By Car: Head west from San José on the San José–Caldera Highway (CR27). When you reach Caldera, follow the signs to Puntarenas and the Inter-American Highway (CR1). You will actually follow signs for Liberia and San José, which are, in fact, leading you to the unmarked entrance to CR1. This road (CR23) ends when it hits the Inter-American Highway. Pass under the bridge and follow the on-ramp, which will put you on the highway heading north. Forty-seven kilometers (29 miles) after you get on the Inter-American Highway heading north, you’ll see signs and the turnoff for La Amistad Bridge (CR18). After crossing the bridge, continue on CR18 until it hits CR21. Take this road north to Nicoya. Turn into the town of Nicoya, and head more or less straight through town until you see signs for Playa Sámara. From here, it’s a well-marked and paved road (CR150) all the way to the beach.
To drive to Sámara from Liberia, head out of town on the main road to the Guanacaste beaches, passing through Filadelfia, Santa Cruz, and Nicoya. Once you reach Nicoya, follow the directions outlined above.
By Bus: Alfaro express buses ((tel) 2222-2666; www.empresaalfaro.com) leave San José daily at noon and 5pm from Avenida 5 between calles 14 and 16. The trip lasts 5 hours; the one-way fare is C4,265. Extra buses are sometimes added on weekends and during peak periods.
Alternatively, you can take a bus from this same station to Nicoya and then catch a second bus from Nicoya to Sámara. Alfaro buses leave San José nearly every hour between 5:30am and 5pm. The fare is C4,250. The trip can take between 4 and 5 1/2 hours, depending if the bus goes via Liberia or La Amistad Bridge. The latter route is much faster and much more frequent. Empresa Rojas Castro ((tel) 2685-5032) buses leave Nicoya for Sámara and Carrillo regularly throughout the day, between 5am and 9pm. The trip’s duration is 1 1/2 hours. The fare to Sámara is C3,730; the fare to Carrillo is C3,500.Express buses to San José leave daily at 4 and 8am. Buses for Nicoya leave throughout the day between 5am and 6pm. Buses leave Nicoya for San José nearly every hour between 3am and 5pm.
Express buses to San José leave daily at 10am and noon. Buses for Nicoya leave throughout the day between 5am and 6pm. Buses leave Nicoya for San José nearly every hour between 3am and 5pm.
Interbus ((tel) 4100-0888; www.interbusonline.com) has a daily bus that leaves San José for Playa Sámara at 8am. The fare is $54, and the bus will pick you up at most San José-area hotels.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.