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Hotel Pasatiempo 3.0

Tamarindo, Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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  • Grown-up but laid-back atmosphere, plus low rates
  • Walking distance to Tamarindo's hub and wide beaches
  • Nice outdoor pool has cushioned lounge chairs
  • Daily made-to-order breakfast is included
  • Each room has a furnished patio; some sleep three people
  • Fun restaurant and bar often feature live music
  • Surfboards and excursions available
  • Free Wi-Fi


  • Some layouts feel cramped and/or lack natural light
  • Flooring differs and may show age
  • Light (and early) sleepers could be disturbed by live music in the bar
  • Wi-Fi might be unreliable further from the hub

Bottom Line

This budget-friendly hotel in Tamarindo has 22 rooms in two types: Standard and Deluxe. Tropical grounds include an outdoor pool, and guests are within walking distance of great beaches with consistent waves for surfing. Simple rooms have air-conditioning, small flat-screen TVs, pillow-top mattresses, and furnished patios (mini-fridges are available for an extra fee). The restaurant, Monkey La-La, is under a palapa roof and serves free breakfast before turning into a bar and restaurant with regular musicians that attract an outside crowd. Noise from the bar might disturb early sleepers, so this is not the best option little ones. Friendly staff can arrange affordable activities and shuttles to the airport, and there is free Wi-Fi.

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Somewhat akin to a hostel, Pasatiempo attracts the young, and young-at-heart.

With a row of parking spots along the road, the hotel does not reveal much from the initial approach. But when guests arrive, a breezeway leads to an indoor air-conditioned reception area -- the staff base -- with surfboards, books, and activities written on the blackboard, such as ATV trips and catamaran rides. Wooden and stone pathways meander around the outdoor pool and restaurant, with pretty grounds that contain a variety of palms and mango trees. Single-story buildings are painted bright yellow, and these house the rooms. Each one has a shaded patio with either two Adirondack chairs, or two lounge chairs and a hammock; some exteriors have hand-painted murals. 

A mix of ages come here including families, young couples, mature couples, and some who stay for weeks at a time. Though the layout is small and intimate here, it is easy to spread out; breakfast is the time when most everyone comes together before going separate ways. Guests may rent a surfboard and walk to the beach, or hit the pool with a bottle of beer. The hotel stays peaceful during the day, and in the evening, the setting becomes more lively and fun when locals and travelers come to have dinner and drinks, and check out live music. The bar does not stay open terribly late, but families with little ones may have a hard time getting to sleep in the rooms closest to the hub -- especially on Wednesdays during open-mic night. While Monkey La-La closes down at a respectful hour, late-night partiers can easily walk to a number of other bars in town. 


An enclosed garden setting, within walking distance of prime beaches for learning how to surf

Hotel Pasietempo is located in the growing coastal community of Tamarindo in northwest Nicoya Penisula, just over an hour's drive from Liberia International Airport. Roads in this part of the peninsula are paved versus other parts of the peninsula, so this is a good option for those who like a bit more modernity and convenience (and yes, more commercialism). Guests are within a 10-minute walk of the beach, as well as the town's main strip where there are several restaurants, bars, tourist shops, and yoga studios. 

Tamarindo is a surfing mecca with a number of surf schools and instructors based within a few miles from the hotel. Non-surfers need not worry, though, as there are plenty of other activities like snorkeling, diving, and ATV and wildlife tours. For less activity, hit the beach and swim, and get a glimpse of surfers doing their thing. 

Though parking is free, renting a car is not necessary, especially for those who want to save money. Area excursions come with transportation, and there is a shuttle service from Liberia International Airport for a reasonable rate. There is also a shuttle from San Jose International Airport but it will take longer -- about five hours -- and cost more money. 


Standard and deluxe rooms have walk-in showers and outdoor patios.

There are 22 reasonably-priced rooms -- basic but clean -- located in this small property surrounded by tropical gardens. They are simply decorated with white walls, white bedding, and orange accents. Some may have colorful hand-painted murals behind the beds or on the patio walls. All rooms have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, walk-in showers, and a range of flooring (some rooms have dingy floors that could use replacing). Mini-fridges are available for an extra charge. Each room features a small patio with Adirondack chairs, or loungers and a hammock. Patios are shaded -- add this to the fact that rooms do not have many windows, and guests should not expect much natural light. However, most guests tend to hit the outdoors during daylight hours anyways.

Deluxe rooms can sleep three people, with a Queen-sized bed and a Twin-sized bed in each. Standard rooms each have just one Queen-sized bed. All mattresses are orthopedic and have pillow-top mattresses. 


A nice outdoor pool for cooling off; free breakfast and free Wi-Fi

The attractive outdoor pool is rectangular in shape with a stone terrace that has blue cushioned wooden lounge chairs and a few palapas for shade. Some of these chairs might be reserved early before breakfast, though there is no need. The pool has enough space to spread out for the few who stay on property. The inland location -- hot and breezeless during the day -- means that most guests choose to hit the beach instead, a short walk away. There are surf boards in the reception area, and staff can arrange lessons from surf instructors. Guests are able to help themselves to books and magazines as well. 

The pool and restaurant are side-by-side, connected by a wooden deck. Monkey La-La is open everyday for all three meals, starting with free breakfast for those staying at the hotel. This is a continental-style presentation with fruit, yogurt, egg dishes made-to-order, pastries, coffee, and juice. For lunch and dinner, the restaurant receives locals, guests, and non-guests with a menu that includes burritos, pastas, salads, sandwiches, and some seafood items, like mussels and fish and chips. This large restaurant has several tables, as well as a row of bar stools and two large flat-screen TVs for sporting events. Jokes and clever signs are posted on the walls to create a fun bar vibe, and a few nights a week there are live musicians who play from a small stage (non-guests pay a small cover charge after 9pm). Every Wednesday is Open Mic Night. While the music might get too loud for early sleepers, the bar typically does not stay open past a respectful hour. 

Massages can be arranged from an outside masseuse who will set up a table next to the pool. Staff can arrange activities such as safari boat trips, snorkeling, fishing, and ATV rentals and tours, as well as whale-watching trips. Nicaraguan day trips are also available. 

Wi-Fi is free, though rooms closer to the hub may have better luck than others. 

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