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Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica is a beautiful beach destination located on the Northern Pacific Coast of the country.  It is known for its great surfing, delicious food, breathtaking sunsets and laid back way of life. And don’t forget some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. 

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

A few weeks ago Mike and I made a five day trip to Tamarindo, Costa Rica. I first fell in love with Costa Rica 12 years ago when I studied aboard in college.

I lived with a Costa Rican family in a little town outside of San Jose while attending a school there.  While I studied in Costa Rica I got to explore a new place of the country almost every weekend.  The nice thing about Costa Rica is that it is small enough that you can get to almost any place in the country in half a day or less, unless it is a really remote beach that requires you to drive on dirt roads {in my opinion those are always the places that are the most beautiful, so if time permits, do it!}.

Tamarindo Beach CR

One of my favorite beaches that my friends and I visited while in Costa Rica was Tamarindo.  I have so many good memories there. Tamarindo is known for the great surfing and beautiful beaches.  Mike and I like to pretend like we know how to surf…we’ve taken lessons, rented boards at a lot of the beach spots we have gone to.  Obviously we have a long, long way to go. On this trip I got to live vicariously through all of the amazing surfers that make their way to the beaches. in Tamarindo.

The Tamarindo that I knew 12 years ago and the Tamarindo today are structurally different.  The last time I was in Tamarindo there were only dirt roads and small bars along the beach.  Now there are paved roads, restaurants galore and tons of shopping.  Luckily the things I went there for, beaches, fresh food, sunsets and a laid back way of life were still right where I left them.

Witches Rock Surf Camp


We stayed in a really cute little bed and breakfast called 15 Love ,near Witches Rock Surf Camp {this surf camp was actually there 12 years ago} right as you drive in to the town of Tamarindo.  We went to Costa Rica in the beginning of May, which is the start of their rainy season, but the nice thing is that the crowds have died down, prices are less and you only see rain for maybe an hour at the most.

Storm in Costa Rica

Storm in Costa Rica

The storms make for some awesome pictures, especially if you find a nice little happy hour spot to grab a cold Imperial and watch the storm roll in.


If you follow my Instagram you might have seen some of my pictures of the breakfast that was served each day at our bed and breakfast. I went pretty crazy for the fresh mango, pineapple and freshly squeezed papaya juice. Heavenly.  Stay tuned for a smoothie that was inspired by our trip.

Breakfast Papaya Juice

Since Mike and I were kidless for five days {yes, I said five days without kids..still wondering how we pulled that off} we did a lot of relaxing at the beach.  One of our favorite beaches that we visited Playa Conchal where the sand is made of crushed seashells and the color of the water was a bright teal color.  My kind of beach.

I will warn you that if you go to this beach you will have to drive along another beach to get to it so make sure your car is up for it.

Playa Conchal 3

While you are there make sure you hydrate with a fresh coconut…who needs store bought coconut water. 😉


On almost all of our vacations we like to squeeze in some sort of excursion to get to know the country and do something adventurous and active.  Since Mike hadn’t been to Costa Rica, we did a whole jam packed day of fun things including horse back riding near a volcano, tubing down a river filled with rapids, zipping and repelling down a waterfall and ended the day with a mud bath and hot springs.  It was exhausting but the perfect way to show Mike some Costa Rican fun.


This ziplining was the best I have done on any trip.

Ziplining waterfall

We repelled down that wall of rocks to a waterfall, which was scary but awesome.

Sunset 2

If you haven’t seen from my Instagram pictures, I have an obsession with sunsets.  Mike claims that after you have taken ten pictures of a sunset they all start to look the same.  I beg to differ.

We spent every evening sitting on the beach with a cold drink, watching the sunset, my idea of a perfect night.

Sunset 6

Being the foodie that I am, I had to eat all kinds of delicious food while I was there including these Mango Fish Lettuce Wraps. So light. So fresh.

Mango Fish Lettuce Tacos

And the drinks were fruity and went down easily. 😉

Pina Colada

Smoothies were everywhere in the local cafes and they hit the spot on a 100 degree day.

Smoothie Bar

One thing I took away from this trip is that it is really important for Mike and I to get away alone.

If you have children and haven’t been on a vacation alone with your significant other in a while, I highly recommend it.  Even if you only go for a few days, it is totally worth the money and time away from the kids to do something positive for your relationship.  I think we are better parents when we take time for ourselves and our relationships once in a while.

Work, kids and our daily commitments start to take over our lives.  I like to remind myself that stopping to breath and appreciate each other and the beauty around us is so important in finding balance.

Mike and Julia Sunset

By the end of the trip I was ready to go home and snuggle my kids, but it was the perfect trip.

Hopefully you got a glimpse into the beauty that is Costa Rica.  From the monkeys that you will see in the trees, to the amazing beaches, to the fresh food, to the warm welcoming people, Costa Rica is one of a kind.


For more travel adventures follow me on Instagram or the hashtag #cedartravel or check out my Travel section of the blog.

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Are you wanting to learn more about Costa Rica? Check out the Ramblist and her helpful posts about what to do while you are there.

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Wednesday 3rd of June 2015

What gorgeous images! We took a family vacation to Costa Rica about two years ago with our 2-year-old, and it was wonderful how easy it was to get around and do fun activities even with the little one. I'm hoping we'll be able to return soon, and your photos make me wish I was already there!


Wednesday 3rd of June 2015

Thanks! It really is a beautiful place if you get a chance to go. There are a lot of fun activities for the kids so they would have a great time too!


Monday 1st of June 2015

Great pictures, sounds like a fantastic getaway! I agree with your sunset comment, no two are exactly alike! :)


Monday 1st of June 2015

Glad you agree! ;) There is just something about sunsets.


Monday 1st of June 2015

Looks absolutely amazing!! And I absolutely agree about making sure to get away without the kids every once in a while. Earlier this year my husband and I took a long weekend trip to Vegas and it was the perfect getaway/bonding time and those hugs from our two little girls were all the more sweeter when we returned.

I've never been to Costa Rica but you've definitely upped it up my list!


Monday 1st of June 2015

I am so glad you agree with me! I think that time away is so important to recharge. Vegas sounds like a perfect trip too.

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

Thursday 28th of May 2015

Awesome pictures!! Tamarindo looks beautiful. We've never been to Costa Rica but have heard so much about it. We have family currently living there (teaching at the university) and they love it. We're looking forward to visiting! Thanks for sharing your experience!


Thursday 28th of May 2015

Oh that is so fun that you have family living there. Hopefully you will get a chance to go and visit them. There are so many great parts of the country, you really can't go wrong.

allie @ Through Her Looking Glass

Thursday 28th of May 2015

Julia - I'm so glad you and Mike got away to such a lovely destination. As a mom of four boys, I totally agree you must recharge together. And you come back better parents for it. We cruised to Bermuda a few years ago to celebrate our 20th anniversary. It was a fabulous trip and we are ready to get away again. Your pictures were breathtaking, and I loved learning about Costa Rica!


Thursday 28th of May 2015

Thanks Allie! Four boys! That must keep you on your toes at all time. I have two boys and I feel like I am constantly running around with them. Good for you for getting away for your 20 year anniversary! I bet you guys had a great time.