Traveling to Samara, Costa Rica

costa rica's samara beach
by Katherine // 4 Comments

After our fun rafting adventure in Rios Tropicales, we headed to Samara for its expansive beach and fishing.  It’s one of the places you must include on your Costa Rica itinerary.

While the beach is popular, there are other things to do in Samara.  You will find nature parks, hiking, spas, zip lines, sportfishing, and yoga studios.  We thought it would be a nice balance to the rafting trip.

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Getting to Samara Costa Rica

We flew Nature Air from San Jose to Nosara, which is the closest airport to Samara Costa Rica. It was supposed to be an ‎8 am flight, but we found out there were mechanical difficulties when we arrived at the gate.  Eventually, they had to switch the plane and bump people (including us) off the flight because the new plane was smaller. We ended up on a later flight that day, so we had a drink and then lunch at the airport.

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I had a beer, Ginger had coffee with a little bit of a kick
I had a beer, my friend, Ginger had coffee with a little bit of a kick

To get to the plane, we boarded a bus which took us to an area for all of the small planes (including the private jets). We got on the 15-seat plane and then headed to Nosara. The 45-minute flight was rather uneventful. They had two pilots, which was somewhat disappointing to me (although likely safer).  Previously, I had gotten to ride in the cockpit on a Tropic Air flight from Caye Caulker to Belize City and I was hoping for a repeat flying experience.

Our airplane
Our airplane

Arriving At Nosara Airport in Costa Rica

Getting to Nosara was only the beginning of our journey.  We finally arrived at the tiny open-air Nosara airport.  At the end of the small, paved runway an airline employee pointed out a car that we could get to take us to Samara. My friend, WJ asked the driver about the cost to get to Samara. We knew it should be $70. When he said $60, we were happy that we were not going to need to negotiate.

We loaded our luggage (read about what to pack for Costa Rica here) into the SUV and were about ready to leave when another passenger from the plane talked to our driver. He needed a ride to his hotel in Nosara and there wasn’t another driver at the airport. The driver talked to me in Spanish about this and told me that it was on the way, so the three of us got in the back seat, and our new friend hopped in the SUV.

beach in samara costa rica
We were headed to Samara.

Traveling from Nosara to Samara

We started on our journey but were almost immediately thwarted by road construction. We had to backtrack and use a road on the other side of the airstrip to get back on track.  Eventually, we dropped the guy off at his hotel, which didn’t appear to be within walking distance of a beach. He was from Cape Cod and regularly came to Costa Rica to escape all the crowds on the cape in the summer. I guess some people go to Costa Rica just for the warmer weather or the laid-back atmosphere, but I really would want to stay near the beach.

We continued on our journey (which included another detour due to high water) and I saw many signs for yoga centers, organic foods, and even a vegan restaurant. Luckily, I also saw bars so I figured I could survive.   After an hour we eventually made it to Samara, and our driver dropped us off at our hotel, Rancho de la Playa, which is now called Pension Playa Samara.  It’s a laid-back budget hotel only a few minutes walk from the beach.  Click here to check pricing and availability.

We checked in after what ended up being a very long travel day!

Our Hotel in Samara

Our room was right above the bar and registration and right by the pool. Luckily, all of that closed at 10 pm so it wouldn’t be too noisy. Our apartment had two bedrooms with queen size beds, one bathroom, a kitchen, a single bed that served as the sofa, and a dining table. The only negative was the ceiling was vaulted and the walls only went up about eight feet, so you did have to be quiet if others were sleeping.

Aideta (the friendly lady at the front desk of the hotel) told us the Peli was the most affordable grocery store in the area so after we unpacked, we went to there to grab some drinks and snacks.  On the way there, we saw a bit of the town and even happened upon some sort of a religious parade. The Peli was reasonably priced but somewhat sparse in its offerings, but we got what we needed. I had emptied my backpack so we filled it up with beer, water, and juice.

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The religious parade that we saw
The religious parade that we saw

Costa Rica Samara Beach

After our expedition for groceries, we decided to walk to the beach and check out the restaurants in Samara for dinner. The beach was very near, about five minutes walking at a comfortable pace.  The beach itself was quite long and wide, and there were various restaurants where you could have a drink and relax on their lounge chairs.  There was even one restaurant that had volleyball courts and volleyballs that you could borrow.

The waves were quite big and would stir up the sand as they crashed.  This made the water cloudy close to the shore, but it was a gorgeous color when you looked further out.  I can imagine that surfing in Samara Costa Rica is quite good! During the trip, I went in the water a few times, but I never went out too far.  There were plenty of people who did – so it appeared safe.  I was completely content walking along the sand, hearing the waves crash and letting the water hit my feet.

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Samara Beach
Samara Beach

Have you been to Samara or any other beaches in Costa Rica? I would love to hear about your experience.


Expert tips for Visiting Samara Costa Rica

  • Nature Air has very restrictive weight allowances. With the cheapest ticket, you are allowed a 15-pound piece of checked luggage, a 10-pound carry-on, and you personally cannot weigh more than‎ 250 pounds. They are sometimes willing to bend some of the rules, but be aware of the policy, because you might have to pack a carryon (or wear more of your clothes) to minimize the fees.
  • When flying into a small town such as Nosara, have one person get the luggage from the plane while the other secures a taxi. This way, if there aren’t many taxis available, you can snag one of them!
  • The Samara surf can be rough, so be cautious in the water.

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Last Updated on September 12, 2020

About the Author

Katherine co-founded Two Traveling Texans. She is an experienced traveler and loyal sports fan. When she is not traveling Katherine works as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) specializing in tax compliance and consulting. She volunteers with both the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Junior League of Houston.