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Tamarindo, Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Tamarindo, Costa Rica is around 5,000 people. People describe Tamarindo as a vibrant beach town with a laid-back atmosphere. Expats love the beautiful beaches, the friendly locals, the abundance of outdoor activities, and the easy access to other parts of Costa Rica. The weather in Tamarindo is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-90s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living in Tamarindo for an expat is around $1,500 to $2,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is typically around $500 to $700 per month, while a two bedroom apartment can cost around $700 to $1,000 per month.

What are the pros and cons of living in Tamarindo?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Tamarindo responded:

"I enjoy the Tamarindo area and surrounding quite well but I prefer the Paquera area and Saint Therese. The infrastructure needs a lot of work here. There are many businesses and expats, lots to do and plenty to see. It is a super area for young and active," remarked another expat in Tamarindo.

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"Just as anywhere else, pick your friends and associates carefully and be alert at all times," explained one expat in Tamarindo.

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What advice to expats in Tamarindo have about housing?

"It is easy to buy and hard to sell. We bought an ocean view condo in Tamarindo in 2011 and lived in it full time 2013-2018. It then took us over 2 years to sell it. Before buying, we visited Tamarindo a few times at different times of the year, We did enjoy our condo and the amenities offered in Tamarindo, although peak tourist times can get quite busy and crowded. Renting first is a good idea," said another in Tamarindo.

"This area is overpriced for housing and the regulations are increasing as are taxes. Better to rent," explained one expat in Tamarindo.

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What are medical services in Tamarindo like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Tamarindo, they replied:

"The caja is randomly assigned and not really a great value for what you get, private care is better and expat insurance isn't inexpensive. I do better to have my home health insurance and pay cash for services in CR however the providers here are excellent," added another expat in Tamarindo.

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What do I need to know about living in Tamarindo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tamarindo, they said:

"Before retiring in Tamarindo, it is best to familiarises yourself with the basic cost of living and the different healthcare options available to foreigners. Cost of living can vary greatly depending on lifestyle, but it is generally not very expensive. Understanding the different healthcare options available and researching what type of retirement visa applies to you is important. Knowing the local customs and language is also useful to get by day to day. Lastly, consider what type of activities and hobbies you may be interested in taking up during retirement and whether or not there are clubs and activities catering to these interests in Tamarindo," explained one expat.

"-Retirees typically need to have a secure source of income or savings in order to be able to live in Tamarindo as the cost of living is generally higher than in other parts of Costa Rica. -Tamarindo is a popular tourist destination, so there are plenty of activities, events, and entertainment to enjoy. -The weather in Tamarindo is tropical, with hot and humid summers and warm and dry winters. -Tamarindo is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, so there are plenty of nearby beaches, surf spots, and other attractions. -The nearest international airport is Liberia International Airport, and is located approximately 1.5 hours away from Tamarindo. -Healthcare in Costa Rica is generally of a good quality and is much cheaper than in many other countries. -It is advisable to learn some Spanish before retiring in Tamarindo, as the majority of the population in Costa Rica speaks Spanish. -A long-term visa is necessary for retirees who plan on living in Costa Rica for extended periods of time. -Costa Rica is a safe and welcoming country, with a friendly population and vibrant culture," said another person in Tamarindo.

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What do I need to know before moving to Tamarindo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tamarindo, they said:

"Be aware of the climate - Tamarindo is tropical, with temperatures averaging in the high-70s and low-80s year-round. This can be quite hot, so sun protection and drinking plenty of water is important. Take time to learn some of the local language - Tamarindo is a friendly, bustling tourist town, where most of the locals speak Spanish. Learn a few basic phrases and shop, bargain, and dine among the locals. Be aware of the area’s natural hazards – landslides, floods and hurricanes are all possible. Familiarize yourself with the risk and the actions you can take to stay safe. Learn about the culture prior to your move – research local customs, festivals, and recreational activities. Take precautions with your safety – just as you would in any other city you visit, be aware of your surroundings, exercise reasonable caution, and use common sense. Research housing options prior to arriving - make sure to visit in person, check the neighboring area and local transportation options, and make an informed decision before signing a lease. Understand the local job market - Tamarindo is a tourist-driven economy, so the majority of jobs are tied to the hospitality, retail, or service industry. Expect to find higher demand during the dry season months of December to April," remarked another in Tamarindo.

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How do I find a place to live in Tamarindo?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Tamarindo offers a variety of housing options for visitors and residents alike. Short-term visitors may choose to stay in a hotel, beachfront condo, or private vacation rental. For long-term visitors or those looking for a more permanent residence in the area, there are numerous rental homes and furnished apartments available. Additionally, it is possible to purchase property in Tamarindo and build a custom home. Many real estate agents in the area specialize in local properties and are available to assist with finding the perfect home," remarked another expat in Tamarindo.

"On one visit, we took a side trip to Costa Rica to explore the beaches of Guanacaste. When we drove into Tamarindo, it felt a California beach town with a nice vibe. Over the next couple of years, we took a few trips to Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo to further explore the area and to look at condos for sale. We bought an ocean view condo in Tamarindo a couple of years before we retired, and then moved there full time after retiring in May 2013 (age 61-62). We liked the beach and the availability of a variety of restaurants and stores in Tamarindo, and easy walking access in town," explained one expat living in Tamarindo.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Tamarindo?

"Typical expat homes and apartments in Tamarindo usually feature modern conveniences and amenities such as a fully appointed kitchen, comfortable furniture and ample outdoor space. Many have views of the beach or a private pool and some offer access to amenities like a gym, community pool, and playgrounds. Expat communities in Tamarindo are diverse, with a mix of both locals and visiting expats, providing an international and welcoming atmosphere," said another person in Tamarindo.

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What is the average cost of housing in Tamarindo?

If you are thinking about moving to Tamarindo, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in Tamarindo varies depending on the type of property and area. Prices range from lower priced condo units close to the beach to mid-range rental homes and luxury villas further inland," said another person in Tamarindo.

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How do I meet people in Tamarindo?

When we asked people living in Tamarindo about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Tamarindo is a great place to meet people from all over the world. One of the best ways to meet new people is to join a local meet-up group or to attend an event or party. You can also join other expats in Tamarindo and make new friends. Another great way to meet locals and other travelers is to visit the local bars, pubs, and restaurants - you never know who you'll run into! Finally, if you’re a surfer or beachgoer, you’ll find plenty of people to meet at the beach; the locals are friendly and welcoming," said another expat in Tamarindo.

"One way to meet people in Tamarindo is to attend events such as organized beach volleyball, surfing, yoga or music classes, or other group activities. You can also go to bars, restaurants and night clubs or attend one of the many music festivals or other events that Tamarindo hosts. Another way to meet people is to join fitness, culinary or language classes or organize a beach or bike tour. Other ways to connect with locals and other travelers include volunteering at a local animal shelter, organizing a movie night or a beach bonfire," added another person living in Tamarindo.

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What should I bring when moving to Tamarindo?

People living in Tamarindo were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothes, toiletries, towels, bedding, basic kitchen utensils, microwave, refrigerator, TV, lamps, some type of water filter system and replacement filters, cleaning supplies, food items, sunglasses, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and any required medication. In addition, beach items such as a beach mat, umbrella, swimsuits, and beach toys. It is also recommended to pack a multi-voltage converter/transformer and any other necessary electronics, such as hair dryers, laptop chargers, and so on. Finally, pack any additional personal items that you wish to take with you," replied an expat in Tamarindo.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Tamarindo?

We asked expats in Tamarindo what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"You can open a bank account at Citi Bank, Scotiabank, BAC San José, Banco Popular, Banco Nacional, Banco Internacional, Banco de Costa Rica, Banca Promérica and HSBC in Tamarindo," explained one expat.

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Will I be able to find a job in Tamarindo?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Tamarindo, they reponded:

"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Tamarindo. The town is a popular tourist destination so there are many opportunities available in the hospitality and tourism industry, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and tours. Additionally, there are often jobs available in the construction and agriculture sectors due to the development of the area," explained one expat living in Tamarindo.

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What is life like in Tamarindo?

When we asked people living in Tamarindo what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area is an exciting and rewarding experience. With a rich culture and a wide array of activities, there is always something to experience. Public transportation is widely available, making it easy to explore the local sights and attractions. There is a good selection of expatriate communities and services available, as well as support for newcomers. Healthcare is excellent and the cost of living is generally affordable. The climate is warm and sunny throughout the year and there are ample opportunities for outdoor activities. The dining and nightlife scenes are vibrant, with a variety of cuisines and entertainment options to please everyone. Overall, living as an expat in the area provides an gratifying and satisfying environment," said another person in Tamarindo.

"Living as an expat in this area can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Expats can find many cultural activities, including festivals, art galleries, concerts, and museums. The region has a vibrant nightlife filled with bars, clubs, and restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisines. In terms of transportation, public transportation and taxis are widely available, and most expats find it easy to get around. Cost of living can be quite reasonable, with access to affordable housing and a variety of grocery stores. Expats should expect to develop good relationships with their neighbors, who are often friendly and welcoming. The climate in the area is generally mild, with moderate temperatures and occasional rain. In general, the area is a great place for expats who enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in an international setting," remarked another expat in Tamarindo.

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What do expats in Tamarindo appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expatriates in Tamarindo appreciate the laid-back Costa Rican culture and lifestyle. The outdoor activities, such as surfing and sunbathing, are enjoyed by many in the town. Tamarindo offers a variety of local restaurants and bars with a lively atmosphere and friendly locals. The mix of traditional culture and modern development has created a unique atmosphere, making it a great spot for expats to live and explore. Expats also appreciate the local hospitality and warmth of the people of Tamarindo, which make for an inviting, welcoming environment for visitors," explained one expat living in Tamarindo.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"The most common challenges expats face are adapting to a new culture, language barriers, missing family and friends, navigating the educational system for children, making financial decisions, loneliness, loneliness and finding employment," said another expat in Tamarindo.

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Is there a lot of crime in Tamarindo?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Tamarindo has generally low levels of crime compared to other resort towns in Costa Rica. The local police take security very seriously and take preventative measures such as increased patrol and surveillance of the beaches and other tourist areas. Petty crime is known to occur, such as break-ins, pickpocketing and purse-snatchings, however, violent crime is rare, and tourists can feel safe when visiting Tamarindo," remarked another expat in Tamarindo.

"Tamarindo has very low levels of violent crime, as it is a popular tourist destination. Petty crimes such as theft are more common, but visitors are encouraged to take the same precautions as they would anywhere else. The police force does patrol the area and work hard to tackle any criminal activity," explained one expat living in Tamarindo.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Tamarindo accepting of differences?

"Tamarindo is an incredibly diverse and accepting place. Despite its small size, the beach town boasts an incredibly diverse population with people from all over the world living and vacationing in the area. Tamarindo is known as a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. Locals are welcoming and friendly to all kinds of people, no matter their ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Tamarindo embraces differences, and is a great place to experience the beauty of diversity," replied an expat in Tamarindo.

"Tamarindo is home to a diverse population composed of expatriates, migrants and locals. People in Tamarindo are generally open-minded and accepting of different cultures and lifestyles. The community takes in all kinds of nationalities and religions with respect, making it a welcoming and inclusive place for residents and visitors alike," remarked another in Tamarindo.

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What are the schools in Tamarindo like?

"Tamarindo is home to a number of excellent educational programs and schools, including the Tamarindo International School, the Pacific Coast Academy, and the Tamarindo English Institute. The Tamarindo International School offers a bilingual, dual curriculum for pre-kindergarten through 9th grade, designed to provide both an Academic and International Baccalaureate (IB) education. The Pacific Coast Academy provides preparatory education in the English language, while the Tamarindo English Institute features an intensive English language program. All of these institutions have highly trained and qualified faculty and offer a variety of extracurricular activities, making them excellent resources for students residing in Tamarindo," commented one expat when asked about in Tamarindo.

"Tamarindo has both public and private school options for primary and secondary grades. Public schools generally offer both basic education in Spanish as well as bilingual programs in Spanish/English, while private schools typically offer an international curriculum that includes English, Spanish and other foreign languages. Tamarindo also offers educational institutions with specialized curriculums, such as private language schools and surf schools. Other activities available at educational institutions in Tamarindo include volunteer work, cultural meals and scheduled trips," remarked another expat living in Tamarindo with children attending .

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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