Traveling from Tamarindo to Arenal Driving Directions

Top 5 Most Impressive Volcanoes in Costa Rica (and how to get there from Tamarindo!)

Traveling from Tamarindo to Arenal Driving Directions

When people think “Costa Rica” they think of three things: pristine beaches, prolific wildlife and colossal volcanoes.

Costa Rica is home to over 200 volcanic formations speckled throughout the country – most of them accompanied by piping hot springs and challenging hiking trails. Here’s a list of the top 5 most impressive volcanoes in Costa Rica in order of their proximity to Tamarindo (and recommendations on which ones are OK for day trips versus which ones require overnight stays).

(NOTE: I’ve included directions, but do yourself a favor and ignore them. Instead, rent a GPS along with your car and let it take you where you need to go.)

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano

Traveling from Tamarindo to Rincon de la Vieja Driving Directions

Rincon is one of only two volcanoes close enough to Tamarindo for a day trip. It’s an incredible place to hike, as there are boiling mud pots and loads of wildlife around every corner. There is so much to do here I couldn’t possibly list it all here.  Horseback riding, hot springs, ziplining, waterfall rappelling, tubing and pretty much anything else outdoors you could imagine. Talk to Lola at RPM about booking a tour. Keep in mind the park is closed on Mondays.

Directions: Drive north along the Pan American Highway past Liberia for 3 miles/5.8 km and turn right at the signs for Curubande/Rincón de la Vieja National Park/Las Pailas sector. Travel 8.6 miles/14 kilometers on a dirt road to the village of Curubande which is 8.5 miles/13.6 km away and continue in the same direction along the same road. Watch for signs to Rincón de la Vieja National Park/Las Pailas sector.

Miravalles Volcano

How to get from Tamarindo to Miravalles Driving Directions

Miravalles is a fairly smooth 2-hour drive from Tamarindo (it’s definitely worthy of a day trip!). It’s about 45 minutes away from Liberia and 10 miles north of the small town of Bagaces. There aren’t really any EASY hiking trails, but if you really want to get crazy you can hire a guide to take you on a 9-hour round trip hike to the top. There are also some hot springs that are easy to reach by car, where you can soak in the thermal waters or rub soothing volcanic mud all over your body.

Directions: Take the Interamerican highway to Bagaces, then turn off to the right. Drive about 20 miles toward Guayabo until you see the signs for Miravalles.

Tenorio Volcano

Tenorio’s two craters and four volcanic cones are not nearly as impressive as the unbelievable celeste blue river running through the national park. This vibrant blue color is an effect caused by the sulfuric hot springs heated up by volcanic activity. The best time to visit is during dry season between February and May, when the river is at its best. It’s about a 2.5-3.5 hour drive from Tamarindo depending on road conditions and how fast you drive, so it’s best to make a visit to Tenorio National Park an overnight one.

Directions: Take a left in Villareal and drive until the road ends in Huacas. Take a right and follow the signs to Liberia (when you reach the main intersection at Belen you’ll take a left). Pass the Liberia international airport, which will be on your left. After 10 mi (16 km), in Liberia downtown, follow the signs to San Jose. Drive straight through until you get to the city of Cañas. About 6 miles after Cañas is a turnoff to Bijagua. About 20 miles past Bijagua, you will find the entrance to the Park.

Arenal Volcano

Driving directions from Tamarindo to Arenal

This is by far Costa Rica’s most famous volcano, and with good reason – it’s pretty much the iconic shape and size of what you’d expect a volcano to be. Plus, from 1968 to 2011 it used to erupt with hot lava each and every night. Now it mostly smolders as it’s considering not quite dormant, but “sleeping.” Arenal is definitely NOT a day trip from Tamarindo. You want to allow at least 2-3 nights in La Fortuna (the town next to Arenal) to really experience the area – perhaps even 4 or 5 nights if you want to really take your time.

Directions: From Tamarindo, drive to Huacas and onto Belen, through Liberia and on to Cañas. Follow signs to Tilaran and on to Arenal. Click here for more in-depth directions.

Poas Volcano

Driving directions Tamarindo to Poas Volcano

Poas is the no-brainer of all of Costa Rica’s volcanoes, particularly if you’re flying into the San Jose International Airport. It literally could not be easier to reach by car (however keep in mind it’s a 6-hour drive from Tamarindo, so plan on spending the night in the Central Valley!). Just drive to the parking lot, and walk less than 10 minutes along the perfectly level, well-kempt path to reach the neon-blue crater. Be sure to plan your trip as early as possible in the morning (I’m talking be ready and waiting the moment the park opens), otherwise it will probably be too foggy to see anything. It’s super windy there, so if you’re lucky you might end up with a funny family photo like this one!

Directions: From San Jose, take the highway to Alajuela. From there, take to road to Itiquis and Fraijanes, following the signs to the volcano.


Blog by: Genna Marie

photo credit: Wha’ppen via photopin cc
photo credit: leivajd via photopin cc

Other photos by Genna Marie of Tamarindo Family Photos

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The house is in impeccable condition and furnished with great taste and attention to detail. The view from the terrace and the infinity pool to the beach and the sea is unique. The sunsets were fantastic. Checkin and checkout worked without any pr...

Great location. Way over priced.

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Been at the Sunrise mantbyears now and love the location and the facility. It's pleasant and Lola was most helpful,in obtaining my rental. Very professional.

A Week in Paradise!

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We had a wonderful stay at this condo! It was our third trip to this condo complex, and this condo was by far the nicest... The views were incredible, as was the amazing art work in the condo. We were pleased with how well the kitchen was appoi...


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The experience it was wonderful, this one place it is completely fully equipped to the needs the host, is it clean, it is nice, it is comfortable, i like really a lot, when making a visit with my friends, I will use this place.Thank you

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August 26, 2014
The home was clean and well stocked. Only issue was a plumbing "fix" in the kitchen that after it was fixed, leaked water through the kitchen and living room. Not a big deal but likely should have tested the "fix" before the repair person left.

Great location and beautiful unit!

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June 9, 2014
We really enjoyed our stay at Cerca del Mar. The location could not be better, close to the beach, and the property management company was very helpful and accomodating.

Excellent stay in Costa Rica

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March 24, 2015
For seven of us there was more than enough space to be very, very comfortable. Beautiful view, close to beach and everything else in Tamarindo. Through property management we were able to arrange all the tours easily.

Mccloud family escape

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January 26, 2013
Too short! All eight of us had a fantastic time. The home more than we could have expected. Andy and Cynthia did a great job!

Fallon trip

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February 23, 2017
Everything was great it was a beautiful house the only thing I would suggest is to remember people sleep in the pool house as it is a bedroom it was very dusty. Also my father in law got hurt and we needed a bandaid it was an emergency he ended up...

A really good place to stay.

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May 12, 2018
On arrival the apartment block looked a little bit 'weathered' but as soon as we got inside we saw that the apartment was spacious and well maintained. Everything we needed was there. Kitchen equipment was ample and well thought out. Both bedrooms...

Fantastic location

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Stayed here with my family of 4 and brought both sets of in laws. We took the upstairs and the parents took the downstairs, which worked out wonderfully. Easily walk to everywhere in Tamarindo.

Horizontes 304

Oscar Funes
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December 31, 2022
Great place. Perfect Location. The best view in Tamarindo. The beach is literally in your garden, the sunsets are spectacular and are seen from your private balcony. The pool is excellent. The apartament is beatifull and newly renovated. Definitel...

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February 18, 2015
We stayed here for a week with our 3 children, ages 8, 6 & 5. The Villa was perfect! The location is very convenient with two beach accesses directly across the road. The home is very comfortable and set up for relaxing. Our kids loved the pool....

Marathon tamarindo 2017

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October 4, 2017
muy buena, problemas en el cable e internet, ascensores, pero en general bien.

Great location

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June 19, 2022
Excellent location, comfortable and well stocked. The customer service was excellent and it was easy to find and access. We definitely recommend to others.

One of our best family vacations ever.

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This condo in Tamarindo Diria Resort was amazing. My husband and I stayed with our two sons, their wives, and our baby granddaughter, and there was always room for everyone. It is huge, luxurious, clean, and the views cannot be beat anywhere in th...

Great Place!

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It was our second stay in this unit and if anything, it was nicer than before. It appears that the owners have made some nice upgrades, adding new kitchen items and linens. Overall a great place and we would definitely return again!

Incredible home and amazing rental company!

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Really like this place, quite and comfortable. Loved walking on the beach, beautiful sunsets, away from it all. Very relaxing to sit on the balcony and enjoy a good cup of Costa Rican coffee. Can hear the waves. We have stayed a Villa Langosta m...

Superb Renntal

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January 6, 2015
The condition, location, accessibility and orientation of the unit was great. The view of the town and ocean was great. The only thing that we did not have was soap for the dish-washing machine, it is not available in the local convenience store a...

Beautiful condo

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This condo was so gorgeous. We really enjoyed staying there. Plenty of space for the two families sharing a condo, and the kids (and adults) loved the pool and easy access to beach!

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Beautiful views, great pool and beach..Internet did not work and next door neighbors dog did not stop barking.. other than that it went well..

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