10 Things You Must Do In Tamarindo Costa Rica

10 things you must do in Tamarindo

For #ThrowbackThursday, I wanted to present you with the 10 things you simply must do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica! As most of you know, we spent almost 8 months in the area (and also vacationed there before). We left in April, but loved our time and always recommend it as a wonderful vacation spot.

I’m assuming you already know surfing will probably be your #1 activity, so I won’t bother mentioning it. But know there is actually so much more to do in Tamarindo. In fact, I’m not a surfer at all and kept myself busy the entire time.

Without further ado… Here are the 10 things you must do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

1. Take a Sunset Cruise on a Catamaran

things to do in tamarindo

Some of the best experiences we had in Tamarindo were undoubtedly on the Sunset Cruises (affectionately titled “The Booze Cruise”). For less than $90, you will get unlimited alcohol, a lunch, time to swim/snorkel in the Pacific (and often see beautiful sea life), plenty of boat lounging time, and the most gorgeous view of sunset.

Simply because this is a Booze Cruise does not mean older travelers should stay away. I went on a sunset cruise 3 times and never experienced out-of-control guests. I took my very own parents on the catamaran, and they loved it.

I recommend Marlin Del Rey.

2. Sip Mojitos at the El Be

things to do in tamarindo

Without any doubt, El Be is the coolest beachside spot in Tamarindo. With lounge chairs and beds, tree swings, bean bags, hammocks, and regular tables and chairs – you have plenty of options for relaxation right on the sand.

El Be has a happy hour each day and the mojitos and beer (Imperial and Pilsen are the local beers) are half off. El Be makes the best mojitos around! So either bring your swimsuit and chill here for your day of beaching, or come in the late afternoon to watch the sunset as you drink away your cares!

3. Go on a Beach Crawl

things to do in tamarindo

Tamarindo’s Beach and Pool Crawl is one of the best experiences around. You gather on a bus that takes you to other beaches or resort pools in nearby towns. At each stop, you get a free shot and then can order whatever other drinks you’d like.

This is a great way to see some places other than Tamarindo while having a fun group experience.

4. Stay at Casa Monacita

casa monacita

We have stayed at Casa Monacita twice and loved it each time. It’s located up a hill, so you can have a view of the Pacific Ocean from their private pool. There is also a top patio deck that is perfect for lounging, eating, and soaking up the Pura Vida vibes.

Keep in mind, to get the benefits of the view from a hill, you do have to climb up that hill to get there. It is totally worth it as long as you are physically capable of waking up an incline. Bonus: you burn off all those alcohol calories!

5. Eat Plantains Just About Anywhere

things to do in tamarindoGallo Pinto: the typical breakfast

You cannot go to Costa Rica and not eat plantains. It may be a crime. Nearly every restaurant will prepare them. You can often have them with breakfast if you order Gallo Pinto. They also come with Casado plates. You can order the fried and smashed (patacones) as an appetizer too.

You should also try the plantain chips at one of the small grocery markets. I like the kind with lime salt!

6. Walk Over To Langosta Beach

things to do in tamarindo

During low tide, you can actually walk to Langosta Beach on the ocean side. Check with a local or your hotel manager to double check that it’s a good time to get around. Once you know the water will be down for a bit, it is a gorgeous walk from Tamarindo Beach to Langosta Beach. You will see volcanic rock, little pools, and plenty of crashing waves.

Langosta is a far less tourist-populated beach, so even if you don’t walk around on the beach side, you should visit anyway. It’s about a 20 minute walk if you take the main road. Eat a nice dinner at Cala Luna while you are there.

7. Zip Through Black Stallion & BBQ

things to do in tamarindoMy goofy lil bro enjoying his zip

It could be argued that my favorite experience overall was the time we spent at Black Stallion. Technically situated in the next town over (Villa Real), Black Stallion is 33 acres of Costa Rican wonderland. You can get a package that lets you zip line (the best zips I’ve been on for sure), horseback ride, and finish up with a delicious BBQ.

We did the entire package once, but also did just the BBQ portion twice. It always makes for a memorable and enchanting evening.

8. Explore On a Day Trip

flamingo costa ricaFlamingo Beach during wet season (nice and greeeeen!)

There are plenty of beaches nearby that you could visit on a day trip. Grab a taxi (never spend more than a dollar a minute for a taxi!) I recommend each of these spots that are about 30 minutes away:

– Playa Flamingo (eat at Coco Loco)

– Playa Conchal (the sand is actually small seashells)

– Playa Avellanas (surf here and drink a frozen mojito at Lola’s)

9. Take a Yoga Class

things to do in tamarindo

Yoga is a big deal in Costa Rica. In fact, you won’t find a gas station in Tamarindo, but you can be sure that there are plenty of yoga studios. Even though I have practiced yoga for many years, I have never had a better or more fulfilling experience than taking yoga in Tamarindo.

I highly recommend visiting the Ser Om Shanti yoga studio. These are bilingual classes (English and Spanish), and I guarantee you won’t be sorry.

10. Beach It

You cannot go to Tamarindo and not just chill on the beach. The whole point of Pura Vida is to enjoy the pure life. Take it easy, buy a dollar coconut, and soak up the sun.

things to do in tamarindo

Enjoy your Pura Vida vacation! For more info on Costa Rica and to read about our adventures, check out the Costa Rica travel section.

You do your thing. I’ll do my thing. MMkay? : A Pizza Lesson

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I’m a foodie who will try absolutely everything, but I hate olives.

I know, I know, what did olives ever do to me? But I cannot stand them. It’s the one food I don’t like. Hand me the octopus; you keep the olives.

While living in Rome, I’ve been eating too much a bit of pizza. If you and I were to go out to pizza together, I won’t order olives on my pizza. I probably will order prosciutto and mushrooms because I really love each of those things so much I am drooling in my mouth a tad as I write this.

But you just might order olives.

In no way will I think that you ordering olives is offensive or judgmental. After all, you love olives and my dislike has nothing to do with your love. In fact, I’m glad you’re ordering olives. God made them for a reason, so they should probably be eaten. Please eat olives if you love them.

Simply because I do not like something, does not mean you should not do that something. 

And when I take a bite into my olive-less pizza, in no way should you assume that I’m saying my pizza is better than yours. You shouldn’t take offense or assume I’m judging your olives. I’m sure each pizza is equally delicious in the eyes of the pizza gods. I just happen like the way pizza tastes without olives.

Simply because I do something one way, does not mean that I think you shouldn’t do that something in a different way.

In other words, my lady friends (but this applies to you too guys!):

… if you think motherhood is heavenly, or if you think being childless is blessed…

… if you’re a boss lady who climbs the corporate ladder, or if you would rather stay home…

… if you like girls, or if you like boys (or if you like both)…

… if you got married to outwardly show your devotion, or if you just loved your partner so much without a ring….

… if you like to travel, or if like to stay home …

… if you like to go out all the time and visit with many people, or if you like to stay inside and hibernate with Netflix …

… if you find God in a church, or if you find God in any other way (or if you like to think of God as love) …

… if you are super easy going and let things happen, or if you regiment yourself down the second …

… if you see the world though the eyes of an artist, or if you see the world through the eyes of a scientist …

…Just do you. And I’ll do me.

Pizza toppings are these sort of decisions that do not hurt anyone else. Typically, none of these them even affect anybody else whatsoever. They are the little extra decisions we make to enjoy our pizza… I mean, life.

Now, I’m not talking about poison – hate, abuse, inequality, injustice, greed – these things hurt each other need to be dealt with. I’m talking about olives. Personal preferences. Likes vs. dislikes. Innocent pleasures. We should not judge each other based on our pizza toppings, nor should we ever feel threatened because we don’t all like the same ones.

Pizza would be terribly boring if it had a particular 2-topping requirement. Diversity is the spice of life.

We all simply have different tastes. Yours may taste more olivey and mine may taste more mushroomy. Let’s just embrace it and sit down at the table and order one more slice (and another glass of wine, because WINE!!!).

At the end of the day, no matter the toppings, we are all just pizza.

And pizza is f**king awesome.

When In Rome: The Vatican (and how you simply must see it to believe it)

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I’m not Catholic, but growing up in the Evangelical Christian church, I thought I knew plenty about Catholic history. As an adult, I’ve been a super fan of Pope Francis and all his radical ideas. So when I started thinking about all the things we’d see in Rome, I knew The Vatican would be a stop.

In no way was I prepared for the glory. I have never, in my entire life, seen anything as beautiful as the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani), the Sistine Chapel, or St. Peter’s Basilica.

We decided to spend the extra money and opt for a tour service. It was 46€. That included all of our entrance tickets and the knowledge of an English guide. At first I was skeptical, but I ended up being glad we went that route. Our guide made the experience 10x better, and I learned quite a bit.

pope francis at the vatican

Before the tour began, we had the unique honor of seeing the Pope! Pope Francis was in the Vatican that day and was mid-service as we came up. (Funny story: all morning I’d been telling Kyle “Hurry up, we have to get to the Vatican so the Pope can bless me.” I was kidding and had no idea the Pope would be there. After his service he gave specific blessings to different groups of people, one of which were English-speakers from the U.S. So, technically that includes me. I was right all along)  😉

The Vatican: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • The Vatican is actually an independent city-state, not another city in Italy. It’s 1/8 the size of Central Park in NYC – so it’s basically the smallest country I have ever been in. :) It has its own radio station and mail system.
  • The guards in the funny outfits that protect the Pope are not Italian, but Swiss. (Picture below)
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is over the grave of – you guessed it – St. Peter. Documentation has continued to agree with this oral history.
  • The Vatican population is around 800 people. But according to our lovely tour guide, about 30,000 people visit each day.
  • The entry price for the Vatican is about 16€ when you are not purchasing a tour.
  • To go inside the Vatican buildings, you must cover your shoulders and knees.

Musei Vaticani

vatican museum

We started in the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani). There was an immense amount of breathtaking ancient artwork that the popes have gathered through the years. I have been to The Met in NYC, which is impressive, but this was otherworldly. I think my jaw was dropped the entire time.

The one drawback through the museums and the entire experience in general is the immense crowd. If you go into it knowing there will be thousands of other people just like you eager to see the same exact thing you want to see, you might find some extra patience.

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Sistine Chapel

creation of adam in the vatican

The museums lead you into the Sistine Chapel. You are not allowed to speak or take photos, since it is considered a holy place. Seeing The Creation of Adam in person was spectacular. (P.S. I’m amazed how many full grown adults cannot follow the simple rules of being quiet and not taking pictures. I thought we were supposed to learn quiet skills in Kindergarten!)

St. Peter’s Basilica

Next, we opted to climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome. It’s over 500+ steps, most of which are incredibly narrow. You could take the elevator option that brings you up 250 of the stairs, or you could walk the whole way. Of course, with my boyfriend along for the ride, we did all of the 500+ steps. But when you are eating pasta and pizza for every meal, you take the exercise where you can get it! (Girlfriend still has to fit into her jeans!)

Half way up, you get to the upper part of the inside dome and can see the artwork closely, and you have a bird’s eye view of St. Peter’s. Once again, it was incredible. I started getting a little teary. It was just. so. beautiful.

the vatican

Then you continue to climb the very narrow stairs and eventually land outside with a 360* view of Rome. Breathtaking. Literally. After all those stairs, you have no breath 😉

st peters basilica

st peters basilica

We climbed our way back down and entered St. Peter’s in time to hear a service and listen to the chorus sing. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. No picture can capture the feeling, no words can describe the feeling – it’s something you simply must go do to fully understand. The Vatican is magical. Make sure you make it a priority if you’re ever in Rome!

st peters basilica

When In Rome … (We’re here!!)

Italy. I have never been to a place that makes me more happy. It truly is a feast for the eyes AND a feast for the stomach!

After about a 32-hour travel experience (2 hours for check-in/flight waiting, 10 hour flight to Denmark, 7 hour layover, 2 hour flight to Rome, 5 hour wait for a train, 1/2 hour train ride, 5 hour wait for the apartment to be ready), we arrived in heaven, I mean Rome, but really they are one in the same.

I had high expectations. Something that can often backfire. But even my high expectations were surpassed. We are staying the in the Trastevere neighborhood as a home base for 6 weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. The buildings are old and lovely, there are cobblestone streets everywhere, and we have found about 281 insanely good restaurants, bars, and cafes within walking distance.

The gluten-free food has been plentiful and out of this world. And the wine hasn’t stopped yet.

We plan on taking a few excursions out of Rome over the next few weeks including: Florence, Naples, Milan, Capri, Amalfi Coast, and (hopefully time for) Cinque Terre. Then we will spend about a week in Venice.

Starting next week, I will be posting blogs on all our adventures, our apartment, our favorite places, etc. But in the mean time, here are a few of my favorite photos so far.

Ciao!

when in romeTaking photos of St. Peter’s Basilica

piazza santa mariaPiazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

when in romeBridge

piazza santa mariaWatching the Fire Dancers in the Square

when in romePlenty of romance in Rome

when in romeOn a tour of the Vatican

Under The Tucson Sun: An Arizona Weekend

Today is Monday, and we are currently traveling to our new little apartment in Rome. Trust me, there will be plenty of Europe posts heading your way soon. In the meantime, here is a rundown of our quick trip to Arizona the weekend before last. – Tay xo


tucson arizona

If coming home to the States for a 3 1/2 week break in between Costa Rica and Europe wasn’t short enough already, we decided to pack in two extra trips for good measure: Florida and Arizona.

Out of all my favorite places to go – Arizona honestly doesn’t top the list. But an adventure is an adventure, and when we go anywhere, we always try to make it interesting. Trying new, delicious food and seeing all the special sights. It ended up being fabulous.

Scottsdale

Kyle had another art show in Arizona, so we decided to do a long weekend road trip. We started in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are quite a few galleries down there, and they have art walks on Thursday nights. After a delicious and gluten-free Thai dinner, we walked through 10 or 12 galleries (including one that showcases a few of Kyle’s paintings).

scottsdale arizona

Once we got our fill of culture, we went bar-hopping. It was Cinco de Mayo after all, so we may have indulged in a few tequila shots.

Tucson

The next morning we drove to Tucson and met up with a friend for lunch. Then we spent the entire evening at the newly gentrified downtown Tucson area. It was impressive. We stopped by a few hip bars and ate dinner at a trendy eatery. We each ordered duck, and it was magnificent.

The next morning we got up early and hiked Sabino Canyon. You can take a tram to each of the hiking trails and get off to explore. We only had a couple hours, so we took the tram all the way to the end and did about 45 minutes of adventuring.

sabino canyon hiking

The desert is gorgeous in its own way. Growing up in Vegas, I have an appreciation for desert landscape. Is it my favorite? Not at all. Does it feel homey and nostalgic? Definitely.

el charro tucson

We went back to the hotel for a quick change and met another friend for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Tucson: El Charro. We’ve eaten there multiple times and have loved each dish.

Then it was time for an art show. Just like I did in the Florida art show, I went all black and white. I’m obsessed with everything black, white, grey, and neutral these days. Color be damned, I suppose. The show was lovely, and the gallery owners are a delight. Kyle sold a painting that night, and it happened to be of me – which tickles me entirely.

arizona art

kyle stuckey art

Gluten-Free Restaurants We Loved in Arizona:

Malee’s Thai Bistro – Scottsdale, AZ

Proper – Tucson, AZ

El Charro – Tucson, AZ

(Click here to learn more about Gluten-Free eating)