Sámara, the sleepy beach

(continuer en français) – Published: May 24, 2022

In the west of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is fringed by a series of beaches, more or less developed, where visitors come to live the pura vida promised by a well organised advertising. The beaches overlook the Pacific Ocean, where every evening the sun repeats its blazing show.

A few thousand inhabitants are scattered in a handful of villages barely changed by the development of international tourism. Even before that time, Sámara attracted surfers from the capital San José, 150 miles, 240 kilometres, away.

The roads

Getting to Sámara is not always easy, as if it had to be a deserved treat. Most of the roads are still dirt roads, continually traveled by all kinds of vehicles, rutted after rain, and it often rains.

The houses are scattered along the roads, separating the less and less exploited fields, which have been advantageously occupied by new constructions for tourists. Good intentions often replace professionalism.

The main beach

Following the curves of the shoreline, there are several beaches in the area of Sámara. The main beach is not always prepared for tourists, as the tides are known to wash the driftwood off the sand, so it may well stay there for a while.

The locals seem to leave their boats carelessly on the beach, ready to set sail again. The children are entrusted to the family dog to go swimming, they have done this at all ages.


It’s hard not to notice and enjoy the pelicans. After spotting a school of fish carelessly close to the shore, the pelicans take up a hunting position. Then breaking their flight suddenly, they drop down, entering the water in a gush of foam, their beaks pointed to strike the intended prey.

Without reaching the proximity between humans and animals that can be observed in the Galapagos Islands, the presence of humans does not seem to keep the pelicans away.

Playa Carillo

Immediately to the south is the Carillo beach. Between the sand and the road, several rows of coconut trees have been planted. This setting creates a Caribbean atmosphere, ideal for long naps in hammocks suspended between two coconut trees, as the heat is often crushing.

But don’t be wrong, in Costa Rica, there are many activities everywhere. The calm waters of Sámara are particularly attractive to beginner surfers. There are also boat trips for fishing or snorkeling, horseback riding or guided hikes through the rainforest.

A slight reservoir of water provides a favourable terrain for herons. Here again, the approach of a visitor does not make them fly away.

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Sámara, the sleepy beach

Getting to Sámara is not always easy, as if it had to be a deserved treat. Most of the roads are still dirt roads, continually traveled by all kinds of vehicles, rutted after rain, and it often rains.

To be informed of upcoming articles, register here (it’s free!).


  1. Gorgeous images of a kind of paradise I think. A driftwood-strewn beach is a small price to pay for being away from all the tourists. At least I’d certainly sign up. Pelicans are amazing creatures, I once stayed next to a pelican sanctuary in Tampa Bay, Florida. The shot of the surfer at sunset could be for a marketing campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words. Costa Rica favours this kind of photos where naturalness and beauty go together, there is on one side the will to adhere to the standards of comfort and on the other side to leave nature unchanged. The driftwood is part of the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

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