Nicaragua & Costa Rica – Day 17 San Juan del Sur to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Photos of our Journey
Monday January 29, 2018

Promptly at 5:50am, Caribe Shuttle fetched us at the hotel and, after collecting others at various hotels and hostels we left San Juan Del Sur at 6:30am.

It was a quick pleasant trip to Pena Blancas and the frontera (border). Now the fun begins, getting through the red tape of leaving Nicaragua and entering Costa Rica. I have heard many a story of confusion, and very long delays through this land crossing. Thankfully with Caribe Shuttle, we were greeted by a guide who basically led us through the whole procedure and within 30 – 45 minutes, all 11 of us were processed and aboard our Costa Rican shuttle. That was definitely worth the $55 Shuttle price!

Next stop is Liberia town, and then the airport. It was a quick hour ride to Liberia and I had a great conversation with a fellow from Montana – it made the trip fly by.  Once in Liberia most of the group went their separate ways, and four of us changed to yet another shuttle towards the airport and Tamarindo. We dropped off a Canadian lady at the airport, and that left three.  The other passenger with us was born in San Jose but now lives in Tamarindo and loves it.  By the end of the ride we had several suggestions on other beaches along the Nicoya Peninsula and where to eat in Tamarindo.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country and more developed than Nicaragua as far as infrastructure and tourism facilities. It was noticeable immediately at the border. I imagined the town of Liberia to be a typical border town, and was surprised to see how lovely it, and the airport, were.

The ride to Tamarindo was a mere 1.5 hours and we arrived early, thanks to our quick trip through the border. Tamarindo is a touristy beach spot that gained popularity only about 10 years ago, and is booming now. The roads are narrow, busy with traffic jams and a multitude of tourist shops and restaurants on both sides vying for one’s attention. Again, it is a bit of an assault to the senses after our quiet Villa life in San Juan del Sur.

We reached our little oasis of Ten North Hotel Tamarindo and checked in.  I notice their logo shows the ‘degrees’ symbol after the Ten.  It just happens that Tamarindo is 10 degrees north of the equator – very interesting!  The room is not ready so we head straight for breakfast and decide on the Longboarder. It is a Louisiana BBQ restaurant by night and we are to discover it serves ginormous breakfasts by day. Well that will suffice for lunch and maybe even dinner too!

We hung about the restaurant for a time but it was just SO hot, so we headed to our hotel to see if we could at least jump in the pool. Gracias a dios, the room is ready with the A/C on, and we b-line to the pool.    Ahhhhhhh, that is much, much better.



Cooled off, we head to the main street to wander and imbibe in a Happy Hour cocktail or two. We settled in at the Hotel Diria, a much higher class beach hotel, and realized we have missed Happy Hour by minutes – shame.   No worries, we try one of their classic margaritas which was delicious.

Now we are hungry so we wander and funnily enough we head back to the Longboarder for their famous ribs – oh wow they did not disappoint, they were fantastic! Ok, so now we waddle back to our hotel as we have just consumed another huge meal and too many cocktails. Time to call it a night!

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