Samara, Costa Rica
The Samara Vibe
Samara Costa Rica is a small seaside town on the Pacific coast with a bohemian vibe. It is a popular surfing destination.
The downtown area has plenty of restaurants and shops, but if you are looking for a more peaceful experience there is plenty of that as well.
Samara is a great jumping off point for other fun day trips. We highly suggest this spot if you are looking for a nice relaxed beach trip.
Now on to the rest of the Samara Costa Rica travel guide.
Map Of Samara
Samara is a small beach town located on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
Samara at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia
Popular Things to Do
surfing, rent an ATV, snorkel or diving tours
Best Way to Get Around
Rental car, walking in the downtown area
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
Book Your Trip
Getting to Samara
Flights to Costa Rica
The easiest way of getting to Samara is by flying in to the Liberia International Airport.
From Liberia, it is about a two hour drive to Samara. From San Jose, it is about a five hour drive.
That being said, we will go through how to get here from each airport to clear things up a bit.
Transportation From Liberia International Airport
Renting a car and driving to Samara on your own is a great option if you would like to have a car for fun day trips.
The drive is on main roads the entire way and if you are a somewhat experienced driver you shouldn’t have any trouble.
We work exclusively with a local car rental company called Adobe for all our rental needs.
They are the best company and we could rave about them all day. Plus, they have given us a 10% discount and other great perks to pass on to you.
You can find out more and book your car here.
If you are traveling with a group of people and don’t plan on renting a car, a private shuttle is the way to go.
You can all sit back and enjoy the Pacific coast scenery while a competent driver ensures you get to your destination safely.
We work exclusively with Adobe Transfer for private shuttles. You can find out more and get a shuttle price quote here.
To get to Samara from Liberia you will have to first take the bus to Nicoya and then switch buses to Samara.
In our opinion, this is just a total pain. However, it is doable if you are really trying to stick to a tight budget.
You can find out more with this bus schedule.
From San Jose Internation Airport
From San Jose it will take about five hours to drive to Samara.
The drive to Samara is long, but fine. The first two hours of the drive are on a main toll highway. If you are a somewhat experienced driver you should have no trouble with this.
The tolls do not accept credit cards. They will take dollars or colones.
You will then drive on a main road that can feel like it take foreverrrr. A lot of big trucks drive this road and it is often hard to find a place to pass them.
Eventually, you will turn off on a smaller main road called Paso de Tampisque.
If you need to stop for a quick meal or bathroom, there is a small plaza with a Subway, Papa Johns, and Taco Bell located just before you make a left-hand turn on to Paso de Tampisque.
Other than that, there are not many quick food options along the way.
However, there are several gas stations if you need a bathroom break. Most of the gas station bathrooms are actually fairly decent.
From the turn on Paso de Tampisque, it is usually smooth sailing until you reach downtown Samara.
Just not that police tend to hang out in the first few miles of your turn onto Paso de Tampisque controlling speeding.
We suggest downloading the free app Waze for directions in Costa Rica. It is the best and often other drivers are really great about inputting where the police are hanging out.
In other words, this drive is doable. We’ve done it many many times. However, after a long flight, driving for five hours might be the last thing you want to do.
A private shuttle is the most comfortable way to get to Samara.
Your shuttle driver will be waiting for you when you exit the airport and will take care of everything.
You and your group can just enjoy looking out the window. Your driver will be happy to stop for pictures or food along the way.
There is a domestic airport located in Nosara. It is possible to take a domestic flight from San Jose here.
From Nosara you can easily get a taxi to Samara. It is about a 20 minute drive.
Just keep in mind that this is a more pricey option and if you are scared of small planes this might not be the best for you.
The pro is that this is a super fast transportation option and the views are amazing.
There is a public bus that will take you to Samara. This trip will take about six hours.
This is by far the most affordable way to get to Samara, but definitely not the most comfortable.
Getting Around in Samara
Samara is a very walkable town. If you plan on mostly just spending your time within the town and on the beach, you really don’t need a car.
If you plan on doing more exploring in the area we definitely suggest renting a car. If you don’t have a car you will have to depend on day tours which tend to be more pricey and don’t go to more off the beaten path places.
Keep in mind that although the roads to Samara are paved, many other roads around are unpaved and involve river crossings. We definitely suggest getting a car with 4 wheel drive if you plan on checking out activities nearby.
Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and you will get a 10% discount! Score! You can find out more about it here.
Book Your Transportation
The most popular time to visit Samara Costa Rica is between the end of December through early May. This is dry season in Samara. You can expect extremely hot weather and no rain.
We like to visit this area between May through mid-August. At that time of year, you will likely have a daily afternoon thunderstorm that lasts for about an hour, but there are fewer tourists. We just make a point of getting up early and really enjoying the day before the rain rolls in..
From mid-August through mid-December you can expect the temperature to cool off a bit and more rain.
A lot of hotels close between August and December because there just isn’t enough demand. However, because of the lack of demand, you can also get tours and activities discounted because companies are so eager for business.