Things to Do in Portrero and Tamarindo Costa Rica

things to do in portrero costa rica, flamingo harbor, puerto portrero sunset, guanacaste costa rica, beaches of costa rice

Are you visiting Guanacaste in Costa Rica for the first time? Keep reading the article to know about the things to do in Portrero Costa Rica. Guanacaste is a province in northwestern Costa Rica, bordering the Pacific Ocean. You’ll more than likely be flying into Liberia International Airport when you arrive in Central America. Most people fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) outside San José. This blog post will focus on things to do in Portrero and Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the Portrero & Tamarindo areas of Guanacaste.

When I have a visitor from out of town, the first thing they want to do is go ziplining or sport fishing, but I also take them to the beaches of the Gold Coast for a more local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the crowds and tourists, my favorite place to visit is Sugar Beach in Portrero or Playa Conchal. I could play in the waves of Playa Conchal for hours. There are some hotels under construction in Playa Conchal, but on our visit, there were no restaurants on the beach, so pack your own healthy travel snacks or be prepared to drive for a meal.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend renting Villas Catalina vacation rental in Portrero, Guancaste, Costa Rica. Hire their private chef and he’ll prepare a gourmet meal for you and several of your friends.

brittany bruns, taco star, playa grande costa rica
Taco Star owner Brittany Bruns at Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

The best place to go surfing in Guanacaste is at Playa Grande. While you’re there, have lunch at Taco Star. Tell owner Brittany Bruns that Nancy Brown sent you! Insider tip; besides the tacos, the banana bread is really good, too and everything on the menu is affordable. Don’t forget to bring a beach umbrella as there is very little shade here.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Costa Rica Sailing Center in Playa Portrero. Both kids and adults will love this place for sailing, snorkeling or paddling rentals and lessons.

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Lola’s shrimp tacos & Playa Avellanas salad by the beach in Costa Rica. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Costa Rican Food:

If you are looking for typical Costa Rican cuisine, also known as Comida Tipica – Tican food, I recommend Estero Azul at Playa Flamingo and Lola’s in Playa Avellana. Lola’s makes a point to use organic produce, recycles, composts and supports local communities. Of course, some of there leftovers go to feed Lolita, the pig.

The best place to go for coffee & breakfast is Marie’s in Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste. Marie’s has the best shrimp omelet or try the spuds and sauce dish, along with the Costa Rican coffee. Lunch is good here, too.

Angelinas in Playa Flamingo is the spot for late night dining or La Perla restaurant in Portrero, Guanacaste. Perla’s, as the locals call it, has good happy hour deals nightly.

capuchin monkey, white-faced monkey palo verde national park, bagaces, costa rica
White-faced monkey at Palo Verde National Park. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Seeing a lot of nature parks on the Gold Coast? The Guanacaste province in Costa Rica is best known for its national parks. I recommend a day trip to Palo Verde National Park in Bagaces. If you have time, take a boat tour of Tempisque River, the third largest river in Costa Rica. We used Danissa Tempisque Tours and would recommend Captain Marlon as he has an eagle eye for spotting wildlife such as birds, the white-faced capuchin monkey and crocodiles. He’s a native of the area and speaks both English and Spanish.

When you come to Potrero in Costa Rica, get your picture taken on the beach or relax by the infinity pool at Villas Catalina and enjoy some of the best sunsets in the Guanacaste province.

things to do in portrero costa rica
Playa Flamingo sunset catamaran cruise photo © Nancy D. Brown

In Portrero and Tamarindo, outdoor lovers will want to hike in the rainforest, book an eco-tour  or zipline tour. If you prefer to be on the water, a romantic experience is a sunset sail on a catamaran. We sailed with Lazy Lizard Sailing in Playa Portrero. For the best pricing on any tours always call direct or stop in at the office to purchase tickets before you go.

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Looking for a little exercise? Try stand up paddle boarding or paddle board yoga.

nancy d brown, los altos de eros,indonesian soaking tub, tamarindo costa rica
Nancy Brown at Los Altos de Eros Indonesian soaking tub

After a day of adventure, Los Altos de Eros Hotel and Spa in Tamarindo is the best place to go for an all day spa experience. We enjoyed a 1.5 hour massage, facial and Indonesian soaking tub, in addition to lunch. You’ll want to reserve this spa day in advance.

We didn’t visit any museums or take in the night life on this trip to Portrero and Tamarindo, but we did visit the Farmers Market in Tamarindo for homemade baked goods, Costa Rican coffee and crafts. During our visit, the Feria Tamarindo Market took place Saturday morning.

The Swell Dealer will keep you posted on what’s happening in Tamarindo, Playa Grande and Portrero, Costa Rica.

Did you know that Costa Rica has two seasons; the dry season from November 1 to April 30, and the wet season is from May 1 until October 31. The wet season is also known as the green season for its lush, tropical look. During our early June visit, we only experienced a few evening showers that didn’t last more than 30 minutes. (Your experience may differ.)

catarata llanos del cortes, waterfall near bagaces, costa rica waterfall
Llanos de Cortes waterfall near Bagaces, Costa Rica. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tips: Check out Llanos de Cortes, the hidden waterfall outside of Bagaces. If you like Costa Rican coffee, buy organic coffee at Café Cristina. You can purchase 500g bags at Pura Vida Ride or order online and pick up coffee at Tralapa in Flamingo.

Things to Do in Portrero and Tamarindo Costa Rica and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown.  As always, all opinions are my own.


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