All About Living In Tambor, Costa Rica’s Tranquility Hub

Looking for beautiful beaches, soft sand, peace and tranquillity? We have found just the place for you.

The small village of Tambor is still a bit of a hidden gem for expats in Costa Rica. Out on the Nicoya Peninsula, between Paquera, where the ferry landing is, and Montezuma, farther down the peninsula, it offers the best of both worlds for expats. 

With a gated community, luxury villa beachfront properties, and quiet farm and private lots, Tambor is perfect if you are searching for Costa Rica’s pristine nature and beach vibes. 

If you are considering living in the Nicoya Peninsula and Tambor is on your list of destinations, let us take a closer look at what it is truly like to live here. 

Why is Tambor so special?

The small fishing village on Bahía Ballena (Whale Bay), which opens to the Pacific Ocean, is a place of paradise. 

Tambor is well known for its sights and sounds of the radiant Scarlet macaws soaring throughout the town. Their distinguishable squawks can be heard as they are seen above and spotted within their favorite almond trees. 

Home to Tambor Bay Turtles, Playa Tambor is a destination for saving sea turtles. With a protected nursery and night patrols, many expats volunteer their time helping or joining in on baby turtle releases.

The most amazing beaches in the country are at your doorstep here. One of Tambor’s best beaches, Playa Tambor has been distinguished by the national Bandera Azul Ecologica program for its cleanliness and high eco standards. It’s a lovely 6km stretch of smooth, dark sand, ideal for swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding.

If you love wildlife, this is the place for you. The thick jungle around is home to diverse species. The best place to watch and enjoy the diversity is the Curu National Wildlife Refuge. It is just a short drive up the peninsula, about 25 minutes away. 

The hiking and horseback riding paths allow you to enjoy unprecedented views. 

You can go up to the hills of Tambor, where the views open up as far as Montezuma. Walking paths along the upper Panic River will take you to an amazing waterfall.

And, of course, you can always enjoy a day out on Isla Tortuga, which is just a short boat ride away. Pack a picnic and your beach gear, and relish the island’s white sand and clear turquoise waters. Or take a more active approach and go snorkeling and scuba diving.

Is Tambor a good place to live?

Tambor can be a perfect destination for anyone looking for a relaxed lifestyle, from digital nomads to families or those revelling in their retirement days. It can become whatever you want it to be. 

In Tambor itself, you can find shops, restaurants, a taxi service, a car rental agency, a golf course, a medical center, a ranch and beach hotels.

Tambor’s residents often travel to Cobano, just 20 minutes away, as it has banks, drugstores, medical services, supermarkets, a small hospital, and a gas station just outside town.

Families with school-age children choose Tambor because of the proximity to  Futuro Verde, a bilingual international school in the neighboring town. It’s a progressive school where students are encouraged to use critical thinking and develop reflective learning skills. 

Healthcare in Tambor

There’s a small health center in the village, plus two walk-in medical clinics in Cobano and Paquera, both a 20-min drive away.

There are also dentists and pharmacies in Cobano and Paquera. The local pharmacists can provide you with most of your prescription needs. If something is unavailable, they will order it from San Jose.

A major hospital in Puntarenas is 40 km away using a ferry. Another big hospital is in Nicoya, a 2-hour drive up the peninsula.

Public healthcare in Costa Rica is generally satisfactory. However, expats mostly prefer to be privately insured, giving them access to the most modern hospitals and equipment and English-speaking doctors and nurses. You can find more information in the healthcare section of our Living In Costa Rica guide.

International health insurance is a popular option but can be pretty expensive. To ensure you get the best value for money, compare international health insurance options from various providers to find the best deal. 

Is Tambor well-connected? 

The closest international airport Liberia (LIR), is about three hours away. San Jose Airport (SJO) is about five hours away. The fastest way to drive from San Jose to Tambor is to take the Puntarenas-Paquera Ferry. 

SANSA, Costa Rica’s domestic airline, is just outside Tambor, less than 5 minutes. And if you live in the Los Delfines community, it is your neighbor. Flights are reasonably priced, and you can find yourself in the Central Valley in only half an hour. 

Where to Live in Tambor?

Los Delfines Golf & Country Club 

If living within a gated community is something that you are considering, then Los Delfines may be just what you are looking for. The 24/7 security is one of the top reasons that so many choose Los Delfines.

This beachfront community is so large you won’t even realize that you are within a protected property. It already extends well over 100 acres. 

However, it is not what one would envision when images conjure up of living within a secure zone with its resort lifestyle. Aquafit, Zumba classes, tennis courts, golf courses and country club – anything you need is here. It has an ATM on site, a small supermarket, a restaurant and a rancho, and it’s nestled right on the beach.

With the development of the Los Delfines community, you can live out your days comfortably. Modern homes, from townhouse style to luxury, are being built fast and furious and bought up even quicker. But this lifestyle comes with a price tag, especially the turnkey properties.

Tango Mar Area

Tango Mar is another highly sought-after area in the Tambor area of its stunning jungle homes along the palm tree-lined shores. 

The pristine beach hosts the famous Tango Mar resort and secluded utopia. It is a luxurious and private area to escape into the wilds of the Nicoya Peninsula. White-faced capuchin monkeys, tropical birds, and only the echoes of nature engulf you. 

How much does it cost to live in Tambor?

The cost of living in Tambor can significantly differ depending on whether you seek luxury or simplicity.  

Private modest properties in the foothills of the area just a few kilometres from the beach can start at $100,000 to roughly $200,000. At the same time, paradise villas and turnkey properties can average between $350,000 and $550,000.

Beachfront rentals have price tags of $2,000 to $3,500 a month. More basic rentals can be found at $500 and up throughout the area for those coming to cut the frills out of life. 

Is Tambor a safe place to live?

Tambor is a very safe place. The expats that have come to live in and around Tambor have grown to make it a safe, welcoming, and supportive community.

Everyone seems to recognize one another, greeting each other along the way. It is a sleepy village away from all the nonsense and rush of the world. 

Local social media groups help support one another. There are weekly get-togethers in the village, where people meet to chat and make friends. Only 20 minutes away is the local police delegation, which includes Tambor on their regular patrols. 

What are the advantages of living in Tambor?

The best part of living in Tambor is that you are so close to the sea. The horseshoe-shaped bay with its sandy shores creates a unique way of life, from healing morning walks along the water to endless water activities that the gentle waves of the bay allow.

Fresh seafood is right at your fingertips. The fishing village has two pescaderias, one right at the fishing pier and another on the outskirts of town. There is an endless supply of seafood right at your doorstep. 

Every Saturday morning a colorful organic market sets up at the fishing pier. You can pick up fresh fruits, vegetables, sweet treats and bread. 

A life in Tambor is a life within the natural beauty of Costa Rica. Lush trees surround you: swaying tall palms, coconut and papaya trees, and plantain trees right in your backyard. It is what one dreams of Costa Rica to be. There is a sense of freedom and peace that living in Tambor brings.

What are the negatives of living in Tambor?

Public transportation is limited. Life can be a bit more complicated in and around Tambor without a vehicle, as it is not an urban center. 

Relying on getting taxis to come out to get you can add up. Transportes Cobano, the local bus system, does pass through town but expect travelling anywhere to take at least half of your day. You will get to know the term “tico time” in the true sense of the phrase.

The rainy season can be overwhelming to some.  Rain! Rain! And more rain! Beginning in September, you will start to find the weather transitions with cloudier afternoons, and by mid-October, the drizzles can become downpours. 

Getting used to the rains takes some time if you aren’t accustomed to the astonishing amounts unleashed from the skies. Even in the rainy season, mornings can mostly be dry, giving you a chance to get outside and enjoy the glory of the outdoors.

Humidity and heat can be challenging to adjust to at first. The peninsula doesn’t come with the cool nights and breezes you get living in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. You might want to invest in air conditioning to make it more bearable.

The distance to urban centers can be a problem. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you can’t get there. The Naviera Tambor ferry takes you quickly across the Gulf of Nicoya to reach the capital of San Jose for all your commercial needs. 

Tambor’s family-run business, Santa Teresa Vacations, also provides private shuttle and transportation services. It can take you to Liberia for your shopping and the Liberia International Airport, so you don’t have to make the 3-hour journey yourself. You can also enjoy Walmart, Price Smart, GNC, and even all those fast foods you might be craving on your monthly trips to stock up. 

Power and water shortages sometimes roll through, usually lasting an hour or two.

Final thoughts on living in Tambor

Tambor is a paradise that many still hope to keep to themselves to preserve its splendor and beauty. It has avoided the surge of tourists that can often demolish the peace of Costa Rica’s beach towns. 

If you are looking for peace and tranquillity, Tambor should be on your list of destinations to relocate to in Costa Rica.

With the sounds of the howler monkeys and Scarlet macaws, baby turtles making their journey out into the waters, while coconut trees line the shores, Tambor is the ultimate paradise. It is the perfect expat destination for those who can adapt to the Pura Vida way of life that Costa Rica proudly offers.

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