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4 BEST Sunset Cruises in Tamarindo +What to KNOW Before You Book

4 BEST Sunset Cruises in Tamarindo +What to KNOW Before You Book

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One of my favorite things we’ve done in Tamarindo is set sail on a sunset cruise. Costa Rica has stunning sunsets, and what better way to see them than out on the open ocean?

A sunset cruise is such a fun atmosphere with access to water activities, great food, and often an open bar!

There are a ton of cruises out there, but we wanted to share our favorite tours out of Tamarindo. So we put together this list of the 4 best sunset cruises and everything you need to know, so you can enjoy this relaxing and stunning part of Costa Rica too!

Our Top Choice

Our favorite sunset cruise is this sailing adventure! We love that this tour isn’t huge and the crew is so accommodating, always ensuring you’re having a good time. You can expect an open bar (I’m in already!), a traditional Costa Rican meal, plenty of time to swim, snorkel, kayak, or paddleboard, and a gorgeous sunset cruise – of course! 

If you don’t have time to read all of the great tours below, you can simply book this one here

Is a sunset cruise in Tamarindo worth it? 

Two people cheers wine on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Cheers!
Bailey on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo
Cruising the open seas!

Yes, we absolutely loved our sunset cruise! Tamarindo is known for its relaxing atmosphere and many people travel here to unwind. These boat tours are a great way to get out on the water, enjoy the salty sea breeze, and take in the views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Out of all the tours in Tamarindo, sunset cruises are certainly one of the best!

What are the best Tamarindo sunset cruises? 

Bailey swims on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo
Don’t forget to cool off!

Public Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure (our personal favorite!)

This is our top tour pick out of all the sunset cruises in Tamarindo! The Public Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure has a great lively vibe – fun music, the drinks flowing, and stunning views along the Pacific Coast.

The sunset cruise sets sail at 1 pm from the designated meeting point in Tamarindo, giving you the entire afternoon to explore, relax, and enjoy the water. You’ll be sailing on a 40-foot (12-meter) catamaran that has a fully stocked bar and music playing. We had a really great time cruising and making friends along the way. 

We eventually stopped at a secluded cove, Playa Huevos, to swim, snorkel, and paddleboard for a few hours! Here we had more drinks, plus a yummy meal of fresh fruit and chicken fajitas. All of the fresh ingredients were perfect for a hot day on the water.

It was then time to pull up the anchor and start our slow cruise back, with the incredible sunset following us. The music continued and we even had a dance party – the perfect end to our day!

This 5-hour tour includes the open bar, snacks and a meal, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and paddleboards. We absolutely loved this tour and would definitely book it again. It is also the most affordable on this list at $90 USD – another bonus! You can reserve this tour online, be sure to book in advance as this one is popular!

Bailey and Daniel on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
It’s such a fun day out on the water!

Sunset Catamaran in Playa Flamingo 

What I really love about the tours on this list, is that they include more than just the sunset! This Sunset Catamaran tour in Playa Flamingo is a great way to spend a few hours in the water. While here, you’ll probably spot some wildlife, chill out and soak in the views, and of course, catch an epic sunset!

I thought the sunset would be the highlight of this cruise, but I actually had such a fun time cruising around on the water in the catamaran. As we were making our way out into the Pacific, we spotted whales and pods of dolphins swimming by our boat! It was such a special way to start off the trip. 

Once we got to calmer water, we parked the boat and spent some time snorkeling and swimming. We had a great time just hanging out, leisurely snorkeling, and seeing lots of fish. The boat staff was so good about making sure we always had a drink in hand and food to eat.

Our time went by so quickly, that it was time to leave before I knew it! But the ride back was nothing short of incredible, as we slowly sailed to shore with the gorgeous sunset in the backdrop. Okay – maybe the sunset was the highlight of this tour! 

This four-hour tour includes unlimited beer, wine, or soft drinks, snacks, and the use of snorkeling equipment, kayaks, or SUP. You can meet at the designated point to start the tour, or hotel pickup is available upon request. This tour can accommodate up to 32 travelers, but it might not be that full depending on the time of year! You can reserve this tour online here for $95 USD. 

Marlin del Rey Catamaran Snorkel Sunset Cruise 

There is something so luxurious about sailing on a catamaran. They are so big and grand, I almost feel like I’m in a movie! This Marlin del Rey Catamaran Sunset Cruise has a 20-meter (66-foot) boat, the biggest on this list, giving you plenty of room to roam around and check out the ocean from all angles. 

This tour has two launch points departing from Tamarindo or Playas del Coco and will spend 5 hours taking you past white-sand beaches, to great snorkel spots, and to bays teeming with marine life. I really loved boating around on the giant boat, our guides were frequently pointing out sea turtles or flying fish in the water or a beautiful hidden beach on the shore. 

We stopped and hung out for a few hours, being able to swim, snorkel, and explore the gorgeous untouched beach. This tour had an open bar with fresh cocktails and traditional Costa Rican food! What more could you want out of a boat tour? As the sun was getting ready to set, we took to the ocean and watched it dip behind the horizon as we sailed home. 

This tour costs $110 USD per person including the open bar, yummy food, and snorkeling equipment. It does not include hotel pick-up, but there are convenient meeting points in Tamarindo or Playas del Coco. This tour accommodates up to 50 travelers, but the large boat doesn’t make it feel too crowded and it’s a good opportunity to make some friends! So if you’re ready to treat yourself to a day on the water on a huge catamaran, you can reserve this amazing sunset cruise here

Sunset Sailing Tour on Ti Marouba catamaran Tamarindo 

We love this eco-conscious catamaran cruise out of Tamarindo. It is a low-emission boat and uses its sails whenever the wind is favorable, plus there is no single-use plastic on board! This cruise has a lively atmosphere and a fun crew, which makes this tour a great vibe and a fun afternoon out on the water. 

This Ti Marouba Catamaran Sunset Sailing tour is a 5-hour cruise that takes off from the meeting point on Tamarindo Beach. You’ll spend a few hours cruising out into the ocean, taking in the views and spotting wildlife. Eventually, you’ll stop at a quiet cove and secluded beach for swimming, kayaking, and enjoying the open bar! 

You will get to try a traditional Costa Rican lunch prepared by a French chef de cuisine, so you know this food will be amazing. The tour concludes with the sunset ride back to shore, which is certainly the best part of the day. There is something so magical about Costa Rican sunsets!

This is a large tour and can accommodate up to 50 travelers, so it certainly has the potential to turn into a party! For $95 USD per person, it includes an open bar, lunch, and the use of snorkeling, kayaking, or paddleboard equipment. If you’re looking for a fun afternoon on the water, a lively atmosphere, and gorgeous sunsets – then reserve this tour right here!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Do you need to book a Tamarindo sunset cruise in advance? 

A sale boat at sunset in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Sunset!
Bailey on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
In my happy place!

I highly recommend booking a sunset cruise in advance! The summer months (December to March) are very popular tourism times, so tours are often booked out early.

Our top tour choice, the Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure, is a very popular option so don’t wait to book it. The great thing about booking in advance through Viator is their amazing cancellation or change policy. You can change/cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before your tour for a full refund! 

So to be safe, book that tour – you won’t regret this experience!

Related Read: Want to enjoy more water activities? Here’s our guide to the best surf lessons in Tamarindo.

When is the best time of year to go on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo? 

December to March is the peak time to take a sunset cruise in Tamarindo, as this is the warmest and driest season and one of the best times to visit Costa Rica overall. However, the shoulder season (November or April) is also a fantastic time to visit, and you might catch fewer tourists.

You can certainly go any time of year, just check the weather in advance and be sure to book a Viator tour with 24-hour free cancellation in case the weather takes a turn. You never know when you’ll get caught in a storm during the rainy season!

How much does a Tamarindo sunset cruise cost?

Bailey stands at the front of the boat on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo
I found it very affordable!

A sunset cruise in Tamarindo is $96 USD on average. They typically last 4 to 5 hours and promise a good time with amazing views! All of the tours on this list include an open bar (need I say more?), a meal or snacks, and some sort of water activity like snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), or kayaking!

The size or details of the cruise depend on which tour you choose, but we answer all of these questions below!

Related Read: Looking for budget-friendly activities? Check out our guide to the best free and cheap things to do in Tamarindo.

What to expect on a typical sunset cruise in Tamarindo? 

Daniel poses for a photo at sunset in Tamarindo on a cruise
I may have drank a little too much!

A sunset cruise in Tamarindo is a top activity for travelers. It is a great way to experience Costa Rica in a new way – by water! Most of the tours are pretty similar, with minor details that set each one apart. 

You can expect to set sail in the afternoon (usually on a catamaran boat, which is my favorite) and spend a good amount of time cruising around, spotting wildlife, with a drink in hand! Each tour has time dedicated to hanging out and enjoying the water. They usually provided snorkeling gear, kayaks, and SUPs! You can try a traditional Costa Rican meal or snacks and the open bar. 

Before you know it, it will be time to grab another drink and set sail back home as the sun sets. They usually take it slow on the ride home, so you can really soak in the gorgeous sunset! There is nothing better than a Costa Rican sunset over the ocean.

Are Tamarindo sunset cruises a party cruise? 

These are not party cruises! The aim of these tours is to relax, enjoy the views, have a few drinks, and have fun. However, they do play music onboard and you can sometimes get a loud group of friends on your tour, so it can turn a little more lively. I suggest booking one of the smaller tours if you want more of a chill vibe! In my experience, though, most people are there simply to relax. 

Is a Tamarindo sunset cruise suitable for kids? 

Yes, and kids love sunset cruises! They are certainly memorable experiences for children. Most of the tour is fun and engaging – riding on a giant boat, seeing marine life, and spending hours swimming, on a kayak or SUP, and snorkeling. Even though there are open bars on each of these tours, they typically don’t turn into a party, making it suitable for kids. Tickets for kids are usually around $70 USD. 

Can you get seasick on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo? 

Views of the front of the boat in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
It’s pretty calm!

Bailey often gets seasick, but she had no troubles on the cruise! She did take medication, so if you’re prone to seasickness, I highly recommend taking some too. However, the boats are very stable and the ocean is calm, so there isn’t a ton of motion. Bailey spent a lot of time in the water so that certainly helps with any lingering seasickness!

What should you wear/bring on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo? 

Sun protection – You will be out in the sun for hours, so sun protection is a must! Either bring sunscreen or light clothing to cover up. Many of the boats have some covered shade area, but I would plan on bringing sun protection of your own anyway.

Layers including change of clothes – Your day will start out during the hot afternoon, but by the time the sun sets you probably won’t want to be wearing your wet swimsuit anymore. Bring a towel and a dry set of clothes so you can stay warm for the boat ride to shore. The evenings actually get a little cool, so best to be prepared and bring a jacket or layers of some sort.

Flip flops – Shoes are not allowed on the boat, you’ll have to take them off and stash them in your bag for the tour. Flip flops are the best option so you can slip them off and store them away easily!

Cash – It is normal to tip your tour provider for the high-quality service they are bringing. About 15-20% is a normal tipping amount. 

Are sunset cruises in Tamarindo safe? 

Bailey sits at the front of the boat in Tamarindo on a sunset cruise
Ahh Costa Rica!

Yes! It’s normal to be aware of staying safe in Costa Rica and these sunset cruises are completely safe. The tour providers follow strict rules and regulations, including life jackets for all passengers onboard. If you have any concerns, you can read the tour’s review, but most are outstanding quality.

The tour providers want you to have a good time and tell your friends, so they will do whatever they can to keep you safe and to give you a memorable experience while sailing into the sunset.

Other Must-do Activities While You’re in Tamarindo

Bailey on staircase looking down at Rio Celeste Waterfall in Rio Celeste, Costa rica
I think this is my favorite waterfall in Costa Rica!
A Turtle swims in the ocean in Costa Rica
So amazing to see in the wild!

Tamarindo is a town filled with tons of things to do and see. So while you’re planning your trip here, make sure to check out a few more of our other favorite activities:

  • Visit Rio Celeste – One of the most beautiful rivers and waterfalls in Costa Rica is within reach of Tamarindo. Rio Celeste Waterfall is a natural phenomenon where two rivers meet and cause the water to literally turn blue. Since it’s 2.5 hours away, unless you have your own vehicle, you’re going to need to join a tour. This specific tour leaves Tamarindo at 6:30 am and includes everything from hiking to a swim in the turquoise waters and even a visit to a wildlife sanctuary to see sloths!
  • Learn to surf – Although you won’t find Tamarindo on any list of the top places to surf in Costa Rica, it’s arguably the best place for beginners. You can do surf lessons any day of the week, and there are tons of surf schools in town. This two-hour surf lesson is top-rated and has over 1,600 five-star reviews.
  • See turtles – Getting a chance to see turtles in Costa Rica is pretty amazing. Luckily there are some secluded beaches around Tamarindo where turtles come to lay eggs on the beach from November to April. This turtle nesting tour is an evening experience (that’s when turtles come ashore) and if you’re really lucky you’ll even see baby turtles hatching and making their way to the ocean.
  • Adventure tour – If you’re craving a day bursting with fun activities, this Guachipelin Adventure tour delivers! It’s an epic full-day experience with ziplining, river tubing, horseback riding, a visit to natural hot springs, a volcanic mud bath, and a full buffet lunch. It’s so popular because, with all those activities, the tour only costs $135 USD for the self-drive option (what we did) or $149 USD for the included transport. 
  • Check out a local market – On Saturdays, the Tama Market is the place to be in Tamarindo! From 8 am to 2 pm, the market is bustling with stalls where you can do some shopping, pick up fresh fruit or veggies, or even grab lunch. We tried some excellent cold brew coffee here and I found a sunscreen I love made with natural products!

Where to Stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

lady sits poolside at Selina Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Relaxing poolside at Selina!

You have so many choices when it comes to places to stay in Tamarindo! There are over 100 hotels and hostels in the downtown area catering to all needs and wants. These are our favorites:

Selina Tamarindo – $

The Selina is a good option for budget travelers, and I have personally stayed here. It’s an upper market hostel with a great atmosphere and pool. The location is also right near the beach, and the dorm rooms and privates all have AC.

Rates for a private room start at $139 USD per night, and a bed in the dorm rooms starts at $71 USD per night. You can book Selina Tamarindo on HostelWorld or Booking.com

Tamarindo Bay Boutique Hotel – $$

If you’d prefer a little more luxury, the Tamarindo Bay Boutique Hotel comes with gorgeous rooms, a large pool, and a very modern and sleek design. However, the location is slightly back from the beach, and it’s not for families. 

The hotel’s terrace overlooks the property’s tropical gardens, and breakfast is served outside here from November 1 to April 30. Rates for a one-night stay begin at $160 USD. Reserve a room at Tamarindo Bay Boutique Hotel on Booking.com.

Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort – $$$

Those with a luxury budget should check out Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort. This is one of the most beautiful hotels in Tamarindo, and it’s not only located on the beach, but they also have a pool with ocean views. 

All of the rooms have a seating area and a mini-bar. Prices for a room start at $224 USD per night. You can book Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort here on Booking.com.

Getting Around Costa Rica

Bailey with our rental car near Rio Celeste Costa Rica
Our rental car!

How you choose to get around Costa Rica is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your holiday here! How you do it depends on your budget, travel style, and comfort level. 

Renting a Car

Without a doubt, the number one way to explore Costa Rica is in a rental car. We book rental cars on the Discover Cars website as we have had good experiences with them in the past.

One of the things you need to watch for when renting a car in Costa Rica is the mandatory insurance that the government requires you to have. There are a lot of very cheap rentals that don’t include this mandatory insurance (TPL) in the original booking price, but there are also ones that do. To avoid additional surprise charges when you pick up your rental car, be sure to rent a car that includes the mandatory insurance when you book.

Thankfully, on Discover Cars it’s easy to tell apart the companies that include the mandatory insurance and those that don’t. The trick is you can’t pick any car on their website. In the picture below, you can see this rental car, with pick up in Jaco, includes the TPL. That means the mandatory insurance is included in the price. Any cover you get above that is extra.

Of course, I still suggest getting the full coverage offered by Discover Cars, which covers you even more.

You can browse cars on Discover Cars here.

TPL Cover Costa Rica
TPL Cover Costa Rica

Book Shuttles

If renting a car isn’t in your budget, you don’t feel comfortable driving in Costa Rica, or you just don’t like driving, shuttles are the next best option. There are hundreds of shuttle routes available all over the country, and they are very affordable.

Shuttles in Costa Rica are specifically for tourists and often include pick up and drop off at your selected hotels and airports. The drivers also speak some English, and the vehicles have air conditioning. You’ll also be guaranteed a seat when you book a shuttle (which isn’t the case with the public bus system.)

To get the best price, use the website Bookaway. They compare all the offers and prices of shuttle companies in Costa Rica so you get the best price! Honestly, we have saved so much money using Bookaway! 

You can search for shuttles online on Bookaway here.

Public Bus

Lastly, you can use the public bus system. On short journeys, such as from San Jose to La Fortuna or Uvita to Manuel Antonio, this system is great. However, the longer the journey the more hassle and time spent on a bus. It’s undoubtedly best to save the public bus in Costa Rica for short and straightforward trips!  

The public buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around Costa Rica, but they are not always very reliable and schedules often change without notice and delays are to be expected. The buses can also be very crowded and hot – so just be prepared!

It’s also good to speak some Spanish if you plan on riding the public bus since most drivers and ticket booth operators don’t speak English.

Pura Vida!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while on a sunset cruise in Tamarindo
Thanks for reading!

I hope you found this list of sunset cruises in Tamarindo helpful as you plan your trip! Taking a sunset cruise is such a gorgeous way to explore Costa Rica. You’ll also get to spend time snorkeling, kayaking, or paddling on a SUP.

You can honestly spend your entire vacation in Tamarindo, but if you’re interested in traveling around the country, we have you covered! Have a look at our other blogs including the popular ones below, and let us know in the comments if you need more recommendations.

12 Things to Know BEFORE Going Scuba Diving in Tamarindo

Best Ziplining Tours in Tamarindo and 8 Things to Know BEFORE Booking

7 Day Costa Rica Itinerary: How to Spend One Week in Costa Rica!

10 BEST Tours and Places to Go Kayaking in Costa Rica