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Introducing Playa Sámara

Is Samara the black hole of happiness? That's what more than one expat has said after stopping here on vacation and never leaving. And perhaps it is more than the sum of its parts? Because on the surface it's just an easy-to-navigate beach town with barefoot, three-star appeal, and a crescent-shaped strip of pale-gray sand spanning two rocky headlands. Not spectacular, just safe, mellow, reasonably developed, easily navigable on foot and accessible by public transportation. The sea is also rather calm. Not surprisingly, you’ll find it’s popular with vacationing Tico and foreign families and backpackers, who enjoy Samara's palpable ease and tranquility. But be careful, the longer you stay the less you'll want to leave.

If you’ve got some extra time and a 4WD, explore the hidden beaches north of Sámara such as Playa Barrigona, equally famous for its pristine beach as for its celebrity resident, Mel Gibson.