Tamarindo...Let's Party like it's 1999 (kind of)
Hola Amigos!!! Our Costa Rican adventures are continuing, and I don’t think we will ever leave. We love everything about Costa Rica. We are currently in Playas del Coco and growing our business. Mango Baby will start here in Coco and surrounding areas, but our goal would be to move down the coast and mimic the success that we have in Coco (fingers crossed!). With the High Season (the start of the dry perfect weather/tourist season that lasts 6 months) starting in a few months, we are ready to roll and excited AF.
As I mentioned the goal would be to grow the business south into the greater Tamarindo area. For those who do not know or have never heard of Tamarindo, let me start by saying it is the coolest freaking place! After we left the Hotel Riu Guanacaste (check out our last blog for more details on our time there), we were lucky enough to spend 30 days in Tamarindo. Tamarindo is an amazing international community known for its great surf, food, nightlife and sunsets. Don't get me wrong, sunsets are amazing everywhere on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, but in Tamarindo it is a part of the community’s daily routine. Every night just before 6 p.m., the beach is flooded with tourists and locals alike to witness the spectacular views of the setting sun, cocktail in hand. Kids and dogs play in the surf and sand, live music plays along the beach restaurants and, after sunset, fire dancers perform on the beach. It is truly a magical place you must experience!
We stayed in an awesome 3 bedroom condo in the tallest building in downtown Tamarindo called Pacific Park (by American standards, it's not that tall at only 7 stories). The owner of the condo, Sisi, and the property management company, Tamarindo Sunrise, owned and operated by William, were incredible to work with. I would recommend this particular condo to anyone (click here for more details and photos on Air B&B). We plan to stay there again in the spring. The views of the surrounding mountains and nature from the condo were spectacular. We would see parrots, monkeys and iguanas in the trees daily. We were in a middle unit that only had a balcony on the mountain side, but the end units in Pacific Park had both a spectacular mountain and ocean view. Every time our neighbor would open their door we would be able to catch a glimpse of the outstanding ocean view. The building had 24/7 security and a great parking garage that made you really feel safe.
The daytime security guard was named Leo and I would practice my Spanish every day with him. Funny story - when he introduced himself to me, because I am an idiot, I thought he said “Laro." My family and I embarrassingly called him “Laro” for the first two weeks of our stay and this kind man never corrected us. After about 2 weeks, I was talking to him about his family (in español of course) and he told me his son’s name was Leo and was named after him. I apologized a 1,000 times and told him how embarrassed I was. I then told Rebecca and she could have punched me she was so annoyed that she listened to me when I told her his name was Laro. Lol I am still laughing about it. LEO if you are reading this, you are a legend bro! Thank you for your warmth and kindness to our family!
Tamarindo (like everywhere in Costa Rica) is all about that healthy lifestyle. Getting up early, being active in the sun, surfing, swimming, boogie boarding and living the Pura Vida life is what it is all about. To help support that lifestyle, there are several great gyms in the area. Rebecca joined a great studio called White Lotus Transformation that is directly across the street from Pacific Park on the third floor of Plaza Tamarindo. They offer daily spin classes, pilates, yoga, kickboxing and even aerial silks! The owner, Jess, opened the studio just a few years ago and is an amazing cycling instructor - if you are in Tamarindo, definitely check out a class.
Spin classes aren’t really my jam, as I am trying to get jacked bro. I needed a gym with weights.
About 500 meters up Central Avenue from Pacific Park is Tamarindo Fitness. An awesome, traditional American gym that has all the weights you would need. They also offer spin classes, boot camps and surfing lessons. Both gyms were very reasonably priced and never terribly crowded. Hardest part was converting lbs to kgs when choosing what weight to work with….a few times I would pick up a 25 kg dumbbell thinking it was 25 lbs…lol it wasn’t.
As much as Tamarindo is about health and fitness - it is about having a great time too! The night life in Tamarindo sounds like it is pretty cool. I say "sounds" because we have a 1 year old so most nights we were in the condo by 7 p.m. making our experience with the nightlife VERY limited lol. For us, it wasn't a big deal to be in for the night so early since in Costa Rica the sun comes up every day around 5 a.m. (and, as a result, so do our kids!) so by the time the sun goes down, we were ready to call it a day anyway. From our balcony, we could see and hear the bustling nightlife. Rebecca and I will definitely be going back sans kids to check it out!
About halfway through our time in Tamarindo, on a whim I decided to do this to my face. As expected, it was greeted with disgust and horror from my children and wife:
Rebecca started calling me Bud/Earl/Ditka (no disrespect to Buds, Earls and Ditkas) and said I looked like I was a Bears fan in the early 90s. Todos bien though...the beard has grown back since then.
Two days later, just after sunset and still looking fresh, we met a couple from London named Tom and Jane at a restaurant on our way back to the condo. Their two boys started playing with Jack and Fi and, after a brief convo, we exchanged numbers and that was that...we spent nearly every day together for the final 2 weeks of our trip. They were on holiday in Tamarindo for 6 weeks in celebration of milestone birthdays and to take a break from the grind. I think their friends and family thought it was kind of crazy to go on holiday for so long. Then they met the crazy Murrays who sold all their worldly possessions and moved our family permanently to a country they had never been to where the primary language is one they don't speak - they didn't seem so crazy after that! Tom would frequently remind me that “Bloody Americans” always do it big LOL!
Tom stands about 6’8. He literally makes me look like a child. I have been lying and telling people I am 6 foot for my whole adult life - 5’11 and 3/4 is close enough, right? I asked him to pick me up and carry me around like a baby, which of course he did every time we hung out (okay I am just kidding about that part). His wife Jane is a Professional Karaoke singer (well, at least in Costa Rica she is). She crushed it with her rendition of Self Esteem by the Offspring at Sharky’s Sports Bar which hosts karaoke every Tuesday. The place gets packed and the talent is great, like professional singer quality! Sharky's is right next to Pacific Park so we found ourselves there many days. They are a great American-style sports bar with all your staples - wings, beer, burgers and fries. They have multiple TVs and broadcast NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL games. Definitely check them out if you are in town - especially if it's football Sunday!
Our kids hit it off with Tom & Jane's kids immediately, bonding many evenings over their shared love of Minecraft. Their youngest had the most over the top adorable British accent, that I still question whether or not they were messing with me because it almost sounded fake LOL. If you are looking for a beach restaurant to enjoy the sunset and cocktails while your children play, I highly recommend Tama Ondo Beachfront Restaurant. They have a little playground onsite, including a boat which Fiona dubbed "Moana World." The kids had a great time playing there for hours while we enjoyed drinks and conversation with Tom and Jane. I learned so much that I didn’t know about the UK and London (despite the fact that I had worked for a UK based company for the previous 5 years). We had a great time with this young family and will be friends for a lifetime.
Unfortunately our time in Tamarindo had to end, but we will be back as it is only an hour from Coco. We have made many connections with expats who live in Tamarindo and we keep in touch with them still. We looked at properties in Tamarindo last week and I called my buddies Dion and Orin for advice on the neighborhoods. Dion is a retired US Military Veteran who moved to Tamarindo in the last year on a whim without ever visiting before…hmmm, sounds familiar! Orin is an expat from Israel who owns a amazing Breaking Bad themed bakery and coffee shop called Breaking Bread - they even named their kittens Skyler and Saul!
Tamarindo is great - truly an international community made up of American, Canadian, Israeli, French, German, Argentinian, Brazilian, Sicilian and of course Costa Rican nationals (I met a national from each country listed there, but there are obviously more). Everyone left their countries for one reason or another and found a common community in Tamarindo. I could keep going forever about how unique and cool this place was, but I think I may be losing your attention….
Mango Baby was born in Coco and that is where we will grow it, but the plan is to expand to Tamarindo in the next 2 years. The Gold Coast of Costa Rica is the next Hawaii and I believe in it. I have never seen such natural beauty that is unspoiled by high rise after high rise and commercialization. I look at this place as the investment of a lifetime. Any direction you look here, you are looking at the jungle, volcanos, ocean or mountains. Depending on where you are looking from, there are some spots where you see all four! While it is unspoiled from the commercialization I mention, it has all the comforts you need. You are never slumming it or doing without, unless you want to. Thanks for reading and I look forward the next one. These have been therapeutic for me to write. Wait until I start talking about my kids and how amazing, brave and hilarious they are. I’ll def cry while writing them.