what do i like?
-so quiet – the first time we walked onto the beach felt like we showed up at somewhere that wasn’t listed in any guidebooks (which it is). the crowd has a mix of tourists and ticos (native costa ricans) and towards the evenings, the tourists are taking pictures of the sunsets while the locals got engaged in a full blown soccer match with maybe 30-40 participants, all of different ages.
-calm waters – very friendly to horrible swimmers, aka: us. playa samara is a bay that is protected by both an island a reef so that the gentle rip current circles clockwise and counter-clockwise parallel to the shore. because of the reef, the cold pacific waters are also mostly kept out of the bay and the water is comfortably warm. shark threats are low because of this but the risk of running into jellyfish is slightly higher though i’ve been reassured that they’re not as vicious as in asia
-perfect conditions to learn to surf – i’m now kicking myself for not surfing at playa maderas. after one godawful (but dirt cheap) lesson in tamarindo by a pair of guys that had no business teaching, my first lesson with c&c surfing got me hooked. it’ll be a few years before i turn pro and even longer before i know how to swim without screaming like a girl but this board life is real. it actually feels nothing like powder (which is what i was expecting) and more like how i would imagine princess jasmine feels when riding aladdin’s magic carpet. little details are the difference between riding out a wave and getting dunked face first into the ocean and it’s so. much. fun.
-mesmerizing sunset – yadi, yadi, yadi… yeah i know, every sunset i’ve seen has been the ‘best’. well i’m going to qualify this one. not only is is an amazing one but it is THE best sunset i’ve seen that doesn’t actually involve directly seeing the sun itself. the beach is almost entirely in the shade during the final 30-60 minutes of the sunset and the skies change from glowing orange streaks to pink highlights that reflect off the clouds and onto the wet sand. there’s a period of 10-15 minutes during the middle of the sunset where the skies get very dark and then it seems like the sunset reverses itself. once the pink hues reflect off the sand the entire beach glows pink.
-random wildlife – we had an iguana welcome us to our airbnb, a chipmunk say hi one morning and a baby white nosed coati say hi the following morning. w e’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a cockroach the size of my palm but hey, they were were long before us so we’ll roll with the punches. COATI!!!!!!!
what do i dislike?
-nothing. i’m in love with samara after just one day.
what do i like/dislike about the new accomodations?
-we found ourselves a loft unit in a three home apartment complex, though i feel weird about calling it an apartment since there aren’t multiple stories.
biggest adjustments from the previous stop?
-this is playa maderas 2.0. we were looking at costa rica to be 3 weeks of low key downtime and things have actually started to work out that way. this town is smaller and more rustic than the built-up-american-tourist-friendly tamarindo and it’s very apparent. as we were walking down the dirt road to our airbnb, we ran into a 6 foot long iguana and we haven’t had a single person try to sell us anything while on the beach (compared to every 2 minutes in tamarindo). meanwhile, it has more amenities than maderas in nicaragua so that we don’t feel like we’re in the middle of nowhere and condemned to eat uninspired hotel food.
what was our first meal?
we kept up the momentum from our last airbnb and cooked our first few meals at home again. the problem this time is that we shopped at the pali which i hear is part-owned by walmart and the marinated beef that we bought had a consistency in between shoe leather and a snowboard. our fingers were tired and pink from cutting it yet we were so hungry that we still scarfed it all down in order to have some sort of protein to go with our white rice (YAY for white rice and no more gallo pinto!)
we’ve read how visitors will come to samara for months at a time which seemed prepostorous considering that the beach isn’t drop dead gorgeous and the town is neither luxurious nor devoid of any tourism. it seems like samara is still balanced between the three really well and as the days go on i can feel the town growing on me. our airbnb is 50m from the beach and 30m from a reasonably priced language school (not as cheap as guatemala but then again nothing we’ve seen this trip has been). this town is a great jumping off point for daytrips if you have a 4wd vehicle (the coastal roads can be vicious or nonexistent in the wrong season) and i can definitely see myself coming back here for a longer stay with. the water is the perfect temperature for surfing, the beach is long and sprawled out, the town has enough tiny eateries if you’d like out or enough local grocers to cook a meal at home and the surf is great for beginners. not that i know what i’m talking about but my guess is that intermediates would probably want to venture off to one of the nearby beaches for varying degrees of better surf which is another selling point of samara; very accessible to the northern pacific coastline.