One of the best things about living in Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste, and specifically, in the town of Tamarindo, is our outdoor lifestyle. From surfing and swimming to finding our favorite routes to sail and the best hikes near Tamarindo, we love to constantly discover new and wonderful reasons to appreciate our home.

When it comes to that last bit – the best hikes near Tamarindo, Costa Rica – it could take a lifetime to explore them all. That’s because Tamarindo and the Gold Coast are well known for their outdoor activities and, as such, a hiking lifestyle has subsequently developed.

And all that means that there’s an embarrassment of choice. From dirt backroads and planned communities with miles of groomed hiking trails to national parks and private waterfall properties, we have hundreds of miles and dozens of official trails that you could tackle. But hey, you have to start somewhere! And with that, we offer 10 good starting points for great hikes near Tamarindo.

Grouped in terms of difficulty (easy to difficult):

Walks Around Town

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: Varied

Tamarindo hiking opportunities

As far as hikes near Tamarindo are concerned, if you’re looking more to walk (rather than get into a hard hike), then you need look no further than your own backyard! Tamarindo’s downtown is dotted with a number of walking and hiking trails, which climb up to lookout points and then down to the beach.

Many of our area peaks offer panoramic ocean views that sweep from Playa Langosta north to Tamarindo, the Tamarindo Estuary, and Playa Grande. You can also find everything from community hiking paths to extensive hiking trails at Tamarindo-area communities, including Hacienda Pinilla, Tamarindo Park, Senderos, and Ventanas de Playa Grande.

Rincón de la Vieja: Las Pailas Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.2 kms / 2 miles

Rincon de la Vieja hiking

It’s no secret that Rincón de la Vieja’s is one of our favorite places. Home to 336 acres, 32 rivers and streams, tropical dry forest and cloud forest, and 9 separate but contiguous volcanic craters, the park sets itself up as a site of incredible sights.

There are two entrances, or sectors, but the closest (and our favorite) to Tamarindo is Las Pailas. Here, you’ll stroll past seasonal waterfalls, a mini-volcanoboiling mud pots (las pailas, of course!), hot springs (these ones are not for soaking!), steaming fumaroles, and other volcanic sights are truly a wonder to behold.

Llanos de Cortes Waterfall

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 0.5 kms / 0.3 miles

Llanos del Cortes waterfall hiking

Alternately known as “Llanos de Cortez,” Llanos de Cortés Waterfall is both one of our favorite hikes near Tamarindo and one Guanacaste’s most iconic waterfalls and sights. That’s because this wide, tall, rushing cascade is easy to access and spectacularly beautiful, even managing to churn out a fall during the dry season.

Note that, while this is considered an easy hike – or, even, an easy walk – you will have to climb up and down concrete steps: about five minutes down and as long as it takes to get back up! Once there, you’ll find this is a popular spot for picnics, swimming, splashing, and generally enjoying the scenery. We recommend you do the same!

Reserva Conchal: Iguana & Venado Trail Loops

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 3.2 to 7.4 kms / 2 to 4 miles

Reserva Conchal hiking trails

The community of Reserva Conchal grants its residents and guests access to its hiking trails, including Iguana, Venado (Spanish for “deer”), and a handful of unnamed paths.

As you walk into the scenery (and up a few steep spots), you’ll be on the lookout primarily for wildlife and scenic views. Several scenic overlooks extend over the Reserva Conchal golf course, the Pacific Ocean, and the panoramic, north-to-south coastline. As expected, you may spot white-tailed deer, birds, and even monkeys.

Las Catalinas

Difficulty: Easy to Hard

Distance: Varied

Las Catalinas hiking trails Costa Rica

The community of Las Catalinas is home to world-class hiking, running, and mountain biking trails that, for many, are a primary attraction to the community. The trails are divided into two established paths: multi-use trails and exclusive hiking trails that, together, run over 26.1 miles (42 kilometers).

There are many hikes to enjoy here, including the Punta Guachipelines Loop (moderate; 6.4 kms), Windy Peak Loop (moderate; 3.4 kms), Playa Dantita Loop (easy; 2.9 kms), Rim Perimeter (moderate; 9 kms), and the Atajo Loop (hard; 6.3 kms). In addition to spectacular views, you can enjoy birding, wildlife watching, and even solitude, despite the community’s popularity. 

El Llano

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4.5 kms / 2.8 miles

El Llano hiking Tamarindo

If you’re looking for a slice of peace and quiet, but don’t want to venture too far, then you’ll love the tranquility of El Llano, one of the least-traveled hikes near Tamarindo. Located about 10 minutes from Reserva Conchal, this loop trail sees only a few hikers – in other words, you could have it almost all to yourself! (There are also occasional trail runners and mountain bikers.)

This is a step into the backwoods of Costa Rica, where you can hike and explore scenery almost untouched by human development. And, while you won’t find much elevation gain (less than 100 meters), the path can be rugged, so lace up your best shoes and grab those hiking poles.

Cerro Barra Honda

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 7.6 kms / 4.72 miles

hiking Cerro Barra Honda

Read about Barra Honda National Park and you’ll come away with this takeaway: The vast majority of the park’s riches are underground, where shifting tectonic plates maneuvered ancient coral reefs and soft limestone to create a subterranean cave system.

You’re not here for that… this time! Instead, hit the park’s above-ground trail loop, which climbs a steep mountain and curves around two cave entrances – only one is open to the public and, if you plan to enter, you’ll need spelunking gear and a guide – and heads on to incredible wildlife opportunities, forest, and scenic overlooks to the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Colorado, Chira Island, and more.

La Leona Waterfall

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4 kms / 2.5 miles

La Leona waterfall hiking

La Leona Waterfall is located on private property, so you’ll have to pay to access this one. Luckily for area residents, you can drive to the entrance a pay the minimum $30 (as of 2022) fee for a guided hike – and a guided hike is, indeed, necessary to get you through the rocky river terrain that leads to the waterfall.

It’s worth it. La Leona is literally carved out of (and into) a cave; if you didn’t know it is a natural creation, you’d swear Walt Disney had had a hand in its fantastical creation. Here, baby-blue waters spill over the smooth cliff and into the swimming hole beneath, making for incredible scenery and an even more incredible experience.

Playa Danta to Playa Penca

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 11.1 kms / 6.9 miles

Playa Penca beach hiking

For the beach junkies among you, this coast-to-coastal hills hike takes you scrambling around rocky points between Playa Danta, Playa Pan de Azúcar (Sugarloaf), Playa Prieta, and Playa La Penca, before heading into the scenic hills above.

You’ll want to start at low tide – otherwise, you can’t get around the rocky outcroppings between the beaches – so be sure to check tide charts! The hike back takes you over dirt roads and, when possible, onto the Las Catalinas trail system (above), before wending back to Playa Danta.

Diriá National Park Trail

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 7.2 kms / 4.3 miles

best hikes near Tamarindo Diria NP

This out-and-back trail wends through Diriá National Park, something of a best-kept-secret, as far as hikes near Tamarindo and Costa Rica national parks go. It mostly comes down to the park’s remoteness (though it’s just 80 minutes from Tamarindo!), because its sights are incredible, extending to primary forestpremontane rainforest, and tropical dry forest, one of the world’s rarest and most endangered ecosystems.

The park’s trail takes you into the tropical outback: wild, untamed landscapes and rustic paths that give you a glimpse into untouched Costa Rica. You won’t find many tourist trappings but you will find relative isolation, great views, old-growth forests, and abundant wildlife.

Live Here, Hike That: Planning to You Call Tamarindo Home?

Calling Tamarindo and Costa Rica home opens up a whole new world of possibilities to hike, experience, and explore.

Helping you get from today to tomorrow – from dreams to setting down roots in paradise – just happens to be one of our fortes. At Blue Water Properties, we are happy to help you in any way we can. We can talk about locations and costs of living, schools and, yes, our favorite hiking spots. We can refer you to residency attorneys or other sources of information, and share our own experiences and lessons learned.

As a company and as people, we thrive on relationships and promise the fastest communication and best services in the industry. And that begins with lots of information. We are happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction, even if you’re only in the beginning phases of planning your future move.

We’re proud to offer some of the best Costa Rica real estate, from condos and homes to land and businesses for sale. So, go ahead – try us. Give us a chance to show off our expertise – and wow you with the possibilities! We look forward to it.