Samara’s Scorching Surf


We enjoyed three nights of idyllic tropical beach life in a hotel that was literally on the beach of Samara.

Trip to the Beach

After the roads of Monteverde, the highways to Samara were a dream ie they were normal metallic sealed roads. We stopped at Nicoya, an hour shy of Samara, for ATMs, toilets and ice-cream. We heard that Samara cash machines often run out of cash and most businesses only accept cash. We struggled to find a public toilet but eventually noticed a municipal hall across the road from the playground and right next to the bank which had clean toilets. After the cool climate of Monteverde, the heat here was intense. We avoided unshaded areas including the playground.

The Village

As we drove into town we realised this was a small beach community that had become a tourist town. It had anything a hippie traveller might want like green smoothies and açai bowls. It also had the usual pizza and burger joints but not much in the way of local cuisine.

The Hotel

Ajay had booked in three nights right on the beach and were struggling to find our hotel. We realised the only way to get to the hotel was to walk on the beach. Apart from feeling sticky hot we were all blown away by the fact that we were able to walk onto the beach from our hotel.

While we waited for check in, we lazed about on the beach mats under the shade of a tree. When we checked in we were in a twin room with such a tiny bathroom I preferred to use the hotel lobby toilet. But we didn’t care. The location was super perfect. The heat and blue skies meant we wouldn’t be spending any time in the hotel room except to change and sleep. The wifi sucked, but again, who cares when you can spend your free time playing in the ocean or people watching on the beach.

The bonus was the fruit packed breakfast each morning with toast, home made mango-and-orange “mermalada” (jam) and a coffee. Ajay would have the typical Costa Rican breakfast of eggs, bean and rice.

The owners were Italian and had made their home in Costa Rica and interestingly there were many Italians staying at their hotel. The mum had just given birth four weeks prior but was still running the ship while their two year old would play on the beach with the nanny. The owner I in the photo below.

The Beach

Although Samara is a gentle surf beach, the fine sand gets churned up easily by the waves creating low visibility in the water. A couple of times I took the goggles and swam into the clear waters not realising the depth was well over 2 metres and I was a decent distance from shore. It was on one of my first morning swim that I saw a sting ray and then a school of big fish. I immediately stopped and started shouting to Ajay (who was playing on the sand with the little ones) about my excitement. He couldn’t hear me but the people who were about 50 metres away looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to explain that I saw a sting ray but they pretended they couldn’t speak English 🙂

Kenzo and Lui loved playing on the beach which was unsettling because of the scorching sun. After 9am we would have them in hats and long t’s with plenty of sunscreen. Lui would be exhausted by lunch time from all the play so we would nap but Kenzo, Carmelo and Giselle kept playing in the water. Around 4pm the heat would ease and we’d allow Kenzo to take his hat off.

In spite of being in coastal places in Mexico, we never had this feeling of freedom on the beach. It’s the type of feeling you take for granted in New Zealand where beaches are easily accessible to anyone, they feel unscathed by resorts and bars and they are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. The Costa Rican’s have a similar easy going attitude to kiwis in that they know how to relax in nature with the family. However, when it comes to booking appointments the ex-pats complain the Costa Rican’s are a little too easy going 🙂

Giselle was eyeing up a snow cone and went barefoot across the hot sand to fetch one. When she tried it she found it disgusting. They had put condensed milk all over it.

Carmelo and Giselle loved playing in the surf. We barely saw them the first day since they spent the whole day in the water aside from meal times. Every so often Ajay or I would join them for a swim. Ajay and I sat in the shallows being bowled over by the waves, much to Kenzo and Lui’s pleasure.

Kenzo and Lui were so happy to find this playground on our last morning of Samara.

We spotted a squirrel that hung out close to the beach. And there were lots of stray dogs that enjoyed playing with children or chasing each other. 


Samara faces south and enjoys all day exposure of sun plus beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Kenzo and Lui were up at 5:30am on all the morning we were there so Ajay and I enjoyed pretty pink sunrises while looking for tiny sea creatures on the beach. 

We found a green sea worm and some crabs as well as other creatures I couldn’t name. Many creatures were out this time of the morning but were hidden during the day, perhaps the heat makes them prefer to hide under the surface.


Sunset didn’t mean Carmelo and Giselle were out of the water on the first two nights. But our last evening, probably because Carmelo and Giselle were all sunned out, we took a walk before sunset, on the west side of the beach, so that we could explore the rock pools.

We spotted some interesting birds while we were there. Kenzo and Lui loved sitting in the rock pools watching the fish while Carmelo and Giselle preferred to go exploring.

This was the first time in our four months of travel that we were in a tropical climate, right on the beach, with warm waters, and we all savoured it, knowing that the three nights would pass too quickly.

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