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Flights from San José to Tambor (7 daily; 25min) land at the small airstrip about 4.5km out of town. The bus that runs between Montezuma and Paquera (6 daily, from 6am until 6pm; 50min) stops in the village.

A block back from the beach, chilled-out Cabinas Cristina (t 2683-0028, [email protected]; $30–39) is the best budget accommodation in town, with nine basic but clean rooms, most with private bathroom and one with kitchen ($75–99). The Tico owners dish up lovingly prepared meals at the popular on-site restaurant and can arrange tours. Nearby, the friendly new owners of Hotel Costa Coral (t 2683-0105, w http://www.hotelcostacoral.com; $100–149) are currently upgrading the ten rooms at their boutique hotel, which have air conditioning and cable TV with DVD player; most have a private terrace overlooking the pretty pool area and tropical gardens. The best place to stay in town, though, is the good-looking Hotel Tambor Tropical (t 2683-0011, w http://www.tambortropical.com; $150–199), set in palm gardens facing languid Playa Tambor, with an inviting pool, hot tub and beautiful wooden cabinas with large kitchens; no children under 16 are accepted. It’s also the base for Seascape Kayak Tours, which runs recommended trips to nearby Curú.

You can dine on fresh fish directly hauled in from the incoming boats at the Bahía Ballena Yacht Club restaurant, just south of town (daily 11am–10pm), where conger eel ($8) is usually among the day’s catch.

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