The Natural Centre in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

After our five days of rest and relaxation in Nosara we made a quick pit stop in Playa Samara.The main reason we were stopping by was so I could get some material for writing an article  for MyCostaRica about learning to surf with Samara Adventure Company.

Yes my friends, that meant that yours truly had to take a surfing lesson. You’ll have to stay tuned to a future post to see how it went, although if you follow the Facebook page, you may already know!

P1020728When I wasn’t learning to hang ten like a pro, I did manage to do a little exploring. In amongst the touristy souvenir shops, and tour companies I stumbled across the Samara Natural Centre. Intrigued? So was I!

Located in the heart of Playa Samara, the Natural Centre is a hub for all your healthy lifestyle needs. Here you will find a juice bar, falafel stand, gym and most importantly, a giant health food store (more on that in a second)

The Farmers Market

The Farmers Market

I was extra lucky to have the opportunity to stop by on a Friday afternoon, when the local Farmer’s market was going. There vendors were selling baked goods, vegetables, jams, jelly’s, cheeses and other delectable treats. Many of the items being sold were advertised as organic, gluten free or vegan. A bonus for anyone who is trying to track down these hard to find products.

The vibe at the market was great. It was apparent that this was a gathering place for families and friends to come and pick up all sorts of goodies for the weekend. I had brought my sketch pad and planned to do some drawing while I visited, but found myself more interested in watching the wonderful atmosphere unfolding around me.

So much selection!

So much selection!

Now for the health food store. Samara Organics is by far the epicentre of the Natural Centre. It has the biggest and most diverse selection of health food that I’ve seen throughout my travels in Costa Rica. Along with their wide variety of natural products and produce, they are also set up as a cafe. Visitors can enjoy a full coffee menu, juices, smoothies plus a small menu of salads and snacks. During my visit I had a Cappuccino (no surprise), and was delighted when they offered me the option of almond or soy milk. It was just like being back home! Because the farmers market was going on, the cafe was very busy. Despite being run off his feet, the Barista kept a smile on his face, and made the experience extra special.

If you are in Samara, checking out the Natural Centre is a must.You will find products that you can’t get anywhere else, and be sure to stop in for a treat at Samara Organics.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

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Our Favourite Places in Nosara, Costa Rica Part 1

Writing our favourite places post for Nosara is super hard for two reasons. First, we are staying in this small little town for almost a month. Second, it is full of so many awesome little places I want to write about.

So, as with many of my posts that I feel the need to blab on about, I’ll break this up into two posts, or maybe even more!

Regardless, you have to start somewhere, so here are our first couple favourite places in Nosara!

P1020717Baglemans: This little coffee shop first caught my eye during my morning run. Well, I guess it didn’t really catch my eye so much as it caught my nose! The deadly delicious smell of baked goods wafted across my path and left me salivating mid-run. As much as I wanted to pop in for an immediate carb load, I managed to restrain myself until later that afternoon.

Score!!

Score!!

Shaun and I stopped in for a coffee and a treat. My Cappuccino was fabulous, warm and rich. Plus they had an awesome deal on where Shaun could get a warm cinnamon bun pretty much for free with my purchase. Budget friendly sweet treats? We are in!

We sat outside enjoying our purchases, vowing we would be back. We came back a couple days later, and although that specific deal wasn’t on at that time, we still managed to enjoy our indulgences.

Bagleman’s has tons of great lunch combos, as well as a full coffee menu. It’s got a relaxed vibe, free wifi, and an aroma that is to die for. It wasn’t until later that I actually discovered that this place is considered a “fast-food” chain in Costa Rica. I haven’t seen one anywhere else on our travels, which is probably a good thing, since I would likely have to stop in every time!

P1020720Robins Ice Cream: I had read great things about robin’s on Trip Advisor, so I knew I would be checking it out. All I needed to hear was that there was gelato, and I was sold. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but their menu is huge and extremely unique for Costa Rica. They offer tons of organic and gluten free breakfast, lunch and early dinner options. The day I was there their special was a vegan sushi roll which looked amazing.

Shaun is making some big  decisions there in the background!

Shaun is making some big decisions there in the background!

Shaun and I popped in here twice during our stay. Both times for ice cream/sorbet. He had oatmeal chocolate chip, and coconut while I opted for a of vegan pineapple-ginger and tropical lime. We can officially vouch for all of those flavours. Don’t worry though, we are willing to continue our taste test when we get back. The things we do for the blog!

Oh, they also sell Pipa’s in their cooler! So if you are too lazy to nip down to the beach to track down a vendor, you can always stop here!

Health Food Store Bliss!

Health Food Store Bliss!

Organico: Health Food Store ALERT! Obviously from my Favourite Places posts from Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, I’m a big fan of health foods stores. Organico is awesome because its a full on grocery store and health food store in one. Often times, the health food stores I encounter have a really limited selection, as merchandise tends to be difficult to get here.

I felt like Organico had it all. Organic veggies, meats, quinoa, even ice cream. A huge perk of Organico is their bulk section. I haven’t seen bulk food anywhere in Costa Rica and hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it! I’m thinking I’ll be picking up for supplies for granola next time I’m there!

Organico also has a little cafe in the front of the store that sells healthy sandwiches, salads and juices. With so many amazing things to offer, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be frequenting this awesome business a lot during our travels back in Nosara.

So there you have it, another round up of our favourite places. If you enjoy the series, check out our other Favourite Places Posts.

As always, if you have any questions about these, or other areas, leave us a comment below, or message us on Twitter or our Facebook Page.

Pura Vida!

Kate