The Northern Pacific region of Guanacaste is home to several of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches and is a popular second home hotspot for foreigners and for residents of the country’s capital, San Jose. One of the most secluded beaches is Playa Carrillo where skinny palm trees, warm sandy beaches and aqua blue water are eye candy for the soul. Wild parrots and Howler monkeys echo throughout the forest. The tide fluctuates about 9-10 feet pushing back the shoreline back about 100 feet exposing black volcanic sand and gorgeous coral reefs. We believe Playa Smara is the best place to live in Guanacaste Costa Rica.
Some might prefer an old fashioned fishing town, a place where it's easy to find Playa Samara luxury homes Costa Rica. Or if your family prefers to mingle with the crowds and have a larger selection of restaurants and shopping, Playa Tamarindo may be the better choice.
Navigating around Costa Rica can be a little bit more time consuming with one lane and at times, gravel roads. Road construction and expansion often slows you down and is a sign of continuous development in Costa Rica. Paved highways from San Jose (Aeropuerto International Juan Santamaria) and Liberia (Daniel Oduber International) will take you most of the way. Jet Blue, Delta, American Airlines, United and Spirit are the most common US carriers. People often choose to live in Playa Samara over Playa Tamarindo because of the fully paved roads to and from both international airports.
Things haven’t changed much in Samara over the years. Small ranch-style homes and gravel roads winding up the mountains are common. Horseback riding on the beach and in and around town is a mode of transportation by the locals. Bicycles are by far more popular in Playa Samara than a car. If you’re not in a rush to get to your destination, Guanacaste has an inexpensive public bus system. Commercial bus shuttles to and from the San Jose airport will run you about $50.
Playa Samara has a nice mix of foreigners and locals. Approximately 1,500 people live here year round. During the holidays, tourism surges significantly at the beaches. There are several America-style gated communities in the area which include Las Ventanas del Mar, Samara Reefs and Lomo Verde. Mountain top homes can easily exceed $1 million and we found traditional ranch-style homes in gated neighborhoods in the $200k’s. Small condo’s in a beach resort community we found in the low $100k’s. Playa Samara is a good example of why Costa Rica is one of the cheapest countries to live.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Local handmade art and jewelry can be found in the Mom & Pop boutiques on the main road in and out of Samara. Carved wooden pieces, colorful sarongs, and painted masks are common. Koss Art Gallery is the Samara’s most well known art gallery. Don Jaime Koss creates incredible vibrant works of art on canvas. Live music adds to the beach scene at Rancho De La Playa and El Lagarto on the weekends. Every Monday at 10am Casa Gecko Glass offers glass fusion classes.
The beaches of Guanacaste are situated close to the equator. The coolest months are from November to January and synchronizes with the dry season which extends through April. The hottest months are from March to May and then the rainy season kicks in and lasts through October. Local’s tell us there is so much rain in October, many of the businesses close for the month. Temperatures average 83 degrees at the beaches and can be 10 degrees cooler at the higher elevations. Occasional earthquakes and flooding in the low-lying areas are Guanacaste’s biggest weather hazards.
LIFELONG LEARNING EXPERIENCES
If you’re looking to learn Spanish, Intercultura Samara Language School is a beachfront campus at Samara Beach and is Costa Rica’s only beachfront Spanish School. Choco’s Surf School on Samara Beach and C & C Surf School are the highest rated surfing schools. Mixed Martial Arts Classes are every Tuesday and Thursday at Natural Center in Samara. Yoga classes are offered daily from Monday to Thursday, and are given by local and international yoga practitioners on Samara Beach. Residents are super friendly here, a nice attribute coming from one of the cheapest countries to live.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH CARE
The Centro Medico has an onsite medical care and pharmacy all rolled into one and some of the areas physicians still make house calls. The nearby town of Nicoya has a modern hospital for more serious medical concerns named Hospital de la Anexion in Nicoya. In December 2013, plans were announced to expand the areas of hospitalization and medical imaging.
The Costa Rican Department of Social Insurance manages most of the nation's public health sector. Its medical care services are available to all citizens and permanent legal residents. Costs tend to be much less than doctor, hospital, and prescription costs in the U.S. Private medical insurance is also dramatically less expensive ranging from $60-$130 per month. Costa Rica has three internationally-accredited private hospitals located in the city’s capital, San Jose.
Sportfishing in Costa Rica by far is the most popular rich man’s sport. Billfish and Marlin are still abundant and easy to catch in the deep waters of the Pacific. Kingfisher Sportfishing is the top rated local charter boat in Samara. Zipline canopy tours are both for the one time thrill seeker and the frequent adventurer. The family owned business, Wingnuts Canopy Tour is a family owned business in Samara and does an excellent job of providing multiple lines with scenic views. Samara Trails is the areas best hiking trail within the private 346 acre Werner Sauter Wildlife Refuge. The hike takes about 1-2 hours to complete and is filled with wildlife sightings including monkeys and birds.
At the beaches, surfboards, SUP paddle boards and kayaks are easily accessible as rentals in addition to guided horseback riding. Every Wednesday there is open and fun adult beach volleyball on the beach in front of Gusto.
SHOPPING AND DINING
The Tico saying ‘live like a local’ is the key to success in dining and shopping at Samara Beach. Fresh fruits, vegetables and staples are inexpensive at Pali grocery stores or the Green Iguana. Imported cheeses, prepackaged meats, and imported brands are costly. Meats and poultry can be found at Pali or the local butcher. A delicious bakery is next door to the Green Iguana market. Street vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetable and coconut water. Every Tuesday, the Samara Farmers Market is open from 8-11am at Samara Organics. For clothing and apparel, small boutiques offer beach attire and shoes.
Gusto, El Lagarto and Lo Que Hay are the most popular beachfront restaurants. There are over 40 restaurants to choose from in Samara. You will not find American chain restaurants or fast food stops in Samara.
We found luxury homes Costa Rica for sale in the following price ranges:
- 13 Homes priced between $100k-$200k
- 10 Homes priced between $200k-$300k
- 15 Homes priced between $300k-$400k
- 2 Homes priced between $400k-$500k
- 1 Home priced between $500k-$600k
- 3 Homes priced between $600k-$1 million
- 6 Homes priced between $1 million-$3 million
Property taxes in Samara vary from 0.5% to 1.5% of the declared value of the property.
If you're searching for the best place to live in Guanacaste Costa Rica, there are a number of gated communities and beachfront neighborhoods we find of interest.