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Founded in 1974, Travel Impressions® is one of the nation's largest leisure tour operators, offering FIT vacations to over 200 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, China, Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Islands of Tahiti, Canada, the Continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. The extensive global portfolio features more than 2,400 resorts, hotels and 1,350 luxury villas.

Travel Impressions has received multiple industry awards for outstanding customer service, best overall operations, best technology, most knowledgeable reservations staff and leading marketing materials – all dedicated to better serving travel agents and their clients.

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Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards 2005-2017 Best in Sales & Service

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2018 Best Vacation Packager, Luxury 2015-2018 Best Vacation Packager Overall 2015-2018 Best Vacation Packager, Caribbean 2017-2018 Best Vacation Packager, Premium 2017 Best Vacation Packager, Mexico 2016-2017 Best Vacation Packager, U.S. & Canada 2017-2018 Best Tour Reservation Team 2017 Best Vacation Packager, Family 2017 Best Villa Rental Company, Overall

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2015-2017 Best Vacation Packager, Caribbean 2017 Best Vacation Packager, Premium 2017 Best Vacation Packager, Mexico 2017 Best Vacation Packager, U.S. & Canada 2017 Best Vacation Packager, Family 2017 Best Villa Rental Company, Overall 2016 Best Tour Reservation Team 2016 Best Vacation Packager, U.S. & Canada 2007-2016 Best Vacation Packager Overall

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2017 Readers' Choice Award Silver Winner "Best Tour Operator, Latin America & Mexico" and Bronze Winner "Best Tour Operator, Caribbean" 2016 Readers' Choice Award Gold Winner - Best Tour Operator, Caribbean/Mexico 2015 Tour Operator, Caribbean 2015 Tour Operator, Mexico

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2015, 2017 Silver for Marketing/Design 2015-2016 Gold for Marketing/Design

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2016 Best Wholesaler of the Year

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2017 Top Producing Tour Operator, US 2015 Top Producing Traditional Tour Operator 2015 Stellar Sales Support from a Tour Operator in the U.S.

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2015 Top Producing Traditional Tour Operator and Best Producing Tour Operator for Weddings and Honeymoons

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Travel Impressions has an extensive portfolio featuring more than 1,850 resorts, hotels, and over 1,500 luxury villas, plus 2,000 tours provide global options for every traveler. In addition to vacation packages utilizing scheduled air on major carriers, the company also offers Dedicated Vacation Flights from 26 U.S. departure cities to popular vacation destinations throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica. Read More

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AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Travel Impressions has been the recipient of numerous industry awards for outstanding customer service, including being named Travel WeeklyReaders' Choice as "Best Tour Operator, Sales and Service" for an unprecedented thirteen years in a row (2005-2017), the first recipient of "Best Tour Operator, Packaged Overall" (2014), as well as "Best Tour Operator, Caribbean" (2011 – 2013).

TI is also proud to have been among the TravelAge West WAVE Award winners and Editor's Picks for "Best Tour Operator, FIT," "Best Tour Operator, Caribbean," "Best Tour Operator, Mexico," "Best Tour Operator, U.S. & Canada," "Best FIT Tour Operator, Europe," and "Tour Operator Providing Best Travel Agent Support" since 2007.

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Respected for its leading technology, knowledgeable reservations staff, and award-winning marketing, TI is an organization that continues to put partnerships first because "your success is our destination."

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Why Travel Impressions? 

One of the largest and most successful tour operators in the United States, Travel Impressions has been in business since 1974. Their unique position in the travel industry comes from having access to special deals, insider information, and travel experts from multiple companies worldwide. With these resources they can offer customers detailed vacation packages that prioritize their desires and needs, all at great prices. Here’s a look at what they offer: 

  • Endless options: With over 1,300 destinations to choose from and partnerships with hotels and resorts around the globe, Travel Impressions is hard to beat on choices. Travel Impressions can connect you with luxurious destinations in Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, Central and South America, Canada, and throughout the United States. Whether you’re looking to dive into Mexico City’s legendary history, relax in the sun on a soothing Greek beach, or discover why Hawaii has been an American vacation hotspot for generations, Travel Impressions will surely have the perfect itinerary for you.
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Samara Costa Rica: Family-Friendly Beach Town Guide

Samara Costa Rica is a relaxed beach destination that is great for families or anyone looking for chilled out vibes

samara

The Samara Costa Rica Vibes

Samara Costa Rica is a laid-back town and tranquil coastal paradise on the Pacific coast.

The downtown area has many restaurants and shops, but if you are looking for a more peaceful experience there is plenty of that as well. 

Now on to the rest of the Samara Costa Rica travel guide.

Background Info About Samara Costa Rica

Nearest international airport.

Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia

Popular Things to Do

surfing, rent an ATV, snorkel or diving tours

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car , walking in the downtown area

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April

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costa rica vibes about

Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and have called sunny Costa Rica home since 2016.

We are on a mission to help you plan the perfect Costa Rican vacation.

Want the whole crazy story?

Samara Costa Rica: Family-Friendly Beach Town Guide

Map Of Samara Costa Rica

Samara is a small beach town located on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica south of Nosara.

Why We Suggest Samara to Families

I’ll be honest, it took me several visits to really understand Samara. Originally, I heard it was popular with surfers and backpackers. So, when I first visited this beach town I went in with that mindset and just couldn’t understand it.

Nosara is just north of here and has much better surfing and more backpacker-ish town.

The second time we visited I felt like we ran out of things to do. But, I think a big part of that was that I am not big on hanging at the beach all day, the shore fishing wasn’t great (this is what Thomas lives for) and a lot of the activities involved tours (which I didn’t feel like taking).

So, we visited for a third time, for a longer stay. My goal was to figure out Samara. And in that third visit, I got it. This place is perfect for families!

The downtown area is condensed so you have a lot of hotels and restaurants in one walkable spot. The beach is long and very swimmable. There isn’t a big drop-off, you can easily walk out into the water and typically not worry about big waves.

Plus, there are some great family-friendly day tour options.

So, if you are flying into the Liberia airport and are looking for a family-friendly beach town that isn’t as hectic as Tamarindo or Playas del Coco, I would say that this is the place to go.

Flights to Costa Rica

The easiest way of getting to Samara is by flying into the Liberia International Airport.

From Liberia, it is about a two-hour drive to Samara. From the San Jose International Airport, it is about a five-hour drive.

That being said, we will go through how to get here from each airport to clear things up a bit.

If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner . We consistently find the best rates through their website.

Driving to Samara

San jose to samara costa rica.

The drive to Samara is long, but fine. The first two hours of the drive are on a main toll highway (Route 27). 

If you are a somewhat experienced driver you should have no trouble with this.

The tolls do not accept credit cards. They will take US dollars or colones.

You will then drive on a main road that can feel like it take forever (Route 1). A lot of big trucks drive this road and it is often hard to find a place to pass them.

However, construction has been ongoing for a few years now, so maybe you will visit and actually have a very smooth drive.

Samara Costa Rica: Family-Friendly Beach Town Guide

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Eventually, you will turn off on a smaller main road called Paso de Tampisque.

If you need to stop for a quick meal or bathroom, there is a small plaza with a Subway, Papa Johns, and Taco Bell located just before you make a left-hand turn on to Paso de Tampisque.

Other than that, there are not many quick food options along the way.

However, there are several gas stations if you need a bathroom break. Most of the gas station bathrooms are actually fairly decent.

From the turn on Paso de Tampisque, it is usually smooth sailing until you reach downtown Samara.

Just note that police tend to hang out in the first few miles of your turn onto Paso de Tampisque controlling speeding.

We suggest downloading the free app Waze for directions in Costa Rica. It is the best and often other drivers are really great about inputting where the police are hanging out.

In other words, this drive is doable. We’ve done it many many times. However, after a long flight, driving for five hours might be the last thing you want to do.

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Liberia to Samara Costa Rica

The drive from Liberia Internation Airport to Samara is fairly easy to do. It will take about two hours and consists of mostly main roads the whole way.

The one part that gets a little hectic is driving through downtown Nicoya, but usually, it is not too bad.

Here is a Google Maps link so you can better visualize the route.

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Private Shuttle to Samara

If you are traveling with a group of family or friends, a private shuttle is the way to go.

You can sit back and enjoy the Pacific Coast scenery while a competent driver ensures you get to your destination safely.

We work exclusively with Adobe Transfer for private shuttles.

You can find out more and get a shuttle price quote here . 

Public Bus to Samara Costa Rica

Check out the website The Bus Schedule for updated times.

From San Jose

There is a public bus that will take you to Samara. This trip will take about six hours.

This is by far the most affordable way to get to Samara, but definitely not the most comfortable.

The bus departs from downtown San Jose twice daily at 6:30am and again at 12:00pm.

From Liberia

There is not direct public bus route from Liberia to Samara. You will need to take the bus to the town of Nicoya and then switch to another bus.

This can be a bit stressful because if you miss the connection you might be waiting several hours until the next one arrives.

Domestic Flights to Samara

There is a domestic airport located in Nosara. It is possible to take a domestic flight from San Jose here.

From Nosara, you can get a taxi to Samara. It is about an hour’s drive (so it might be a pricey taxi journey). 

Just keep in mind that this is a more pricey option and if you are scared of small planes this might not be the best for you.

The pro is that this is a super fast transportation option and the views are amazing.

samara costa rica

Transportation In Samara

Samara is a very walkable town. If you plan on mostly just spending your time within the town and on the beach, you really don’t need a car.

If you plan on doing more exploring in the area we definitely suggest renting a car. If you don’t have a car you will have to depend on day tours.

Keep in mind that although the roads to Samara are paved, many other roads around are unpaved and involve river crossings.

We definitely suggest getting a car with 4-wheel drive if you plan on checking out activities nearby.

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samara costa rica beach

Samara Costa Rica Weather

The most popular time to visit Samara Costa Rica is between the end of December through early May. 

This is dry season in Samara. You can expect extremely hot weather and no rain.

We like to visit this area between May through mid-August. At that time of year, you will likely have a daily afternoon thunderstorm that lasts for about an hour, but there are fewer tourists. We just make a point of getting up early and really enjoying the day at Playa Samara before the rain rolls in.

From mid-August through mid-December you can expect the temperature to cool off a bit and more rain.

Some hotels close between August and November because there just isn’t enough demand. 

– The temperature usually ranges between 77°F to 86°F

– The sun rises all year round between about 5:15am and 5:45am

– The sun sets between 5:30pm and 6:00pm

Things to Do in Samara Costa Rica

Explore nearby beaches.

There are several white sand beaches nearby to check out. Our personal favorite is Playa Carrillo because we love how it is lined with palm trees and it is almost always empty.

Go Horseback Riding

Enjoy a leisurely ride along the beaches and through the jungle on horseback with an experienced guide.

This is a great way to visit the more off the beaten path spots in the Samara area.

⤷ Book Your Jungle and Beach Horseback Riding Tour  

Check out a Waterfall

Near Samara is a waterfall called Catarata Belen. It is pretty difficult to find and you will need a 4×4 to get there, but it is a fun off the beaten-path adventure.

Every time we have visited there has been nobody else there.

Just be careful swimming, especially during the rainy season because flash floods can happen. 

⤷ Directions to Catarata Belen

 Go Hiking

Want to visit a biological reserve and potentially see tons of wildlife? We suggest a guided hiking tour through the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve. You will be accompanied by an informative guide who will share insights about the region’s wildlife and the rich history of its indigenous inhabitants. 

This tour includes transportation from Samara area hotels. 

⤷ Arrange Your Hiking Tour

Rent a Kayak

Directly on the beach in Samara there are often people renting kayaks. You can just walk up and rent one out for a few hours to enjoy a nice paddle.

Go Snorkeling

From Samara, it is possible to take a kayak and snorkeling tour out to Isla Chora. This is a super fun way to check out some of the nearby coral reefs.

We suggest doing this as a combo kayaking/ snorkeling adventure tour

⤷ Arrange Your Samara Kayaking and Snorkeling

If you prefer taking a boat, we suggest this fun whale watching and snorkeling tour on a catamaran . 

See Wildlife While Mangrove Kayaking

Take a mangrove kayak tour with an experienced guide and you are sure to see tons of wildlife while enjoying a relaxing paddle.

⤷ Arrange Your Mangrove Kayak Trip

See Sea Turtles

Take a sea turtle tour to Playa Ostional to spot potentially thousands of sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events that I highly recommend.

The best time to experience this is in the fall (September and October). I don’t suggest booking this tour at other times of the year because you most likely won’t see anything. 

⤷ Arrange Your Sea Turtle Tour

It is also possible to drive to Ostional on your own and get a tour once there (you can only access the beach with a tour for the turtle’s protection). However, this trip involves river crossings, so it is really best to do it as part of a day tour if possible. 

If you want to learn more, check our complete Ostional Turtle Guide . 

Go Sport Fishing

There are plenty of companies that offer half and full-day deep-sea fishing tours from town. We don’t know of any amazing companies in Samara, but you can always ask at your hotel.

However, we really like See Saw Tours out of the nearby town of Nosara. Captain Juri provides in-shore and off-shore trips for half and full day.

samara costa rica

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Samara Restaurants

Bouticafe Bohemia – The vibe here is great plus the food is on point. We suggest going here for breakfast or lunch to get a healthy and tasty meal.

Mamaguia – A great spot for dinner. The cook everything perfectly but I highly recommend seafood or meat here.

Sweeties by Celia – The best way to describe this place is that everything is made with such love. This is a food truck and doesn’t look like much, but you will be blown away. I feel like it is impossible to eat here and not leave in the best mood ever.

Samara Organics – Not a restaurant, more of an organic store, but they serve delicious smoothies. They also have great organic products you can take with you as snacks.

L’Authentique – Our go-to dinner date place in Samara. They have great cheese and meat platters.

Budget-Friendly

Falafel Caf e – If you are into Mediterranean food, head here. The prices are extremely fair and the food is absolutely delicious!

Soda la Perla – Great typical Costa Rican food at an affordable price.

samara beach bar

Samara Costa Rica Hotels

High-end hotels.

Nambu Beach Front Bungalows – The views from this hotel are amazing! Enjoy the beautiful pool and modern rooms.

Azura Beach Resort (All Inclusive) – Modern adults-only hotel located in front of Samara Beach. There is an outdoor pool, fitness center, evening entertainment, and more!

Mid-Range Hotels

Hotel Giada : For a fair rate per night you can get a double room with Costa Rican breakfast included. There is also a nice pool on site for guests to use.

Yoga Salt Life Lodge – All stays include a free yoga class. This hotel is 300 meters from the beach.

Good Life Lodge – Located in downtown Samara (300 meters from the beach) this hotel offers free bikes for guests to use, air-conditioned rooms, and a small pool.

Hotel Leyenda – Perfect for those who want to relax, this hotel is located 2km from the beach. There is a pool and restaurant on-site.

Budget Hotels

Hostel Samara- Located about 40 meters from the beach, this hostel offers dorms and private rooms. There is a restaurant and shared kitchen on -site.

Sunset Chill Out Bed and Breakfast -Relaxed hotel located on the beach. All rooms are private but have shared bathrooms.

samara costa rica hotel

Airbnb and VRBO in Samara

We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation in Costa Rica. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.

Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double-check before booking.

Alta Vista – A two bedroom condo that sleeps 6 guests. What really makes this place stand out is the dedicated service and care that the owner and his employees bring to maintaining the property and ensuring every guest has a great experience. 

Ocean View Condo – A two bedroom condo that can sleep up to 5 guests. We love the floor to ceiling glass windows and the large balcony. 

VILLA LIBÉLULA – A three bedroom villa that sleeps 6 guests. The home has a really nice outdoor area with pool, lawn, and outdoor dining area.

Casa Colibri –  This home has a nice pool and outdoor area with grill. It boasts stunning views of the Pacific ocean and can sleep 7 guests in 4 bedrooms. 

Casa Pacifica – A 6 bedroom home that can sleep up to 14 guests. This listing is actually two homes next to each other. There is a private pool. 

samara costa rica

Group Tours to the Samara Area

Take the planning, stress, and guess work out of traveling by booking a multi-day tour with an experienced guide.

For more tour ideas check out Tour Radar . 

Eco Adventure in Costa Rica

Get ready for adventures like zip lining and white water rafting. This tour goes to Monteverde, Samara, La Fortuna, and more fun spots.

Samara Travel Tips

– We have gotten a lot of questions asking if Nosara or Samara is better to visit on the Nicoya Peninsula (since they are close and have a somewhat similar vibe).

If you are looking for a really small town (more like a village), head to Nosara. If you want a bit more going on, but still cute, go to Samara.

– Don’t swim in any of the small rivers in Samara. There are crocodiles in some of them.

Packing for Samara Costa Rica

Samara is a relaxed beach town that has a bit of a surfer/ hippie vibe to it. We usually wear lightweight breathable fabrics that protect us from the sun. 

You can dress very casual here unless you plan on visiting nice restaurants. 

Don’t forget your rain gear if visiting during green season.

Check out our Samara Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials. 

Samara Costa Rica FAQ

Is samara costa rica touristy.

Samara is a popular tourist destination. However, compared to some of the other beach towns in Costa Rica it is much more relaxed.

Can you swim in Samara Costa Rica?

The main beach in Samara has a very gradual incline into the water and usually, the water is calm, making it a good place to enjoy the ocean. However, check for red flags and always ask someone about the current conditions before swimming.

How long to stay in Samara Costa Rica?

To enjoy what Samara has to offer, three nights is enough time. However, you could also spend longer here to just relax.

Is Samara Costa Rica safe?

In general, Samara is safe. Please keep an eye on your belongings though. Petty theft does sometimes happen.

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Paquera : A small but bustling Nicoya beach town where the ferry lands

Nosara : A relaxed yoga and surfing town that is popular with backpackers

….if none of those appeal to you, check out our  Guide to the Nicoya Peninsula  for more ideas of places to visit in this area.

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We are coming to Samara in March with our kids. Do we need to bring rain jackets for everyone even though it is dry season still?

Hi Johanna! Nope! You should have perfect rain-free weather in March! 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions as you plan your trip.

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Samara Tourist & Travel Agency

Samara Tourist & Travel Agency – Established in 1963 this family-owned Tour Operator business has flourished and has become one of the leading businesses in East Jerusalem.

With over 50 years of experience in tending to all travel needs of travellers and pilgrims alike to the Holy Land and the entire region, the business’s strength lies within the personal attention and customized tours and products offered to each visitor whether individually or travelling with an organized group.

Surviving the ups and downs of the political climate which has a great effect on the flux of tourism to the Region, we at Samara Tourist & Travel Agency have developed a survival strategy that has been quite effective over the recent difficult years. Looking to the future and new trends in Global Tourism, the business is adapting new marketing strategies and creating new and diverse selection of Touring Products that encourage an increase in the number of tourists and entice new target markets to come, assuring continuity and exposure to the many different themes which our lovely country has to offer – from the Faith-based tourism to Heritage and Cultural Tours as well as Nature-oriented Green tours, these are just a few of the successful and memorable experiences offered to our clients.

Types of Services

For all your Travel needs to the Holy Land and the Near East Region we offer the following services:

  • Classical Pilgrimages to the Holy Land Specialty tours for Groups and Individual.
  • Large selection of Hotels of various categories Excursions to Jordan, Egypt and Sina.
  • Professional Tour Guides and Tour Leaders.
  • Luxury Air-conditioned Buses, Car-Rentals and Limousine Service.
  • Cultural Meetings and Folklore Evenings ‘Wedding in Cana’ including the organization of the Church Ceremony and other Honeymoon packages.
  • Medicinal-, Health- und Spa Packages at the Dead Sea and to the Hot Springs.
  • ‘Fun in the Sun’ Beach Vacations.
  • Alternative Tours, Hiking in the Holy Land, ‘Palestinian Culture’ Tours, ‘Learn Arabic’ Vacations, ‘Fair Tours’, historic tours through Palestine and Israel.
  • ‘Towards the first Qibla’ – Islamic Pilgrimages

Contact Information

For further information and quotations we will gladly be of service, please contact us at:

CEO and General Manager: Christina Samara

Address: Samara Tourist & Travel Agency Greek Orthodox Pat. Rd. #1 P.O.Box 14058 Jerusalem 91140

Telephone: + 972 2 627 6133 Telefax: + 972 2 627 1956 Email: [email protected] / [email protected] Website: www.samaratours.com

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