Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review of Casa Brian in Playa Samara - 5-12-2012

You should stay here. Really.

In 2009, I was going to stay here for four days and stayed for 19. That's how amazing the atmosphere here is. This time, I stayed for a full three weeks before moving to my other friend's hostel (post is forthcoming) to support her business. Casa Brian's owner, Brian, is a late 50-something Canadian ex-commercial fisherman, brewer, wild mushroom picker, logging camp cook, and God knows what else. He's almost deaf in one ear, so don't freak out if he's yelling at you. He's not angry; he's hard of hearing.

Brian himself is an amazing man with too many funny, tragic, adventuresome, and interesting stories to count. You may ask, “are his stories real?” The answer is yes...he's lived a more full and interesting life than damn near anyone you've met. Even better, he tells his stories with such detail and aplomb you'll think you were right there with him traveling Morocco, on a fishing boat off the Queen Charlotte islands, or going door to door in Southern California.

Never in my life have I stayed someplace where so many cool, open, interesting, relaxed people congregated, only to leave and then be replaced by people equally as cool, open, interesting, and relaxed as them. When it's full, Casa Brian's residents barbecue and party together like every night is Saturday night. When the Casa is slow, it feels easy and relaxed like a Sunday morning.

Dinner with friends at Casa Brian in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

The other thing awesome about this place is that I have always met people here who were somehow directly related to the purpose of my trip. It happened last time and it happened again this time. Three years ago, I was desperate to feel free and I wanted people who could help me get there. Brian himself is one of the most freedom loving people I've met and I don't know how many hours he and I would talk about where I've been and where I wanted to head in my life. On that trip, I also met someone who strongly encouraged me to pursue my ideal life, words that carried me through the subsequent three years, and helped bring me to where I am today. This trip, I met several Brits and Canadians involved in non-traditional medicine and healing, Costa Ricans who taught me about unconditional love through their stories about missionary work in Africa, and seven awesome people from Vancouver (seriously, half of that city must be traveling in Costa Rica right now) with whom I took surfing lessons, barbequed and visited an animal sanctuary. And of course, I spent many afternoons philosophizing with Brian himself on the nature of love and freedom on this trip.

Yeah, you should stay here.

Casa Brian in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Now, logistical details...Brian has three private rooms that sleep two. These go for $35 per night for one person and $45 per night total for two people. He has two dorm rooms, one sleeps five and the other sleeps six. Dorm beds go for $17 per night. Included in your stay is an all you can eat breakfast of the freshest and sweetest fruit you've ever eaten, toast and jam, and beans and rice. On Sundays, Brian makes banana pancakes. Yum! Four hammocks, one couch and a communal dining table make it easy to make new friends.

Casa Brian in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

The property is about one mile outside of downtown Samara. The easiest way to get here is to walk to the end of Samara's main street, turn left at the beach, walk along the beach for about one mile, walk past the last hotel this far out of town (Las Brisas Del Pacifico) and follow the path that runs past Las Brisas Del Pacifico until it turns into a dirt road. Casa Brian will be on the left side of the dirt road. It has a white metal gate and a small sign that says “Casa Brian.” Contact Brian at You won't be sorry. He's also in the current Lonely Planet guide to Costa Rica.

Just don't stay too long in the private rooms. I'll be back soon and I do enjoy the private room Brian puts me in.


  1. I am traveling to Costa Rica this month for 9 days. I will traveling the Peninsula, hoping to spend some time in Tamarindo, Samara, Mal Pais and montezuma. I can't excited!

  2. Awesome! Let Brian know that you read this review. He'll be really happy!