10 Best Things to do in Samara

Samara is this city in the province of Guanacaste and more precisely on the Nicoya peninsula that seduces every time. Samara is a large sandy beach that requires relaxation, a perfect sea for snorkeling and a charming city for walks. 

Here are the activities to do in Samara. 

1. Visit the town of Samara

The town of Samara borders the beach that bears his name. But be patient, before you run and jump into the sea, take the time to walk around the town. It is very nice to walk there and wander among the different stores. You can also go book a table in one of the many restaurants for your lunch or dinner. You might see some animals in the city. In fact, Samara is bordered by a tropical forest and some monkeys, iguanas and birds escape and find themselves in the middle of the town. Little shy, you can observe them but keep your distance so you do not scare them.

2. Enjoy the Beaches of Samara

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Of course, Samara is mainly famous for its pretty beaches lined with coconut trees. Playa Samara is the mos famous and frequented. It is for sure one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Its great advantage is that it is protected by a coral reef. Therefore, the sea is very calm there.

You will understand that the place is ideal to spend time with your children, especially because you will find everything you need to spend a good day: bathrooms, restaurants, etc. Children can swim there in complete safety and can learn to snorkel. You will be fascinated by the many multicolored fish that move in shoals before your amazed eyes.

Finally, the bach faces the West. We highly recommend that you have a cocktail or coconut water while you admire the spectacle of the sunset.

Otherwise you can also go to the other beaches in the area:

  • Playa Carrillo south of Playa Samara. Here too the waves are calm and the beach is lined with palm trees. It is more isolated than its neighbor, which gives it another charm.
  • Barrigona Beach: It is only accessible if you have a rental car. Why is it famous? Mel Gibson's house overlooks this beach. Although its access is quite difficult (better to have a 4x4), the beach is of great beauty and above all, wild and isolated from the world. A pure happiness!

3. Scuba Diving

We told you before, diving in the crystal clear waters of Samara is a pleasure. If you are a fan of scuba diving, you will not be left out. Some shipwrecks have sunk in the area. As everyone knows, wrecks are a breeding ground for corals and the hundreds of fish that take refuge there. You are also likely to be lucky enough to see white tip sharks, snappers, and maybe even hammerhead sharks and bulldogs. A fabulous show!

Scuba Diving is best from May to November, during the rainiest season. Clubs generally offer 2 tanks dive for 120 USD.

4. Horse Riding

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Several companies offer horse riding. You will see it quickly, this activity is a must do in Costa Rica and we love it! For $50, you can go deep into the jungle and observe the local flora and fauna. The animals and birds are innumerable, not to mention the different varieties of tropical plants.

But the best thing to do is jog or gallop along the beach with your hooves in the water and better yet, at sunset. A bit cliché, sure, but do you dare tell us that you are not dreaming it either? That's what we thought.

5. Take a Surf Lesson

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The sea in Samara is very calm. However, some waves can challenge the coral reef. Also beginners in surfing can practice in the small and soft waves stopped by the barrier. Some clubs offer lessons, you should definitely try !
If you are a more experienced surfer, you will love the beaches of Nosara, in particular Guiones. They are internationally famous, their waves will never disappoint you, trust us.

6. Take a Yoga Class

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While in Nosara, stay there for a bit. What better than a little Yoga class to relax after a great surf session? Yoga is a very popular sport in Costa Rica and you will find it in all its forms. If you book a surf break in Nosara, yoga is generally included in the program. Surf in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, stroll along the beach to watch the sunset in the evening. Isn’t it perfect ?

7. Hiking in the Werner-Sauter Natural Reserve

Samara is mostly famous because of its beaches. But if you like hiking and cannot spendmore than 24 hours without having your dose of trails to go, the Werner-Sauter Biological Reserve is for you. 140 hectares to cover in this private location on the outskirts of town. The dry forest is best to visit with a guide who will show you all the wildlife he knows by heart. You will especially see monkeys, owls, hedgehogs and other animals more adorable than the others. Landscapes from up there are breathtaking ! The reserve is located on the heights, so you will have several times an impressive view of Samara and its bay.

8. Go to see the Belen Waterfall

It is only 20 minutes away from the commercial city of Samara and is definitely worth visiting, so check it out. The Belén Waterfall is a small waterfall that feeds several pools where it is good to swim. The access is not signposted but all the locals know it, ask them! Therefore, it is still preserved from tourists, so shhh!

Good to know: it is better to go to the Belén waterfall in the dry season (December to April) where there is less flow in the waterfall and therefore less current. During the rainy season, you may dive deep. Be very careful. Nothing to worry about in the dry season. Note though that no facility has been set up, the place is really little known. That's why we love it!

9. Go Fishing With the locals

On the side of the Nicoya Peninsula and therefore in Samara, deep-sea fishing is a very popular sport. Leaving Playa Samara you will find several companies offering day fishing excursions. In Costa Rica, "catch and release" is widely practiced. That is, the animals are released after being captured. You will have the opportunity to see many species of fish, including:

  • Roosterfish
  • Red carp
  • The marlin
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • etc.

10. Take a Tour at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge

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Credit : @the-cloud-travaler

Last but not least, you will see the turtles at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge was created in order to preserve the Lora Tortoise species. Unlike other species that lay between October and February, Tora Tortoises come by thousands to lay their eggs on the beach between September and November. This is called Arribada. If you come to Samara during this period, do not miss this fabulous show that nature offers.

Practical Information

How to get to Samara?

Samara is on the Nicoya Peninsula, although the maps could show you other roads that seem easier to you, we do not recommend going there. They are generally in poor condition and you may have to cross some streams. From San José, you will have to drive for 4h30. You can make a stop in the town of Nicoya, it's worth it. You will feel like you are in the heart of the Wild West in the middle of a cowboy town. Nicoya is a blue zone. It means that 10% of the population is over 100 years old because of the way they live, eat and work. If you go there in February, you might even see Rodeo shows. In short, we love it!

Where to stay in Samara?

There is no shortage of hotels in Samara, there is something for all tastes and all budgets. We fell in love with the Pacific Lodge, this French hotel with very good value for money. It is located in a green environment and above all its restaurant offers exceptional dishes that combine French and Costa Rican cuisine. A pure pleasure.

If you don't want to go to a hotel, you will easily find guest rooms or Airbnbs. This option is also very useful if you want to live with the locals and at your own pace. Either way, it is best to spend at least one night there to do all the activities. Then you will leave for Santa Teresa. Make no mistake, Santa Teresa is on the Nicoya peninsula, yes, but a 4 hour drive from Samara. you won't do both in one day.