Oh Wild Panda…how we love thee…
From our very first day in Tamarindo, I knew I would be writing this post. In fact, I sort of alluded to it here!
We love Wild Panda for so many reasons. I love it for their focus on healthy food and healthy cocktails, and Shaun loves it for their flat screen TV and the all day 2 X 1 Rum Pineapples. All this aside, the real reason we keep coming back is our history with this place.
The story about us and this bar actually starts way back in 2011, when Shaun and I last visited Costa Rica. There is no one better to recount this tale then Shaun himself. So, after a long absence from the blog, he has agreed to write all about our (extensive) time with Wild Panda.
You know it must be good if Shaun is willing to tear himself away from surf and pool time to write a blog post!
Take it away Shaun!
So we happened to be Tamarindo three years ago and my brother and buddy Smit were trying to book a fishing trip and met this guy named Junior who at the time had a little booth type set up where he booked tours and what not. The boys got to chatting and Junior told them he was opening his cocktail bar later that week.
Brad and Smit were pretty skeptical because there wasn’t much there, but they assured Junior they would come back and suck back a few cocktails.
Sure enough later that week Junior’s place was open and on one boozy night we hit up his cocktails. I hadn’t remembered much from that night but luckily the girls got lots of pictures. Funny how that happens…
Now fast forward to late November 2013, Kate and I had just arrived in Costa Rica for our big trip and we are enjoying our first night out in Tamarindo. As we’re walking towards the same area, we commented on whether his place might still be there. To be honest, I never expected it to still be open, let alone to see Junior. Sure enough though, Junior was there just chilling in the front. The place was now called Wild Panda, but it still had the infamous “Suck my Cocktails” sign. Junior obviously didn’t recognize us, but was impressed when Kate showed the pictures of the opening week three years ago. That was the first of many nights we spent at Junior’s Wild Panda bar.
During the Christmas break Junior probably made a small fortune off our friends and family who were in town. This included my brother Brad and Smit’s who were able to return to where it all began. We definitely missed the putting green he previously had, but the place has undergone so many upgrades and changes including a big TV and WIFI. It is a pretty sweet set up.
It also still has that really personal and friendly feel to it. You don’t see Junior there as much, but he has some really great staff that more than make up for it. Having a drink there is my favourite thing to do in Tamarindo.
So if you’re in Tamarindo check it out. Go grab a bar stool there and have a Rum Pineapple, get a picture with the “Suck my Cocktails” sign, or put the panda bear head on. Last time we were there they had T-shirts too. It’s the only T-shirt I’ve bought this trip.
So there you have it! Wild Panda, it is the place to be in Tamarindo. Head on over there, grab a rum pineapple and say hi to Junior and his amazing crew!
Have you ever been to Wild Panda?
Kate (and Shaun)
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