Samara, Costa Rica

A Small Bohemian beach town

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.

samara map

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

 

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

Rental Car

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.

 

Private Shuttle

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

 

 

Public Bus

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.

Rental Car

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.

Book your rental car here and save 10% plus many other great perks. 

 

Private Shuttle

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.

Get a private shuttle quote here. 

 

Public Bus

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

Samara Weather

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.

Grab a free copy of our Costa Rica guide

(with great Samara tips)

Samara Hotels

High-End Hotels

Nambu Beach Front BungalowsThe views from this hotel are amazing! Enjoy the beautiful pool and modern rooms.

Azura Beach Resort (All Inclusive)– Modern adults-only hotel located 90 meters from the beach. There is an outdoor pool, fitness center, evening entertainment, and more!

Mid-Range Hotels

Hotel Giada: For less than $60 a night you can get a double room with breakfast included. There is also a nice pool on site for guests to use.

Yoga Salt Life LodgeAll stays include a free yoga class. This hotel is 300 meters from the beach.

Good Life LodgeLocated in downtown Samara (300 meters from the beach) this hotel offers free bikes for guests to use, air-conditioned rooms, and a small pool.

Hotel LeyendaPerfect for those who want to relax, this hotel is located 2km from the beach. There is a pool and restaurant on-site.

Budget Hotels

Hostel Samara- Located about 40 meters from the beach, this hostel offers dorms and private rooms. There is a restaurant and shared kitchen on -site.

Sunset Chill Out Bed and Breakfast-Relaxed hotel located on the beach. All rooms are private but have shared bathrooms.

Things to Do in Samara

samara

Go Surfing

There are plenty of places that offer surfing lessons and board rentals on Samara beach, but our personal favorite is Pato’s Surf School.

They offer a good rate for lessons and with each lesson you get five days of board rentals for FREE! Plus, they are just an all around wonderful company.

They also offer amazing rates on SUP boards and kayaks. It is also possible to just rent a surfboard in Samara and do your own thing.

Explore Nearby Beaches

There are several white sand beaches nearby to check out. Our personal favorite is Playa Carrillo because we love how it is lined with palm trees and it is almost always empty.

However, Playa Samara is also really nice. It is very long and a great place for a long walk.

Go Horseback Riding

Enjoy a leisurely ride along the beaches on horseback. We especially suggest doing an early evening tour to enjoy the sunset.

 

 

Check out a Waterfall

Near Samara is a waterfall called Belen. It is pretty difficult to find and you will need a 4×4 to get there, but it is a fun off the beaten path adventure.

If you want more info check out the TripAdvisor page here.

Go Snorkeling

From Samara, it is possible to take a kayak and snorkeling tour out to Isla Chora. This is a super fun way to check out some of the nearby coral reefs.

 

 

See Wildlife While Mangrove Kayaking

Take a mangrove kayak tour with an experienced guide and you are sure to see tons of wildlife while enjoying a relaxing paddle.

 

 

See Sea Turtles

Take a sea turtle tour to spot potentially thousands of sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events that I highly recommend.

 

 

Go Sport Fishing

There are plenty of companies that offer half and full-day deep-sea fishing tours from town. We don’t know of any amazing companies in Samara, but you can always ask at your hotel.

However, we really like See Saw Tours out of the nearby town of Nosara. Captain Juri provides in-shore and off-shore trips for half and full day. 

Samara Restaurants

Bouticafe Bohemia – The vibe here is great plus the food is on point. We suggest going here for breakfast or lunch to get a healthy and tasty meal.

Mamaguia – A great spot for dinner. The cook everything perfectly but I highly recommend seafood or meat here.

Sweeties by Celia – The best way to describe this place is that everything is made with such love. This is a food truck and doesn’t look like much, but you will be blown away. I feel like it is impossible to eat here and not leave in the best mood ever.

Samara Organics – Not a restaurant, more of an organic store, but they serve delicious smoothies. They also have great organic products you can take with you as snacks.

L’Authentique – Our go-to dinner date place in Samara. They have great cheese and meat platters.

Budget-Friendly

Falafel CafeIf you are into Mediterranean food, head here. The prices are extremely fair and the food is absolutely delicious!

Soda la Perla – Great typical Costa Rican food at an affordable price.

Digital Nomads in Samara

If you plan on working while in Samara there are a few things you should know.

– In general the internet is usually decent, but it’s always a good idea to ask about the internet speed before booking a place.

– If you need a co-working space check out Loco Working co-working space in the downtown area. 

Packing for Samara

Bug Spray – The second the sun goes down the mosquitos come out in full force. Don’t forget, aerosol cans are not allowed in luggage, so bring spray in a normal spray bottle. 

Sun Protection – Costa Rica is not too far from the equator. The UV index here is high! We suggest bringing a wide brimmed hat, UV protecting shirts, and of course high SPF sunscreen.

A Rain Jacket – If traveling during rainy season you might have some rainy afternoons. We like to bring a lightweight jacket because even when it rains it stays hot!

…for more packing tips check out our complete packing list for women and our packing list for men.

samara town

Samara Travel Tips

– We have gotten a lot of questions asking if Nosara or Samara is better to visit on the Nicoya Peninsula (since they are close and have a somewhat similar vibe).
 
If you are looking for a really small town (more like a village), head to Nosara. If you want a bit more going on, but still cute, go to Samara.
 
– Don’t swim in any of the small rivers in Samara. There are crocodiles in some of them.

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2 Responses

  1. We are coming to Samara in March with our kids. Do we need to bring rain jackets for everyone even though it is dry season still?

    1. Hi Johanna!
      Nope! You should have perfect rain-free weather in March! 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions as you plan your trip.

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