Costa Rica

A Taste of La Pura Vida at Samara Beach

Dec 17

Pura Vida, or ‘Pure Life’ in Spanish, is a phrase which can be loosely translated to mean a variety of things. It’s a greeting, a salutation; it’s a response when someone asks “how are you?“; it’s a positive expression; it’s a way to say “this is life” or “enjoy life!”

Pura Vida has a much deeper and more profound meaning to Costa Ricans; it’s not just a phrase, but an attitude, an outlook, and more than anything else, it’s a way of life.

The Pura Vida lifestyle was immediately apparent when I arrived in Samara. Swaying palms lined the wide beach, and gentle waves crashed along the shoreline. Friendly locals offered freshly chopped coconuts, and horses grazed peacefully in a nearby field.

The beauty and laid back vibe of Samara made me instantly appreciative of my surroundings and of my life at that moment, and ‘living the good life’ was the only thought that crossed my mind.

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Located on the Pacific Coast along the Nicoya Peninsula, Samara is a little quieter and less developed than some of the country’s other well-known beaches, and these were a few of the main reasons I chose to visit. But when I arrived, it almost felt like I had the beach to myself, and I was a bit nervous that I’d made the wrong decision – should I have chosen a more lively beach like Puerto Viejo instead?

But as I sat at one of the small beachfront restaurants and watched the sky turn pink and orange – the colours reflecting off the calm ocean with the silhouette of palms in the distance – I knew I’d made the right choice in coming to Samara.

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After spending a few days in San Jose, where there was nightmarish traffic and an onslaught of western-style chain restaurants, Samara felt like a breath of fresh air. My hotel was located on an unpaved road which led to the main street where the bulk of small restaurants and shops are located.

There are a few beachfront restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses nestled amongst the palm trees, but most are well hidden and the beach never looked busy- regardless of how many people were around.

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It was busier and a little more lively on the weekend, but I still felt there was a noticeable lack of raging nightlife. The beachfront restaurants filled up on Saturday and Sunday evening, but the music played quietly, and the mellow vibe remained.

The water was surprisingly warm, and the calm waves made it perfect for swimming, surf lessons, and stand up paddle boarding. I had fully intended on taking a surfing lesson, but basking in the sunshine, dipping into the ocean, and sipping on tequila-based cocktails distracted me.

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Samara is a place that has an indescribable allure about it. When I think of it, not only do I think of sound of the waves gently lapping the shoreline and the beautiful sunsets, but of how I felt when I was there: content, happy, and grateful – and that’s why I believe it’s one of the many places in this beautiful country where the spirit of Pura Vida will reveal itself to anyone lucky enough to visit.


  • Reply Anna | The Blonde Banana Dec 18 at 10:29 am

    So pretty! I’d love to go back to Costa Rica someday and do some of the less crowded places like this.

    • Reply ashleywanders Dec 18 at 5:25 pm

      I would definitely recommend Samara! And I would love to see more of Costa Rica, as well- even though I basically just got back!

  • Reply thisbatteredsuitcase Dec 27 at 10:01 pm

    I barely spent any time in Costa Rica – only about ten days – and I’d definitely love to go back and explore more! This beach looks amazing…

    • Reply ashleywanders Dec 28 at 9:14 pm

      It is such a lovely beach! I also visited for a short amount of time, so I hope we’re both able to revisit someday!

  • Reply Packing my Suitcase Dec 31 at 4:49 am

    Amazing place, just the way I love it 😀
    Beautiful photos Ashley!!!
    I wish you a happy new year!!

  • Reply Camels & Chocolate Jan 02 at 12:47 pm

    Seriously, is there anywhere better than Costa Rica? I could go there a dozen times and never tire of those views.

    • Reply ashleywanders Jan 02 at 5:04 pm

      I completely agree! I just visited last month and I’m already trying to figure out when I can return.

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