For other destinations with the same name, see Samara (disambiguation).
A large public bus network services Liberia and connects it with San Jose, the beaches and the Nicaraguan border. You can take a bus from San Jose to Nicoya, and then to Samara.
As of 05/2014, public buses directly from San Jose to Playa Samara are also available most days (no transfer in Nicoya). Thebusschedule.com is a good, current source for bus schedules/timetables, though confirming at the bus station is always a good idea. These buses depart from Terminal 7-10 in San Jose.
Liberia is at the cross section of the Inter American Highway that stretches throughout Central America and the Route 21 that heads to famous beaches such as Tamarindo. The route into town is a relatively pleasant drive on paved road from Nicoya. From points north, take Route 21 into Nicoya and then follow the signs to Sámara -- it's about two hours away from Liberia airport. From San José, the best route is through the Interamericana (Highway 1) north, then west along Route 18, across La Amistad de Taiwan bridge, then through Nicoya and into Sámara.
A taxi ride from The Liberia Airport to Samara costs around $50 per car and takes about 2 hours. A taxi from Nicoya to Playa Samara costs $35 USD per car and takes 45 minutes.
Public bus, bicycle or on foot. Samara Beach is a small beach town which allows for walking to most destinations.
If needed, taxis queue on the main street just before the main entrance to the beach.
A quick visit to Samara Costa Rica provides many opportunities for families to enjoy the reef protected beach. The horses walk this beach town unchecked. For safety reasons shoes should be worn at all times.
Rentals of surfboards and kayaks are available through various outfitters around town and along the beach. Also, several snorkeling, kayaking, and sportfishing tours are offered. The further you go from the beach entrance, the cheaper it is.
There are a couple offices in town that will arrange tours to observe Sea Turtles laying eggs (if the season is right). Guides were extremely professional and took enormous pains to avoid disturbing the turtles. The experience is amazing, but be warned that you must be somewhat physically fit with a fairly high tolerance for mild discomfort: the tour involves a late night, a fair bit of hiking, hours of watching, and lots of standing and waiting.
Horseback tours are inexpensive ($10 per person for 2 hours) and offer a great opportunity to see the more of the surrounding area at a slower pace.
In general, activities are very inexpensive, informal, and flexible. Guides are extremely friendly and generous; it is not abnormal to be invited to the guide's home to meet their families and share a meal. Tell them what you want to do and see and they will try to make it happen!
Apart from sodas and fast food, restaurants in Samara are generally high quality and have quality prices to match.
Microbar Samara, Arriba pathway, roughly across from Lo Que Hay in the town centre, . 5pm-midnight ish. Excellent selection of Costa Rican micros on tap. The micro in it's name accurately describes the space, but with good music and a super friendly staff, it's a great spot. The bartender had four sample glasses in front of me before I could say 'una cerveza, por favor'. edit
Two "direct" buses run from Samara to San Jose daily, at 4:30a and 9a. Tickets can be bought from an office on the side of 'Salumi & Formaggi'. Interbus shuttles also serve Samara and can be a good way to reach spots without a direct bus connection, e.g. Monteverde.
Buses also depart often for the town of Nicoya. Catch these from the bus stop kitty corner from Roots Bakery (a nearby sign indicates departure times). Earliest is 6.30.
Playa Carrillo is a lovely beach located approximately 6 km south of town along paved road. The beach is an easy bike ride from Samara with only one hill of significance between point A and B. Bring your own brewskis and lunch - Playa Carrillo is 'nothing but trees, sand, sun and water'.