If Patrick and Wingnut from the 1994 surfing movie Endless Summer II surfed a time machine to present-day Tamarindo, they'd fall off their boards. A quarter-century of hedonism has transformed the once-dusty burg into 'Tamagringo', whose perennial status as Costa Rica’s top surf and party destination has made it the first and last stop for legions of tourists.
Despite its party-town reputation, Tamarindo offers more than just drinking and surfing. It forms part of Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas de Guanacaste, and the beach retains an allure for kids and adults alike. Foodies will find some of the best restaurants in the country. There's a thriving market on Saturday mornings and fierce competition has kept lodging prices reasonably low. Its central location makes it a great base for exploring the northern peninsula.