Tambor Beach, Costa Rica: Your next holiday escape

Tambor Beach, Costa Rica, is a slice of heaven nestled into bottom of the Nicoya Peninsula. Read on to start planning your laidback vacation.

Tambor Feature

Tambor Beach, Costa Rica, is a slice of heaven nestled in the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. 

The town of Tambor isn’t a hotspot for travelers—yet. This makes it the perfect place to go for a quiet, relaxing vacation on the beach. It also has an epic natural backdrop, with lush vegetation and beautiful sandy beaches. This place will leave you in awe of its beauty and provide several activities for your ideal vacation. 

Don’t let Tambor Beach’s size fool you. Even though it is small, there are plenty of great things to do and beaches to hop to.

Check out our list below of the best beaches near Tambor Beach, Costa Rica.

Playa Tambor

Best for water babies and sun worshipers.

Aerial view of Tambor Beach Costa Rica

Tambor Beach, also called Playa Tambor, is the main reason to visit. 

This beach is perfect for swimming, as it is a wide cove protected by two reef shelves, one to the north and one to the south of the beach. Because of this, the water is calm and peaceful, making it an idyllic spot to spend an afternoon lazing in the sun. 

Playa Tambor is absolutely gorgeous. The volcanic sand here is a rich brown, and the beach is lined with swaying palms and regal almond trees. It feels untouched, and you’ll love the secluded atmosphere.

As an added bonus, scarlet macaws love beach almonds, so if you’re lucky, you can catch these stunning birds snacking in the trees or cruising around town. 

Playa Cocolito

Best for waterfall chasers and beach lovers.

Rocky beach in Costa Rica

Playa Cocolito is one of the most unique beaches near Tambor. It is one of the most pristine and secluded beaches in the entire region, and it is stunning. You’ll find bright cerulean waters, powder-soft white sand, little coves of calm water, and plenty of wildlife. 

The most exciting feature of this beach is a waterfall called El Chorro that empties right into the ocean. It’s a gorgeous backdrop and is all the more remarkable because El Chorro is only one of seven waterfalls in the world that drops into an ocean.

Located about 7 km (4.3 miles) south of Tambor by car. 

Pro tip: The beach is inaccessible by car, so you’ll have to park and trek to the beach. The short walk is certainly worth it, though!

Playa Pochote

Best for beach bums seeking some peace and quiet. 

Play Pochote Costa Rica

Playa Pochote is located just north of Playa Tambor. It is often overlooked, as visitors tend to settle in Tambor and find themselves relaxing there for a few days without venturing much further. And who could blame them?

This small fishing village is located near the Rio Pancia river. Dark gray sandy beaches are backed by mangroves with lush vegetation, giving it an almost prehistoric vibe.

In addition, Playa Pochote isn’t on the popular tourist trail, giving it the feeling of your own private beach.

Playa Muertos

Best for those looking to relax on their own slice of paradise.

Playa Muertos, Costa Rica

Playa Muertos is visible from Playa Tambor, but it is separated by Rio Panica. In fact, it is only accessible by panga boat. If you leave from Pochote, you can take a small skiff that will get you there in five minutes, 

The trip to Playa Muertos is absolutely worth it because you’ll have the beach to yourself! Just be sure to bring your own snacks and drinks, as there aren’t facilities to purchase any once you get there.

This remote beach has powder-soft light sand and calm, clear waters, making it an excellent place to snorkel. 

Plus, the sense of adventure in getting to what feels like your own private beach will make for an excellent afternoon. 

Isla Tortuga 

Best for marine life lovers and avid snorkelers.

Tortuga Island in Costa Rica

Isla Tortuga (Turtle Island) is a short boat ride from Tambor Beach. It’s a popular day trip for people staying all over the Nicoya Peninsula, mostly because of the clear turquoise waters and the abundant marine life.

You can easily organize a tour right on the beach for an excellent day out on the water.

Curu National Wildlife Refuge

Best for hikers and animal lovers.

three monkeys in a tree

So much of Costa Rica has remained undeveloped, so wildlife populations thrive. One of the best places to see animals in the jungle is Curu National Wildlife Refuge.

You can easily reach the reserve in about 25 minutes by car. 

While Curu isn’t as popular as some of Costa Rica’s other parks, it has an abundance of wildlife. The reserve is also home to diverse flora and fauna, including stunning colorful birds, monkeys, deer, crocodiles, and coati. You can even visit for the day and hike along one of their several trails. 

Additionally, Playa Curu has a long stretch of sand, and the waters are clear and calm. Spend some time hiking through the park and then refresh yourself at the beach. Sounds like a perfect day.


Best for laid-back beach bums who appreciate a good restaurant. 

Montezuma beach Costa Rica

If you’d like to visit somewhere with a little more going on, Montezuma is a cool neighboring boho beach town. 

Located about 30 minutes south of Tambor Beach, this small town has a lovely main street along the beach and many restaurants and cafés.

The vibe here is slightly different from Tambor, as it is more of a surf town than a relaxing beach paradise. There are much bigger waves better for surfing and a few rocky outcroppings, giving way to several unique tide pool formations.

If you base yourself at Tambor Beach, it is worth the trek over to Montezuma to compare the two towns. 

Due to its remote location, Tambor Beach, Costa Rica, can be a bit more challenging to travel to. However, it is worth adding this tiny beach town to your stay in the Nicoya Peninsula. Certainly, it adds its own unique charm and beauty to the region. 

Even though Playa Tambor isn’t overrun with tourists, there are still some lovely hotels and a few larger beach resorts.

How to get to Tambor, Costa Rica

Beautiful tropical beach on The Nicoya Peninsula near Tambor, Costs Rica.

The cheapest way to get to Tambor is to take the bus from San José. The ride takes about five hours and costs around $17 per person. A bus is an excellent option because it is budget-friendly and the ride is relatively comfortable. You’ll be treated to WiFi, AC, and reclining seats.

It is also possible to fly to Tambor Airport. Sansa Airlines operates four daily flights from San José, and tickets will set you back about $100 per person. The best part of this flight is that it only takes 30 minutes, leaving plenty of time to explore the beach.

Tambor Beach is located about three hours from Liberia, the closest international airport. You can also fly from Liberia to Tambor Airport. The flight is about 30 minutes long and costs approximately $200 per person. If this is an option, try to book early to get the best deal.

Alternatively, you can easily fly into Liberia International Airport and drive the rest of the way to Tambor. There is a shuttle you can rent, which is a fantastic option if you are traveling with a larger group of friends or family. 

Weather in Tambor Beach 

scarlet macaws

Playa Tambor, Costa Rica weather is similar to the rest of the Nicoya Peninsula. 

The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December through April. Temperatures tend to hover around 30℃ (90℉), and there will be plenty of blue skies and sunny days to keep you on the beach.

Dry season is more popular with tourists who plan to spend their time on the beach, so you’ll find the town lively with visitors. As a result, you also need to book your accommodation in advance to ensure you have a place to stay near the ocean. 

If you are an avid surfer, however, you should plan to spend some time at Playa Tambor during the wet season. The best surf is between May and November. Additionally, traveling around the Nicoya Peninsula during this time is much cheaper.

Packing list essentials for Tambor Beach

Tambor beach Costa Rica

You’ll need to pack plenty of bathing suits and cover-ups for your time at Tambor Beach. The sun here is intense, so bring extra sunscreen, a sun hat, and good sunnies.

Because of the abundance of marine life, you should consider bringing your snorkel. Many companies will have snorkel equipment for rent, but it is possible to see some incredible marine life right off the beach, so you’re better off being prepared.

You should also bring some water shoes or waterproof sandals to keep your feet protected on any hikes or in the rocky tide pools. 

Not sure where to go after Tambor? Check out all of Bookaway’s other routes in Costa Rica.


Can you swim in Tambor Beach?

Yes! It’s protected from large ocean swells, so it’s calm and inviting.

What is Tambor Beach, Costa Rica, known for?

It’s known for its beautiful brown sand beaches backed by lush rolling hills. It is a laid-back beach town off the beaten path, making it the perfect place to relax.

Posted October 17, 2022
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Samantha Bryant
Samantha has been wandering the globe since 2010, when she hopped on a plane for a gap year in order to wait out an age restriction for a job application. Twelve years, four continents, and countless experiences later she has decided that she is perfectly content embracing her wanderlust. Samantha works as an English and ELL teacher at an international school in South Africa, but her passion for writing has kept her busy in what spare time she can find. If she isn't working or writing, you can find Samantha exploring a new city in an off-the-beaten-path destination or relaxing on a beach somewhere.
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