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Heading to an exotic destination such as Tamarindo, Costa Rica can definitely use some extra background information. Reading up on the history and culture of this city and culture will enhance your understanding of the area and thus your vacation. Picking up a guide with some Spanish phrases is also a great idea in case you're lost without the words to say--or to prevent yourself from being lost in the jungle without anyone to say anything to!
There are countless great guides to the country by the following great guide book companies:
But if you want more complete history check out the following, " The Costa Rica Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Latin America Readers)" by Steven Palmer and Ivan Molina Jimenez or "Costa Rica Natural History" by Daniel H. Janzen.
For some quick and easy Spanish get "Rick Steves' Spanish Phrase Book and Dictionary" by Rick Steves.