8 Best Things to Do in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

|   Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Playa Samara is an often-overlooked gem nestled in the Guanacaste Province of the famous “Blue Zone”—a region of the world where people reputedly live longer than average. It is not as popular as the other beaches along the coast, such as Playa Tamarindo and Playa Del Coco, but that’s what makes it unique and distinct.

It sets itself apart from any other place with a perfect blend of locals and foreigners for a cultural explosion. The local residents have managed to keep this small yet special town undisturbed with an amazing four-mile stretch of beach and dirt roads. 

There are also few franchises. Nearly everything is local except for a supermarket called Pali, owned by Walmart. This is something I appreciate because I prefer to support the locals in their small communities. They work so hard to make a living.

Below is a list of the exciting things you can do in Playa Samara.

8 Best Things to Do in Playa Samara

Outdoor Activities

Sloth on a sloth hiking trip in Costa Rica
Sloth hiking in Playa Samara | Photo courtesy of Viator

Firstly, the weather in Samara is beautiful. There are two seasons, rainy and dry. The best weather is from November until April. If you love basking in the hot weather that is the best time to visit. 

There are so many water activities to do such as kayaking, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, deep sea diving, paddle boarding, horseback riding, dolphin watching, and hiking (you can even go sloth hiking!). There are a variety of amazing outdoor activities to choose from. ​

Playa Samara Beaches

Another wonderful thing about Samara is that there are four beaches in a two-mile radius. Playa Izquierda, Playa Buenavista, Playa Carrillo, and Playa Barrigona. 

Samara Beach is one of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches. You have all the space in the world to walk, run, enjoy all the water activities, have some food, enjoy happy hour, you name it. Beach and jungle horseback riding tours are even available.

Surfing in Playa Samara

Man surfing in Costa Rica
Photo credit: Deposit Photos

The Guanacaste region is a surfing paradise. There are many surfing school options in Samara where you can take lessons. In addition, the four beaches I mentioned above are all prime surf spots. I recommend beginners start at Playa Samara but if you are a surf junkie looking for some more adventure nearby Playa Izquierda and Playa Barrigona, or Playa Guiones in Nosara are great spots. 

Visiting Catarata Belen Waterfall

This beautiful waterfall is located about 20 minutes outside of Samara. It is about one mile inland from the main road. It is a beautiful local spot to spend a few hours and relax and enjoy the Pura Vida (literally Pure Life, a way of life for Costa Ricans) of the Guanacaste energy. 

You can take the bus but make sure to tell the driver you want to get off at Catarata Belen. Then you can walk the mile inland. Otherwise you can take a taxi or a rental car. 

Sunrises and Sunsets

Sunset in Costa Rica
Photo credit: Deposit Photos

If you have a soft spot for amazing sunrises and sunsets, then you landed the perfect place. The sunrises and sunsets are out of this world. There is no better way to start and end your day than watch a golden sunrise (or dip) from the horizon. 

The energy on Samara Beach is very healing and liberating. Take a stroll or sip on a cocktail and just enjoy the beauty that surrounds this place. 

Isla Chora

Isla Chora is a pretty little island facing Samara Beach. Take this small group half-day tour to kayak around parts of the coastline that are usually inaccessible with an experienced guide that will increase your odds of seeing marine and other wildlife.

Ocean kayaking to Chora Island
Ocean kayaking to Chora Island | Photo credit: Viator

It is a beautiful spot with amazing views of the mountains that surround Samara Beach. If you are adventurous and a good swimmer you can even swim across the water to the island when it is low tide. It is a nice island to enjoy the Pura Vida and have a little picnic. 

Playa Izquierda and Playa Buenavista

These beautiful beaches are about a 15-minute walk from Samara Beach. They are perfect spots for surfing or just relaxing. 

There is a 15-minute hike to get down to Playa Izquierda. The views are breathtaking. On the walk you can see many butterflies and animals. These beaches are more secluded which makes it so much more authentic and local. 

Werner Sauter Biological Reserve

This is another beautiful hike where you will learn about the natural and cultural features that make the Guanacaste region a “Blue Zone.” Enjoy the unique and amazing animals and enjoy basking in the beautiful nature Samara has to offer. 

Where to Stay in Playa Samara

Looking for where to stay in Playa Samara? Check out these hotels centrally located in Playa Samara.


Is Playa Samara Worth a Visit?

Travel really is the only thing you can buy that does make you richer. And that is how Samara will make you feel. You will feel richer in your experiences and most importantly in yourself. It’s a small town that will always hold a special place in your heart and that will change your life.

Last Updated on January 10, 2023