first 24 hours in samara (costa rica)

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.

dscf09381
one of the few tour boats along the samara coast. come to think of it, it was the only boat we saw all week
20161127151758
everyday at dusk, the locals come out for a game

-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

20161201144247
mellow waves along a very flat beach

-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.

dscf08951
this ain’t snow :/
img_92011
paddling and paddling and more paddling
img_91901
beginner gringo alert

-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.

20161127152944
so this is what barbie world looks like…

-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!!!!!!!

dscf07731
i couldn’t tell if he looked mean or badass. the mohawk says ‘play with me’ but the claws say ‘are you sure, dumbass?’
dscf08641
SO CUTE. i want a freaking coati. this little guy was so curious and not scared of us at all. it wasn’t until he got right up to me that i saw his big glossy eyes and his long, razor sharp claws
picsart_12-06-09-14-50
we had a bunch of chipmunks (or so i think they are) hanging outside our place all week, eating all sorts of fruits

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.

20161127110720
an bunkbed for adults
20161127111116
our tiny but sufficient kitchen
20161127110741
nothing says central america like electric-heated hot water faucets. we had to help the housekeeper’s husband change it and even he was pretty sketchy about getting zapped
20161127110754
the temperature was surprisingly perfect without any air con. overall, a really cozy airbnb

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.

dscf08761
we were wondering what this big metal door with a small slot cut out of it was…
dscf08781
it turned out to be a craft beer bar. all of the beers are produced in costa rica with the largest batch being made in nearby santa teresa. if you make it samara, come check out micro bar
dscf08711
welcome to the land of pura vida. it means, hello, goodbye, all good, take it easy, enjoy life and so many more sayings. the ticos are a happy bunch and they live life accepting and enjoying what they have because there is always someone else who isn’t as fortunate. hence, pura vida

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!)

overall impressions?
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.

dscf10141
empty beaches, blue water, fine sand
dscf10241
and lots of palm trees separating the town from the beach
dscf09841
my little gringa… not the taco kind

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *