Hostels in Samara Costa Rica are a booming business model

The market seems to be ripe in Samara for hostels catering to backpackers and other budget travelers passing through the colorful coastal town. The first hostel opened in Samara about three years ago, and this year a few other people decided to open hostels, so now there are four economical options to choose from.

costa-rica-flagSamara’s original hostel is Las Mariposas, located just 100 meters from the beach down the road toward Intercultura Language School. Leonie Altink opened the hostel in May of 2010. “There was definitely a need for it. There was no hostel in town,” she recalled, and the building she had rented seemed perfect for providing a cozy, homey environment with spaces outdoors for people to mingle together and space to be alone.

As the business took off, she expanded by adding a second building behind the first one and also now offers hammocks for those who are really on a budget, with a security guard on duty to ensure guest safety. She said she is almost always full but doesn’t want to expand more because she wants to maintain the small, social atmosphere. To enhance the social experience, Las Mariposas organizes budget outings two to three times a week during high season (November to March) to go to nearby sites not offered by tour operators such as a waterfall or Barrigona beach for $8 to $10 per person.

Hammocks rent for $8 a night and dorms are $15 year round, with 11 beds available. Three private rooms start at $35 per room. Facilities include a shared kitchen, hot shower, Wi-Fi and bike rentals. She also offers a volunteer program where people can help with reception and cleaning in exchange for staying free. For more information, call 8703-3625, visit www.hostelmariposas.com or look for hostel Las Mariposas in Facebook.

The second hostel to open in Samara was Hostel Matilori, located downtown between La Mansion B&B and Rancho de La Playa restaurant. Lydie Chartier and Franck Jarny, from France, have been operating the hostel since January of 2012. They were looking for a business they could run together, working with people, and found in Samara a safe atmosphere with people from many countries. They painted the hostel with bright colors and planted a small garden to create a pleasant atmosphere.

The hostel offers free Wi-Fi, two kitchens equipped with free coffee and tea, sugar, salt as well as condiments such as vinegar for people who want to make salads. A night in the dorm ranges from $14 in low season to $16 in high season, and private rooms start at $16 per person per night in low season and $18 per person in high season. For more information, call 2656-0291 or 8662-8407 or look for Hostel Matilori on Facebook.

In February of this year, Italians Andrea Dolcetti and Luigina Sivieri of El Dorado decided to convert their business from a pizzeria and restaurant to a hostel because Dolcetti wanted a change after 13 years of cooking. They kept the rancho structure of the high palm thatched ceiling but created bedrooms inside. They offer two rooms with three beds and one room with two beds, each with a private external bathroom with hot water, and are adding a dorm room with six beds. The hostel is located along the road toward Cangrejal on the corner a block past Banco Nacional, and offers an outdoor sitting area along the road, great for people watching.

Shared rooms are $16 per person and private rooms are $30 for one person or $36 for two people during high season, with a discount of $2 in low season. The hostel offers Wi-Fi and a kitchen, and breakfast is available for $5 extra per person. Transportation to local beaches like Buena Vista and Carrillo and fishing excursions are also available. For more information, call 2656-0145 or visit samarabeach.com/eldorado/index.html.

The newest hostel is El Cactus, opened in June by French business partners Piero Rebaurd and Piero Klopfenstein. They renovated the former Jardin de los Artistas into a brightly colored upscale hostel, which includes a small pool to cool off in the extensive garden area. “The philosophy of a hostel is not just two pieces of wood and a roof. It is a good, clean place and that’s what we’re trying to do, to offer a place to refresh,” commented Klopfenstein.

The dorm room has a balcony overlooking the garden and an in-suite bathroom for $16 per person per night. Standard rooms also include private bathrooms for $38 per night for one or two people, and the superior room includes air conditioning and a television for $48 per night. The facilities also include a kitchen, a sitting area with flat-screen TV and a computer available for guests to use Internet. They can also arrange for shuttle buses and tours. It is located downtown 100 meters from the beach, next to Casa Coba.

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