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The City of Tamarindo

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I have been down for the count. I mean seriously ill. I really don’t blame Costa Rica, I promise, but it has been a rough haul getting over my stomach infection. Well…getting toward getting better. Enough of that, I just wanted to let you know where I have been and why I did not finish showing you Tamarindo.

This picture is from James Kaiser. http://www.jameskaiser.com
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It gives you a good idea what the city is like as it curves around the beach.

We stayed here:

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boca raca
This was our one trip out to a bar. The water was great there. The singer is an expat from Austin, Texas who sings a bluesy style of music. He was great.

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Playa (beach) Tamarindo is beautiful, and the little city is located right up next to the sand. The city is a crazy quilt of little shops, restaurants and bars. The main street that runs parallel to the coast is paved and it is a very walkable little community. The sidewalks are sketchy, but drivers are conscientious.

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It is surprisingly small. There are only 500 permanent residents with there being about 5000 in the city at the height of the season. The city is all about the beach during the day. Surfing, excursions and sun rule the daylight. At night, the restaurants and bars get hoppin’.

The food is good. There is a small food court with Tico Tacos we really liked,
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Longboard’s serves fried plantains, fried yucca, and fried sweet potatoes instead of French fries. The BBQ sandwiches were really good.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g309253-d1847240-Reviews-LongBoards_BBQ-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

My favorite was Patagonia. Argentinian food. Yummy. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g309253-d3781345-Reviews-Patagonia_Argentinian_Grill_Restaurant-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

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The cost at the restaurants is comparable to the US and all the restaurants we visited took US dollars. Here is the Trip Advisor’s list of best restaurants.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g309253-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

My advice is go to the packed restaurants unless you have a tougher stomach than me. I am almost certain I got sick at a restaurant that did not have many customers. Crowded restaurants sell a lot of food and don’t have stuff sitting around. The expatriate community will tell you where to go. We found out the next day from some expats they did not recommend the restaurant because it had a new owner and was not dong well. Too little, too late.

The hotels and condos are all walking distance from the city center. We only rented a cab one day to take us out to Playa Grande. Cabs are not cheap and you are lucky if you find one with cold air conditioner. The ride from the airport to Tamarindo is about $25.00 each. You have to reserve your ride from the airport to the beach in advance or it is crazy expensive. If you have a large group (4+), check into getting a car it is about $85.00.

We loved our visit and can understand why Hubby’s brother and Sister in Law fell in love with the place and bought a home there.

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Pura Vida.
Karen

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Tamarindo Beaches

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I promise not to bore you to death with our trip to Costa Rica.  I plan on showing you the beaches, the city and the excursions we took.  Three posts will be my limit and not all at once.  I promise.

First, the beaches are unbelievable.  The sky is the most amazing color, the water is clear, I like low tide the best, because you can see the shells that watch up.  Boats are always anchored just off shore.  We took one of the small boats out to a catamaran to go on a sunset tour and snorkeling trip.  Enjoy.

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10 Tips For The Beginner Traveler to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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As a total newbie to traveling I feel like a fraud writing this blog, but I wanted to share what I have learned on our adventure. If you are a frequent traveler out of your own country, STOP READING NOW. I will bore you to death. If you are new to traveling out of your own country this might be of interest. At least you will get a chuckle out of what we learned the hard way.

We have traveled a fair bit in the USA and into Mexico, but we just got passports for this, our very first adventure out of the country. We picked a beautiful spot, but this is not some package deal pre-planned trip. We are here and figuring it out as we go. Here are a few of the odd things I have learned about this little slice of heaven.

1. Costa Rica doesn’t name streets in small cities like Tamarindo, they name buildings. Make sure you can correctly pronounce the name of the place you are staying and can describe how to get where you are going, and that you know a few simple words in case you get a taxi driver who does not speak English.
izquierda- left
derecho- right
aquí- here
calle- street
adelante- ahead

It could be that possibly we learned this all the hard way. There is a difference between Boca Raca’ and Boca Roca. Our cab driver got yelled at because we were so lost.

2. Be prepared for night when visiting. Street lights are a premium and roads are not paved generally. Sidewalks are sketchy or nonexistent. Bring a flashlight. Bring a pair of tennis shoes for night walking. It is worth it to be prepared because there are some really great things to see at night.

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3. Time is not as important here as it is at home. Make sure you arrange for your ride early enough that if they are on beach time you can still make your flight. The rest of the time, chill out. A meal is going to take a long time. The grocery store takes a long time.

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4. They either have what you are looking for at the grocery or they don’t. The supermarket here is more like a city stop and shop or 7-11. If you have a certain brand you cannot live without, bring it. Sunscreen, toothpaste, shampoo, pain reliever are in the stores, but not US brands.

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5. Water is not served at meals, you have to buy it. Buy a big bottle for your table and share. Drink lots of water. Just get it in bottles.

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6. Few places are air conditioned. Just be prepared for the heat. Dress cool, and know you are probably going to eat meals in open air locations. It really is fun and the food is good. Sometimes it is breathtakingly beautiful.

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7. The price on everything is negotiable. Even posted prices for excursions are negotiable. As long as you are willing to walk away you will get a better deal. The shop in the photo below has posted prices for excursions. We did not pay those prices for anything.

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8. Check into renting a condo rather than a hotel room. The cost is comparable to hotels, there is more space and often offers amenities such a pool, parking space, and 24 hour security. This is the beauty we stayed in. If you are interested in this condo, send me a message.

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9. Change your US money into colons, the national currency. Right now the dollar is strong and you get a better deal. If you have US money have small bills. Come with 1’s, 5’s, 10’s. Most places will take US money, but they will probably give you change in colons. And you will get short changed.

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10. Bring Cipro and Pepto Bismol. Lesson learned. I promise, I did not drink the water and I was pretty careful about the food I ate but I sure picked up a bug that almost landed me in the hospital for dehydration. And I missed the tour of the vlocano which included seeing some awesome animals that Hubby photographed for me. The doctor said if I had taken Cipro at the first sign of illness I would have been better quickly. Call your doctor before leaving and let them know you are leaving the country.

11. Bonus tip. Have fun, talk with strangers, meet new people. We met people from Canada, England, Germany, Belgium, and France. Everyone is tired of winter in case you are wondering. Pura Vida is a common saying in Costa Rica, it means Pure Life literally translated but it really means the Costa Rican way. I wish you all Pura Vida.

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The Bucket List Begins

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This coming week we will be going to Costa Rica!

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You won’t be hearing from me this week. I am unplugging and spending quality time with my husband, brother in law and sister in law.

I promise to take pictures and I hope I come back inspired and refreshed.

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I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Blessings,

Karen