Tamarindo is a popular sport-fishing and surfing beach town north of the Nicoya peninsula on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. While it is definitely a tourist town, it is not as over-developed as places such as Jaco. I stayed in Villa Macondo for $20 a night and spent November 30 to December 10 there. I took a few surf lessons and went on a turtle watching night tour in the Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas de Guanacaste, which is immediately to the north of Tamarindo On the tour I saw a total of five leatherbacks and got to stand right next to one of these 700 lb prehistoric creatures while she laid eggs. The eggs were immediately collected by a volunteer with a local conservationist outfit to be kept safe until ready to hatch. I couldn't take pictures during my turtle tours since these turtles are frightened by lights. Sorry.
Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas de Guanacaste is one of the prime nesting grounds for leatherback and ridley sea turtles. It is also beautiful, a prime surf spot and has an easily accessible beach which developers would love to start building on. The conservationist have to constantly monitor events near the beach and in the government, since politicians sometimes forget commitment to keep the area undeveloped. So far the developers have not succeeded. Surfers who want to use the beach have to hike/paddle in from Tamarindo, which isn't that difficult, or use some out of the way roads to drive to the far end of the beach; one of those routes where you drive 30 miles to get to a place three miles from where you started. Dedicated surfers don't mind the inconvenience, especially since the lack of development cuts down on competition for waves.
Back to Tamarindo stuff. The first surf lesson I took went well, the second not so good. The waves were bigger the second time and there was a stubborn cross current that kept pushing the class into more difficult areas. Also I was somewhat sore from the unfamiliar workout of the first class. Or it could just be that I'm no good at surfing. My performance during the third class was somewhere in-between the first two. I was having fun in spite of my ineptness. The rest of the time I did the usual beach stuff of eating, reading, hanging out on the beach and hitting the bars. I also took a bunch of beach and surf pictures. I went to the beach in Parque Nacional Marion las Baulas de Guanacaste during the day, but to get there I had to swim across a creek between it and Tamarindo, so I didn't take a camera. The beach there was similar to Tamarindo, only far fewer people. All of these pictures are of Playa Tamarindo. They are not great surfing pictures, but the best I could do with a basic digital camera:
Surfing was a high tide activity. This is how the beach looked at low tide:
This fellow was waiting by the door to my room when I returned one evening. Since he didn't invite himself in I left him alone. In a place I was staying at in Guatemala one of these fellows tried to move in with me. He got crushed. I'm not sharing a room I'm paying for with a free loader.
On December 10 I got up early and caught a taxi and bus back to Heredia.