Please don’t go to Samara Beach…

samara beach sunset1

Last Updated on August 19, 2021

Costa Rica may be a well established destination on the tourist trail, but the Nicoya Peninsula is still very much the country’s own Wild Wild West. Lucky for us, what started off as a transportation nightmare led us to discover our favorite beach on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast: Samara Beach.

Why Visit Samara Beach?

We had no plans to visit Samara Beach. Sure, it was suggested in the guidebooks like countless other Costa Rican beaches. However, despite naysayers’ warnings that efforts to traverse the entire peninsula by bus would prove futile, our plan was to get from Playa del Coco in the north down to the popular, once-isolated beach town of Montezuma on the very southern tip of the Nicoya. We pushed along all the way to the sleepy, scorchingly hot inland city of Nicoya, the peninsula’s namesake, before realizing, weary and dusty from an already long afternoon of bus travel, that there was indeed no way to get down to Montezuma without paying a private taxi $120 to make the remaining five-hour, tire-busting trip.samara beach surferSamara beach Costa rica

Palm tree at Samara Beach Costa RicaAfter chatting to several very helpful taxi drivers and a group of American language students on their way back to Samara Beach after a trekking adventure, we spontaneously decided to join our fellow ‘gringos’. The next bus to Samara Beach left just thirty minutes later and arrived within an hour.

As soon as we arrived, we were enchanted by the beauty of the beach from the start. We basked in the late afternoon sun, admiring the tropical palm trees which line the miles of wide, white sand beach. The town itself is really only a collection of hotels and restaurants along one road perpendicular to the coast and a smattering of hotels and beach lounges on the beach.

Despite the well-developed tourism here, this beautiful beach location is noticeably absent of all-inclusive resorts, and the tourists here are different than the older retirees of Playa del Coco or aging hippies at Montezuma, populated instead by younger couples and smart travelers looking to escape all of that.Samara beach boatsamara beach cloudy sunset
samara beach from water

The area is certainly almost exclusively populated by tourists, ex-pats and locals working in tourism, but Samara Beach does not feel contrived the way that many Costa Rican destinations have now begun to feel. There are no chain hotels, no fast food restaurants, and no multi-story buildings. When you look back at the land from the water, the buildings peek out from amongst lush jungle and striking cliffs. The best thing about Samara is that the endless amount of sandy beaches always feels  fairly empty, no matter how full the hotels actually are.

The ocean here is shallow, and the waves are present enough to learn to surf but unforgiving enough to enjoy a day splashing around in them, not the case in many locations up and down the Pacific coast from Mexico through Nicaragua (exception: San Juan del Sur). After a day in the waves, there are sunset beach lounges with mellow music, creative cocktails and international cuisine. The magical sunsets during our stay turned the sky various shades of purple and pink, causing a wall of bikini-clad amateur paparazzi to form, trying to capture the stunning scenery.Sunset at Samara BeachEven though there are quite a lot of international (mostly American) tourists, Samara Beach still manages to feel like an off-the-beaten-path location – which, of course, the town is not. Visitors here can surf, kayak, take a boat ride, book a sport-fishing trip, go diving, head inland to the jungle nearby for canopy tours, or rent a bicycle or hop on a horse and ride up and down the miles of deserted coastline. Samara Beach even advertises itself as a key spot for destination weddings. The hotels remain reasonably priced, although budget accommodation in Samara Beach, as in Costa Rica in general, is harder to come by. We stayed at Casa Valeria, which Frommers called the best budget option on the beach back then. The hotel has 9 stand alone beach bungalows for $50 and a pair of cheaper rooms for $30. (Note: Casa Valaeria is still around, I found a standard room including breakfast for $38 on in 2019, but I do think that there are now newer, better options in town.) There is a new hostel in town, Hostel Matilori, which cost around $16 per person per night in a dorm or $40 in a private room – the advantage to the bungalows and other hotels is that the hostel has two shared kitchens. (Update 2019: The hostel is not so new anymore, but still has great reviews. You can book it here.)Casa Valeria Hammocks & bungalow Samara BeachSamara beach & ocean

Samara Beach is the Costa Rican vacation we really wanted, fulfilling perfectly the image still being sold in the travel brochures. The level of tourism here makes for the perfect peaceful escape – all of the organization you need and none of the banana-boat and disco clubs you don’t. The problem with Samara Beach is that it is at its tipping point, and while the balance is now is perfect, more tourists arriving each year might convert the place into another overly Americanized beach like Montezuma, Playa del Coco or Jaco Beach (lined with Quiznos and Pizza Huts).

This is why we beg you…please don’t go to Samara Beach. But if you do go, which you really should, please don’t tell anyone else about this perfect Costa Rican beach location.

Practical information for visiting Samara Beach

How to get to Samara Beach

The closest airport is Liberia (about 2 hours by car from Samara), but you can also fly into San Jose and get to Samara by car (4 hours) or bus (about 5 hours). A taxi from Liberia airport is between US$50 and US$60. Important: Negotiate the fare before you get in the cab!samara beach horseback riders

To Samara Beach by bus: You can take a bus from San Jose or Liberia to Nicoya, and then change onto a bus to Samara. The bus company that runs from Nicoya to Samara is called Empresa Rojas. It takes about 90 minutes to get from Nicoya to Samara.

Alfaro express buses go directly from San José daily at noon from Avenida 5 between calles 14 and 16. The trip takes 5 hours; check here for current timetables and fares (2017 fare: ₡4,395/ US$7.95). 2019 fare: ₡4.470 / US$7.97)

To Samara Beach by car: You can rent a car right at the airport in both San Jose and Liberia. The roads are simple country roads but okay to drive on. If you don’t want to drive all the way to Samara from San Jose but would like to have a car to explore more of the Nicoya Peninsula – you can also rent a car in Samara.

samara beach with palm trees
Where to stay in Samara


  • Las Mariposas – hostel right on the beach, private single rooms from US$35, doubles from US$40, dorm bed US$15 – review score 8.5
  • Woodstock Hostel – close to the beach, but further away from the center. Double room US$31, dorm bed US$15. Review Score 8.9
  • Oasis – 2-bedroom house right on the beach from US$35. Review score 8.9
  • Hostel El Dorado – double room for US$40, review score 8.6


samara hotels


  • Samara Chillout Lodge – New adults-only boutique hotel in a quiet area away from the beach. Rooms from US$95. Review score 9.5
  • Las Perlitas – Beautifully decorated hotel with pool in the center of Samara, doubles from US$99 incl breakfast. Review score 9.5
  • Hotel Leyenda – Small hotel with beautiful swimming pools and gardens. Doubles from US$99 including breakfast. Review score 9.1
  • Hotel Samara Paraiso – small hotel with swimming pool near Izquierda Beach. Apartments and bungalows from around US$120. Review score 9.4
  • Colina Del Mar – Intimate hotel away from the beach on a hillside, stunning nature setting. Small swimming pool. Rooms from around US$149 including breakfast. Review score 9.3
  • Nammbu Beach Front Bungalows – Playa Carillo. My favorite beach just south of Samara – if you want complete serenity, this small boutique hotel is for you. Rooms from US$150
  • la isla que no hay – Two bedroom house in the center of Samara from US$199 per night (sleeps 4 people), swimming pool. Review score 8.9
  • The Hideaway Hotel – on the far southern end of the beach, between Samara and Playa Carillo. Swimming pool and on-site restaurant. Double rooms start at US$278 – review score 9.1

samara beach costa rica

Airbnb’s in Samara Beach

Check out Airbnb homes in Samara by clicking on the map below. There are also Experiences, i.e. tours run by locals, that you can book via Airbnb.


Where to eat in Samara Beach

There are several inexpensive sodas, local restaurants in Samara. These simple restaurants serve up Costa Rica’s main dish: casado. A casado usually includes your choice of beef, chicken, pork or fish, rice and beans, salad, a vegetable side dish, and fried plantains. Vegetarians can ask for fresh cheese or eggs instead of meat. A casado is between US$4 and US$6.samara beach casado
Other places worth checking out:

  • Samara Organics MercadoCafe (Natural Center, in front of Gusto Beach Restaurant, Sámara, 50205, Costa Rica)
  • Ahora Si! (Samara’s first vegetarian restaurant)
  • Bohemia Cafe (great breakfasts, smoothies and light fare in the center of town)
  • Lo Que Hay (Mexican restaurant right on the beach)
  • Luv Burgers (Vegetarian Burgers)
  • Restaurant Giada (Italian restaurant right in the center of town, look for Hotel Giada on Main Street)
  • Roots Bakery & Cafe (Fantastic bakery /coffee shop / breakfast place in town. Near Hotel Giada)
  • El Lagarto (Best place in Samara for steaks, barbecue and seafood)
samara beach lo que hay filled avocados

Short note: I first visited Samara Beach in 2011, and I have gotten many emails from readers over the past few years asking me if Samara “was over”. i.e. if it had been discovered by mainstream tourism. After a short return in 2012, I finally returned to Samara this past winter and I am happy to report that I found the exact same tranquil beach paradise that I found when I first ended up in Samara nearly a decade ago.

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Tags : costa ricaPlease don't gosamara


    1. Totally! Not to build it up too much or anything, but it’s as touristy as we can handle minus all the disappointing aspects of tourism, at least for now. You know, until too many people go there 😉 At least spend local while you’re there, please please!

  1. Oh wow…sounds like a special place.

    I was thinking of heading to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica (I’ve only got a couple of weeks when I’m there in a couple of months) but you may have changed my mind…but don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone 😉

    1. Hi Megan! The problem is that the Caribbean side is also gorgeous and really laid-back. We’ve got a post coming up this week on the Caribbean vs Manuel Antonio and about a ride up the Caribbean coast…might make your decision even harder 🙂

    1. Great Pete! Glad to hear you totally do (not) want to visit Samara Beach! We want to hear all about it if you do go, which, of course you should (not)…

    1. Hi Debbie – nope, Samara is terrible, run-down, totally not worth the trip at all (wink wink). The hammocks made us laaaaazy by the way 🙂

  2. Hi, would you recommend having a small wedding ceremony in Samara beach? We were planning on Montezuma but want to see other options that might be better and closer to the airport. Any advice would be appreciated!!!
    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Anna, great question. We’d actually really recommend considering somewhere easier than Montezuma. The beaches are beautiful there, but it is quite difficult transport-wise, that’s true. We loved the privacy of Samara, and while more people opt for weddings in Jaco or Tamarindo beaches, Samara has all the right elements that would make a wedding magical. You can also fly in to Liberia airport (or San Jose) and drive over no problem. There is plenty of public transportation as well. Check out for a bit of basic wedding info! Good luck Anna, and of course, congratulations! 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for response. I’m looking into Samara beach now. One more question regarding weather, do you think it will be very rainy in the second week of November?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Anna – happy to help. November on the Nicoya peninsula is the tail end of rainy season. I can’t 100% say for sure either way, but I know that at the tail end like that, there is usually a period every day when it rains. Not sure in this case if that is every night, each morning for an hour, etc, but that should be it. Most likely the rest of the day will be sunny and dry. You might want to contact the people who run the Samara Beach website and see if they know better, or just call one of the larger hotels and they should be able to tell you no problem the exact details on a November visit. Good luck!

    1. No don’t! 🙂 But if you do, definitely make sure to get some sunset shots – they are still some of the best sunset photos we have! So beautiful there!

  4. Thanks for sharing your secret!!!! It looks absolutely idyllic and it’s nice to see places like this that aren’t all built up with resorts and bars etc.

    1. Thank you 🙂 It was so idyllic – I really hope it stays that way and that Samara will never ever turn into a resort town!d

    1. Haha, thanks Jan – wise decision 😉 We’re actually returning to Samara in October for a few days and I can’t wait to go back!

  5. Hello ladies, Quick question, how did you like Casa Valeria? I am going to Costa Rica the first week of October and I am very interested in this hotel. You did not mention much about it, but it looks great! Any comments about it you’d like to share?

    1. Hi Maxine, thanks for getting in touch! We wrote a detailed review of it here: It is not super basic, but it also isn’t anything fancy. We just loved that it was right by the beach and that you can literally walk out of your bungalow in the morning in your bikini and head down for a swim. And they have a kitchen, which we appreciated, not keen on wanting to eat out every meal.

  6. Hi, I Love this article !!
    But I d like to correct the point regarding the only hostel in Samara ; With my boyfriend, we run the hostel Matilori, 100 meters from the beach, quiet place in the center. 15 $ in the dorm and 40 $ for a private room for 2 people during the high season . And there is the hostel Mariposas also . So you can find 3 hostels in Samara.
    Agree with all the rest 🙂

    1. Hi Lydie, thanks so much for letting us know!! I didn’t do my research very well, I guess. Next time we’re in Samara we’ll have to check out the hostels, I guess 🙂

  7. Hi Ladies! I definitely support your advice NOT to go to Samara. I hope my comments will encourage others NOT to go there either. There are SOOOO many downsides to this quaint pituresque seaside village….No Malls, no Walmart or McDonalds, or chain grocery stores. There are no multi-plex cinemas, or neon faced clubs thumping out disco music all night. Yep, that’s right….no boutique shops, or 4 star hotels either….No airports or concert venues….why would anyone want to go THERE!….much less retire there….;) with nothing to do all day except hike, explore, ride horses, go on photo safari’s, lay around on the beach, surf, or fish and go to the mercado and chose fresh vegetable and fruit probably picked early that morning. How boring…in the afternoons one can only sit on the veranda sipping an icy Margarita or Costa Rican Ron Centario rum with a splash of coke on the rocks and watch the sun go down over the ocean. You can’t leave food out unattended…colorful wild parrots and Macaws will finish it for you. If you want to pick a fresh avacodo, orange, or grapefruit from the tree for breakfast, you’ll have to arm wrestle one of the little monkeys to get your share…At night, really not much to do except watch the stars in an incredibly clear atmosphere, or amble down to one of the local cantinas for some live guitar music, or maybe a cooking lesson from Rosie or Maria. Its frustrating to figure out what time it is because in Samara, its all Costa Rica time and who cares anyway…sleepy?…sleep. Hungry?….eat Tired?…take a siesta.. Thirsty?…well, you know how to solve THAT!!

    To be so warm, Samara is so cool! So, come if you must, but you’ve been warned…just move on when you have to and we’ll wave you good bye and give you our address to send us a post card of the snow, the lines at Walmart, a snapshot of your office cubicle, or a news clipping of the latest mall opening. Those are always appreciated…

    So….PLEASE DON’T GO TO SAMARA!!! Give us a call instead and we’ll tell you what isn’t going on….

    (comments not approved by the local chamber of commerce…rotblol..:)
    *Rolling on the beach laughing out loud….

    1. BEST COMMENT EVER! Love the way you described Samara, John, and you are right, the local chamber of commerce would probably not approve of anything you wrote 😉

      1. Thanks, Dani. I’m looking for some LGBT info on a quiet hotel or guest house in Liberia city for a couple of days stay while I charm custom$ official$ into releasing my pet$. 🙂 I’m told some are great admirers of our dead US Presidents.:) I’ll be in Samra for good sometime in May… I hope you and Jess will visit and let me treat you to a Samara Sundowner cocktail, and we can commiserate on the Jimmy Buffet attitude of the Samarian locals…I’m gonna open a flip flop repair shop with a nice selection of used flip flops…whadaya think? Please forward any advice re: Liberia..

        1. John, you are a lucky man!! Moving to Samara for good… wow! We’ll find you for sure next time we’re there and will take you up on your Samara Sundowner offer 🙂 About Liberia- to be honest with you, we left after only one night and didn’t give Liberia much of a chance – we had bad luck with our guest house, and didn’t warm up to the town very much. So I am afraid we don’t have any recommendations – but if you are still in Samara, the ladies from LazDivaz might know a place?

  8. So my husband and I went to Samara and loved it! I think we may have stayed in the very same bungalow as ya’ll did. The one pictured above with the two hammocks in front, I would say the best bungalow available, you can lie in your bed & watch the waves. It was soo beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. The locals are so friendly and food is really good, especially at the little restaurants on the beach. The ocean is amazing, you can play in the waves and watch all the surfers come out at sunset when the waves get bigger. It was the perfect end to an adventure filled vacation near Arenal volcano.

  9. This is SO reasssuring to read since we are headed there this Saturday! I have been a little nervous bc you hear about the “dangers” down there, so this has certainly eased my mind. We are flying from Houston, TX then driving 3 or more hours to Samara.

    Looking fwd to a much needed break. Bringing our 2 teen girls too, just hope the weather is good! 🙂

  10. samara beach is exactly as the girls described. I visited January 2013 via G adventures and stayed ay the casa valeria.If you are not looking for fancy but clean barring the sand off the beach which forms the front yard this is the place(rooms done daily) This is eden in my books so much so that I am returning for 6 days this november.Lay back, all the quiet amenities neccesary.Pablo the guide for fishing howler monkeys birds etc etc. I am trying to raft with desafio adventures(rio teneros) anyday from nov 5 to 9 but travelling solo they need minimum 2 to go any takers.Please as the girls say stay away and preserve this little paradise.Onward to puerto jimenez and the corocavado have you been there girls (mike boston is the guide).Im pumped for 3 wks in the CR pura vida all

  11. Just spent 3 months at Samara Beach and i agree with you please do not Tell Anyone about it. It is just so beautiful and down to earth. Already planning my next trip from Oz for Christmas and i only got back 3 weeks ago

    1. So happy to hear that you loved Samara, too!! Three months there – amazing! I am so jealous that you’re heading back so soon, could really do with a tropical beach right now! Chile’s Pacific beaches are just not comparable to a Costa Rican beach.

  12. I’m back in Samara right now after 20 years. I used to go to Samara every weekend as a student during the summer of 1994. It was very beautiful then and it was a 7 hour bus ride from San Jose. 20 years later I’m pretty shocked to see what it has become. Not really sure how I’d describe it now, but it’s not really the Samara I remember. It looks like too many people already found it and that makes me kind of sad.

  13. Samara is great gonna move there if I can. Best beach resteraunts ( vella latina, conan and the rest ) best motercycle ride back to condo ) Signed Mr. Tequila

  14. Looking forward to join this place in march for 5 nights 😉
    We will stay at Casitas laz Divas, also direct at the beach.

    1. Oh awesome, Sanne! I met one of the Divaz when we were in Samara in 2012 🙂 The hotel looked lovely and made me wish we would’ve stayed there! Enjoy Samara and Laz Divaz!

  15. Hey GTG!

    Everyone I have talked to about my upcoming CR trip has recommended Samara (guess they didn’t hear to keep their mouths shut ;)) The plan is to go from Monteverde over to Samara and then work our way down the coast to Montezuma via bus then ferry to Jaco and bus back to San Jose. The problem I’m having with this is the bus situation as you mentioned. I am seeing buses to Monteverde from San Jose and buses to Samara from San Jose but it seems ridiculous to have to backtrack all the way to San Jose to get to the Nicoya Peninsula if we are already at Monteverde. Have you encountered any way around this? Any info much appreciated! Feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to plan this on a budget and fit as musch as possible in 10 days. Thanks!

    1. We ended up renting a car because we couldn’t get from Samara to Arenal by public transportation – it would’ve taken 14 hours or something ridiculous like that, with two or three changes. From Samara down to Montezuma there was a tourist shuttle that we took – I think we paid $45 per person.. pricey! I’d recommend checking rental car prices as well but driving from Samara to Montezuma was a horrible ride and the shuttle van ended up with a blown-out tire, just so you know. All the other roads in the country I felt comfortable driving on.

      1. thanks so much for the info! Glad to hear I’m not crazy and the transit between those areas really is as hard as it seems.

        1. I didn’t think it was as hard but I remember us scraping some trips up the coast of the Nicoya because there weren’t any proper roads – it all required going back through Nicoya town.

          1. Upcoming trip up end of June….4 days in Samara (rented condo), 4 days in Arenal area (2 night in tree house, 2 nights in Arenal lodge), 4 days in Manuel Antonio (rented condo). Here’s to hoping nobody is in Samara (or CR at that)!!

  16. Just got back from 2 days in Samara after discovering it from this blog. Our host informed us that he is selling his property and now my husband and I are looking into purchasing it and moving to the area! No joke! Samara is a dream!

    1. Can American’s work there? If so I would like to be your bartender/maid/manager/property manager…no kidding. I have been to CR many times, tried to move their once but the financing on the house was a disaster. Plan has always been to end up in Samara…please let me know 🙂

      1. Hi Nicole, there were several Americans working / running businesses in Samara – not sure if they were all on an official work visa though…

    2. OMG, how awesome is this??! Heather, you’ll have to let me know where I can find you next time I’m in Samara!!

      1. No way we are going to Playa Samara in February 2016.
        Not for 18 nights!!

        And I wouldn’t stay at the Samara Tree House Inn (right on the beach) for love nor money.

        And I certainly will not tell you about Playa Hermosa (“beautiful” in Spanish) up the coast north of there.
        Certainly not for another 14 nights.

        What fool would stay at any of places?

        The Fool

        1. We are (not) going to Samara beach in February 2016 and we are (not) going to enjoy our beachfront villa. We certainly will (not) take a canopy tour and walk up and down the coastline.

          Thank goodness I was forewarned 😉


  17. Im going to Samara in July & would like another adventurous English speaking traveler to share expenses from San Jose, maybe renting a car & having a couple stops along the way. I am a very active ( horses, kayaking, swimming) 60 yr old educated widow who enjoys travel companions. I would be staying in Samara 3-5 days. Any interest? [email protected]

  18. Hello im going in April is the weather nice and hot?? And staying at Villas Playas Samara can anybody tell me if that hotel its nice I’ve read lotz of bad revies now I want to change my Hotel please help me my 1st time visiting don’t want to regret it???

  19. Do you know how much rain we might expect in late July to early August? My husband and I want to go for 10 days to celebrate 10 years of marriage. Want to beach all day and enjoy sunsets at night. I’ve found some really great vacAtion rentals but concerned about rain

    1. I think you should still be fine at that time of year! And even if it’s raining, it won’t be more than a couple of hours in the afternoon. Go for it – you won’t regret, Melanie 🙂

  20. Hi there,
    we have been to both places and are really surprised of this article. Montezuma is in our opinion the best place for natural lovers(like us) in whole Costa Rica.The town is really small and there are not this crowds like in Samara or other places. There are not many Americans living there, the most we saw and the business owners are Italiens and Argentiniens, never de less Americans who we met are really nice and polite.
    The area offers an amazing amount of waterfalls, we never have experienced this in any other place on the planet. The beaches a gorgeous and without many people. We wish we would have stay there our whole trip. Please watch the you tube video about Montezuma who came out latley, but don’t cry for missing the chance to visit this amazing place. Samara was nice, but we will be back in Montezuma.

  21. Hi there!

    I’m going to be staying in Samara for a few days before heading to Montezuma. Is it difficult to get from Samara down to Montezuma?

    Your blog has been super helpful in my travels through CA. Thanks so much for everything!


    1. Thanks so much, Taylor! Actually, it wasn’t difficult, but expensive. There’s only a private transport (mini van) – we took it from Samara to Montezuma and if I remember it right, it was like US$50. Crazy expensive for that distance, but there wasn’t really a good road. It took forever and our van even burst a tire. If you’re lucky, you might find other transportation now, but had we taken public transportation instead of the tourist shuttle, it would’ve meant going back to Nicoya, then down to Puntarenas, and then back to the Nicoya Peninsula to Montezuma on the ferry – which would’ve been cheaper but much more time intense and difficult..

  22. I went to Samara a couple of years ago and fell in love with the place. I have a home outside of San Jose (Pavas} and during one of my trips, I drove to Guanacaste to tour the beaches. I immediately fell in love with Samara! Of all the places I’ve been in Costa Rica, there are only two towns I would want to live in; Playa Samara and Puerto Viejo.

    1. James – those are exactly the two places that I can see myself live in 🙂 I hope I’ll get to return to Costa Rica soon, it’s been a while. 😀

  23. Sh!t, I used to go to Montezuma long before any gringo’s knew it was there, late 80’s into the early 90’s. For the most part Americans couldn’t even tell you were Costa Rica was.. At that time most of the tourists were German and Italian. Europeans seem to always be a step ahead of Gringos in the best vacation spots. They also leave a much smaller foot print and are generally more respectful of keeping a place the way they found it. They build very nice but small hotels, they open restaurants not fast food chains. When I was a kid,El Sano Banano was the only place owned by foreigners. The only way by road to the town was by catching a ferry in Puntarena’s and then taking a 4×4 for about 45 mins. I recently went back after more than a decade and WOW yup Americans galore. I was in town for less than an hour and some drunk Amercian Vet tried to start a fight with me. Why are Americans so…..ugh. Anyways, Samara and Carrillo (right next door) are considered where the locals go for vacation, always has been as far as I knew. My mother ( a tica) who has lived in the US most of her life recently built a house up the Mountain from Samara and Carrillo because the rest of the country has been inhabited by Americans who have done what they always do in any place they visit…over stay there welcome and pissing off the natives with there huge hotels, chain stores and general stupidity of anything outside of the upper 48. Please don’t go to Costa Rica! You have already ruined it.

  24. Hi,

    I am considering spending 3-4 months (January to May) in Costa Rica with my 12 year old daughter. I’d enrol her in an international school and it would be somewhat of a budget travel. I really like what I’ve read about Samara and I am considering the Caribbean side also. Any suggestions or insights would be most welcome!

    1. Hi Roseanne, thanks for reaching out! Oh that’s a tough call because I love Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side and Samara on the Pacific! I think Samara is closer to other great places to visit in Costa Rica, like Manuel Antonio (I think your daughter will love the wildlife there) and Monteverde (for the cloud forest, but there’s a ton of stuff to do and see there). Puerto Viejo, however, is close to the Sloth Sanctuary and the Jaguar Sanctuary, and you could even hop over to Panama (Bocas del Toro) for a weekend. It’s so hard to choose!! But does it depend on where a school is where you’ll base yourself?

  25. Going to locanda samara beach hotel in June w/ 2 teenagers. Not sure how to get from San Jose airport to hotel by puddle jumper ofr shuttle. You said $50 for shuttle, was that per person? I also want to know about things to do and foods at a reasonable price.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Diane, yes the price for the shuttle is per person. Depending on when your flight gets in you might be able to make the direct bus with Empresa Alfaro? There are other buses via Nicoya, takes a bit longer but definitely cheaper than the shuttle.

      1. Awesome review. Thanks! Heard about this place because my future wife wants to be a massage therapist, & a school for massage therapy is in this area! I think its going to become part of our destiny to come here, based on your review!

  26. We didn’t go to Sámara in February 2018 and we didn’t have a fantastic time! In 2018 everything seemed the same as you described in 2011 – I hope it stays like this forever!

  27. I just found your site after booking Samara for my honeymoon with my hubby. Everything you said is EXACTLY what we wanted! Thank you so much for the tips 🙂 Also, can you please tell me which restaurants belong to the pictures of meals you posted, they looks so yummy! I’m also happy to see Francis’s comment above that it’s the same as it was in 2011, so great!

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