Samara Tips Costa Rica


Samara Costa Rica is a hidden gem located on the northern pacific coast in an area called Nosara. In Spanish it is called Playa Samara, with an emphasis on the first syllable of Samara. For many years, this has been a popular vacation spot for both locals and tourists.

playa-langosta playa-samara-costa-rica

In addition to tourists, there is also a small population of foreign expats from everywhere including, but not limited ot, the US, England, Canada and Germany. I took my mother and my sister to Samara about three years ago and we all loved it. We stayed at a hotel called Lodge Las Ranas and all agreed we would need to return. If you are looking for a family orientated vacation, you can do no better than Samara. It is very safe and still maintains a very “tico” feel. The water conditions are great for any activity, and the water is clear of any pollution. The beach itself spans for several miles and is in a familiar horse shoe shape. The sand is volcanic, so its not quite white, but its 100% natural volcanic sand! The surf is great for beginners; however, experienced surfers will want to go to beach with larger swells. In turn, because the surf is more gentle, the water is very clear and you can snorkel and scuba, as there is a coral reef just outside the break zone. For hotels, you have a nice variety to chose from, including rustic, boutique, cheap and luxury. Because it is highly regarded, the government has provided healthy funding for several projects including a recently paved route 150.

Getting to Samara Costa Rica

If you are travelling by car, Playa Samara is about a three to four hour drive from the the San Jose area. Here is a map with some directions from the Juan Santamaria airport (SJO). Once you arrive in Nicoya, you can take the new road route 150 south about 35 kilometers and reach the center of Playa Samara.

View Larger Map

If you are able to fly into Liberia, the second largest international airport in Costa Rica, it is a very quick two hour drive from the airport.

Things to Do

There are many things to do in Playa Samara including the following:

  • Surfing and Surf Lessons.  Surf lessons usually run for about $30 for an hour.
  • Stand-up Paddling or SUP.  This is an ancient Hawaiian tradition that has taken roots globally as a sport.
  • Fishing
  • Bogey Boarding.  Normally you can get a free board from your hotel and head out to the waves.
  • Shopping for crafts and souvenirs.  The village in Samara has lots of boutiques and arts and crafts.
  • Dining and even dining on the beach.
  • Bird watching
  • Monkey watching
  • Horseback riding on trails and beaches around Playa Samara.

One of the coolest things about Samara is you are just far enough away from civilization, that you have a chance to see some jungle animals such as Parrots and Howler Monkeys. In fact, at the hotel we stayed in Lodge Las Ranas, the Howler Monkeys were howling throughout the day, and it really does make you feel that you are deep inside the jungle. This is a very unique hotel, because it is located on top of a hill that provides ocean and jungle views. If you want to visit other great beaches, Samara is also located near Playa Carrillo, Isla Chora and Playa Ostional. Playa Ostional is a great day trip, where you can experience sea turtle nesting grounds.

playa samara centro

Playa Samara Centro






Isla Chora

A very popular activity is to paddle a sea kayak to the Isla Chora for bird watching and snorkeling.  If kayaking is not suitable, you can also be taken to the island via boat.  Both tours will cost around $40 and you should plan for a half day activity.  If you decide to kayak, the trip will take about 30 minutes until you reach the island.  Once you get to the island, you catch your breath or sun bath on the island’s plush pink sand beaches.  The tour includes fresh fruit, beverages and an English speaking guide.  For reservations call Samara Adventure at (506) 2656-0920.

Isla Chora

Isla Chora

You will typically spend about two hours on the island.  You are free to explore the island wildlife which features exotic birds or the sparking clear water, where you can snorkel and see tropical undersea life.  If visiting Isla Chora is not an option, you can also do some sea kayaking on the buena vista river where you can also see exotic tropical birds.

Isla Chora Turtle

Isla Chora Turtle

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