Tag Archives: Travel and Tourism

visit playa samara beach

The raging Mala Noche river received a lot of rain last night, a real good soaker.  And this morning it flows for the first time since November.  After the “first flush” the bay is brown with soil eroded from the river banks above.  Not so this morning.

Although it’s unfortunate that a lot of soil is lost in the bay, we take it as a good sign that the ground is saturated with rain water working its way down to the watershed.  In a normal year, we would have two or three flushes by the first of June but after our drought last year, we have a lot of dry earth to soak.

While Dan was hiking through Rincon de la Vieja National Park, he found this Coati (sometimes called Cotamundi) but known as Pizote in Costa Rica.  They’re cute but vicious and quite aggressive beggars.


In the second part, you can see that he’s walking among the steam vents in the thermal section of the park.  Rincon de la Vieja is an easy park to get to, just 3 hours from Casa Mango and Casa Papaya but makes a better overnight than a single day trip.


We think we live in about the prettiest place on earth – Samara Beach, Costa Rica.  The climate is perfect and life is easy.  But living here, we sometimes need more stimulation.  We love to travel – that’s how we found Costa Rica in the first place.  So we try to take a trip outside the country each year or so, besides our visits to family and friends back home.

charlestom south carolina

Neither of us had ever been to the southeastern US

so this year we headed for Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Read More

We’ve known for years, that some of the best bird watching in Costa Rica is from the terrace at Casa Mango.  Besides the variety of seasonal birds, we’ve enjoyed the congos (Howler Monkeys) eating the tops off the Secropia tree in front of Casa Papaya – the leaves make them high.  The coatis stop by in the evenings to steal the bananas we hang in the Rancho.  But our guests are not satisfied without a wilderness hike in the “jungle”.   Now we can offer that too.  With the newly opened Samara Trails, Playa Samara has it all. Besides the beautiful beaches of Samara and Carrillo, perfect weather, and great restaurants and bars, we now have forest hiking just 1/4 mile up the road from Casa Mango and Casa Papaya.

Recently, I went with Alvaro Teran on a tour of his mountain, where as a child he used to visit his grandfather.  Once a ranch, its cattle were removed about 30 years ago to make the Werner Sauter Reserve.  Alvaro and his neighbors have built a great trail system that winds through a variety of trees, lovingly labeled, and across creeks with rock bed “bridges”.  He’s a great guide, speaking perfect English or his native Spanish, and tells  stories along the way about folk uses of many of the plants you see.  The trail climbs gradually to an amazing vista, extending east to Playa Carrillo and west to Punta Samara. Along the way we saw loads of birds, monkeys, coatis, and an armadillo.  In recent  months, Alvaro has spotted an Ocelot. [caption id="attachment_1172" align="alignleft" width="545" caption="You can tell they're not termite nests because of the tails."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1163" align="alignright" width="545" caption="This Guanacaste tree is much older than 30 years."][/caption] But the trip is mostly about the trees that make everything else possible. Huge trees!   How could a forest recreate itself in just 30 years?  That’s the beauty and mystery of the tropics. The trail passes through an experimental Pachote tree farm, where there is very little undergrowth, typical of monoculture, and ends with the old Mango Orchard, where Alvaro will search for a perfectly ripe  fruit to send home with you.  It was a great morning: a forest hike without a long drive. Here’s Alvaro’s  statement from Trip Advisor, where there are several positive reviews:  “Samara Trails is a trail system within the private 346 acre Werner Sauter Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is in Dry tropical forest and contains various species of plants and animals including monkeys,  birds, mammals, and amphibians. The hike takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to  complete - private hikes are completed at 7am or 3:30 pm and are led by the grandson of Werner Sauter, founder of the Wildlife Refuge.” Samara Trails is quickly  becoming a favorite thing to do for visitors to Samara.  A nice break from the beach!

What to do with a plastic bottle?

In a developing country, like Costa Rica, dealing with waste is a big problem.  Garbage pick-up is a relatively new concept in this very rural culture, and not universal.  Refuse was not a problem for the Ticos in the past: organics like rice and beans are given to the chickens or the dogs and everything else is burned.  When I asked my housekeeper what they do at home with tuna fish cans, she said, “We don’t have cans.”  In the past ten years, we have seen a tremendous growth here in the availability of STUFF that gets thrown away, much of it to serve the tourists, on whom our economy depends.  Although the water is clean and drinkable throughout Costa Rica, many visitors insist on drinking bottled water.  (I wish the US CDC would quit telling them to, cause it’s just not necessary.)  Although most of us recycle as much as we can, these bottles fill our land-fills and wash up on our beaches.

To beautify our pueblo and to bring attention to the issue, Samara Pacific School has mounted trees throughout Playa Samara made of plastic bottles.  The multi-cultural, multi-lingual children, ages 2-6 1/2 made these flowers in their art class.