Casa Pacifica - More Info

 

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ABOUT OUR HOUSES AND PROPERTY 

Our main house was built in 2007 (4 bedrooms with a pool) and it is one of the most luxurious rental homes in the area.    Our smaller house (2 bedrooms) was completed in 2010 and is built to the same luxury standards.   Both are only a few minutes walk (200 yards) to an amazing secluded portion of Samara beach.  We are right between the towns of Samara and Carrillo (about 2 miles from each) next to The Hideaway Hotel on the access road to the beach.    You have the convenience of the stores and restaurants in town with the privacy of a large lot in a quiet, natural area.    The houses share the front yard, but have their own private spaces too - making them great independent rentals and also great to rent together for large groups.

Our property is about 2 miles from the Town of Samara Beach (but only 200 yards from Samara Beach, the beach).   It is about a 40 min walk to town along the beach.


OUR ADDRESS (also see DRIVING DIRECTIONS below)             

Our address is simply a physical description of the location of our house:                                 En el camino a Carrillo de Samara, la casa amarilla al lado del teléfono torre ICE          (on the road from Samara to Carrillo, the yellow house beside the ICE telephone tower)

   
CONTACT INFORMATION:
   Property Managers (Samara Rentals) phone #: (O) 2656-0820 or (M) 8939-3418 
   Main House phone from CR #:     2656-1072
   Main House phone from USA #:  (802) 227-2722
   Small House phone from USA #: (802) 277-0004
   Property Owners (in USA) phone #: (H) 919-933-8242 or (M) 919-270-8104 


WHICH AIRPORT SHOULD I CHOOSE?

We prefer the Liberia Airport (LIR) since it is the closest International airport and is very small and easy to get in and out of (it is out in the countryside).  Liberia is less than 2 hours by car to our property (all on paved roads with minimal traffic).

The San José Airport (SJO) is the largest International airport and has the most frequent flights to Costa Rica.  San Jose is about 4 hours by car to our property (all paved roads, a mix of major highway and smaller roads).   It's a fine airport - but we suggest you minimize your stay in San Jose unless you know your way around the city.


SHOULD I RENT A CAR OR USE SHUTTLES/TAXIS? 

UPDATED WITH NEW (EXCITING) OPTIONS!

Our house is a 2 mile walk to the main town of Samara.  If you love to walk (and the area is beautiful), you could book transfers from the airport and get away without a car (use taxis).   But if you really want to look around you might want some local transportation.

CAR RENTALS FROM THE AIRPORT:   The roads from the airport to Samara and our house are in good shape - but if you want to visit other towns please rent 4WD vehicles (most of the rentals here are small 4WD vehicles).   When renting a car, please note that you are likely to add ~$45 in insurance per day + the airport fee.   Expect to pay $80-100 per day in total even though the internet site says $20-40 per day.   If you have coverage for higher insurance - bring written proof, but you will still need to pay about $25 per day in minimum local coverage over the rental cost.

AIRPORT TRANSFER + CAR RENTALS:  You can get airport transfers for your group for ~$100 each way (Contact Outback Tours at bpotter888@gmail.com or Samara Info Center at marleen@samarainfocenter.com) and then you can rent a car or cars from the Alamo office in Samara as needed.    This makes arrival and departure easier and avoids the $50 airport rental car fee.   You may want to use this during the rainy season if you want to stay dry.

AIRPORT TRANSFER + 5 SEAT ATV RENTAL:   This is new and there are only 2 of these cool ATV 'cars' in Samara.   Outback Tours (bpotter888@gmail.com) can offer transfers to and from the airport (~$100 each way) and provide 1 or 2 off-road 5 seat vehicles for about $100/day/each.   During the dry season (late Nov - April) this is a great option which can allow you to tour the entire area including the rough mountain roads overlooking the coast.   This would be the maximum adventure option.

There are also golf cart rentals in town - but our experience is that they are very slow for the drive from town to our house. 

REMINDER:  DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR CAR

 

MORE ON RENTAL CARS:

Major rent-a-car companies have offices near both San Jose and Liberia Airport. Minimum age required is 21 years old. If you want to travel to some of the other costal towns or if you are coming during the rainy season, we suggest you rent a 4x4 vehicle.   We have rented from several different companies without any major issues, but it's good to know that ALAMO has an office right in Samara (car problems are not uncommon, the roads really beat up the cars).   


RENTAL CAR RECOMMENDATIONS:

- Book online on a site that does NOT require your credit card (most don't)

- Prefer a 4WD if you will likely need it to drive anywhere off the main road (unless you want a minivan for the seating - you can get by with cars and minivans if you stay on the main roads)

- Most of the rentals are manual, be very specific if you need an automatic

- Extended insurance is often mandatory, and is a good idea down here and it's not cheap.   Expect your final rental cost to be double of you see online to estimate the cost of car+taxes+insurance (we have seen this from pretty much every company)

 

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT TRAFFIC TICKETS:

Please note that it is VERY common to be stopped by police on the highway for speeding.  Also note that it is VERY common for them to ask you to pay a fee right there on the spot, this is not the legal way to pay for a ticket (it's a bribe).   It's your choice, but the rental car agencies will tell you ASK FOR THE TICKET instead of paying the police directly.  Most often they will not give you a ticket at all once they understand you are not going to pay.  Try not to speed to/from the airport - you will almost always see a speed trap.   

 


DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO CASA PACIFICA

DRIVING TO SAMARA FROM LIBERIA: From Liberia, drive directly to Nicoya and from there take the curve south (right) to Samara (follow the one way signs when driving through Nicoya and then rejoin the main road after downtown Nicoya).    As soon as you arrive in Samara (45 mins after Nicoya), take a left on the road to Carrillo - and drive about 2 miles.  Just after you pass Villas Playa Samara you will  come to a dirt road on your right (look for the mobile phone tower).  Our house is the first house on this road on the left hand side.  There is a Casa Pacifica sign on the fence.

DRIVING TO SAMARA FROM SAN JOSE: From San Jose follow the Interamericana Highway North, until the you see signs for the Tempisque Bridge - Puente de la Amistad. After crossing the Gulf of Nicoya, drive to directly Nicoya (you will have make one right turn on the way) and from there turn south (left) to Samara.   Rent your car near the airport, leave town by early afternoon (it can be as little as 4.5 hours, or as many as 7).   As soon as you arrive in Samara (45 mins after Nicoya), take a left on the road to Carrillo - and drive about 2 miles.  Just after you pass Villas Playa Samara you will  come to a dirt road on your right (look for the mobile phone tower).  Our house is the first house on this road on the left hand side.  There is a Casa Pacifica sign on the fence.

  

STAFF

We have a housekeeping staff that will be around for a few hours on Mon-Fri as well as pool and landscaping employees that will come by occasionally.  At night there is a guard from about 7PM to about 5AM the next morning.  Our property management company (Samara Rentals) will meet you at their office and bring you to the house and will be available if any issues come up.   If you are looking for someone to come in and cook some meals at the house, we can arrange for that as well.

 

WHAT TO BRING?

In Samara it's perfect for t-shirts, shorts and your bathing suit year round.  The house rental includes all linens & towels and soap, shampoo and toilet paper is supplied.   There are stores nearby for groceries and liquor.   We have a couple kayaks with life vests and you can rent surf boards in Samara. You may want to bring:

- standard shorts/t-shirts/swim suits (it's warm, few dress codes anywhere)

- sandals or water shoes for the beach, one pair of socks/shoes for hiking

- cash and credit cards (not all restaurants take credit cards, there are ATMs in town)

- camera

- sunscreen & bug spray (you can buy those there too)

- pool toys/floats (we try to keep some, but they have a short life)

NOTES ON THEFT:  LEAVE YOUR VALUABLES AT HOME OR LOCK THEM UP.  Costa Rica, like any country in Central America, has issues with petty theft.   Try to never leave your luggage or passports in your car unless you can watch it.  We provide a safe at the house to keeps valuables safe.

 

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

MONEY - Costa Rica has it's own currency, "colones".   Although it fluctuates, it is usually about 500 colones to $1 US.   Almost all places accept US dollars at a fair rate (some will even list prices in US$).   You can convert cash at the airport - note that the booth in the luggage area appears to offer a better rate than the one in the immigration area (so wait until you are in the luggage area).  You can also convert in the banks.

BANK MACHINES - There are at least 3 in Samara, they work great for most cards - HOWEVER,  the bank ATMs recently changed them to only allow $100 US withdraws at a time (clearly to maximize their fees).  There is a new one inside the Pali grocery store that may allow you to take out larger amounts each time.

CREDIT CARDS - They are accepted in about 50% of restaurants - who often have a service charge of 10% to use a credit card, or will they may tell you that their machine is broken.  Most other stores accept cards, but a lot of the shopping is with small vendors who will deal with US or Costa Rica cash.

TRAVELLER'S CHECKS - You can cash traveller's checks in some banks in Costa Rica, but most businesses will not accept them.  You will pay fees to cash them and again to convert them to colones, and you will need to be patient in the bank lines.  The bank in Samara is very good (many English speaking tellers).

HEALTHCARE - There is an American doctor that has an office in Samara (at the main corner in town), a smaller hospital in Nicoya (about 40 mins drive) and for serious emergencies they can fly you to San Jose (40 min flight) which has large, fully equipped hospitals.  There are two pharmacies in Samara.

WHAT IF I DON'T SPEAK ANY SPANISH? You will survive, and it's fun if you have a sense of humor.  Buy a phrase book.  When needed, the locals will seek out someone nearby that knows some english.  Samara has quite a few english speaking locals.

CAN I DRINK THE WATER? - We always do and all the travel forums confirm it is safe almost everywhere in C.R..   We have been down there many, many times and have always drank tap water and have not had any issues.  You can buy bottled water if you still have concerns.

DO I NEED SHOTS? -  Depends on who you ask, most of the health sites say no, a few have some recommendations.  Ask your doctor and get their advice and go to the World Health Organization site.  From a general health standpoint, Costa Rica is one of the safest destinations in the developing world. This is largely due to high health standards. Thus, there are no required immunizations when traveling to Costa Rica...However, it is always wise to keep up your basic shots such as tetanus and diphtheria. Malaria is not found in our area (according to the local doctor) but for itineraries that include the Caribbean lowlands or Osa, travelers might wish to take the extra precaution. 

Click HERE to go to the World Health Organization Site

SECURITY - Costa Rica has a good record of low violent crime and the Samara area is a familiy town.   BUT, theft is a big concern in Costa Rica since many people only make $2/hour - so do not leave anything expensive (laptops, passports, iPods, cameras, wallets etc.) in your cars or on the beach or even around the house when you are not there.  We offer secure areas to lock up items at the house.  Standard safety rules apply, simply avoid walking on remote areas of the beach or on the road at night.  We have a guard at night at the gates to make renters comfortable.

WHAT ABOUT BUGS? - There are lots of them just like any area with a lot of nature, but few of them bite.  The mosquitoes are common at dawn & dusk in the rainy season, but not much of an issue in the dry season.   You can't completely get rid of the ants in the house - so please don't be concerned when they show up to clean up any messes.  You may see the occasional scorpion.

WILL I SEE ANIMALS? - Yes. During our trips down there we usually see many birds (pelicans, toucans, parakeets, parots, etc), crocodiles, iguanas (and many other lizards), frogs and many monkeys.  We have also seen dolphins, whales, sea turtles and various night-time mammals (coatamundi, armadillo).  There is a quaint little zoo about a mile from our house where you can get a close up look at a lot of these and other local animals (including an anteater, bats, wild cats, and my favorite a little bear called the kinkajou).   FYI, it is very likely that you will have to stop your car at some point because cows/horses/pigs/chickens/goats are crossing the road.

GROCERIES & LIQUOR - There are several grocery & liquor stores in the town of Samara with a surprising variety of goods - the largest, newest and lowest cost is Pali.  On your way to Samara, you will find larger grocery stores in Nicoya on the main road.  There are also 2 small grocery stores about 1/2 mile from our house on the main road one of which has a surprising variety of things you might need.

WILL MY MOBILE PHONE WORK DOWN THERE? - USA and Canadian based phones often work in some areas down there, however they charged a very high rate per minute (and even higher for data) unless to make sure you have the right plan (some service providers offer a 1 month international add-on).  If you have a GSM phone, you can buy a chip down in CR for your phone and get decent rates.  Our house has WiFi - so if you can, use internet voice apps and a connection to the WiFi at the house to make calls.  

HOW SHOULD I CALL HOME OR WITHIN COSTA RICA? -  We offer an Internet Phone in each house for free calls to the USA and Canada.  Outside of that we recommend you get an app for your mobile phone that offers calls to your home country.

INTERNET ACCESS - We offer it for free at the house over WiFi.  The house Internet is fairly reliable - if you want to get away from the house, there are affordable Internet cafes in Samara (about $3/hour).

TAXIS? - Yes, there are very affordable Taxis in Samara.  There is a list of taxi drivers at the house - use them and when they drop you off, coordinate a time for them to pick you up too.   In Samara, the taxis all line up on the main road by the beach (painted red).   Heads up, many of the drivers only speak Spanish.  

 

THINGS TO DO (in and around Samara):

     (NOTE: to call any of these places from the USA or Canada, dial 011-506 first)

- Swim in the pool

- Swim in the ocean (a 3 min walk up the road from the house)

- Surf the moderate waves in Samara at high tide (there are board rentals and surf schools in Samara, several stores in Samara sell boogie-boards).  

- Surf the serious waves of nearby surfing hot-spots:  Playa Guiones (Nosara, < 60 mins away) is very well known and worth going (rentals, restaurants).  If you are a serious surfer who wants the lesser known (and closer) Camaronal Beach - this is where many locals go (bring your own board and food) .   Check with the various surf shops in town.                  

- Kayak to the deserted island, Isla Chora.  You can use the 2 kayaks that come with the house, rent more on the beach near our house - or take a kayak tour (combination snorkle/kayak tours).   

- Snorkle by the island during the dry season.  Take a snorkle tour with Carrillo Tours 656-0453  Or, you can buy masks/snorkles in the liquor store in Samara.  

- ATV Tours (my new #1 recommendation).  Ride around the mountains, visit waterfalls & beaches.   http://outbackquads.com/   (you can also just rent by the day, or use the 5 seaters I mention above, the 'side-by-sides')

- Great fishing.  In shore fishing trips include smaller tuna, mahi, mackeral, rooster or bottom fishing for grouper and snapper.    Offshore / deep-sea fishing trips can often include mahi, wahoo, sailfish and marlin.   See boating contacts below.

- Take a "dolphin tour" or just a tour along the coast on the boat of your choice.  TIP:  DO A DOLPHIN + FISHING TOUR.  if some of the folks like fishing have the boat troll while looking for dolphin.  See boating contacts below.

BOATING CONTACTS: 

        LARGER BOATS (BATHROOMS):   If you have more than 5 people.  Juan Mora in Garza has access to a 30+ foot deep sea boat and can pick you up at our beach (tell him you want the big boat and are at the far end of Samara beach).  He is about $1100 for a full day or $700 for a half day.  8816-2696 or 2682-1446 or email him at Juancowboycr@gmail.com.   There is also the Kingfisher, http://www.costaricabillfishing.com/crew.htm in Carrillo (short 10 min drive).   Look for other options through tour companies in town (new boats come and go often).

      MID SIZED BOAT (WITH SMALL CABIN) - PARKED RIGHT OFF OUR BEACH: Samara Deep Sea fishing.   A great mid-sized boat with a small cabin and bathroom and a local english-speaking captain.   Good for smaller groups (3-4) to go deep sea fishing or up to 6 people for 1/2 day or dolphin tours. samaradeepseafishing@gmail.com

        MID SIZED BOAT: Juan Mora can also pick you up on our beach in a 25 foot center console for about $950/day.  Call him at 8816-2696 or 2682-1446 or email him at Juancowboycr@gmail.com.

        SMALL BOATS (PANGAS). The local tour companies can coordinate the small single engine open "Panga" boats for about $60/hour.  Ask the closet tour company or flag one down at the beach.

- Dance classes/ Cooking classes/ Arts & Crafts: Intercultura (the local language school) in the town of Samara offers all of these, call to check for times at 2656-0127.

- Yoga. Intercultura (the local language school) in the town of Samara offers yoga classes from Monday to Thursday, call to check for times at 2656-0127.   There is also the Samara Yoga Center at 2656-3348 and others.

- Massage!  Samara Massage Center (part of the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy) is located right in Samara and offers very affordable massages, 2656-0491.  

- Spa!  Massage! Gym! Physiotherapy! Organic market! The Natural Center Spa in town with yoga, massage, a salon (hair, manicures, pedicures) and more.  info@naturalcentersamara.com,  2656-2360

- Watch for whales from December to March on any boat tours.  They are not aways there, but we have seen them often enough (~10% of our trips).

- Visit the zoo (1 mile towards Carrillo), at both daytime and dusk to see everything

- Walk the tidal pools at LOW TIDE.  There are some right at the beach close to our house & better ones if you walk up the main road to Carrillo Beach and turn right as soon as you get to the beach (a 15 min walk).   You can walk out quite a ways but you can't get all the way around the peninsula, so watch the tide!

- Watch the sun set on the ocean, best seen right on the beach by our house.

- Rent bikes in Samara (we have 2 at the house)

- Take the WingNuts zipline canopy tour in Samara or there is also a more exciting zipline tour in Nosara if you want to make a day trip there (Miss Sky in Nosara - Carrillo Tours can take you there or an adventurous ride in a rental car).

- Take a horseback ride (available in Samara to walk the beach, or our caretaker can call them & they will come right to the house, or Carrillio Tours has a great trip that takes you up in the hills - great view)

- Visit the crocodiles under the last bridge on the road to Carrillo (yes, right near the beach.......but a couple miles away from our house).   They are fed by locals, but as always you need to be careful (no small dogs anywhere near them, seriously).

- Visit Carrillo beach (only a 10 min walk up the road), it's strikingly beautiful too.

- Watch sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach (Carrillo Tours).  ONE OF OUR TOP CHOICES, don't miss this if the tours are running while you are there - it can be incredible.

- VISIT NOSARA:  If you have an SUV and like the feel of off roading, take a day trip to drive north to Nosara which is less than a 1 hour drive (visit the town of Nosara, and make sure to visit both Guiones and Playa Pelada beaches - they are right beside each other, just keep walking).   VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: There is a river you need to drive through on the low road so either watch others cross, or you may want to take the high road (head up the road toward Nicoya & turn left at the hardware store they follow the signs and/or ask for directions along the way - remember to take the same way back, signs will point to the river route - you want to ignore the last Samara sign and follow the Nicoya sign).    Visit Playa Guiones to see serious surfing on the big waves and right next door visit Playa Pelada for the tidal pools, the river mouth & don't miss Lagarta Lodge (way up on a hill with an incredible view) to eat or just for a drink- this has to be one of the best sunset spots in the world.  (see ATV tour below - this is in the same area)

- Fly in an ultralight aircraft,  they have fixed wing and some very new and cool gyrocopters (mini-helicopters)  www.flying-crocodile.com   2656-8048

- Watch the sunset from the far end of the beach in Carrillio at 'the rock' (walk there if you have the energy, you get to walk all of Carrillio Beach for about an hour, beautiful)

  

THINGS TO DO (other places worth the trip):

Take a day trip (with Carrillo Tours) or extend your vacation to other locations that are not too far away, check out:

 

The Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna) - Costa Rica's most famous live volcano.  4 hours from Samara, it can be a full day trip with a tour company and it is also worth a couple extra nights in Costa Rica.   Good family hotels: Arenal Observatory Lodge (cabins),  Silencio Del Campo (cabins), Arenal Springs (connecting rooms), Lost Iguana, Arenal Volcano Lodge, and one of our favorites: Los Lagos (hot springs, water slides).  An affordable option that had some good reviews is the Hotel Vista Del Cerro.
http://www.arenal.net/

 

Poas - a decent volcano not far from San Jose.  If you are stuck in San Jose for a day, they offer 1/2 day and full day trips.

http://centralamerica.com/cr/parks/mopoas.htm

 

Rincon de la Vieja - A lesser known volcano not far from Liberia.  Good for avvid hikers,  adventure seekers, those that want to be different, away from the crowd (it's a very long hike to the crater)
http://www.anywherecostarica.com/rincon-de-la-vieja-costa-rica/travel.htm
http://www.liberiacostaricainfo.com/Rincon-de-La-Vieja.htm

 

La Paz Waterfall Gardens - Also not far from San Jose, they are expensive, but said to be really worth the visit.

http://www.waterfallgardens.com/lapaz-waterfallgardenspark.html

 

The Monteverde Cloud Forests.  4 hours away, full day tour.
http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/


 Whitewater rafting (these spots are far away- plan a couple nights extra):                     http://www.riostropicales.com/

 

 EATING 

TIPS ON BUYING FOOD

TIPS ON GROCERIES IN SAMARA:

- Pali is the largest and cheapest grocery, the best place for selection and price.  It's big enough for most of your needs.
 
- Super Samara is on the beach road in Samara, and has more export items such as sauces, canned goods and cereals you might be looking for  

- there is a butcher in the small strip of shops facing the soccer field in Samara (and most of the grocery stores only stock up bacon, ham & cheap sausage), Pali also has a butcher counter 

- if you want fresh fish, and want an adventure - follow the road from our house up to the beach and as it curves to the left.   The first house you come to on your left is where locals buy their fish.   If you speak Spanish or can work around it - this is the place to buy local fish (tuna, mahi, wahoo, snapper, shrimp).  Sometimes you can buy them directly from fisherman as they unload on the beach.

- buy your bread, pasteries and deserts at one of the bakeries in Samara.  One of the best is straight ahead of you when you come into town on the road from our house.  
 
- There is an organic market in Samara - check with the Nature Center Spa for the time and place.
 
- there are often other fruit & vegetable stands around town
 

RESTAURANT TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

- TIPS are usually included, 10%.  So they will be really happy if you leave more - but ask them or check your bill before you tip twice by mistake

- Ask for a natural fruit drink, served in many restaurants. These are called ("refrescos", "frescos", "naturales", or "batidos"). They are made with either water or milk and come in an endless variety (whatever they have fresh that day): canteloupe, strawberry, tamarind, mango, papaya, lemon, blackberry (mora), guanabana, fruit punch, horchata, and a local favorite, cas.  

- Usually the lowest cost option at more restaurants, and what to order if you can't read the menu, is the "Casados" or "Tipico" (typical).    A casado is basically a one-plate meal, that at least includes black beans, rice, a meat and one or more side dishes.  You can usually order a casado with steak, chicken, pork, etc.   This is the Costa Rican version of a "meat & potatoes"

- Another really common side is Gallo Pinto ("spotted rooster", although the name has no relation to the ingredients). It is mainly a combination of black beans and white rice (usually from the day before), and it is spiced with cilantro, onions, garlic, salt and a local condiment called Salsa Lizano. It is typically eaten at breakfast with eggs, meat, and/or natilla (sour cream).

- If you like fish, ceviche is a great central american appetizer.

 

NIGHTLIFE

- The more casual nightlife is with the restaurants on the beach (take the road in Samara to the beach, walk out on the beach and turn left).   Gusto Beach is a good place to start - it's a great nightime spot out on the beach.

- The more popular places change so often I don't even know what to post.  So ask some younger locals where the popular night bars are and what nights (there is usually only 1 or 2 of them in Samara - it's very laid back).


RESTAURANTS WE LIKE IN SAMARA (we have not been to all of them)

- BEST ALL AROUND (DINNER):  El Lagarto Bar & Restaurant has the best food in town (steak and seafood on a big open BBQ pit).  It is one of the most costly ($15-30) but worth it.    They recently moved off the beach, so they are a bit hard to find.   Take the road heading north out of town past the Catholic Church, and take a left on the first street you come to (on the corner of a vacant lot).   it's almost the only business on this street.

- BEST BEACH PLACE TO CRASH FOR THE DAY:  Locanda  (in Samara, between two places renting surfboards/kayaks/boogieboards) is a good restaurant with a lot of variety and a great chairs and shade trees right on the beach (and if you have kids, they can play on the beach or surf while you wait for your food).   We often sit ourselves here and before you know it most of the day has gone by.

- BEST ITALIAN (WALK FROM THE HOUSE):  Across the paved road right by our house is a large gated property, Montelaguna - inside is a fantastic small Italian restaurant poolside at their hotel.  Just walk to the paved road outside of our house, turn right and about 200 feet up go through their main front gate (on your left) and ask the guard to point out the restaurant.  Call ahead if you need seating for 6 or more or for reservations (2656-1150 on the local phone). 

- BEST ITALIAN (BEACHSIDE):  Gusto Beach (very close to the others listed above).   A bit expensive for itallian, but worth it.  They have a volleyball court on the beach as well!   They often have great nighttime entertainment (check out their postings).   If you like raw tuna - check out their appetizers!

ANOTHER GREAT BEACHSIDE OPTION - Lo Que Hay.  Tacos and casual fare.  When you want to be on the beach at night and don't want to pay extra for it.  You can even listen to the live music from Gusto Beach next door.

- SUSHI:  There are currently a couple of sushi places in town - but they keep changing so I don't want to post locations.   I have had good luck at all of the Sushi places in Samara (never had any issues).

VEGETARIAN:  There is a great Luv Burger on the beach that has a very impressive selection of veggie burgers and vegetarian food.  I am not a vegetarian, but I absolutely crave their food here.   Don't miss it.

- BEST 'TYPICAL', CARRILLIO:  The Hotel Leyenda is about 1 mile past Carrillo on the main road (it's all paved now!).   This place has a great ambiance and you can go there dressed up or with kids (there is a playground beside the restaurant too).   It's also had good prices & big screens for watching sports (if there is a big game on - go here!).  They also offer FREE TRANSFERS (for 4 or more people).  Their phone # is 2656-1376.
 
- BEST VALUE TYPICAL: The Hotel Rancho de la Playa is one road back from the beach.  It seems to keep all meals between $4-6 at lunch and $5-10 at dinner and the menu changes daily.   The service here has also been reported to be one of the best in town.
 
- MORE GOOD TYPICAL, SAMARA:  Casa Esmeralda in Samara is the favorite for most of the locals. If you are heading from the house into Samara, take the first left and Casa Esmeralda is right there. CoCo's on the main drag in Samara is also very good, right behind the Samara Travel building.

- ARGENTIAN STEAKHOUSE - A TOP GUEST PICK:  El Colibri in Carrillo - An Argentinian  restaurant that (sometimes) can give you FREE TRANSPORT (for 4 or more people) from the house which is valuable.  They have a great brick BBQ and we suggest the shish kabobs.  Colibri's phone number is 2656-0656.  Not open Mondays

- BEST MEXICAN: Coco's (Samara) on the main drag behind the SkyNet building has good food and a nice semi-formal layout.

-  BEST CASUAL ITALIAN: Hotel Giada on the main drag (the restaurant was called Pizza-Pasta-a-Go-Go in the past but that sign is gone) and El Dorado (in Samara, two blocks up the road heading north toward Nosara) are good Italian places in Samara.    

-  PIZZA DELIVERY: Pizzeria Parasiso on the main drag in Samara, 2656-1178.  El Manglar also has good pizza, but the restaurant itself is nothing special and does not open until about 6.   This is a great place to order pizza delivered to the house.  They just introduced roasted chicken too.

- PIZZA & FAST FOOD DELIVERY:  Hula Jungla in Carrillo can deliver pizza, nachos, hamburgers, sausage & chicken to the house.  They are on the main road as you enter Carrillo.  Their # is 2656-1118.

- BEST (ONLY?) BREAKFAST   Jardin Marino on the main drag is one of the few places that seems to be open every day, and every morning early enough for breakfast, right on the main road to the beach in Samara.  The most popular with the locals is the reasonable El Samareño Restaurant.  You can find it in Samara, on the road that runs to Carrillo and our house.

- CLOSEST TO THE HOUSE:   Right next door is the restaurant at The Hideaway, we have had good reviews from recent guests.  You can walk from our house to the restaurant at Villas Playa Samara (the resort just up the beach), which is not cheap - but it is supposed to be very good.

- STREET MEAT:  There are a couple guys that cook up meat on a stick and fried chicken on the main drag down by the beach in Samara (during weekends and busy evenings).  One of them cook over a BBQ made from an old tire rim (an old tradition?).  Seriously, try it!

- COPOZ:  You will often see a Copoz (shaved ice) vendor during the day near the beach - get one!  These are shaved ice treats with powdered milk, fruit flavoring & various other sweet options.    You can't leave Costa Rica without trying this.

- ON THE WAY TO/FROM NICOYA OR THE AIRPORTS:  Stop and eat at La Roca (25 mins from Samara on the road inland), the view of the mountains is incredible.

There are others too - constantly changing, try them and give us feedback!


 IMPORTANT NOTES FOR RENTERS:

TOWELS:  We provide bathroom and beach towels.  In the interest of conservation, we will provide 2 beach and bathroom towels for each person for your stay (if you are staying over a week we will change them).  Please leave any towels you wish to reuse hanging to save energy & water.  We have provided 'towel trees' for this purpose around the house.

WASHER/DRYER:  A full size washer and dryer are in the main house but not available for your direct use (sorry, due to past experiences).   There are very affordable laundry service options in town - or the housekeeper might do a couple of loads for you for tips.

ELECTRICITY IS VERY EXPENSIVE:  So please only use A/C at night and with the doors to the bedrooms closed (each room has it's own).   The staff is instructed to turn off the A/C units when nobody is using the rooms.  There are sensors in the rooms put there to turn off the A/C system when nobody is in the room for 1+ hours (but they don't always kick in).

TOILET PAPER really shortens the life of the septic systems, so there are garbage bins beside the toilets that are there for your TP, please use them whenever possible.

INLINE WATER HEATERS are available for every bathroom, so enjoy the nice constant stream of hot water once they kick in.   We are not using the powered shower heads that make many tourists nervous.

AN OUTDOOR SHOWER is out back beside the pool for the main house, and another is out back of the garage for the small house. 

POOL:  NO DIVING! There is a an on/off switch for the pool lights outside the ocean-side master bedroom door - it's hidden in the vines.  The waterfall is on a timer.  Note that the pool is only for the renters of the main house (unless you are renting both houses of course).

SAFES: We do have safes in the houses for tickets, passports and cash PLEASE USE THEM! We can't take responsibility for stolen or lost items.

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