How to Spend the Perfect Day in Costa Rica

The perfect day | © Christian Arballo/Flickr
The perfect day | © Christian Arballo/Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
12 November 2017

There are standard days and then there are perfect days. There are endless combinations of activities that can lead to the perfect day while in Costa Rica; a lot is dependent upon individual interests, time of year, and specific location. Below is everything you need to know to go about creating your perfect Costa Rica day. Follow this one in Tamarindo, or let this be your inspiration and dream up your own.

Wake up with the monkeys

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee and for delicious reasons. An ideal way to start your perfect day is to start with a delicious cup of Costa Rican coffee. The sun typically rises between 5:30AM and 6AM, depending on the time of year, which is also when the howler monkeys love to serenade the sun. The air is also significantly cooler earlier in the morning. A perfect start is to sit outside in the coolness of the slowly rising sun and sip your coffee while the howlers sing to the new day. Your ocean-view patio at Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo couldn’t be a more amazing place to sip and watch the morning commute of the monkeys pass by in the trees.

Capitan Suizo, Playa Tamarindo, Provincia de Guanacaste, 50309, Costa Rica

Breakfast of champions

Obviously, embarking on the perfect day requires the proper morning fuel to get started. Traditional Costa Rican breakfast is truly divine and is a perfect experience in and of itself. A typical Costa Rican breakfast consists of gallo pinto (rice and beans that have been married together along with cilantro, onions, pepper, and spices), a slice of fried cheese, homemade corn tortillas, eggs, and sweet plantains. If you aren’t feeling overly energetic this morning, Capitan Suizo actually has a great traditional breakfast spread, or you can take a nice stroll into town and dine at one of the many breakfast spot options, such as Breakfast Grinds, Matty’s Deli, or Nordico Cafe.

Gallo pinto is a must-eat for breakfast

Gallo pinto is a must-eat for breakfast| © Arvind Grover/Flickr

Get salty

A perfect day wouldn’t be perfect without spending some time in the sea. The sun in Costa Rica can be rather intense, especially later in the day. It’s best to take part in ocean activities earlier rather than later. Costa Rica is actually more ocean than land, which makes it an ideal place to participate in a variety of water activities. In Costa Rica, you can go surfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, or just soaking. Regardless of the activity, an ice cold pipa (fresh coconut) is the perfect way to hydrate. Oftentimes, there is someone on the beach with a cooler filled with them for one or two dollars.

Nothing like a mid-morning surf | © Vajra Sol Yoga Adventures

Boca and a beer

What better way to indulge in the afternoon than to crack a cold Pilsen or Imperial and have a few Costa Rican bocas (little bites)? Some exceptional choices are ceviche, patacones (fried green plantains usually topped with refried beans, avocado, pico de gallo, and a shredded cabbage salad), fish tacos, chifrijol (fried pieces of pork topped with pico de gallo, cheese, and avocado served over rice and beans), or empanadas. El Vaquero, Pangas, Nogui’s, or El Chiringuito are all excellent choices and great sunset spots too!

Afternoon delights

Depending upon the level of activity you are seeking, there are tons of great afternoon options. If you’re tired taking a siesta in a hammock under a palm tree will be the perfect way to spend the later afternoon, while if you still have energy in reserve you could go horseback riding, take a yoga class, or wander around the farmer’s market and check out local artisanal goods.

The perfect afternoon spot | © Kent Larsson/Flickr

Don’t miss the sunset

In most beach towns in Costa Rica, there is a noticeable sunset culture. Visitors and locals alike will flock to the beach with blankets and cocktails to watch the sun go to rest. The sunsets in Costa Rica, especially during the wetter months, are outrageously beautiful – there is no such thing as a bad sunset here. During the dry months it is also common to see the green flash. There are several mini supermarkets along the stretch of Tamarindo where you can pick up a few beers or choice beverages and make your way down to the sand for the grand finale of the day.

Magical after show | © Jakob Christensen/Flickr

Super supper

An epic day should end with an epic meal. The perfect dinner might be a casado from a soda or family-owned restaurant or some internationally inspired fusion dish from a trendy boutique spot. Some parts of Costa Rica, like Tamarindo, are well-known for their vast array of exquisite and diverse dining. Tamarindo having over 100 dining options and some, like Seasons, Pangas, Wok and Roll, Bamboo Sushi, and La Esquina, offer incredibly memorable meals.

Into the night…

The night can go in all sorts of directions. However, like most locals, when you rise with the sun, you typically set with the sun (or a few hours afterward). In most places due to limited light pollution, the sky is dense with stars, both still and sparkling; just look up. The nighttime in Costa Rica is a good opportunity to just unwind, take a cool shower, sit outside and breathe in the fresh air, and give thanks to the universe for this splendid day. A perfect day in Costa Rica can easily be followed by another perfect day.