Ever sit down to some typical food in Tamarindo, Costa Rica? Well, if so, chances are it was a casado. But did you ever stop to wonder just why the there’s a piece of meat with the rice and beans, salad and other accruements? After all, who could have thought to put together beef, chicken, fish, or pork with some rice, beans, and a salad, generally made with cabbage? Consequently, in its simplest form—before adding optional cheese, plantains or even French fries—the Casado is a well-balanced mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates and vegetables.
In Costa Rica, we eat this meal so much that we take its origin for granted, assuming that it’s always been served like this.
Yet, there is indeed a tale to be told about this typical dish. The word Casado means married man. So one could look at this delicious plate of food and think, “Hmm, all these various components are married to each other.”
Yet, the story behind the Casado is a little deeper than that. Looking back on Costa Rica’s history in the last century, men worked in the fields, banana plantations, or as cowboys and fisherman. Those who were married would show up for the job with a full complement of food, while the single men’s lunches were skimpier.
In the ‘60s, those who were employed in the capital of San Jose would stop for lunch at sodas (small Costa Rican restaurants) and ask for a big plate of food, such as that they would get at home.
Both these concepts took off, and now you’d be hard-pressed to find any town in Costa Rica that does not have at least one restaurant serving a Casado.
So, having been working in a hotel in Tamarindo for some time now, I have often found myself trying to figure out just why many great hotels receive only mediocre reviews, while small dinky hotels seems to get outstanding ratings. I find that the phenomenon can be attributed to the major difference between a great hotel and great hospitality. To me, a great hotel means that the cement, steel, and paint installations are tastefully assembled into a great physical location. While this is a wonderful, and quite expensive, installation, it serves absolutely no purpose unless you staff it with passionate, and friendly individuals. This is great hospitality! Beautiful hotels are actually not too difficult to find in today’s booming travel market, however, truly spectacular hospitality is rare.
For example, here in Tamarindo we have several large hotels that actually have a lot of great characteristics, coupled with stunning buildings, and just steps away from the surf in Tamarindo, however the actual the hotels’ service levels are outright terrible. If you go onto trip advisor and read their reviews, you can find some truly horrific stories about managerial negligence and employees who simply are not passionate about what they do. Quite obviously, if you were to walk into a hotel bar and ask for a Margarita, then pay and not have your change offered to you, you are experiencing some terrible hospitality. This experience will most certainly change your opinion and your overall feeling in the hotel. Now, the hotel might be beautifully laid out, with exquisite architecture, but what does it all mean if you cannot get over the terrible service?
Contrary to the previous example there are a couple of small and simple hotels in Tamarindo, which have much less of a beautiful campus, but boast a spectacular level of hospitality. A level of hospitality in which each team-member do their absolute best to try and make a guest’s stay unbelievable. This is the difference between a mediocre guest experience and a life-long friendship. The hospitality is actually a factor of managerial philosophy. You see, many hotels do not have a passionate leader in place and focus all too often on the bottom line. In doing so, they overlook the most important asset of any business: its employees. Without a doubt, a hotel with a properly motivated team will always provide a higher quality experience for guests than a hotel with “meat-grinder” human resources strategy in which employees are contracted and liquidated every three months just in order to reinforce the busy season.
So, where does this take us? Well, some of the best operations are ones that establish a clean goal of offering a great guest experience, with equal compromise from the owners down to the housekeeper. When making a decision as to where to stay in Tamarindo, remember to always try and gauge whether you are looking for a great hotel or simply great hospitality.
Free Beach Equipment At the Best Western Tamarindo Hotel Vista Villas
I would like to share with you a story about how our free beach equipment program was born in our little Tamarindo hotel. It was february. A time for the dreadded Best Western annual sales seminar – a week filled of horror stories shared between hotel sales managers and their former bosses, now known as lecturers. The most notorious of which was a tall, bald headed french man with a rather peculiar accent formed by having been raised on tacos, croissants, and bagels. Although his knowledge of the material to be presented was unbelievably robust, his attitude was always one of apathy. It was obvious he had not been to the beach since the Reagan administration and was simply biding his time waiting for a desk job in the Best Western corporate headquarters. I’m pretty sure that if I ever ended up like that fellow I would hope someone would put me out of my misery and hit me over the head with a surfboard. In Tamarindo, Costa Rica you wont find too many of the suit and tie every day profile.
Anyways, the lecture began with an introduction in this man’s frenchamerimex accent. Culminating with a few words that would forever change the face of this hotel in Tamarindo.
“Zee blu waateer strataugy” roughly translated as “the blue water strategy”. He exclaimed this it is a strategy in which business chooses a strategy to set itself apart from other competitors. The reason they call it the blue water strategy is to liken businesses to sailboats in a race. Of course the winning sailboat always has open blue water ahead of it, hence the name. Its not a bad metaphor and most certainly has its merits, however, the problem about listening to 8 hours of ocean metaphors is that a someone with sand in their blood tends to start day-dreaming.
Surfing a small roller, diving into the sea while snorkeling with thousands of little fish darting around me, paddle boarding around in the blue waters. Ohhh, those warm, pacific, rolling waves, hot white sand and palm trees. Hey! I think I need to buy some sunscreen tomorrow. I’m actually a little hungry, how great would a fresh ceviche……
“Tamarindo Vista Villas, are you here with us?” Screeched Mr. Shiny head, his breath smelling like a tarragon smoked salmon, wrapped in a tortilla.
“Huh? What? Yea, yea I’m here. You just had me thinking about the beach. How I really wanna go to the beach right now. I mean, don’t you?”
Mr. Potato Head looked disgusted.
“C’mon, I bet every single person here would rather be at the beach right now. I mean, that’s what we live for, right? Those unforgettable days playing around in the sand? Maybe snorkeling around aimlessly, or walking for hours in the warm sand.”
At this point, I could see sparkles in the eyes of everyone at the conference, well with the exception of Mr. Carnitas’ droopy gumdrop ocular cavities.
Inspired by the crowds reaction the idea hit me like a salty white water breaker, “I want to share this beach with everyone. What if we gave away free beach equipment like surfboards, boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, ice chests, beach towels, kayaks, volleyballs, frisbees, and footballs to our guests. What if every person who came could enjoy the beach to its most excellent potential?”
The epiphany now rising like a high tide, filling the cracks and crevasses of mangroves, filling estuaries, covering the reef breaks, producing hollow barrels. An unstoppable force of nature that overcomes anything in its path!
The crowd cheered, laptops were thrown into the air, one hotel manager bit right through his pencil in a bout of joy.
The ground shaking, impacting, insightful, well balanced, it was perfect.
Of course, having seen it all, Mr. “wine, cheese, and sopá” took a deep breath dismissing the celebration as an overreaction of the frivolous managers not ever having been exposed to real world of the central office, “veeerrry waaal. Okeeee.”
“Whuuu can telllla maaee, enowa strataugy?”
What? Is he not here? Did he not just witness the madness? The emotion? The excitement? Or did he worry that we were running behind schedule? Anyways, it didn’t matter… I get to go home to the beach in 12 hours and get the free beach equipment program off the ground! Here is a list of the free equipment.
Just a quick note about a competition we are hosting. At breakfast one morning, while sipping a cup of delicious Costa Rican Coffee overlooking the beautiful waters of Tamarindo Bay, a pair of our guests began to speak about paradise. Well, of course we know a little about this, with our warm waters, genuine people, white sand, and the best darn coffee in the world, but we figured we would like to know what other people consider paradise. So, the “Paradise Is” competition was born!
We want to know what people around the world consider paradise, and we aren’t just talking about beaches… We really want to delve deep into the mindset of the world. Feelings, emotions, activities, everything! We want to know about the greatest and the finest pleasures. The winning quote should inspire the rest of the world to take a vacation to find their own paradise.
Please feel free to check out our facebook post below in order to participate. Cheers and thank you!
Tell us what your paradise is in the comments and win a free all-inclusive weekend!Diganos que seria su paraiso y gana un fin de semana todo incluido gratis!
The selection of Tamarindo restaurants is astounding. As a matter of fact, there are about 40 of ‘em, making it one of the most gastronomically diverse coastal towns in Costa Rica! Within walking distance of Best Western Tamarindo Hotel Vista Villas you will find Italian, sushi, Asian, Fusion, Argentine, American, French, Chinese, seafood, pizza, BBQ, just too many different types to name. Sampling any of these will certainly add enjoyment to your Costa Rica vacation.
However, one of the most frequent questions a visitor who travels to Tamarindo will ask is: “Where can I get a good Costa Rican meal?”
To answer that question, it’s important first to understand just what kind of food might make up a Costa Rican meal. Let’s start with the fact that nearly every breakfast you eat, is typical in and of itself, because of that rice and beans mixture call Gallo Pinto that comes with every morning egg plate. The addition of a little white cheese or sweet plantains is authentically Tico as well.
As to a full typical meal, you are probably going to want to eat a casado, which is the primary dish in this country. Literally, the word means “married” which explains the complementary mix of foods that go together here on one plate: rice, beans, salad (usually made with cabbage instead of lettuce), and an entrée of either chicken, fish, beef, pork or some other type of meat. Some Costa Ricans prepare the casado with the addition of a fried egg, and some plantains, but that is a delicious added bonus.
Not to be unexpected, but out of all the Tamarindo restaurants, the one with the best casado is actually in the nearby local town of Villareal. Go out of Tamarindo and when you get to the end of the main road go right, then make the third left turn just after the soccer field. Then the first right. You will see Las Palmas soda on your left. What is a soda? Just a Costa Rican restaurant, usually a small rustic, family own spot serving up meals of a local flavor.
At Las Palmas, you get a choice of your salad—including potato, veggie and the typical cabbage. Aside your rice and beans enjoy any of the daily entrees: my favorite is pork with potatoes, but I can be happy with fried fish or bbq chicken. Compliments include fried yucca or sweet plantains. All for around $5 or 6 bucks with your drink.
In Tamarindo itself, you won’t be disappointed with the amazing casado served up at Buen Comer, located just across the street from Witch’s Rock Surf camp. The owners guard their secret recipe of spices that are added to their meat (which includes a delightful option of chicharrones, or deep fried pork). For about $5, you get the casado (with egg, tortilla chips and plantains) and a fruit drink.
Down in the Tamarindo circle is one of the oldest family restaurants in town called Fiesta Del Mar. Founded in the ‘70s, this was one of the first Tamarindo Restaurants, and is open 24-hours a day. $6 gets you their typical casado, tasty and served either inside the place or sit on the stools or tables outside and watch the life of the town go by.
Of course, many other Tamarindo restaurants will include a casado on their menu as well as fare more familiar to those who travel to Costa Rica from other countries. As a matter of fact, here at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas, you can order a casado if you opt out of a Panini, salad, pizza, or wrap. Of course, we do our nachos up with Costa Rican flair—only at Crazy Monkey will you be served nachos with traditional banana chips!
Now, if you are looking for a little bit more of a fine dining experience you can always head to Pangas Beach Club, which is just down the street from the Tamarindo Vista Villas. The beautiful restaurant has a ocean-front setting and a great selection of seafood. The hostess, Elizabeth will always be there with a smile to greet you.
For a quick bite to eat, you can always try El Chilito which has burritos reminiscent of a costa rican “Chipotle” restaurant. Also, at the end of the evening, try tasting one of Nogui’s famous pies!
Yet another Great Deal From The BEST WESTERN Hotel Tamarindo Vista Villas:
A Great Mixed European Plan and All-Inclusive Hotel in Tamarindo
So, what are you planning on doing this spring? Well, just in case you had the itch to soak up some tropical sunshine, we have a great new deal for you! Come try our new all inclusive hotel in Tamarindo, Costa Rica and we will offer your second guest 40% off! That’s, like, a ton of money! I mean, who offers 40% off anymore? Maybe you might see a 10% off or even 25% off, but you generally only see these types of offers from the likes of GroupOn.
The stay dates have to be between April 15th and June 15th, but don’t worry, this isn’t hurricane season, so you don’t have to worry about being trapped inside your hotel all day due to the rain. In fact, this is a really great time of the year for surfing and for eco-tourism, because there are generally great waves and the little 1-hour afternoon rainstorms bring all the hills to life!
Ok, so our all-inclusive is a new offering for our resort and we are the only the second hotel in Tamarindo to offer this, so what better time to come try out the new program? We also offer free use of beach equipment like surfboards and snorkeling, so you don’t have to waste a whole lot of money on doing things. Just think, you can go out and kayak around the Tamarindo Beach and then spend the afternoon sipping piña coladas and margaritas poolside!
Now, some might ask should I go all-inclusive or no? Well that answer really is up to whether or not you like the hassle-free travelling method of all-inclusive hotels, or whether you like going out and trying new restaurants. To be honest, we feel like there are about equal amounts of both types of travelers, so don’t feel left out choosing either type of program.
The nice part about a mixed hotel program is that you will fit in with either crowd and both bring their own benefits! I mean, people might travel to an all-inclusive resort and will literally never leave the hotel! I mean, that is really nice, but every once and a while you might want to go out to eat a meal at one of the many restaurants in Tamarindo, so the guests who are not on the all-inclusive program might very well have a great suggestion.
Well, we hope to see you soon, and don’t forget to get some more information about surfing in Tamarindo here!
Did you know that the Tamarindo Lifeguard program is one only a few programs within Costa Rica. In fact, there are only three official programs in the country with certified professionals! This is an especially important fact to visitors to the area. With the beach located just across the street from the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas, it’s not surprising that a lot of our guests will spend a couple of days away from our enticing pool, and park on the sand and seashore. And of course, Tamarindo is a surf destination, so there’s always people paddling out for a session.
While Tamarindo bay is the most gentle ocean spot in Guanacaste, it is just exactly that fact that draws so many people here. Small, moderate waves are perfect for the surf lessons that are taught everyday in the water on the main beach. And, also, sometimes, there will be a swell and not only will there be larger waves, but a lot more people trying to ride them. Even the best swimmer can sometimes find themselves with a caught in an unexpected riptide, or experiencing a debilitating cramp. Surfers might have a rough wipeout. It’s a good idea to have lifeguards to rescue you should you find yourself in that situation.
There are 2 full-time and 1 volunteer lifeguards working from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. They have been trained by Captain Luis Hidalgo, who has worked the beaches of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. He is certified with International Life Saving, where he is Director Costa Rica; Asociacion Nacional de Guardavidas de Costa Rica; and Intructores en Centuo, which has been in the Americas and Costa Rica for 16 years. The lifeguards themselves received certificates from the Asociacion Nacional Guardavidas, International Life Savings, and the ILS International Lifesaving Federation. They have rescue medical training included CPR and the use of the tower’s automated external defibrillator (AED).
With the Tamarindo lifeguard watching from their tower on the main beach, there is an added measure of security for all those who swim or surf. Leave your worries behind and enjoy your Costa Rica vacation.
So, as we were sipping some cold margaritas while watching the sunset, a few of us here at the BEST WESTERN Hotel Tamarindo Vista Villas, came to talking about what we could do to make our little piece of heaven an even better place to play… Well, we’ve come up with something really great for you: the second all inclusive hotel in Tamarindo Beach.
Now that’s what we’re talking about! Fresh ceviche, cold piña coladas, mouth watering seafood and coconut rice – what more could you ask for?
Ok, so we know you want to just throw your surfboard in the air in celebration, but try to hang with us just a little bit longer. The option will be offered through the Crazy Monkey Bar and Restaurant on the property and you can choose from anything on the menu. In case you didn’t notice, you can click the words “the menu” before to check it out. Our guests will be able to select either alcoholic or non-alcoholic options, so you don’t have to pay for something you won’t need! The all inclusive option also works for our Friday night ladies night salsa party.
The great part is that we will be the only all inclusive hotel in Tamarindo that offers an all inclusive service “a la carte,” so you don’t have to stand in line for one of those corny and low quality buffets. The healthy menu will have you leaving your vacation energized and motivated, not bloated and tired! This concept will truly set our service apart! In fact, we will be the only BEST WESTERN hotel in the world that offers a mixed All inclusive Hotel with a European style resort. Now, if you add this to our “Land of the Free” adventure concept, where everything from surfboard rentals to ice coolers are free for our guests, you might never want to leave!
Whether you head for that duck dive or do a hang ten while smiling for that perfect profile shot or simply long to popup on your surfboard for the first-time ever, there something waiting at the Tamarindo Vista Villas Tamarindo Surf School to satiate your thirst for the perfect wave, the perfect cutback or the best fade. Nestled in the hills of Costa Rican charm lies one of the best surfing destination of the world. A “surfing Mecca” to many avid surfers, Tamarindo boasts a widely diversified surfing experience—from beginners to experts—as well as a rejuvenating vacation rolled into one. Right at the hotel, Eric Atkinson of Salty Sols has one of the best Tamarindo Surf Camp and surf schools. You can choose to surf in the morning, do yoga in the afternoon, take a canopy zipline tour and partake in a bustling nightlife, whatever the mind can conceive, this place is sure to give. There is, indeed, something special about the Tamarindo Vista Villas Surf Camp and Surf School right here in one of the most sought after surfing vacation destinations in the world. To get to know about this, here are some of the top reasons why.
Amazing Surf in Tamarindo
Imagine waking up to a glorious sunrise, gentle sea breeze and a panoramic vista of the Pacific Ocean right from the balcony of your Tamarindo Vista Villas room or suite. Check out the surf and make your way down to the water or head out to any one of the nearby breaks. For beginners, Tamarindo is the perfect place to learn to surf, as the enclosed bay which means gentle waves and plenty of whitewater to have your first session with Eric from Salty Sols. In addition, Tamarindo is fortunate to be located close by at least four spectacular surf breaks for the intermediate or advanced surfer to explore: Langosta, Grande, Avellanas and Negra. Our expert at Salty Sols can offer you transportation to any of these. Back at Tamarindo Vista Villas, after a day of adrenalin pumping surfing, catch one of our famous sunsets on your patio, and wait out the moon which reflects off the water. Think about the swell coming the next day, and getting back in the ocean, where you’ll rip and snap in one of the most popular sports in the world.
Professional Surf Instructors
What makes Salty Sols and its primary surf instructor Eric Atkinson your best choice for an instructor or guide? “I want people to have an experience, not just a surf lesson, where it’s not simply 1,2,3 popup,” explains Eric. “I want the experience to be highly awesome and personalized, to impart the stoke of surfing, so my students will continue doing it. I want my clients to feel that they made a friend with Salty Sols Surf School.” Lessons begin on the sand, where you will learn surfing theory, water safety and other tips to make your ocean experience fun and additive. Eric himself grew up in landlocked Missouri, so he can definitely relate to first-time surfers, or those that don’t get to surf as often as they’d like. He learned his craft in Hawaii, where his roommates—Oceanographers—conveyed a knowledge of the sea that Eric continues to pass onto his students today. His passion for surfing is compounded from his background in baseball, and an inherent knowledge that one day he’d end up being a coach. His own great coaches, both in baseball and surfing, inspired a lot of the tips that his clients learn today. His primary advice: Have fun and relax in the water and put aside all your stress and you’ll ride, ride, ride.
Tamarindo Surf Camp Safety
Salty Sols, Eric and its surf instructors guarantee that this Tamarindo surf camp and surf school practices safety at its best. No one is going to send you off and simply yell “paddle” or “pop up.” Instructors make sure that you get enough know-how on how to handle yourself and your board while finding an area where the best tides are located. With at most three surfer enthusiasts per instructor, the Tamarindo Vista Villas surfing experience redefines personalized attention. Here are the 6 primary water safety rules that Eric teaches: 1) Never put the board between you and the ocean waves 2) Give everyone space in the water 3) Always cover your head when coming up from underwater 4) Learn the different tides, currents, swells and riptides at different peaks 5) In the beginning, when you surf, make sure there are other people around and 6) Always have fun.
Finding us on the Internet
You can find us on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and most major social media sites where we have some very cool content. Just type in “Tamarindo Vista Villas hotel”. Watch out for misspellings while doing Google searches, you will never get the best results with a missing letter or a bound together word set. Common misspellings include Cost Rica, Coast Rica, Coasta Rica, tamarind hotel and more. But you will still be able to find us for these terms considering they are in this page.
Indeed, when it comes to a Tamarindo surf camp experience, enjoying the wonder-rific view of the ocean has never been this exciting and fulfilling smack right at the hilltop oasis of Tamarindo Vista Villas.
Good Luck and we look forward to seeing you at our beautiful Tamarindo hotel.