can be arranged through your hotel. These include:

Horse riding

Guanacaste province is Costa Rica’s cowboy country, and a great range of riding options can be arranged here. From gentle rides along the beach to longer, scenic options into the surrounding forests and national parks there are rides to cater to most preferences here, depending on how far you wish to travel and how much energy you would like to expend!


The beaches around Tamarindo are excellent for surfing and are the most accessible in the Northern Pacific, whether you are a complete beginner wishing to take lessons or you are more of an experienced surfer wishing to simply arrange board hire. Heading further south around the Nicoya Peninsula there are some other surfing enclaves, most notably around the towns of Nosara and Santa Teresa.

Turtle nesting tours

The Northern Pacific coast around Tamarindo and Playa Grande (the Marino las Baulas national reserve) is known for the arrival of leatherback turtles and sea turtles in great numbers between October and March. Sadly the immense popularity of seeing turtles nest on the beach has led to something of a tourist frenzy in recent years, with some more opportunistic operators cashing in on this interest without the strictest of ethical considerations. Though now more regulated, it is still an activity that needs careful consideration – if it is of keen interest to you we recommend speaking to our local partners or your hotel concierge when you arrive to obtain the most up-to-date list of reputable operators.

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

In the heart of Guanacaste province, Rincon de la Vieja national park and the surrounding area offer some of the region’s best hiking and horse riding. For a volcanic area, the landscape here is surprisingly diverse from bubbling mud pools and natural springs to open grasslands and tropical dry forests home to some interesting birds and mammals.

Boat trips to the Catalina Islands

Located approximately 10 miles from the Tamarindo coastline, the Catalina Islands are an archipelago of 20 small, forested islands home to an interesting variety of marine birds. A variety of operators offer tours to the islands, some with a nature focus, others for swimming and snorkelling, or simply a relaxing sunset cruise. Diving trips can also be arranged, though serious divers will not find many of Costa Rica’s diving excursions comparable to other destinations in Central America and the Caribbean (Costa Rica’s best diving is only accessible by means of a liveaboard cruise to Cocos Island).


Visits to Rincon de la Vieja the Catalina Islands are only possible for those staying in the region of Tamarindo and Playa Potrero. If you are staying in Punta Islita, activities such as horse riding, hiking and zip lining can still be arranged but will be in closer proximity to your hotel.

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