Is Tamarindo Safe?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked by anyone who is interested in coming to surf camp in Tamarindo. Families, couples, solo travelers, even burly ex-Marines want to know what to expect: from the airport, to the roads, to the town, to the hotel, to the beach, to the waves. Is it safe here?
If you haven’t visited a new country before, this information is a key part of your decision about where to go on vacation. This is particularly important for women who will be traveling to Costa Rica alone. Since 55% of our guests are women, and over 60% of those women come here alone, we are continually focused on safety for single women travelers.
The most important statistic for us is that we feel 100% confident recommending a trip to WRSC to our own sisters, daughters, wives, friends, and mothers.
Tamarindo is one of the safest towns, with one of the safest beaches, in one of the safest countries.
Anyone visiting here is off to a good start; whether you stay with us or not. Does that mean nobody has ever been injured while surfing or pickpocketed in Tamarindo? Of course not. Just because its Paradise doesn’t mean it defies all laws of nature.
Unless you live in a hermetically sealed bubble, there’s no way to eliminate all risk. That’s not what we’re talking about here. If you are coming to Surf Camp in Costa Rica, you’re obviously up for a little adventure.
There’s a certain percentage of risk just in living a normal life: every time you get in a car or an airplane anywhere in the world, walk down any street, eat at any restaurant, or go to any beach. What most people want to know is: Is this experience of going to Surf Camp in Costa Rica going to be more risky than the level I am comfortable with in my everyday life? If anything, coming to Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo is probably less risky than your daily commute to work in any major metropolitan area.
Costa Rica has long been known as the safest country in Central America. There is no army, a thriving tourism industry, and a long history of staying out of the conflicts that have impacted other countries in Central and South America. Costa Rica has the highest standard of living in the region, and an Ex-Pat community of over 50,000. With laws that make it reasonable to move and do business here, good schools both public and private, generally low crime rate, and the welcoming Costa Rican people, this is a great place to live, which keeps it a great place to visit.
That being said–crimes do happen here, particularly in certain parts of San Jose (4 hours away from Tamarindo), Limon (all the way over on the Caribbean side), Puntarenas (3 hours south), and the beach town of Jaco (4 hours south). The highest crime areas are almost always concentrated around nightclub districts that cater to hard partying tourists. If you come to Costa Rica looking for hookers and drugs…then you gotta watch out for yourself, just sayin’.
Tamarindo isn’t that kind of place. People come here mostly to surf. Of course, we have plenty of fun when the sun goes down, but in more of a casual beach paradise style.
As it has grown over the past twenty years, Tamarindo has developed along a different path than some of the other beach towns. There are plenty of restaurants and bars, but of a wide variety from fine dining to casual, from casado trucks to gourmet restaurants with cuisine from around the world. There are a few small nightclubs too.
The surf and the beach is the overwhelming attraction here. It’s why so many people come to visit, and so many fall in love with the area and decide to move here, start families, and raise kids. The draw of Tamarindo is just as strong with Costa Ricans from San Jose and other towns as it is with all of the Americans, Europeans, Argentinians, who have chosen this place as their home.
There are a lot of other factors that make a trip to Tamarindo a great option for single travelers, especially at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp:
- We pick you up and drop you off at the airport, and drive you to any surf spot on the schedule. You don’t need to drive while you are here. You don’t need to worry about leaving a few things in the van while you surf (our drivers stay with the van the whole time). You don’t need to drive anywhere in Tamarindo, everything is walking distance.
- You have an instant posse once you arrive. You will make friends with the other guests on the drive from the airport, in your lessons, in the seminars with our instructors and Robert August. Our entire staff is friendly and helpful, and will steer you toward the best places to go, who to go with, and what to watch out for.
- Our employees including front desk, surf shop, instructors, restaurant staff, boat captains, and drivers are all locals who have been here for years. They know everyone in town, everyone knows them.
- Tamarindo beach is one of the best, mellowest, safest places to learn to surf. It is a sand-bottom beachbreak. There are no rocks where the lessons are taught. The waves are consistent but rarely get really big.
- There are always dangers when surfing, which is why we spend a lot of attention teaching and practicing safety with all our guests.
Even with all of the reasons why Tamarindo is such a great place for a fun and safe surf vacation, there are some guidelines that everyone should follow:
- Just because you are on vacation does not mean you can forget all of the common sense you would employ back home.
- If you are going out from the surf camp, especially at night, go with someone, or tell people where you are headed. If you are ready to leave a bar and you came with people, tell them you are leaving. Keep an eye out for each other.
- Take a cab back to the hotel if it is late. They cost about $2. Taxi cabs here are safe, even if the cars are a little beat up.
- Don’t walk on the beach by yourself at night. It’s not just other people you have to worry about. There are strong currents in the water here and you don’t want to be caught in one all alone at night.
- Don’t take valuables with you on surf tours, or out at night. Just what you need, and what you wouldn’t be super-bummed if you lost, or it got pickpocketed.
- Petty theft (backpacks left unattended, sandals on the beach, cameras, pickpockets) are the most common crimes anywhere in Costa Rica. So don’t leave your stuff unattended. We see people walk away from laptops and iPads in a busy bar…C’mon! you would never do that at home.
- Ladies, keep an eye on your drinks. Not that this is common, its just a is good practice anywhere.
If you have any questions, about safety, or anything else, just ask us. The women who work in our Reservations office are a wealth of information. We have a full team of people to make sure you have a great–and safe–vacation at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, our sister resort Volcano Brewing Company, and anywhere else you travel in Costa Rica.