Tambor is set in the valley of a large and calm horseshoe bay: the Bahia Ballena which in English means whale bay. During dry season these giants of the seas used to come into the bay. Nowadays with the increased coastal activity whales don’t come any more into the bay of Tambor.
The valley of Tambor is cradled by lush forested hills which form part of the Biological corridor of the Nicoya Peninsula. The northern side of the bay borders the Curu Wildlife Reserve which protects various ecological habitats and a wealth of wildlife. It is fronted by the Islas Tortugas, a tropical island paradise which can be visited by boat from Tambor.
The beach of Tambor can be comfortably accessed with a car and almendro and palm trees provide shade. The volcanic history of the sand serves up a grey-colored beach which gently slopes into the bay. Low tide produces a broad expanse of fine sand which is perfect for playing beach volleyball or soccer.
Tambor is a perfect holiday destination for families with kids. The shallow waters are exceedingly calm offering excellent swimming for even the most timid of bathers.
Hotels in Tambor are often oceanside or within easy walking distance to the beach. The village is very small and has preserved a somnolent and laid-back atmosphere.
However, at the northern end of the bay, 6 km from Tambor village is a gated world of its own: with over 2,400 hotel rooms Hotel Playa Tambor was Costa Rica’s first all-inclusive tourist resort with a casino and gulf course.
Tambor also has the only airport on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. Several times per day there are 40-min flights to Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, or to other national destinations like Tamarindo and Liberia.
One km south of Tambor is a small fishermen community and a landing pier for boats. The bay of Tambor offers one of the few safe anchor places on the pacific side of Costa Rica.
Beach walks: From the pier at the southern end of Tambor you can hike around the tip of the bay. A trail alternates between the beach and a path behind the rocks. After 4 km you reach the Cocalitos Beach with the El Chorro waterfall tumbling down into the ocean. A large rocky pool provides luxurious bathing.
For a beach walk north of Tambor you must wait for low tide as you have to wade through the Panica river. You can also walk up the river and enjoy the beautiful scenery and bird life of a jungle river.
On a guided tour on horseback you can ride to viewpoints in the hills of Tambor from where you can look as far as to Montezuma. Other tours go to the upper Panica river to a gorgeous waterfall with a natural swimming pool.
You shouldn’t miss a tour to the Tortuga Islands. With its immaculate white sand beaches and tall arching coconut palms they look like all you have ever expected of a tropical island. The Tortuga Islands provide the best diving and snorkeling of the whole southern Nicoya Peninsula. Plunge into the turquoise clear water and admire swarms of colorful fish and the underwater fauna. You can also hike to a view point or just loll on the beach and drink fresh coconut water.
Fishing buffs enjoy world class sport fishing in Tambor. Professional operators take you to the best fishing sites in the Pacific ocean or in the Gulf of Nicoya. On a lower budget you can go on a fishing tour with a panga, a small traditional fishing boat.
For yachters the bay of Tambor offers safe anchorage, and at the restaurant near the pier you can fill up on water and gas. Tambor can be a relaxing pit stop for sailors who wish to escape the extravagance and hustle of the big marinas in Costa Rica.
Close to Tambor are two 9-hole golf courses: one is north of the village at the Los Delfines Resort, the other one south of Tambor at the Tango Mar Resort.
Lying in Ballena or Whale Bay, the laidback town of Tambor is located in the south of the Nicoya Peninsula in northern Puntarenas province. Roughly some 20 km south of Paquera and 38 km south of Naranjo, Tambor has a lovely, long, white, sandy beach, ideal for swimming and diving. Situated amidst lush green hills, this town is quite well developed and has its own airport, which is the only local airport in the southern region of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Chosen as the location for Temptation Island 2, a hit Fox TV series, Tambor is now becoming a fast growing tourist travel destination. There are plenty of hotels and resorts found in the area including the Barcelo Playa Tambor Beach Resort, Costa Rica’s first all inclusive resort, and the Los Delfines Golf and Country Club, which has a 9-hole golf course on its premises.
A major attraction of this town is that every year whales migrate from the north to the warm waters of Ballena Bay to mate and give birth amid the abundant marine habitat found here. Bordered by two rocky platforms to the north and south, Tambor beach is protected from ocean swells, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving.
To get here, it is best to fly into Tambor from San Jose Airport via a domestic flight. However, for those traveling on a strict budget, one can drive or take a bus to Puntarenas city and catch a ferry to Paquera. After that, you have to drive around 45 km to Tambor. This drive, though a little bumpy, is very nice as it offers travelers stunning costal views, and lush green sceneries.
Tambor is also a great place to use as a stop over if you wish to go to Tortuga Island, or if you wish to visit the beautiful and diverse Curu National Wildlife Refuge or Cabo Blanco National Park. With lots of foliage, bird watching is quite popular out here. While for the more active and adventurous, there is plenty of hiking, horseback riding and various water sports to be enjoyed in the area. Plus with some excellent deep sea fishing opportunities and golfing, there is a lot to do out here.
Tambor Costa Rica
The small fishing hamlet of Tambor sits not far from Curu National Wildlife Refuge. As a laid back, mixed-community of locals and foreign retirees, Tambor is nestled in an open volcanic valley, surrounded by forested hills. Its beach, Playa Tambor, is an exceptional location for swimming. The surf is calm, and the sea is a gleaming aquamarine.
Golf, tennis, and other activities are available in and around the town of Tambor, making this a favorite destination for those seeking developed tourism facilities within a quiet town. Day trips to nearby Cabo Blanco Reserve (Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco) or the Guayabo and Negritos Islands give visitors great opportunities to experience the Nicoya’s remarkable wildlife.
Located on the southern Nicoya Peninsula coast, Tambor encompasses much of the region natural beauty. An arch-shaped beach opens to the ever-calm Ballena Bay (Bahia Ballena). High bluffs surround the pristine beach and overlook its translucent, aquamarine water. The ocean is home to copious marine fauna. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving are popular activities among visitors eager to experience the underwater landscape.
Tambor offers a wide range of accommodations. Luxury resorts are certainly the trend. However, some budget lodging is also available. By way of luxury, one option includes an all-inclusive resort that features its own golf course.
Tambor holds the only airport in the southern Nicoya Peninsula, and domestic flights provide seamless access to this coastal hamlet. Otherwise, ferry transportation is available from Puntarenas to Paquera, 28 miles (45 km) away.
CAR RENTAL TAMBOR AIRPORT TAMBOR COSTA RICA