Monteverde is only 88 miles (142 km) from Playa Sámara, but the short distance is deceiving. Both the provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste have some rough terrain, which pushes all roads to the area where the InterAmericana Highway runs just north from the town of Puntarenas and heads into Guanacaste.
For this reason, the best option for traveling from Monteverde to Playa Sámara is by road, whether that be a rental car, private transport, or bus—which is long and slow. There are two theories on the best way to travel, but both routes begin and end on some very rustic roads.
Spend a little more time in these two locations and add a few more with this 10-day Highlights of Costa Rica itinerary.
By Shuttle or Private Transfer
Duration: 3.5 hours
Private transports and shuttles provide the most comfortable and relaxing trip to Playa Sámara. Someone else is driving and you may have the option to stop to see some of the sights along the way, while your luggage is secured in the private transport.
Shuttles and transports take the same route recommended for those driving themselves. Taking Route 18, heading through Nicoya and then continuing onto Route 150 into Playa Samara. The last part of the journey can be a bit rough, as the single-lane-each-direction roads are not in the same condition as the highway.
By Rental Car
Duration: 3.5 hours
If you want to make the drive yourself, you can rent a car and drive approximately 90 miles (142 km). When you leave Monteverde, you’ll travel on an unpaved path—which can get quickly muddy and dangerous in the rain season—until you get to Route 606, which then turns into Route 605. Then take a slight right onto the paved InterAmericana Highway for about 11 miles (17 km) before turning left onto Route 18, heading west.
After that, you follow Route 21 through Nicoya and Route 150, which lands you right at Playa Sámara. You could stop just before getting to Nicoya and explore Palo Verde National Park. You may also enjoy the views of the Tempisque River Bridge.