For a peaceful beachside break, a good bet is to head down to Sámara or Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula. A road runs the 35km between Nicoya and the coast at Nosara, via Caimital, though it’s only negotiable with a 4WD. Most drivers, and all buses, take the longer, paved route (marked as Route 150 on some maps) through Playa Sámara, from where you can loop north back up the coast. The scenery from Nicoya to Sámara, 30km south, is rolling, rather than precipitous, although there are a couple of particularly nasty corners, marked by crosses commemorating the drivers who didn’t make it.
More about Costa Rica
- Volcánes Miravalles and Tenorio
- Parque Nacional Palo Verde
- Reserva Biológica Lomas Barbudal
- Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja
- Parque Nacional Santa Rosa
- Parque Nacional Guanacaste
- La Cruz and the border
- The Guanacaste beaches
- Santa Cruz and Nicoya
- Nicoya Peninsula beaches
- Parque Nacional Barra Honda and around
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SÁMARA is one of the peninsula’s most peaceful and least developed beachside villages. It’s a great place to relax, and its distance from the capital makes it much quieter than the more accessible Pacific beaches. Even at the busiest times, there’s little action other than weekenders tottering by on stout criollo horses and the occasional dune buggy racing up the sand. On Sundays, the town turns out in force to watch the local football teams who play on the village field as if they’re Brazil and Argentina battling it out for the World Cup – even weekending Ticos shun the beach for the sidelines.
- Nosara and around
- Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional
The Friendship Bridge
The Friendship Bridge
Opened in 2003, the 780-metre Puente Tempisque connects the mainland with the Nicoya Peninsula, spanning from near Puerto Moreno (17km east of the Nicoya–Carmona road) on the peninsula to a point 25km west of the Interamericana on the mainland. The bridge replaced a time-consuming ferry connection and saves at least two hours on the journey between San José and Sámara. The $26 million bridge was financed by Taiwan in exchange for commercial fishing rights in Costa Rican waters, which were quickly rescinded due to abuse. It’s partly held up by suspension cables connected to towers that, at 80m, make it the tallest structure in Costa Rica.