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Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Villas Kalimba, Playa Samara, Costa Rica - Page 3

Written by Cheri Lucas
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It was a wet November afternoon in Arenal, Costa Rica, and we were driving from the lush, dense jungle of the Northern Lowlands to our next stop: Villas Kalimba in Playa Samara, a beach town on the northwest coast of the Pacific.


Villas Kalimba, Playa Samara, Costa RicaEach evening the sun set in Samara, the villa was an ideal place to relax. The moment I loosened up in the hammock, I recalled those afternoons in Thailand when I did exactly that. At the villa, I listened to the waterfall and pleasant chatter of other guests lounging at the pool or on their patios, and spotted brown and gray squirrels and other critters in the trees.


Roberto also suggested we check out El Lagarto, a restaurant on the beach that blasted reggae and had hearty surf-and-turf plates on the menu. Other nights, we drank beers among locals, students from the Samara Language School, and other travelers at Bar Las Olas on the beach and La Gondola, a bar on the main drag.


Samara’s nightlife, laid-back and less crowded during the rainy season, was what I was looking for. A vacation hangout for both Ticos and tourists, the town maintains a more authentic feel than some beach destinations further north like cosmopolitan Tamarindo, which boasts a large tourist and expat presence, or Flamingo, whose massive resorts attract wealthy vacationers seeking sport fishing and pampering.


Super Samara, the market next door to Villas Kalimba, stocked snacks, food, liquor, and Chilean wine. When we turned a corner and walked several strides down a side street, we caught whiffs of pastries and baked goodies at Panderia Bohemia, where we stopped twice for lunch and coffee (their ham and pineapple pizza breads were tasty). A bit farther down the road was the restaurant El Samareno, a local favorite.


As the days passed, staff assistance was consistent and accommodating. Roberto mapped out the journey back to Liberia when we departed, and Nancy assisted us with calling the United States using our calling card. When I was having difficulty canceling another hotel reservation because I didn’t speak Spanish, another affable lady at the 24-hour reception desk called the hotel and canceled the room for me. Bottom line: the establishment is family-run, and done so with pride. I ultimately felt less like a hotel guest, and more like a resident of the villa.


Granted, the villas weren’t right on the beach — you have to walk a few steps across the road — but the location remains one hundred percent ideal. The complex is gated, which may sound too posh or isolated, but it’s not. The establishment is an upgrade from other hotels in Samara, which is reflected in the slightly higher invoice — we paid $134 a night — but Roberto and his staff maintain a convivial, tranquil, and down-to-earth place that’s not really a resort, hotel, or inn. The villas are unique, and the guests are treated as such. When we asked about reservations for the approaching high season, we weren’t surprised when Roberto said he was booked for the holidays for 2007— and 2008.


Visit the website at .

© Cheri Lucas

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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