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Semana Santa Heats Up as Ticos and Foreigners head to Samara Beach
Controversial Jet Skis Come to the Rescue of Stranded Vacationers

By Arianna McKinney

The week started off slow, but by Wednesday afternoon tourists started to flood Samara, taking advantage of Semana Santa vacation time to enjoy the beach. Alejandra Flores, whose family owns Bungalow's Casa Valeria, said she was frightened at the beginning of the week but by Wednesday afternoon things picked up and then changed totally. Now the hotel is full of guests, about half of which are Ticos and half foreigners.

Even with so many in town for the weekend, it doesn't compare to Semana Santa two years ago before the economic crisis. Flores explained that before people came for the entire week and made reservations beforehand. "After the crisis, it fills but it's slower," she said.

Giancarlo Capponi, Vice President of CASATUR, Samara's Chamber of Tourism, had anticipated that the increase of visitors would be primarily Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when many Ticos go to the beach. The surprise for some hotels this year has been the number of foreigners in town when traditionally Semana Santa has been primarily national tourism. Yuri Carillo, who works in reception at Hotel Casa del Mar, said the hotel is full but only two of the rooms are booked by Ticos. The majority are foreigners.

The boost in visitors this weekend is good for business at hotels and restaurants. Fabricio Rodriguez, who works as a bartender at Tabanuco, said business has been excellent with a lot of people at the beach. "We're waiting for them to leave so we can clean the beach again," he joked.

Artisans and vendors couldn't resist setting up stands along the street, reporting excellent sales, but tour operators and surf schools haven't experienced as much of an increase in business. Alex "Choco" Gomez said his surf school has had some clients but they are mostly foreigners.

So far, issues with crime and safety at the beach have been minimal. Rodolfo Villareal, assistant in medical emergencies with Red Cross, reported only a few minor issues with heat and small injuries from falls, and police officer Jose Rosales Diaz said their have been less robberies this year although he thinks there are more people at the beach than last year.

However, Jeison Morales and Fernando Ocampo, two visitors from Heredia, got quite a scare on Thursday. They were looking for shellfish when they found themselves trapped by high tide. To rescue the stranded tourists, the police requested collaboration from Zona de Confort, the business that rents jet skis in Samara. Employees Alejandro Hernandez Lopez and Dorian Quesada Torres reached the two men on jet ski. Quesada Torres explained that he jumped into the water and took lifejackets to them. "They didn't know how to swim very well," he said. Then they brought them to shore on the jet skis.

Continuing the tradition of spending Semana Santa at the beach, whether they're here for the day, the weekend or the week, visitors are enjoying their visit to Samara.

Alejandra Flores and her daughter Emma, work on painting a school project between attending guests at the family's hotel.
Both tents and palm trees line the beach during Semana Santa.
Sebastian Montero Castro from Heredia tries to knock down the
pyramid in this street game where passersby are tempted by the
call: "with 200 [colones] you win 3000."


More Regional News

Paving the Road to Nosara is Going at a Snail's Pace

In 2007 Karla González, then Minister of Transportation, made the commitment to pave the 28 Kilometers that separate Samara from Nosara road, On each July 25 since then, former President Oscar Arias and now current President Laura Chinchilla have come carrying the same commitment to Nicoya's park when celebrating the anniversary of the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya. More >

Found Surfboard of the Lost Surfer
All the searches will continue until eight days after the incident reported

The surfboard of Álvaro Durán Ribas has been found on Friday between 6 and 7 p.m, which was around the same time when Ribas went missing. It was found with a broken leach by a Nosara resident and delivered to the tourist police on Monday afternoon, April 25, 2011. Investigation about the time gap between the appearance of the board and its delivery to the tourist police still continues by the Judicial Investigation Organization. More >

Ministry of Health Closed Nosara Police Station
Security Committee requests continued community support for police

The Nosara police suddenly found themselves with their hands tied on Thursday, April 14 when the Ministry of Health closed the entrance to the station and restricted them from receiving anyone in the building. Jose Mora Gomez, Nosara police chief, said they were given five working days to either appeal the decision or move out of the station completely. More >

Nicoya’s Ministry of Health will Close the Nosara Dump
Destination of the Trash Remains Unknown

After a long pause of silence during an interview about the future of the Nosara dump, Marco Jimenez, the mayor of Nicoya county said, “In Nicoya, all the districts are lead by a mayor. He is not God. He is a mayor. We don’t have all the solutions in hand, just like that. Only God has them.” More >

Teen Moms

Phone calls after phone calls for days…All anxiously made on both sides of the phone line. Talking to a neighbor first, talking to her parents, and then talking to another relative… Multiple phone calls with the same person... Each one of them suspiciously questions us, trying to understand if we were from the court or social services. Finally, a contact was set with a 15 year old girl who is a mother of a 4 month-old baby. More >

Business Patents Under Review in
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The Nicoya Municipality is slowly examining business patents in the canton, starting in the coastal areas of Samara and Nosara. More >

Motor Vehicle Restrictions on the Ostional Refuge
Law and Order: A Conflict Within

That people drive their motor vehicles on Guiones Beach is not news to anyone. The news is that whoever, including civilians and police officers, is doing so is violating the transit law of Costa Rica as well as the regulations on the use of Ostional Wildlife Refuge. More >

Mayor Shuts Down Artisan Market in Samara
Battle over Samara property's maritime zone concession resulted in aggression

Alongside the entrance to the beach in Samara, across from the police delegation and in front of the school, artisans sold their colorful crafts to tourists and passersby. However, that changed on Wednesday, March 23, when the new mayor, Marcos Jimenez, along with delegates from the Municipality arrived in the morning to shut down commercial activities in the maritime zone property, More >

Hopes Not Too High for Holy Week Tourism
Southern Guanacaste Receives Fewer Tourists Than Other Regions of Costa Rica

Traditionally each year the beaches fill with people during Holy Week, which this year begins April 17th. However, local hotel owners seem cautious in their expectations for any boost in tourism and very little is being done to market or promote local tourism along the coast of southern Guanacaste, which includes Nosara, Samara and Carrillo. More >

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