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Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

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chicago
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Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

Just got back from a month in Samara and thought I'd post this in case anyone else is having as much trouble finding surf info as I did before we left.

The short answer: do NOT go to Samara if you are looking for a destination surf spot.

NOW, we absolutely LOVED this town and would highly recommend it as one of the coolest places on earth to chill and hang out- which we did everyday. BUT the surfing is pretty much not worth it.

Here's why: nobody mentions it on the Internet but it's common knowledge in town (much to the dismay of the half dozen surf schools I might add) that the recent massive earthquake raised the barrier reef in the bay by almost 6 feet! Once barely visible during low tide, the reef is now a giant rock wall that stops pretty much all the surf even at high tide. All that really makes it through are small closeout waves that break very close to the beach.

Everyone online also trumpets Samara as the perfect beach to learn to surf, but this was quite misleading to me so I'll clarify:

Samara is the perfect beach to attempt to surf for the very first time, NOT to "learn to surf". As I mentioned before all of the waves are closeouts, meaning that they come in one long line and then collapse into whitewater in one big parallel whoosh. They do not peel or break over any sandbars or other features. This makes the waves ideal for learning to stand up on the board in whitewater and ride it straight into shore, which is what people learn to do the first time they attempt surfing.

The problem is that if you already know how to stand up on a board, but actually want to learn to surf a wave (like me) by turning into the wave and riding it- it's virtually impossible because by the time you've stood up the wave has crashed straight forward and doesn't break to the right or left.

There are a handful of really, really good local guys who can get out there with TINY little boards and pull off a couple of turns when a larger set comes, but for anyone trying to learn- forget it.

Again, we absolutely loved this truly special town but unless you've never surfed and you're only ambition is to stand up for the first time it's not really a surf destination anymore.

Slovenia
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1. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

That is one very useful report, thanks a lot, Kevin. So in your knowledge, does the higher reef make the beach safer / easier for swimming? Less undertows, lower waves? Many are suggesting Samara as a great family beach destination. How would you rate it?

Wisconsin
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2. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

Hi Kevin, We just booked a trip there because of all the good info about learning to surf and it sounds like a more authentic Costa Rican experience than a bigger spot like Tamarindo. My 7 year old is dying to surf (never tried it) and we liked the idea that the reef blocked the rip currents. Would you think it would be a good spot for young kids? Any good restaurant recs? We are staying at the Hideaway Hotel. Thanks!

chicago
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3. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

Yes to both of the posts above.

Samara is perfect for swimming! The waves are small or non existent and there is absolutely no rip current. The water is also by far the warmest I've ever been in.

Your 7 year old will love learning to surf there!

My girlfriend and I are not really family people- we spent our days and nights having cocktails on the beach- but I did see lots and lots of families with young children and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as us.

Enjoy your trips!

Samara
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4. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

Hi,

Yes, Samara is a great place for families because the beach is protected by 2 coral reefs so there are no under tows or rip tides. There are tons of great restaurants, with lots of variety.

Have fun!

Playa Guiones...
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5. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

Kevin I'm glad you really enjoyed the town of Samara but I went back to your previous post and don't see anyone that called Samara a 'surf destination'! I'm sorry if you had that impression! Did you get to other nearby beaches to surf, such as Nosara which really IS a surf destination?

boston, ma
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6. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

We've been going to Samara every year since 2007 with our twin girls (they are 8 now) and absolutely love the place. Will be there again at the end of the month. "kevin b" does raise some good points. Samara is not a great surf beach - but is a fine surf destination as there are several great surf beaches within 15 mins north or south. IIt is a fine spot for first timers to get up on a board. I'm also not sure how much the earthquake really affected things, as its never been a premiere surf beach. What Samara does offer is a truely authentic Costa Rica beach town - as opposed to towns like Tamarindo that are dominated by tourists and ex-pats. Amazing beach, cool beach bars, plenty of restaurants, families, young people, ticos, Costa Ricans - all hanging and enjoying a great spot.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

as Phil_11 notes, Kevin is right about Samara as a surf beach, but driving north will take you to many, many good breaks, including Barrigona, Guiones, Ostional...

chicago
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8. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

All of these replies are correct, great breaks around the area, but Samara itself is not.

Just to clarify as well, I never felt like I was mislead by anyone before we got there, we new all along that Samara was the perfect town for us. There is just little to no information anywhere online that accurately describes surfing in Samara (for surfers) so I thought I'd try to help people out who were in my same situation- as there is virtually no info on the usual surf sights like surfline.com, wannasurf.com and magicseaweed.com.

Helsinki, Finland
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9. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

I agree with Kevin. I have been sitting in Samara for a week. Here is no waves at all.

Even local surf school have adverts out: Flat here? Let´s go some where else.

Every morning we take taxi and surfboards and drive outside from Samara.

Don´t believe local surf schools when say: it is just today. But tomorrow there is waves. No, there is no waves even for beginners. Maybe, under 10 year old kids have some fun.

Berkeley, California
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10. Re: Surfing in Samara (a review for surfers)

Very valuable thread, thanks so much!

Glad you had fun anyway :-)

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