Costa Rica: Morning Comes to Playa Samara


This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Shari Cassult from America. Thanks for your entry Shari!
The roosters, dogs and howler monkeys are announcing the new day.  “Caws” and “cheeps” from unseen birds are joining the symphony.  A fox-red squirrel adds accent notes as he clatters through the fronds of the coconut palms.  Through it all, the waves, today small and gentle, keep a steady and never ending rhythm of “thump” and “splash, thump and splash.”
Silently, I done a thin cotton dress and pad in bare feet past the pool whose surprisingly cool waters will be welcome in the heat of the afternoon.  I pass through the garden – a riot of yellow, green, red, and pink. The same tropical plants that I grow at home in red clay pots away from sunny windows grow vigorously here. They tower above me.  The groundskeeper, beginning his day by dusting off the chaise lounges, distributing the cushions, hanging the hammocks and swings from their hooks, murmurs a quiet “Buenos Dias.”  In fifty-two steps I am at the edge of the garden and on the sands of the beach.
The fishermen are wading out beyond the breakers throwing and dragging white nets, catching nothing, or bait fish, or tonight’s dinner. A pair of joggers passes by. Their bodies are moving in absolute synchronicity – feet, knees, elbows, and hands as if they are part of a Rockettes kick line. Meanwhile, a small flock of black-headed vultures are doing their job cleaning the beach of the high tide’s debris.  I am both intrigued and repulsed, fascinated and disgusted.  Today the birds are tugging and dragging the blue head of a parrotfish.  I keep my distance.  The vultures flap and waddle and hop as each bird takes its turn at the prize.   Bright pink shells, the larger ones reminding me of the delicate pinna of an infant’s ear, embellish the shore while mollusks burrow into the sand, tumble in the waves, or leave paths in the mud that from above look like Google maps of medieval villages dense with windy lanes and livestock trails. Other shells move across the sand under the power of the hermit crabs that have performed a kind of urban renewal, moving into abandoned homes to make them their own.
From my hammock, I spot the ricos (snow cones) boys pushing two wheeled wooden lime green carts, laden with bottles of brightly colored sugary syrups, across the hard-packed sand.   Beneath my feet I notice the tail trail of an iguana etched into the softer sand of the garden. There he is, half way up the mango tree. He stares at I don’t know what.  I stare at him.  Our staring is interrupted by faint vibrations under my feet and the sound of horses galloping down the beach.  The rider on the lead horse reins in his mount. The string of rider-less horses, whose leads he holds in his hand, comes to a stop. A sandy haired young girl runs out from the house next door. She steps up into the stirrup and swings her bare leg over the saddle with ease, as she obviously has hundreds of time before.  They all canter off, her elbows akimbo and her tangled hair flying as she bumps along, not graceful but comfortable, on her horse.  Soon they’ll be back with the first tourists of the day.
The murmuring voices and clanking silverware of the other guests back at the rooms remind my stomach that it is time for breakfast.
On the menu today are bacon and eggs from Stephanie’s Mercado just down the dusty street from our hotel. We’ll have cinnamon buns that we bought yesterday, still warm from the oven,  from Derrick, the hotel owners’ grandson, and plantains that I’ll fry in butter that we bought from the fruit and vegetable truck earlier in the week.  I’m hoping that the ceviche lady will make her appearance with a cooler full of diced fish marinating in limejuice, onion and cilantro in time for lunch on the beach.  Perhaps the German Bakery truck, the fisherman hawking his wares, or the melon truck will stop by today as well.
Pura Vida! Another day begins in Samara.
Playa Samara is located on the Nicoya peninsula on the western shore of Costa Rica.  It can be reached in about five hours by public bus or shuttle from San Jose. From Liberia, Samara is a two and a half hour shuttle ride.  There is a wide choice of hotels and restaurants in Samara and nearby Playa Carrillo.  Surfboards, paddleboards, kayaks, bicycles, and ATVs are available for rent.  Turtle sanctuaries are accessible by tour or rental car.  Chartered fishing boats leave throughout the day.  Whether your idea of vacation is to fill it with activity or whether you like to simply sit and see what comes into view, Playa Samara has it all.
About the Author: Shari Cassutt: When I took a teaching job in Beijing, China in 2007 my long slumbering love of travel was re-awakened. Now that I’ve retired from teaching, my goals are to write, read, cook and travel.  One of my favorite things to do when I am traveling is to visit grocery stores and markets to discover local foods and spices and find new ways to prepare and serve exotic and familiar dishes. More about me and my writing can be found at

Writing Contest

This is an entry to the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest. The theme of this contest was "Inspiration: A Place You Love". Enjoy reading and don't forget to leave a comment!

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