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Villas Espavel FAQ
How to say Sámara
Here are two helpful hints for how to say Sámara: say it like Samuri with an “ah” at the end and Sámara rhymes with camera
Airports & how to arrive at Villas Espavel
Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) is the closest airport to Sámara at just 2 hours away. It is a small and easy to navigate airport.
San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) is 4.5 hours away and is the largest airport in Costa Rica, still small by US Standards
Getting to Sámara from the Airports
Taxi or shuttle
We can line up a taxi or a shuttle from either airport. The Taxi from Liberia costs about $120. The shuttle costs about $50/person and only leaves at specific times.
If you only want to rent for your journey from the airport to Sámara, you can rent from Alamo or National and return the car here in Sámara. Costs are approximately rental for $50/day, $25-50 for 1 way drop off if returned in Sámara
From Liberia to Nicoya and then Nicoya to Samara – It is likely a 3.5 hour adventure depending on connections. The cost is approximately 4,000 colones or $8 per person. To do it, walk out of the airport to the highway and catch a bus bound for Nicoya. Once you arrive in Nicoya ask for the “estacion de autobuses que van a Sámara” It is about a 3 block walk to the other bus station where you can catch the bus to Sámara.
Driving in Costa Rica
Driving in Costa Rica is totally feasible. You’ll just have to accept that the roads are narrow and many have potholes you wouldn’t believe. The most surprising thing you’ll notice immediately is that Costa Rican drivers love to pass. Drivers will do it on blind curves, heading uphill or around a line of 5 vehicles. Because of the condition of the roads it is safer to not drive at night. There are no street names and very few road signs. We use Google Maps and Waze to navigate us when we are moving around San Jose or around the country.
Getting around in Samara
One of the best things about vacationing in Sámara is that you don’t need a car. You can rent a bike while you are here, walk around town and to and from the beach and hire wheels if you want to go to neighboring beaches.
If you want to have human powered wheels while you are here, which we highly suggest, we can help you arrange a bike rental. We have space to park and lock your bikes here at Villas Espavel.
There are many taxi drivers in town who can bring you home from the beach or take you out to or back from dinner. They can also take you to neighboring beaches.
If you want to even more adventure, you can rent a quad and explore neighboring beaches, the teak forests and hills above Sámara and generally have a gasoline powered blast.
If you want to putter around Sámara a golf cart could be the perfect answer. It gets you to and from the beach and out to dinner in an easy, low effort way.
Cash: You will need cash. Remember it’s always better to pay in the currency of the price, you’ll lose on the conversion if you do it at the store register. There are several bank machines (cajeros) in town. We use the machines at Banco Nacional next to the just before the church on the way to Samara and the BCR machine on the side of the soccer field.
“No Hay Paso” means don’t come this way and is used when there is a One Way street heading in the opposite direction that you’re traveling.
“Ceda el Paso” means yield. You’ll see this on all of the bridges between Nicoya and Sámara which are all one lane bridges, so one direction of traffic must yield to the other
Eating and Drinking in Sámara
We have some great restaurants in Sámara. We also have a natural foods store that has a farmers market on Tuesday mornings. You can also pre-order your organic veggies and herbs through the web if you want to be assured of getting specific things.
The water is safe to drink throughout Costa Rica
We can help you connect to a few fishermen who come by on their bikes to sell fish and shrimp. There is a fishmonger that sells fish each Thursday in the center of town and a fish market that you can walk to down the beach about 20 minutes away.
10% tips are appreciated at restaurants and bars.
Other Helpful hints:
Travel light - Pack less clothing and have the lavandería in town wash, dry, fold and deliver your clean clothes to your Villa
Protect your possessions at beach by
bring only a few things, avoid bringing electronics or money
bring a water shirt with a zipper pocket for your credit card and a bit of cash so you can keep it on you while you play in the water.
rent a locker at the beach from Tico Surf so that you can play without worry
Apps & Tech hacks to make your vacation easier
Whatsapp – a great app for phone and text communication with people in CR & at home
Waze – a great app for navigation that allows you to use your phone’s GPS without data. It can really ease navigation if you plan to drive
Passport & Driver’s License Copy - Keep a scan of all traveler’s passports saved to Dropbox or other cloud based storage system that you can access from your phone
Q: Any safety concerns with a two year old and a six year old at Villas Espavel?
A: We built Casa Espavel in 2016 for our family (3 and 6 years old at the time). We built it because we loved the feel of sleeping at the treetops, of removing barriers between inside and out and because we loved the riverside jungle location. To that end there's no barrier between the kitchen and the pool or the river bank jungle swing a few steps off the porch. If that makes you nervous you should probably look elsewhere. We raised our kids there and had a great time but you'll definitely need to keep an eye out!
Q: What are the best villas for kids?
A: Villa Jardin is all one level and has two seperate bedroom which make it pretty great for young kids. It is right in front of the pool but we have a baby gate we can put up for you if you let us know you'll need it.
A: Villa Rio, Mar and Selva are great for older kids - they all have open railings so may not be appropriate for toddling kids who are into pushing their limits! Villa Rio has has two sleeping areas, 1 with two beds upstairs and one with a door and a queen bed downstairs. You can sleep lots of kids upstairs and still have privacy and quiet for parents below. Villa Mar has 3 beds upstairs and a bath and pull out couch below. Villa Selva is a true 1 bedroom with a small sleeper sofa in the living room. It works well for a couple and a baby or with a child old enough to navigate stairs and open railings.
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