As this photo shows, Tamarindo deserves its reputation as a surfing town. It is much more than a surfing town, however, as neither my wife nor I surf, yet we chose Tamarindo for our Costa Rica condos.
I have heard some observers comment that if investors want to get in on the ground floor and buy inexpensive land that years in the future may be able to be developed into resort property, look at the funky beach towns where surfers hang out. The surfers seem to discover ideal spots that are cheap because they lack resort amenities and infrastructure. Slowly, the surfing spots may attract a broader cross section of visitors, and as more upscale accommodations and infrastructure are developed, the land may be worth many times its original value. But, of course, the area may stay relatively undeveloped and the speculation may be too risky.
Up until the recent world-wide recession, I heard some people say that Nicaragua may be the next Costa Rica because it has unspoiled Pacific beach property, but most people find Nicaragua far too risky an investment compared to Costa Rica. The country lacks the infrastructure so attract and support many tourists, and the political reputation of Nicaragua lacks the stability and democratic traditions of Costa Rica that help make foreign investors comfortable.
Tamarindo has been discovered by the broader tourist and resort market, as reflected in the photos of some of the resorts I have shown on this website. The "get-in-on-the-ground-floor," speculative investment opportunities were gone 5 or so years ago. Nevertheless, the surfing culture and surfing opportunities remain an important part of the community.