“Again, we absolutely loved this truly special town but unless you’ve never surfed and you’re only ambition is to stand up for the first time it’s not really a surf destination anymore.”
My reaction to this post:
When you arrive in Playa Samara the tranquility and beauty surprise many. The town is much more of a typical Costa Rican beach village than a town like Tamarindo, with more typical restaurants (cantinas/sodas), less Americans and less mass-tourism.
NOW, we absolutely LOVED this town and would highly recommend it as one of the coolest places on earth to chill and hang out- which we did everyday.
So I guess you can tell I agree with what the writer of above says. There are so many animals in town and the language school in town makes up a nice mix of people: locals, students and travelers for the shorter term, who always tend, for some reason, to stay in Samara longer than expected.
BUT the surfing is pretty much not worth it.
Here’s why: nobody mentions it on the Internet but it’s common knowledge in town (much to the dismay of the half dozen surf schools I might add) that the recent massive earthquake raised the barrier reef in the bay by almost 6 feet! Once barely visible during low tide, the reef is now a giant rock wall that stops pretty much all the surf even at high tide. All that really makes it through are small closeout waves that break very close to the beach
Since the volcano of La Fortuna stopped spewing lava a couple of years ago the hotel owners had to find creative ways to continue attracting visitors. The famous sight of flowing lava at night just doesn’t exist anymore.
The surf school owners of Playa Samara encountered a similar problem, when the earthquake of 2012 raised the barrier reef in the Pacific just outside of Samara.
Playa Samara is still listed here http://www.wannasurf.com/spot/Central_America/Costa_Rica/Guanacaste/playa_samara/ as a beginner/intermediate surf spot and after 5 and a half weeks of surfing in Playa Tamarindo I consider myself a high beginner/ low intermediate so I thought this place would be perfect. But nobody mentioned what happened after the earthquake. Friends of me, who went here before the earthquake took place, recommended the town to me because of the waves, not too big and not too small.
Nowadays, the waves are too small for me. But I don’t dismiss it as a place to learn to surf for absolute beginners.
If you have never surfed before, you can definitely spend a couple of days up to a week learning it here, because it’s not crowded and it is very safe in the water. You can get a feeling for the waves and for the ocean without many other people in the water. But after a couple of days you should move up to better spots.
It is true that Playa Samara is still placed in the market as a beginner/intermediate surf spot and honestly these days are over.
A high beginner would not have so much to do here anymore, BUT Playa Samara has some good surfing beaches nearby: Especially Playa Buena Vista is closely situated, as in reachable by foot (35 minutes walking) or bicycle. If you got a motor verhicle, you can drive to places such as Playa Barrigona, Playa Camaronal or Playa Guiones easily, which provide much more challenging waves.
It is true that you cannot hop out of your hotel or condo and jump on the waves in a matter of seconds, you have to be more creative. Get the surf schools to show you the beaches, find a taxista that is willing to bring you to these places or rent a quad bike or a car and drive around, which I highly recommend.
If you are on a road trip, Samara is definitely worth a stop. It is a lovely town.
Samara is lovely, but the earthquake made it less attractive for surfers. It is still suitable for first time surfers, but only with rising tide. It is a great place to hang around for a while, and you can surf very well on the surrounding beaches, but don’t expect to spend as much time in the water as in Tamarindo or Santa Teresa.
Also, there was a sick swell in Tamarindo ^^