Costa Rica

Santa Teresa – Beach Bum and Surfer Paradise

Location and directions

Santa Teresa is on the south- west tip of the Nicoya Penisula, in the Puntarenas province. The drive from San Jose is about 5 hours. You save a lot of time by coordinating the drive with a ferry from Puntarenas

Fastest route is by air. There are several departures from San Jose. Tambor is the closest airport to Santa Teresa. The drive is about 45 minutes from the airport. Check out green air Costa Rica for flight times and information.

Airplane is the fastest way of transportation, Green Air Costa Rica.

The Town and the beach

Santa Teresa is the ultimate surf town. The beach is legendary in both beauty and the quality of the waves. The main beach stretches about 7 kilometer. North of the main beach are smaller ones such as Manzanillo, Playa Bongo and playa Coyote. In the South, the more rockier coast of Mal Pais. The waves are usually good to surf all year round.

Mal Pais, More cliffs than Santa Teresa

The area is heavily influenced by the surfer lifestyle. Everything from the playa to boutiques, cafes and vehicles has a beach – bum attitude with its esthetique and practical appliance. If you need an extra set of bikinis or surf shorts, there are several stores with cool swimwear.

Yoga has naturally blended in with the surfing community. Many hotels and hostels offer classes from more relaxing yin- and restorative approaches to vigorous power, vinyasa – flow and Ashtanga. Belive, Yoga &Surf has daily classes with local teachers.

Santa Teresa has kept a micro jungle between the main road and the beach. On arrival it’s nice to locate the nearest commune between the road and the beach access. Or you might end up in someone’s backyard.

There’s a “Micro- jungle” separating the beach and main road.

The main road is not paved. Therefore it tends to be a bit dusty during sunny periods, and muddy when it rains. If you take precautions and don’t wear your most expensive white sneakers, it’s quite easy to adapt. There are plans to have the streets upgraded in near future.

Dirt road, can get dusty or muddy.

Places to stay

When it comes to accommodations, there are a lot of alternatives. Santa Teresa offers everything from five star luxury stays, to beach bum dorms. This makes it a cool atmosphere for a mixed income crowd. There are also a lot of opportunities for renting houses and apartments.

Selina-æøåp+ has two options along the main road, north and south. South has a slightly more developed co-working area, north has a bigger pool, and a more lively bar. Other then that, they have much of the same qualities.

Don Jons is a typical surfer place. Run by Jon, an avid surfer himself. Their slogan “Relax To The Max” is not only on a sign over the front gate, it’s embodied in the vibe. In addition to the vibe, practicalities such as board rack, are tailor made for surfers.

Somos is a new stylish hotel- and hostel. The modern architecture makes the shared areas super nice to hang out in.

Believe Surf and Yoga has a great yoga Shala with several classes a day. They are also really good at encouraging their clients to explore the waves.

Other activities

In addition to yoga and surfing there are several other awesome activities to explore in the area. The waterfalls close to Montezuma are amazing. If here you can dive and climb around an amazing nature. If you dare, you can take a leap at one of the plateaus. Be certain you have a trustful guide before you take the jump.

Montezuma Waterfall
You can take a leap if you know where the water is deep enough.

ATV tours and horseback riding are also fun activities many of the local activity centers offer. Ollie’s Adventure take good care of their horses. Montezuma and Cabuya are close to Santa Teresa. Each has their unique vibe. 

Places to eat

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Santa Teresa. Places to suit all budgets and tastes. Local options such as gallo pinto and casado are offered at most tico run places. There are neither lack of pizza places.

If you care about the time it takes to have your food prepared, Eat street is a great option. This food court has three different food stalls, and one entirely for drinks. The food is great and served without too much waiting.

Sushi places have become quite common. A tip is to ask for the catch of the day, as fresh fish is always the best.

When to Go

High season in Costa Rica is December to April. There’s less rain during these months. Therefore most tourist prefer to come then. December is particularly busy. If you plan to travel during Christmas holidays, make sure you book accommodations in advance.

Some also like the beach off season. There is more space, less people and bigger waves. Tough that may not suit beginner surfers.

All in all…

Santa Teresa is perfect for surfers, yoga- enthusiast and people who generally like life by the beach. You don’t need any know- how on either, as there are a lot of excellent courses available. Therefore we recommend this beach for everyone, except if you don’t like sun and sand.