Samara / Nosara

About two hours from Liberia airport on excellent roads, the trip to Sámara is smooth and particularly beautiful as it winds through little farming villages and past stunning mountain and valley landscapes.

Life is even sleepier in this part of Guanacaste. The area has yet to become a focus for developers. So far, it attracts a different sort of person, the kind that doesn’t mind the relatively long drive from the airport and the area’s general relative obscurity. 

The area is popular as a tourist destination with both Ticos and foreigners, so there’s lots of room for tourism-related investment. So far, investment has been limited to a few small condominiums and a bit of land speculation. At the time of research there were only a handful of condominium developments either under construction or in the permitting stage. The climate in Sámara and Nosara is damper than in other parts of Guanacaste and it’s much more heavily forested.

Sámara’s best attraction is its superb swimming beach. It’s a perfect spot for families with young children, and generally a nice place to relax. Aside from that, Sámara offers only the basic services you would expect from a small town: a doctor, a pharmacy, a few shops and grocery stores, and (of course) real estate brokers. For your main shopping, you’ll probably need to head to Nicoya, which is the nearest service town. 

The town has a zoning plan, which in theory should keep development from spiraling out of control. The condominium projects under construction at the time of writing are modest in size compared to those found in Tamarindo

Next comes Nosara. Despite having to drive along a very bumpy (sometimes impassible) road for about 45 minutes to reach Nosara, the town has developed much more quickly than Sámara, though the pace of development is still much slower than in Tamarindo or Flamingo.

A small group of North Americans has been living in Nosara for decades, so the town has strong sense of community. Years ago, the area’s North American pioneers donated parcels of land to the government to keep as a reserve, something that has helped keep the area green and control development. The community is also more family oriented, so it’s not really a party town, according to Century 21’s Bram Shook, who sells property in the area. The community has grown to about 300-400 residents, estimates Shook.

The actual Tico town of Nosara is located a few kilometers inland. Most expatriates live either in houses in town with great ocean views, or around Playa Guiones, away from town, where they’ve built a little enclave with many day-to-day services and a construction supplies store. 

Guiones has a medical clinic and dentist, a couple of pharmacies, and some great restaurants and cafes. The beach also has a surf shop and several surf schools that take advantage of the area’s great waves.

Most properties on the market there are single-family homes, many located on the steep hillside to take advantage of the gorgeous sunsets. Construction quality appears high, and the area has an impressive variety of architectural styles. Inland from Guiones, there are several farms for sale.

Gated communities and low-rise condominium projects are just starting to get underway. The community doesn’t want high rises and will probably do what it can to stop them. As development picks up the pace, land values have skyrocketed in the past six years, though there is still no zoning plan in place.

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