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Rocky Isla El Capitán, just offshore, is a close-in kayaking destination, full of sand-dollar shells. Exploring the tidal estuaries north and south of town is best done in a kayak at high tide, when you can travel farther up the temporary rivers. Arrange kayaking trips through your hotel.
Blue Dolphin. Set sail on a 40-foot catamaran for an afternoon of sunning, snorkeling, and kayaking aboard the Blue Dolphin. The boat departs at 1 pm from the beach, in front of El Pescador Restaurant, and returns around sunset. It's $85 ($42 for kids under 12) per person, including appetizers and open bar. During high season there's also a morning tour, from 8 am to noon, $70 (half price for kids under 12) including snorkel gear and fishing poles. Tamarindo. 8842–3204. www.bluedolphinsailing.com.
Iguana Surf. This longtime surf shop, with an office across from the beach, organizes guided 2 1/2-hour kayak tours of the Tamarindo Estuary ($35) and offers a full roster of local tours, including snorkeling. On beach, 100 m north of El Diriá Hotel, Tamarindo, 50309. 2653–0148. www.iguanasurf.net.
Marlin del Rey Sailing Tours. This custom-built, 66-foot catamaran, with a large, comfortable main saloon, takes you on a day tour ($75, minimum 15 people) that includes snorkeling, an open bar, lunch, and snacks. It leaves at 8 am. The sunset tour departs at 1:30 pm ($85, no minimum), with time to snorkel, walk along a deserted beach, and enjoy the open bar and a gourmet feast, complete with homemade chocolate-chip cookies. $60 for kids 5–11. Tamarindo. 2653–1212. www.marlindelrey.com.
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