Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review of La Vela Latina in Playa Samara - 5-16-2012

La Vela Latina in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

La Vela Latina is an upscale, loungy beach bar in Playa Samara, Costa Rica. It was my favorite place to eat and one of my favorite places to grab a beer alone or with new friends from Casa Brian. Several rows of dark wood tables surrounded by low riding plastic Adirondak chairs provide ample seating on the sand. Just watch out for high tide because the tide sometimes laps up to the outermost chairs. Multiple large trees with thick canopies provide shade for the beach seating. Dogs commonly wander through the beach seating, and sometimes inside too. Relax though, they're friendly and are accustomed to tourists petting and feeding them. La Vela's front opens up creating a nearly seamless transition from beach seating to the dark wood floor, tables and chairs of the bar area proper.

La Vela Latina in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Even on a pleasant afternoon where tourists and expats alike sit outside and throw back Imperials to the pounding surf, you can usually find a table to yourself. There's plenty of seating inside too. If you can, get the first row of tables next to the wooden rail that separates the outside seating from the inside. Most of those chairs lean back nicely and rock a bit. Add in the downbeat trip hop or mellow reggae La Vela usually plays and you've got a relaxing spot to watch the waves, grab a bite or wait out an afternoon thunderstorm. I've done all three there and loved it.

La Vela Latina in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Of all the restaurants in town, I found La Vela's to be the most tasty, but also the most expensive. The menu is standard tourist fare including hamburgers, nachos, wraps, a steak, and plenty of exotic mixed and blended drinks. La Vela's burgers were too expensive (gor next door to El Ancla for nearly identical burgers for cheaper) and the nachos are more generous at Coco's Mexican Restaurant, but La Vela's Popcorn Chicken was awesome at $8.25 and includes a pile of French fries and a mixed green salad. Give it a try. La Vela runs 2-for-1 mixed drink specials every night of the week from 5PM to 7PM. Every Saturday around 5PM, La Vela also offers free sushi that you can eat off of bikini (and sushi) clad women.

From the beach at Samara's main street and looking into town, the easiest way to find La Vela Latina is to walk up the main street and take the first right. Walk to the end of this street past the tourist kiosk and Super Samara market (both on your left) all the way to the end of the street where it turns left. Instead of following the street left, turn right into the gravel parking lot for Locanada and La Vela Latina. La Vela is the restaurant on the right (and is also the one that does not have the sign that says "Locanda"). You can also find La Vela Latina by walking along the beach to the left (if facing towards the ocean and away from town). Walk past the first two beach bars on the left (Gusto Beach and Lo Que Hay). You'll shortly come upon three beach bars in a row. La Vela is the middle one. At night, look for its burning tiki torches. During the day, look for the sign advertising sushi.

No comments:

Post a Comment