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A little confusing, however there is a town in Guanacaste, Costa Rica called Santa Cruz which is a small Tico town and the seat for the municipal government of the Canton of Santa Cruz. Kind of like saying you live in the city of California in the state of California.
Anyways, the Canton of Santa Cruz is a large area that encompasses the area on the north where the Hotel RIU is located and to the south the small beach town of Samara. Inside this sprawling Canton are such towns of Playa Flamingo, Playa Grande, Tamarindo, Playa Negra, Samara Beach. Hotel wise, you'll find the Hotel RUI, Paradisus Conchal, Diria Hotel, and the JW Marriot Guanacaste.
The actual town of Santa Cruz is a great place for buying the least expensive groceries and consumer goods. There is not much there in the way of tourism, except a small museum on the east end of the town plaza and a tour that'll take you to the pottery town of Guatil. Santa Cruz is about a 40-min drive east from Tamarindo.