Playa Samara

Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Located on the western end of the Nicoya Peninsula, the gently curving stretch of light grey sand and rolling waves of Playa Samara is one of Costa Rica’s most popular surf destinations, and an all-time favorite among vacationing Ticos and tourists from around the world.

Playa Samara’s gentle waves seem to have been perfectly designed for amateur surfers and this beach is widely recognized as a great place to learn how to surf or practice new tricks. Surf lessons and board rentals are usually on offer on the beach. Advanced surfers will enjoy the huge waves that form outside the reef that protects Playa Samara, which is also a magnificent spot for snorkeling.

But there is much more than surfing to this town, where you will find a plethora of adventure activities to keep you off your feet all day long! A selection of dive centers in town offer scuba diving and snorkeling trips to any of the 25 dive sites located in the vicinity, where you may observe all kinds of underwater marvels, including hammerhead sharks. Pura Vida Dive Center in town, offers PADI certifications including Open Water, Advanced, Rescue Diver and Divemaster training.

About a mile off the Samara coast lies the stunning Isla Chora, a majestic rock that protrudes out of the water. Tours there include kayaking or taking a boat across to enjoy a half-day of snorkeling over a coral reef exploding with colors and marine life.

Playa Carrillo, an isolated beach located around eight km. to the south of Samara, is an ideal spot to get away from the crowds and enjoy a romantic sunset.

The town of Sámara, which has grown exponentially over the years, makes a great base to explore the neighboring beaches and is home to a wide selection of restaurants, shops, and bars that tend to get rowdy on weekends.

Weather and Packing Checklist

Playa Samara is located in one of Costa Rica’s driest areas, which enjoys fairly steady, year round temperatures that hover in the upper 80s and lower 90s during the daytime and drop to the upper 70s at night. With variable precipitation levels throughout the year, Samara weather is generally at its best from November to August.

Double check to make sure you’ve packed your swimsuit, flip flops, beach towel or sarong, a hat, shorts, t-shirts, some rain gear, insect repellent and plenty of sunblock and aloe vera gel to soothe any sun damage.

How to Get There

From San Jose:

By plane:

While there is no airport in Playa Samara, you can fly into the neighboring town of Nosara or to Punta Islita on Nature Air, a domestic airline, and hop into a taxi from there to Samara, which might cost you around $70 USD.

By car:

The shortest drive from San Jose to Samara is on Autopista del Sol to Caldera, where you’d keep driving to Puntarenas. Turn left after passing Puntarenas and follow the signs to the Friendship Bridge (Puente de la Amistad in Spanish). Cross the bridge and drive towards Nicoya, following the road signs. Cross straight through Nicoya town until you start to see signs for Samara and follow the paved road there.

By bus:

Alfaro company ( offers a daily bus service from San Jose to Samara. The trip takes about five hours and a ticket costs around 4,000 Colones (about $8 USD) each way.

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