Tennis Destination – Costa Rica For The Holidays

Costa-Rica-15-Love-CourtsI just got back from a New Year’s getaway to Costa Rica and, of course, have to give a tennis report.  Even though I myself did not play any tennis there, I did look into where YOU could play if you happened to take your own Costa Rican holiday.

To get to Costa Rica, my family flew into Liberia in the Guanacaste Province, rented a car, and then drove to the house we stayed at in Tamarindo on the Pacific (west) ocean side of the country.  I am warning you in advance – the only cars available when we rented were stick shifts (OK for us, not for others) and there were no SUVs and no four wheel drive vehicles.  While we were there at the busiest time of the year, I had the impression that this situation was more common than not.  And just FYI – when the car rental guy tells you that you don’t need four wheel drive in the Tamarindo area, he is “misinforming” you.  To put it mildly.  Because there are A LOT of unpaved roads in the Guanacaste area and certainly a lot in Tamarindo.  And also FYI – unpaved = gravel and/or dirt and/or deep crevasses or huge bumps in the road.  Sorry about that wheel alignment that no longer exists on our Toyota Corolla, Alamo Rent-a-Car.

Back to the holiday and the tennis.  We rented a house in Tamarindo which had a pool and an incredible view of Playa Tamarindo.  Here’s a photo of the beach taken from our front porch:


Playa Tamarindo is the most touristy beach in the area but was right where we were staying, within walking distance.  It is a great place to learn to surf, which is a major reason people go to Costa Rica.  My family has done the surfing thing in Hawaii and wasn’t too interested in going for it again.  We were all much more interested in being beach slugs so no surfing for us.

While I liked Playa Tamarindo, I loved Playa Avellanas where we spent a day.  Here’s a photo of the view I enjoyed for several hours:


This beach was much less crowded and way more laid back. No thumping music put out by cell phone company sponsored DJs or young people getting black-out drunk at 2:00 in the afternoon (that’s more of a Tamarindo thing).

So where’s the tennis connection? Well, if you look at the very first photo, above and to the left, that was taken at the 15 Love Bed and Breakfast in Tamarindo which, weirdly enough, was located just down the hill from our house. Literally, a three minute walk away. Tennis karma, right? I went in for a visit and can tell you that, if I ever return to Tamarindo, this will be the place I stay. Two tennis courts, with lighting, and plenty of people who obviously love to play. I watched a few minutes of a doubles match that looked like a mother and a father vs. a tennis pro and a 10 year-old kid. And the kid was incredible! Poaching like crazy. Maybe everyone was trying to make him feel good and setting him up but it sure didn’t look that way to me.

Besides the two tennis courts, there was a beautiful pool that was the incredibly peaceful looking. Here’s a shot of that:


So yes, there is tennis in Costa Rica. And pretty tennis at that.

My final photo for you – an iguana out on the beach at Playa Conchal:


If you don’t like iguanas then you probably won’t like Costa Rica. Because we saw plenty of them, including one that popped out of the hedges at our house and elicited a scream from me. Which my kids found hilarious.

I hope your holidays were just as fun – scream or no scream. If you were able to travel somewhere cool and play tennis, let me know. I’d love to hear about your tennis destinations!

© Kim Selzman 2013 All Rights Reserved


  1. says

    Thanks for sharing your take on Costa Rica.

    You’ll also find plenty of tennis at the larger resorts and hotels, as well as at private clubs in the Central Valley, where about 70% of Costa Ricans live. Guanacaste is more of a rural area, so not much call for tennis courts from the locals. And by the way, Tamarindo can be more than a party town. The long term expats treat it more like a small town and ignore the crowds – and it works.

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