Here is the first photo from my son's gyrocoptor aerial tour of Tamrindo. This shows the mouth of the Tamarindo Estuary, with the beach of Playa Grande running to the left and the estuary snaking behind it on the right.
Playa Grande and the Tamarindo Estuary are part of the Las Baulas National Marine Park. The beach at Playa Grande is the primary nesting site for the endangered Pacific leatherback tortoises. They swim to Tamarindo from the Galapagos Islands to lay their eggs.
If you enlarge the photo and look closely, you may be able to detect that there are some homes and small hotels nestled within the trees near Playa Grande. That is the site of a major environmental controversy over the boarders of the park and whether private property near the beach should be purchased by the government to protect the beach (and, of course, at what price should the land be purchased).
As I have mentioned before, Costa Rica prides itself on having a larger percentage of its land set aside for national parks and wildlife refuges than any other country -- 25%. The country has many needs for government expenditures, including roads and other infrastructure. Spending tax money to buy expensive beachfront land, primarily from foreigners, is difficult. On the other hand, some international environmental groups have put pressure on the government to proceed with expropriating land, otherwise they have threatened to withhold funds from conservation initiatives underway or planned.
Landowners have challenged the government's right to take their land, but my understanding is that earlier this year the court has ruled that the government has the authority to do so. This is a difficult issue and the position of both sides undoubtedly has merit.
As you can see from this photo, Playa Grande and Tamarindo Estuary are a beautiful area. With all of the growth and development in recent years in Tamarindo, which you will see in some fo the upcoming aerial photos, I think it is worthwhile to have areas set aside for wildlife and conservation close to Tamarindo. And the pristine area shown in today's photo is indeed close. The town and beach of Tamarindo are right below the spot from which this photo was taken, as the mouth of the estuary is a very popular place for surfers.