A.M. Costa Rica
Special Report:
The Nicoya West Coast II
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Jo Stuart
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, May 2, 2002, Vol. 2, No. 86

Tobacco waterfalls is a favorite destination.

Carillo Tours photos
Canopy tours keep you flying.
Samara and Carrillo have safe seaside charm
Photo by Next Media
Sportsfishing is readily available. 

Carrillo Tours photo
A quick trip brings you to Monteverde.


Photo by Patricia Martin
Guests have a choice of bungalows or hotel rooms at Las Brisas del Pacifico, Samara.


Patricia Martin photo
The vibrant colors characterize the oil-on-canvas paintings of Jaime Koss, whose gallery is on the sands of Sámara Beach.

Don't forget to read Part I of our report.
Click HERE
By Patricia Martin
A.M. Costa Rica travel editor

Down the southwest coastline of Nicoya Peninsula, we discover the charms of the side-by-side beaches Sámara and Carrillo and the communities around them. Here, the waves lap quietly onto the pale sands, inviting the whole family to safely enjoy the pleasures of the Pacific. 

Of the two communities, Sámara with it´s little town, shops and restaurants, is more highly developed. Just over the hilly road and minutes away, the sparsely populated Carrillo features 

This is Part II of a trip down the west coast of the Nicoya Peninsula from Ostional to Carrillo. You can find Part I HERE

cliffside dwellings and a cozy cove lined with coconut palms. Both beaches have earned the blue flag, indicating clean water and sand, and crowding is never a problem, thanks to the long stretches of shore. 

Sansa and Travelair run daily flights between San José and Carrillo; Alfaro buses are a comfortable alternative from S.J. if you´re not in a hurry. Take another look at the map to get your bearings, and you´ll see that once you´re in Sámara/Carrillo, you´re only about 35 minutes from the busy town of Nicoya.


Given the fabulous beaches, you may choose to do nothing but lay about like driftwood. But the more adventurous will be pleased to find a number of companies dedicated to keeping tourists on the go and vastly entertained.

Mahi mahi, marlin, giant tuna and sailfish draw sportfishing enthusiasts to the area, where sophisticated boats may be chartered through VIP Sportfishing. For both fishing and diving, contact this company at 654-4049, 656-4808 or e-mail twocan@racsa.co.cr. The owner of the 90-foot mothership and two other vessels of 38 feet and 48 feet is Nancy Smith, who also runs a clothing shop in the fashionable Hotel Guanamar in Carrillo. 

Guanasport Tours runs excursions from one to four hours duration, providing four-wheel ATV´s and motos. They can be reached at 656-0704 or 656-0510. Boat tours for sightseeing and dolphin-sighting are conducted by Alexis and Marco in English, Italian and Spanish. Contact them at 656-0468, boattours@samarabeach.com. Wing Nuts at 656-0153 has canopy tours of seven platforms in the nearby tree-tops of Santo Domingo. Call 656-0153. Flying Crocodile, 383-0471, offers lodging plus a bird´s eye view of the region in its ultralight planes. 

Also specializing in canopy thrills locally or at Cartagena is Carrillo Tours, at 656-0543, carrillotours@racsa.co.cr. Bilingual William Juárez will fill you in on their full roster of tours, covering nature´s creatures, coffee plantations, horseback riding to the regional Tobacco waterfalls with three cataracts of 60 feet or more each and natural swimming pools. Or how about kayaking with Williamís experienced guides on the ocean or on the Rio Ora? Longer excursions, such as to Arenal Volcano or Rincón de la Vieja Park or Monteverde are readily available through Carrillo Tours as well.


You´ll find accommodations of every style and price range at beachside or up on the hills overlooking the ocean. Bargains begin with El Colibrí cabins and small apartments at 656-0656. Likewise inexpensive is Casa del Mar 656-0264; and for a slightly higher cost but with a pizzeria and swimming pool, there´s Hotel Giada at 656-0132, which rents horses as well. In the luxury range, try Hotel Guanamar, 656-0054, with elaborate facilities and sophisticated dining, where VIP Sportfishing charters may be booked. 

After checking all of the above places, I ended up staying at the medium-range hotel, Las Brisas Del Pacifico. Bordering the sand, this attractive resort has a choice of either hotel rooms or bungalows, along with two swimming pools, a jacuzzi, and two restaurants with bars. Inquire about their current rates and packages at 656-0250, info@brisas.net, and log onto www.brisas.net for a look at the tropical grounds and beautiful beach.


You don´t even have to leave the beach to view the works of Costa Rica´s well-known artist, Jaime Koss. His workshop and art gallery are right on the sand, next to Las Brisas del Pacifico Hotel in Sámara. Jaime´s vivid oil paintings on canvas are sold unframed in three sizes ó easy to roll up and stick into a suitcase. 

Tienda Licia carries pottery, wood carvings and clothing, while Shanna has an array of beachwear. You could actually arrive with an empty satchel and pick up everything you need there at modest cost.

Samara Language School is a popular place to improve your Spanish in a gorgeous setting. To inquire about schedules, fees and home stays, call 1-800-205-0642 toll-free from the U.S., or e-mail info@samaralanguageschool.com. Cultural events, Latin dancing and dolphin tours are part of the experience. 


Let your taste buds lead you through the selection of seafood and ethnic restaurants around Sámara/Carrillo. Look into the Fish Market, El Ancla, La Gondola, and Ananas. One thing you may depend on, when you order something from the sea, you know it´s fresh that day! Newly opened in Sámara is Cofe Shop Latino, with salads, crepes, sandwiches and desserts, at low prices.


If you have favorite places there that you´d like us to visit, please drop us an e-line at travel@amcostarica.com

Carrillo Tours photo
The possibilities for kayak trips is nearly infinite.
What we published earlier: