Alright having spent a little more than a month in Tamarindo on the west coast of Costa Rica, I can present a little bit of a first impression to you. First off, if you do like sunsets, than Tamarindo is certainly worth a visit, as you can see from a few pictures below. The sunsets are rather fast, but the colour plays are spectacular! The twilight lasts for about an hour, and is so far my favourite time of day, along with the occasional moonset in the morning!
My first week in Tamarindo, I spent fully immersed in the tourist experience which is very predominant here, so as you can guess Tamarindo is a bit more expensive than the rest of the country, although from what I gather Costa Rica is overall a bit more expensive than other countries around. On the upside, there is little to no crime in Tamarindo, which is if you can overlook the hookers (prostitution is actually legal in Costa Rica) and dealers (which, lets's face as anywhere are a result of a failed prohibition), of which there are plenty in town, mostly catering to the American Tourist in town for a week or weekend. Getting mugged is quite unlikely as the town is so small you’d probably run into the mugger the next day at the supermarket.
Nightlife is happening daily in Tamarindo, but the quality of the entertainment varies greatly, and for my personal music tastes, there are only 2 or 3 places in town where I am reasonably comfortable. There is El Garito, which is sort of an Electronic Fusion bar, where on Tuesday nights the DJ is accompanied by a live drummer, which mostly makes for fun times. Saturdays are quite busy here as well, but usually it’s just a DJ spinning tunes, all in all easy going Electronic sound. Then there is the Pacifico which is busy on Wednesdays for their ladies night, and Thursdays for their reggae night, which to me personally is a little better, as the music is more my taste, and the crowd is more local than other nights and places. On Friday nights there is the Crazy Monkey, with a live salsa band on one level, and a DJ on the lower level. The crowd is mixed, the upper level is more filled with locals, and the tourists gather on the lower level. The other nights and Bars, are in my opinion not really worth mentioning. If you do like live music look into Glasseye, a little local band playing all over the place, mostly reggae covers with a few good jams thrown in for good measure. The really good thing is that they don’t mind people standing in, so occasionally you get treated to a really good solo or two on any instrument.
The main beach, Playa Tamarindo is quite nice, although for me the pacific ocean is a tad cold, especially at night, the beach is quite popular with surfers, and swimmers alike, but you have to watch out where you go for a swim, as it is quite a rocky area. The best feature as previously mentioned are the sunsets which are splendid most of the days, and the colour range has to be among the broadest I have seen in any sunsets thus far. So as you can imagine I have spent quite a few days watching the sun set. Night time is quite as beautiful, as even on the beach close to town the sky is magically clear, the only place I have seen it any clearer was in Burkina Faso where there was not a single source of artificial light around for a few hundred kilometres. But this comes in at a close second! The most amazing night time sight to date was a large halo around the almost full moon, which was a first for me as well. Weather is perfect, considering it is dry season it has been in the low 30's (centigrades) most days and probably in the low 20's for most night, there was 1 night so far where it mildly drizzled.
The last few weeks I have been mostly busy with going to language school, and my Spanish is actually improving though since I came here with no previous knowledge of the language prior to my arrival, overall my ability to hold a conversation is still limited. Understanding is a going quite well which is a good start! At night with a drink or two in me, the fluency is mildly increased, but not sure how grammatically accurate it is. The school itself is part of Education First, and as expected is mostly visited by relatively young people around their early twenty’s at most. Quite a few a very nice souls, and I am sure a few of them I will stay in touch with in the future. The classes themselves are alright as well, maybe a little big for absolute beginners like me, but with a bit of application outside of school I think most people could pick up at least some Spanish in a relatively short time.
Considering that I spend a lot of time studying, as the main goal of my time in Tamarindo is learning some basic Spanish skills, my explorations of the surrounding areas have been limited, but I have some time on my tourist permit left after school, so I’ll most likely rent a car then, and explore a bit more, so you can look forward to a new post sometime in the future, and certainly more pictures.
The most likely next little adventure maybe a trip to Envision Festival about 500 km from Tamarindo, just have to figure out a way to get there, and check the cost, but it sure does look interesting!