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Samara Beach Print E-mail

For those tourists coming from the San José mountain area, I´d like to recommend another trip after visiting the beautiful Southern Nicoya peninsula, if there's time and you are still up to it.

If you're looking for an adventurous road trip and want to see more of Costa Ricas great coastline and beaches, drive north on the coast road and visit Samara and Nosara. If you don't have your own car you can arrange to be driven there through tour agents in Montezuma and St. Teresa. It's not recomended to travel via Betel up the coast from June to November because of several river crossings. In the rainy period of the year best it's to go inland and Samara can be reached quite comfortably on the 35 km paved road from Nicoya. Buses connect direct to San José every day and there are flights to San José from the small airstrip of Carillo, 7 km south of Samara.

Samara has long been a favorite Tico resort, perfect for soaking up sun and enjoying beach life in an unpretentious, friendly, laid-back atmosphere. This small village is located in a large half-moon bay with a pale sand beach shaded by palms and old fig trees. Samara is a very compact community, and everything you need is within walking distance.

I especially liked the seaside restaurants and bars with sand floors and fancy beach decoration., where you can hang out in comfortable sofas or chairs, watch life on the beach while drinking, eating, listening to good music and just feel – the feeling of vacation. For late-night entertainment you can go to the funky discotheque of Samara, located right on the beach.

Hotels in Samara run the gamut from simple and cheap cabinas, to cozy Bed and Breakfast, to boutique hotels on the beach. We stayed in a nice place called Hotel Belvedere, on the edge of town. It has a great swimming pool and a very friendly atmosphere, and it included a very satisfying breakfast taken on the first floor with a great view.

Activities in Samara

A 2 km walk south along the beach brings you to the fishing community of Matapalo. Matapalo means strangler fig in English and indeed there is an immense old strangler fig rooting in the sand. The beach is littered with broken corals which make up the sea bottom of the southern part of the bay. The shallow waters are ideal for snorkeling and kayaking.

For underwater adventure, go diving or snorkeling at the offshore coral reef. It is one of the few found on the Costa Rican Pacific coast and there are schools of yellow jack, sardines and manta rays. Next to the reef is Chora Island which is home to colonies of maritime birds. With an ocean kayak you can paddle to the island and enjoy a gorgeous pink sand beach.

The chest-deep water and easy surf in Samara bay is perfect for beginners learning to surf. More challenging waves for the profs are found 12 km south of Samara, on Playa Camaronal. Other water sports offered in Samara include windsurfing, sport fishing, or kayaking along the coast or into the river estuary of the Rio Ora.

On shore activities include horseback rides to the Tobacco waterfalls with its three cataracts and natural swimming pools. Or go on a Canopy Tour in Santo Domingo, three km inland from Samara.

Nosara, ½ hour north of Samara, is one of the great Costa Rica surfer spots, with two beaches; Playa Pelada and Playa Guiones. Unlike Samara, Nosara it is quite spread out, so some form of transport is needed. Lots of people use bicycles, a fun way to travel because the area is not very hilly.

In Nosara we stayed in a nice place called Panchos with private cabins and kitchen facilities, an attached supermarket, a pool and a Mexican restaurant, very close to Playa Pelado where my daughter & I spent hours playing in the waves. We ate at a great restaurant, right on the beach around sunset and the place was packed with locals and tourists alike - so typical of the many places people where just drop in for a sundowner.

Of course our trip was rather short to really get to know the place well. But having got a glimpse ... I'm going to return, if only to experience a real tico, fishing experience by the river mouth. Getting to this remote beach by vehicle on a rough road or by foot is not easy but well worth the effort. It's one of the few places left where the local fishermen still use traditional fishing techniques. It is best on the incoming tide, when fish like snoek and sea bass wait for river shrimp and other estuary life to feed on.

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