7 cafés to experience the Pura Vida lifestyle in Costa Rica 🏝☕️ 🗺
*click to skip to the café you want to visit*
1. Santa Rita Café ☀️
Located in the Complejo Sunrise Plaza Tamarindo, this spot is upstairs of a souvenir shop, hidden behind the palm trees. This café is most memorable for its pastel murals capturing the colorful Costa Rican "Pura Vida" vibe. There is spacious indoor seating and the cutest outdoor terrace, perfect for large groups to stay awhile and chat. The staff was welcoming and warm and the coffee was nutty and sweet. I ordered a green smoothie bowl with fresh tropical fruits, shaved coconut and a warm latte. It was my last coffee crawl of my trip 🥲 and one of my favorites. Goodbyes are bitter sweet, but I will definitely be back, here in particular.
Waffle Monkey is perfectly located right off of Tamarindo beach, which is lively and full of surfers. We ordered waffles topped with fresh bananas and drizzled with honey, with an iced latte. The views are magical! If you're in need of an ice cold refreshment after your swim or surf, this is the spot. Hats off to the Waffle Monkey branding, this fun café has that "cool" factor, so I couldn't help but bring back some coffee and merch. The owner's presence was warm and full of heart, which made the experience unforgettable! 🧇 ❤️
Nordico is a specialty coffee roaster at the heartbeat of Tamarindo, in Centro Comercial Plaza Tamarindo, Segundo Piso. I popped in for a morning açai smoothie bowl and an iced latte just before heading over to the beach. I love the surf vibe; the café is understated and relaxed, covered in artistic murals and patterns . You can tell this is a hot spot for tourists and locals because of where it is located; near shops, restaurants, villas and yoga studios. There's a bright terrace where you can sit outside to people watch and enjoy the sun and cityscape. I bought a bag of washed beans from Leonel Vindas, Cerro Las Vindas from the Palmichal region. The coffee is noticeable a lighter brown color, with flavours of vanilla and caramel and a citric aftertaste. I definitely should have bought more... guess I'll need to go back. 😬
This is a popular spot to see coffee roasting behind the scenes and it is also a café, located right off the highway, 300 meters east of Automercado. I rented a bike for the day and took a *very sweaty ride* over. I was not disappointed! I ordered a refreshing lemon coffee tonic and chose their freshly roasted Pura Vida beans for the cold brew. If you peek your head in next door you may be lucky to find them roasting live, and they will bag some cooled down beans-to-order. It is a lovely experience and smells heavenly, like chocolate and nuts. Nothing like beans harvested in the same Guanacaste region and brewed right into your cup. I bought a bottle of cold brew for the road and a bag of beans for home. They were quickly devoured. I drink a lot of great quality coffee and this stuff was just gold; perfectly smooth to the taste.
5. Friends Café Tamarindo 👯♀️
This is a charming Italian-owned shop serving up coffee, crepes and waffles and located within Mercadito de Tama. Mercadito is an open food court concept with lively music, fairy lights, cocktail bars, cafés and delicious local bites. This is an awesome daytime or evening spot to hang out if you’re travelling by yourself, if you have a sweet tooth or just want to grab something casual for lunch or dinner. The thing I love about Mercadito is that it was always full of people, music and life! I ordered an affogato, which is an espresso topped with ice-cream and whipped cream and I sat and savored the night lights, open air and tropical surroundings.
6. Breaking Bread 🥖 🍞 🥯
Located across from Super Compro and next to the skatepark, Breaking Bread is a nod to the awesome TV series and brand of “Breaking Bad". It is a bakery that is set up in an open garage concept where you can sit and stay awhile. They make their bread on site including challah, buns and baguettes. They also have the most delicious iced lattes and chocolate croissants! Stop by for breakfast or lunch before heading over to the beach. This is an awesome spot you don't want to miss!
Café Tico is a sweet, tropical coffee house sitting right off the main road with a beautiful outdoor patio surrounded by luscious greenery. They serve coffee harvested in Costa Rica, and they source all their fresh ingredients from local farmers' markets. This spot is definitely a popular one, with a patio filled with surfers and visitors from the nearby villas and hostels. There is always a lovely vibe. My latte and fresh banana smoothie were delicious and you can also order breakfast or lunch.
That is all for my Costa Rica coffee crawl in Tamarindo! Until next time, I’ll be seeing you again soon. This was one of those vacations that stole my heart. ♥️
Lots of love,
Mtl Latte Heart