Sámara Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, activities to do, local culture, and more in Sámara, Costa Rica. Plan your trip with this comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Sámara

Located in the province of Guanacaste, on the north-western coast of Costa Rica, Sámara is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This small beach town has everything you need for a relaxing and adventurous vacation. From pristine beaches, natural attractions, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and an excellent food and drink scene, Sámara is the perfect destination for all types of travelers.

List of Places to Visit in Sámara

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Explore Sámara’s rich cultural heritage by visiting its museums and historical places.

The Sámara Archeological Museum

The Sámara Archeological Museum is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts. It showcases the area’s indigenous Guanacaste culture’s ancient artifacts, including ceramics, jewelry, and stone tools.

The Sámara Church

The Sámara Church is a significant landmark that dates back to the 19th century. This church has a unique Spanish colonial architecture and is a must-visit attraction during your stay in Sámara.

Natural Attractions of Sámara: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Sámara’s natural attractions are the town’s main draw, and they offer a wide range of things to do and see for every type of traveler.

Playa Sámara

Playa Sámara is the main attraction of the town. The beach is crescent-shaped and is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. A beautiful coral reef surrounds the beach, making it the perfect spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Werner Sauter Biological Reserve

Werner Sauter Biological Reserve is a private reserve that protects the region’s dry forest ecosystem’s flora and fauna. Visitors can go hiking, bird watching, and explore the reserve on guided tours to see unique species of flora and fauna.

The Isla Chora

Isla Chora is a deserted island located in front of Playa Sámara that can be reached by kayak or a motorboat. The island is a protected national park and a popular spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Sámara

Sámara offers a variety of hiking and biking trails that take visitors through lush forests, rivers, and scenic views.

Barigona Trail

The Barigona Trail is an easy hiking trail, perfect for families. It traverses through the Chora River and provides excellent views of the forests and mountains surrounding Sámara.

El Empalme to Sámara

El Empalme to Sámara is a beginner-level biking trail that connects Sámara’s beach to the nearby town of El Empalme. The trail is smooth and easy, making it ideal for beginners or those looking for a relaxing bike ride.

Best Things to Do in Sámara: Activities and Tours

Sámara offers a plethora of things to do and see. Here are the best activities and tours that you should try during your visit.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a perfect way to explore Sámara’s pristine beaches, lush forests, and mountainous landscapes. Visitors can go on guided tours led by locals who know the area best.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Sámara’s coral reef system is teeming with marine life, making it a must-visit spot for scuba divers and snorkelers. Visitors can take guided diving tours or rent equipment to explore the reef themselves.

Week-Long Itinerary for Sámara

Here is a sample week-long itinerary for Sámara:

Day Activity
Day 1 Arrive in Sámara, relax at the beach
Day 2 Visit the Sámara Archeological Museum and explore the town
Day 3 Go on a guided horseback riding tour
Day 4 Explore Werner Sauter Biological Reserve
Day 5 Take a trip to Isla Chora and go snorkeling
Day 6 Go scuba diving to explore the coral reef
Day 7 Depart from Sámara

Food and Drink Scene of Sámara

Sámara’s food and drink scene is a fusion of traditional Costa Rican flavors and international cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes and beverages you have to taste during your trip.

Must-Try Dishes

Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is Costa Rica’s national dish and is a simple but filling dish made from rice and beans. It is usually eaten for breakfast, but you can find it on menus throughout the day.


Casado is a traditional Costa Rican dish that consists of rice, beans, plantain, and salad and is typically served with meat or fish.

Local Beverages


Guaro is Costa Rica’s national alcoholic drink. It is a clear, potent rum made from sugarcane and is used in many traditional drinks.


Tamarindo is a refreshing drink made from the fruit of the same name. It is sweet and tangy and is the perfect beverage to sip on a hot day.

Where to Stay in Sámara: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Sámara offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious beachfront resorts. Here are some of the options:

Hotel Belvedere

Hotel Belvedere is a luxurious beachfront hotel that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The hotel has a beautiful pool and excellent dining options.

Hostel Matilori

Hostel Matilori is a budget-friendly hostel located in the heart of Sámara. The hostel has a communal kitchen and a lounge area and is perfect for backpackers and budget travelers.

What to Buy in Sámara: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Sámara offers a wide range of souvenirs and local products that make perfect gifts for friends and family back home. Here are some of the items you can find:

Handmade crafts

Sámara has many local artisans who produce handmade jewelry, textiles, and pottery. These make perfect gifts and souvenirs.


Costa Rica is known for its high-quality coffee, and Sámara has some excellent local coffee shops where you can buy the best coffee beans.

Local Culture and Customs of Sámara

The people of Sámara are friendly and welcoming, and the town has a laid-back vibe. Its cultural heritage is rooted in Guanacaste culture and traditions.

Best Time to Visit Sámara

The best time to visit Sámara is during the dry season, which lasts from December to April. During this time, the weather is sunny and dry, perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Sámara


  • Do respect the local customs and culture.
  • Do try the local food and drink.
  • Do use sunscreen and insect repellent.


  • Don’t litter or damage the environment.
  • Don’t wear revealing clothing in public places.
  • Don’t take drugs or engage in illegal activities.

Safety and Health

Safety in Sámara

Sámara is a safe destination, but it is still advisable to take the usual safety precautions, such as not leaving valuables unattended on the beach or in public places.

Health in Sámara

Sámara has excellent medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. However, it is always advisable to have travel insurance and seek medical attention if needed.

Getting to Sámara: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Sámara

The nearest airport to Sámara is Liberia International Airport, which is approximately one hour’s drive away. The airport has direct flights to major cities in North America, South America, and Europe.

Bus Stations Near Sámara

Sámara has an excellent bus network, and visitors can take buses from San Jose or Liberia to Sámara.

Other Options

If you’re traveling around Costa Rica, Sámara is easily reachable by car. Taxis and rental cars are also available.

How to Get Around in Sámara

Sámara is a small town, and most of the attractions are within walking distance. However, you can rent a bike or scooter to explore the town and its surroundings.

Where to Go Next from Sámara: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest is a popular tourist destination and is approximately a three-hour drive from Sámara. The forest offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, zip-lining, and wildlife watching.


Tamarindo is a neighboring beach town that is worth visiting. It is approximately a 45-minute drive from Sámara and offers beautiful beaches, a lively nightlife, and a variety of water activities.


Sámara is an excellent destination for travelers who want to experience the best of Costa Rica’s natural beauty, food, and culture. With its pristine beaches, lush forests, and a wide range of outdoor activities, Sámara is a must-visit destination for those looking for a relaxing and adventurous vacation.