This eight-day itinerary is perfect for travelers seeking a balanced beach holiday, laced with organized day trips and free time by the water. Land in Liberia, the hub of Costa Rica's Guanacaste province, and head south to the popular surf town of Tamarindo Beach. Spend your days riding the waves, swimming, kayaking and snorkeling, and diving through the reefs of some of the most beautiful Pacific waters rich with exotic marine life. Bookmark day trips to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and Rio Negro Hot Springs, Las Catalinas Islands, and Capitán Island, too. 

Highlights

  • Hike Rincón del la Vieja and soak in the Rio Negro Hot Springs
  • Explore the rich marine life on a diving trip to Las Catalinas
  • Go kayaking and snorkeling on Capitán Island, off Tamarindo Bay
  • Take surfing and yoga lessons at the hotel in Tamarindo Beach

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Liberia & Transfer to Tamarindo Beach Tamarindo
Day 2 Hike to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano & Rio Negro Hot Springs Soak Tamarindo
Day 3 Half-Day Scuba Diving Adventure at Las Catalinas Islands Tamarindo
Day 4 Surf Lesson at Tamarindo Beach Tamarindo
Day 5 Free Day - Tamarindo Beach Tamarindo
Day 6 Yoga Lesson & Beach Activities Tamarindo
Day 7 Coastal Kayaking & Snorkeling in Tamarindo Bay Tamarindo
Day 8 Depart From Liberia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Liberia and transfer to Tamarindo Beach

View of the valley in Guanacaste
View of the valley in Guanacaste

Welcome to Costa Rica! Liberia is the northern hub of the Guanacaste province, an area famous for both its Pacific beaches and inland mountain regions. Once you arrive, a transportation service will be waiting for you at the airport and will transfer you to Tamarindo Beach, about 45 minutes from the airport.Tamarindo is one of the best beachside destinations in Costa Rica, where you can enjoy surfing, good food, and many beach and water activities to discover—for couples and families, alike. 

A few dining suggestions in Tamarindo Beach include the below: 

  • For breakfast, head to charming La Bodega and order one of the fantastic egg sandwiches, along with banana bread and fresh juices
  • Pull up a stool at the Green Papaya, which serves some of the best tacos and burritos in town, with vegetarian options, too, in a casual atmosphere
  • Steps from the beach, Surf Shack serves up topnotch patties, onion rings, and milkshakes in a hut decorated with surfboards
  • Nogi's is a perfect pick for sunset dining, thanks to its beachfront location; enjoy a varied menu of seafood and grilled meat, and be sure to save room for a slice of the coconut cream pie

Day 2: Hike to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and Rio Negro Hot Springs soak

The waterfalls of Rincón de la Vieja
The waterfalls of Rincón de la Vieja

Today, enjoy a great tour visiting one of the four, active volcanos in Costa Rica. Rincón del la Vieja is one of the best places in the country for hiking. Take note of the quality of its trails, great weather, quantity of fauna and flora, and panoramic views. Additionally, experience the residual volcanic activity, including boiling mud pools and fumaroles. All of these characteristics, paired with a knowledgeable guide, make this a unique tour experience. 

Continue walking the path through the tropical forest to enjoy the best views, more volcanic activity, and active wildlife. The park is home to 300 species of birds, and many other animals, such as armadillos, peccaries, iguanas, coatis, and white-faced, howler, and spider monkeys. 

After the hike, enjoy a soak in the mineral hot springs of Rio Negro. The waters have rejuvenating and therapeutic properties and have been entrusted for centuries by people all over the world. Surrounded by thick forest, the crystal-clear river flows through 10 rustic pools that capture the streaming, mineral-rich water. You have access to pools of varying temperatures on both sides of the river, by two hanging bridges. Heated, volcanic clay is also available to create a nutrient-rich body masque. After it dries, wash it off with a cool shower or jump in the river before soaking again in the hot pools. The complete dose of relaxation is pure bliss.

Enjoy a delicious lunch in the afternoon hours, and travel back to Playa Tamarindo to enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 3: Half-day scuba diving adventure at Las Catalinas Islands

Go diving among white-tip reef sharks in Las Catalinas
Go diving among white-tip reef sharks in Las Catalinas

After breakfast, a transportation service will pick you up and drive you for a half-day of diving in Las Catalinas Islands, from 8 am to 1:30 pm.

Las Catalinas is home to some of the best coastal diving (with more than 12 great diving sites) in Costa Rica, thanks to its variety of marine life. The islands are famous for giant Pacific manta ray sightings, which are typically seen over the winter months, from December-May. The islands are also home to white-tip reef sharks, eagle rays, devil rays, cow-nose rays, along with turtles, dolphins, moray eels, pufferfish, and giant schools of jacks and grunts. Over the months of August-September, the humpback whales head inshore to give birth and can be seen frequently close to the dive boats, where divers are treated to whalesongs almost every day during this season.

Once the tour is done, travel back to your hotel in Tamarindo Beach. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Day 4: Surf lesson at Tamarindo Beach

Take a surfing lesson on Tamarindo Beach
Take a surfing lesson on Tamarindo Beach

Today, take a surf lesson tailored specifically for you—the most popular is a single-day lesson. Your guide takes the frustration out of your first surf lesson by introducing surfing in a fun, energetic, and friendly atmosphere, and caters the lesson to your personal needs. Start on land to learn the basics, before taking to the waves to test out your skills. 

Following your surfing lesson, feel free to hang out around the beach and soak up the sun leading into the stunning sunset. Then, enjoy dinner and the evening at your leisure.

Day 5: Free day - Tamarindo Beach

Sunset over Tamarindo Beach
Sunset over Tamarindo Beach

Today can be as relaxing or adventurous as you'd like. You might ppt for another surfing lesson to perfect your skills, or venture beyond the beaches to experience the rainforest via a safari float down the Corobicí River, where a guide will point out monkeys, bats, lizards, and even crocodiles. 

Tamarindo also offers a lot of leisurely beach activities to enjoy, from kayaking tours to ATV rentals, and snorkeling to yoga lessons. Additionally, be sure to visit the area beaches, all of which offer great food and beautiful sunsets: Conchal, Brasilito, Flamingo, and Potrero are all good bets.

Day 6: Yoga lesson and beach activities

Take a yoga lesson at the hotel
Take a yoga lesson at the hotel

Today, find serenity and peace at a free, open-air yoga lesson with a professionally trained instructor (class schedules vary, so check on this ahead of time). Head into the day feeling powerful and renewed, and enjoy a much-needed stretching session following plenty of surfing and beach fun. The hotel also offers evening classes to wrap up the day in a mindful way. Private yoga instruction is available on request.

In between, make sure to circle back to any offsite beaches you may have missed, and enjoy more time on the beach surfing, snorkeling, or simply relaxing with a good book.

Day 7: Coastal kayaking and snorkeling in Tamarindo Bay

Go snorkeling around Capitán Island in Tamarindo Bay
Go snorkeling around Capitán Island in Tamarindo Bay

Today, head out on a kayaking and snorkeling tour to Tamarindo Bay designed for all ages and skill levels. This is a great way to wind down your vacation in the Guanacaste area.

As you row through the smooth, blue waters, toward the white-sand Capitán Island, enjoy the beautiful colors of the surrounding saltwater, and adventure to the underwater coral reef to observe the exotic fish. On this half-day excursion, take advantage of great visibility and ample opportunities to spot various species of marine life around the reef. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, lobsters, parrotfish, triggerfish, wahoo, eel, octopus, sea urchin, pufferfish, and more.

After the tour is done, travel back to your hotel.

Note: Take into consideration that the time of this tour will depend on the tide; it could take place in the morning or afternoon.

Day 8: Depart from Liberia

Farewell, Costa Rica!
Farewell, Costa Rica!

Today, it's time to bid farewell to your Tamarindo Beach adventure in Costa Rica. A transportation service will take you to Daniel Oduber International Airport surrounding your departure time to catch your international flight home. Safe Travels! 

Map

Map of Discover Costa Rica: Highlights of Guanacaste - 8 Days
Map of Discover Costa Rica: Highlights of Guanacaste - 8 Days