My partner and I spent nine days in Tamarindo this month. The first few days I have to admit that the town and beach didn't leave a good impression on us. After a few days we seemed to adjust better. We stayed at the Coast beachfront hotel, which we loved. Had a beachfront bungalow which was pretty amazing. I'm happy that we stayed at that end of the beach, had we stayed closer to the busier section of town, I think we would have left. The town itself wasn't charming at all, IMO. There was just something to it that didn't rub quite right with us. Too much of a party town for us. Areas of the town had a smell to it that was rancid, not sure what it was but definitely wasn't good. Plenty of restaurants but not one seemed to stand out to us. We enjoyed Breaking Bread several times. Fortunately for us we had a kitchen in our bungalow so we cooked as often as possible and the hotel had a gas grill that we used as well. Tamarindo was pricey; food, groceries, souvenirs, etc. I think that was the biggest surprise to us the most, was how expensive it was. The trip to Costa Rica was almost a last minute decision, not a lot of time to plan out more activities for us to do, which was fine, as resting on the beach was just what we needed. If you're interested in a couples massage, I can recommend Massage by the sea. They came to our hotel and set up an area looking out on the beach, perfectly relaxing. Another day we had a horseback riding trip set up on three beaches with Santana tours. Went to Playa Brasalito, Playa Conchal and another beach, can't remember the name. Loved it! Playa Conchal was stunning. Maria from Santana tours was our driver and Jose (I think) was the guide with the horses. Both were very friendly and helpful. Another day we went to Black Stallion Ranch where we went Zip lining, rode ATV's and had a barbecued meal. The owner, Alex, picked us up at our hotel with fresh orange juice. He had a lot of great stories to tell us about his travels around the world. We enjoyed the activities at his ranch. My partner became sick at the end of our trip. Walked into a pharmacy where she was given antibiotics, which helped. The high light of our trip was just sitting on the beachfront of our hotel, relaxing and watching the Howler monkeys in the trees above us, while drinking coconut water out of a fresh coconut. We found the people of Costa Rica very friendly. If we go back to Costa Rica, we'll seek out a different place in Costa Rica to visit as Tamarindo didn't check our boxes of what we were looking for. I do need to warn people about a man with long hair who rides the horses on the beach. Very tan, always goes without a shirt. We were taking photos of him while he was riding horses with a few other people. He came up to us and asked us if we were interested in riding, told us how much it was, etc. I told him that we weren't sure, maybe the next morning we might be interested, and if we see him on the beach with the horses, we might flag him down. He asked where we were staying, pointed to our hotel. Again we never committed to anything. The next morning he stopped by with a two extra horses while we were setting up our beach chairs. He said he was there so we could ride. I told him that we never asked him to come back and that I had told him that if we were interested I would flag him down. He became loud and nasty, telling us that if we didn't pay him $20 then we had better hope that he doesn't see us in town. I asked him if he was threatening me, to which he said we had a deal, which again I repeated we didn't, we never agreed to rent horses from him. He continued to be loud and threatening. My partner walked over to hotel security and explained to security what was happening. He was told to leave the property. Of course the rest of our trip we were worried about what would happen if he should happen to see us while we were out and about. I don't know why he reacted that way, but for us, it was frightening. We're two women, we certainly didn't want an issue with him or anyone.
In regards to the insurance required to enter the country, we bought Trawick insurance. Our hotel set up the Covid testing for us. The clinic came to our hotel on a Tuesday, we had the results on Thursday, we left on Friday. No problems again.