Playa Samara, Costa Rica -

Playa Samara, Costa Rica

sunglasses samara


Two days ago


playa samara


in Playa Samara


hammock playa samara


on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica


this american girl


I hopped on my bike, bikini clad, ready for adventure.


fishermen playa samara


I rode down the beach, watching fishermen walk fearlessly into the frigid ocean


playa samara


children protect the catch from hungry packs of vultures


playa samara birds


and birds circle overhead


birds playa samara


diving mercilessly into the ocean to feast.


playa samara road


I tightly gripped my handlebars as I bounced on unpaved country roads


cattle samara


waving hello


cattle samara


to the cattle


baby calves samara



who stared.


howler monkey


I spied on families of howler monkeys, swinging in the trees, and marveled as ominous bellows released from their tiny bodies.




I waded through crocodile rivers


playa barrigona



and climbed fields of barnacle covered rocks


playa barrigona


to reach a secluded pink sand beach


playa barrigona


where Mel Gibson has a home. Shhhh!


fishermen playa samara


My body weary from my long journey


playa samara sunset


I watched the sun begin to set


playa samara sunset


the sky light on fire


playa samara sunset


and thought what a perfect day it was in Playa Samara, Costa Rica.



Where to stay: 


Become part of the family at Casa Brian. With complementary breakfast, hammocks overlooking the ocean, friendly vibes, and bonfires at night on the beach, what more could you need?



Where to eat: 



Next door to Casa Brian, feast at Mango’s for the best Costa Rican casado I have ever tasted. Whole red snapper caught that day, perfectly crusted seared pork, or saucy braised beef with comforting stewed black beans, sweet fried plantains, and tangy cilantro covered cucumber tomato salad will only set you back $5. The connected bar blasts reggaeton and hosts karaoke at night, but the soda retains a tranquilo atmosphere.



What to do: 


Rent stand up paddleboards and watch the sunset from the ocean

Swim to the nearby island and lay on its white sand shore

Bike outside of town to nearby Playa Carillo, Buena Vista, or Playa Barrigona

Lay contently in your hammock overlooking the beach



Want to create a truly life changing trip to Costa Rica? My eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica will show you how!


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  1. Those are not barnacled rocks – they are beautiful sea dollars! I LOVE finding them across W African beaches…make beautiful pendants for necklaces or earrings!

    • Oops photo placement may have been deceptive :) I know them well from my childhood on the Eastern shore, typically bright white though. Loved that pic and needed to use it somewhere 😉 Thanks for the link love.

  2. Mind if I stop by for a visit? This sounds like heaven. <3

  3. Beautiful pics! I was in Arenal and then Playa Grande about a year ago, and your pics are making me so nostalgic. Costa Rica is such a beautiful place!

  4. Jocelyn Courtney Says: March 9, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Ok, so I’ve been following your blog since its inception, and I’ve been meaning to comment ever since. This post put me over the edge. I just spent winter break in Belize and Costa Rica, and my four weeks in CR was spent almost entirely in Sámara. It was incredible, to say the least. When I read your recent “Pura Vida” post and saw your pictures, I was sure you were there. :)

    I must say–nearly everything you write seems to be passages from my journal or pieces of my own mental quandaries. We approach life in extremely similar ways, have learned similar lessons, and I kinda think we’d be besties in real life, haha!

    In the last year I’ve traveled quite a bit through South and Central America, so it’s a joy to read your stories and reflect on your thoughts.

    Kind Regards,

    • Jocelyn, thank you so much for your comment. I would love to hear some of your travel stories from this part of the world :) I’m now in Nosara, did you ever make it here? I’m in love, more to come! And perhaps we would be besties 😉 My hope is always that by writing through my own struggles, writing exactly what I need to hear, I will resonate with someone else. Thank you for the confirmation that I have! Pura vida chica 😉

  5. Jocelyn Courtney Says: March 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Ah yes, travel stories are the best! :) I never made it to Nosara, sadly enough…it wasn’t until I arrived in Costa Rica that I realized there is SO MUCH to see just in that country alone. Someday I’ll be back to explore the rest. :)
    It is indeed a pleasure to relate to others in meaningful ways…thanks for doing what you do and keep up the good work chica!

    • Thanks Jocelyn. Yes, there is SO SO SO much to see! This trip I’ll be covering Samara, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Montezuma, Isla Tortuga, Caribbean Coast (again), and Osa Peninsula. Even with all of those locales I won’t have scratched the surface! Keep checking in :)

  6. I am so glad you have created this blog. I love the tilt-shift on so many of your photos. Keep having a lovely time. xo

  7. […] Marissa, with her Alabama roots, declared it crocodile paradise. We had faced those waters before in Samara. […]

  8. […] Playa Samara […]

  9. I have spent last January in Samara. Although I was a bit disappointed by the surfing there, I was able to venture out to other beaches as well (including Buena Vista, Barrigona, etc.).

    And I cancelled my plans to head to Santa Teresa because Samara is just so chilled!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 24, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      I think Samara is more about the vibe than the beach, which by Costa Rica standards isn’t that gorgeous. Barrigona nearby is soooo stunning! Hope you enjoyed your time in Santa Teresa, it definitely has a lot more going on there especially in the way of surf!

  10. Hey Camille! Just wondering what the email address is for Casa Brian? (I can’t seem to find a website / any legit information online!)

    Thanks xo.

  11. […] Marissa, with her Alabama roots, declared it crocodile paradise. We had faced those waters before in Samara. […]

  12. […] Playa Samara […]