Here’s to all the casual explorers, the infrequent flyers, and international pedestrians. Cheers to life!

Costa Rica – Kayaking to Isla Chora

Kayaking to Isla Chora, Samara, Costa Rica

The Samara area was hot, hot, hot when we arrived. Sweat dripping down your back walking to the post office kind of hot. We were interested in some kind of activity, but did not pre-book anything. We wandered into the Samara Tours office. We found out the turtle tours were not quite available (either it was too far on the periphery of the season or they did not have enough interest to do a tour). They offered a kayak tour to Isla Chora, for the following afternoon, pending if any other couples signed up – they needed 4 people to have the tour go.

We got the call the next morning that the kayaking tour was a go and they were kind enough to pick us up near our Airbnb (not near the town). We picked up two other couples: a friendly Canadian couple and a rather kooky older French (?) couple. No one was experienced at kayaking, so we fit right in.

The guide had a dry-bag for our goodies, which would stay on his kayak. He gave us life-vests and helpful tips for driving our kayak. Our guide and another worker launched us directly from the beach in the direction of Isla Chora, the small island off the coast. We meandered our way over the island with plenty of arm breaks and course corrections. None of us were in a particular hurry and our guide would check in on each kayak. We arrived and had time to enjoy the small sandy beach on the island, which was otherwise completely steep and rocky directly into ocean. We could see why the tour company had to time the tour to the tide.

At a Glance:

  • Rating: 3 Stars, would do it again, if I was in the area
  • Intensity: Swimsuit!
  • Duration: 3 hours, depending on the tide
  • Cost: $50/per person (less than a weekly trip to Trader Joes)
  • Location: Playa Samara
  • Restrooms: the ocean!


  • Upper body workout
  • Private beach
  • Different view of Samara
  • Snorkeling

Recommended for this adventure:

  • Cute swimmie that you can kayak and snorkel in
  • Sunscreen
  • Cash for guide tip
  • Don’t feed or engage with wildlife

While we frolicked around the beach, our guide cut into pineapples for us and retrieved additional snacks. Before long, scrawny, sad-looking raccoon-like critters emerged from the plants to beg for our pineapple. They were slow moving and so skinny. With almost nothing on the island, they must barely survive on the snacks provided by these tours. So sad.

Feeling rejuvenated, we dawned snorkeling gear and swam on one side of the island. The water was generally clear, but not much happening in the area. Our guide said thia was because the tides were creating a current. The older French couple snorkeled from the moment we landed on the island until we left. Our guide also pointed to a few brown patched on the hills behind Samara. He told us that in a few weeks, the entire hillside would be brown and it would be hotter. In that moment, we were so glad to have come at the end of the rainy season.

We enjoyed the entire tour. Our guide nicely balanced time between the guests as well as tell us information and generally chatting. He took a few pictures of us, which the company emailed us a few hours later for free. It was a lovely afternoon.

Happy Travels,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *