Get A Typical Costa Rican Meal
If youre looking for an affordable meal while in Montezuma, stop and one of the few sodas, or traditional restaurants, for a tasty meal.
We stopped at Soda Tipica Las Palmeras, which was recommended to us by a local. We ordered the grilled fish casado to share and it was more than enough food for both of us. Oh, and the maracuya smoothie hit the spot! Food in this area of Costa Rica isnt exactly cheap, but youll find the best prices at the sodas.
Tip: For a nice dinner, Playa de los Artistas looks amazing! It is only open for dinner or lunch on Saturdays, so plan your visit accordingly.
Hostel Dos Monos South
Hostel Dos Monos is 80m from the beach and 100 m from the intersection between Mal País and Santa Teresa.
Offering beds in dormitory rooms with air conditioning, private bathroom and access to shared kitchen. Fully equipped apartments with air conditioning, TV, hot shower and fridge are available, while budget rooms with private bathrooms are also provided.
You can find a bank, pharmacy and bus stop and taxis just 50m away from the property.
Playa Hermosa And Playa Cocal Grande
Playa Hermosa is at the northern end of Santa Teresa and is one of the better beaches for surf lessons. Known as the Beverly Hills of Santa Teresa, this is where celebrities like Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen have built their luxury ocean view mansions.
There are a few restaurants and small hotels in Hermosa but not as much as Santa Teresa and Carmen.
Playa Cocal Grande is right next to Hermosa so most tourists refer to both beaches as Playa Hermosa. We stayed here for 3 nights and really enjoyed staying here too. Its just a tad far from the center of town so you definitely need a vehicle to get around.
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Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve
For those looking to get off-the-beaten path, Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is the hiking spot for you. This was one of Costa Ricas first conservation areas. It protects both land and marine zones from development, so there is usually plenty of wildlife like monkeys and birds.
A portion of Cabo Blanco abuts the southern end of Mal Pais. While you can visit one of the Reserves beaches from Mal Pais , youll have to drive across the peninsula to the town of Cabuya to access the hiking trails. Its about an hour away. This is a fun day trip, though, if you are looking for a hard hike.
Read our post, Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve: Rugged Hiking on the Nicoya Peninsula, for directions and more information.
Surfing In Santa Teresa Costa Rica: The Ultimate Guide
Lets start with the premise that I fell in love with Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa has perfect surfing waves, lots of cool cafes and restaurants, friendly locals and expats living there, chill vibes and beautiful sunsets.
It has everything I want for a surfing holiday. Heck, it has everything I want for somewhere to live full-time too!
If youre planning a surfing trip, you have add Santa Teresa to your Costa Rica itinerary. I know the awesome waves and charm of Santa Teresa will make you fall in love too, and youll wish you could stay longer.
In this guide Ive listed everything you need to know about surfing in Santa Teresa. Including the best time to surf, the best surfing beaches, average rental and lesson prices, how to get to Santa Teresa and more.
So lets dive in and start planning your Santa Teresa surf trip, I can guarantee youre going to love it!
Surfing in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
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Morning Run / Walk Along The Beach
Perhaps its because the main roads are so dusty or perhaps its because the beaches are just so gorgeous? Either way, having your daily exercise along the gorgeous sands is one of the best things to do whilst youre in Santa Teresa.
Put on your runners, grab a morning smoothie and go enjoy the sound of the ocean first thing in the morning!
Explore The Little Boutiques
Oooh these little shops make my heart sing.
If youre into browsing an airconditioned, clean, boutique filled with floaty tropical garments and exotic jewellery with a splash of aromatherapy placed delicately around the room youre in luck. There are so many boutiques in Santa Teresa already and there was evidence of lots more being built.
If its a hot afternoon and youve had a morning on the beach, one of the best things to do whilst youre in Santa Teresa is explore the shops!
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Surf In Santa Teresa Or Mal Pais
If you are a surfer or someone who wants to take up surfing, youll find no shortage of things to do in Santa Teresa! This region is known for different breaks and a constant swell all year around. Most hotels and shops dotted along the main road in town offer surfboard rentals and surfing lessons.
Santa Teresa is also home to one of the most legendary surf breaks in Costa Rica known as Suck Rock, located in front of the Red Palm Villas Resort. Next, to Suck Rock there is La Lora, known as one of the most consistent beach breaks.
Playa Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen, and the nearby beach in the town of Mal Pais all offer surf opportunities for surfers of all skill levels.
The gentle surf along Playa Hermosa makes it a great spot for teaching surf-newbies. Not into surfing? No problem. There is no shortage of things to do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica aside from surfing.
Horizon Ocean View Hotel And Yoga Center
Horizon Ocean View Hotel is nestled into lush tropical gardens on a hillside above Santa Teresa Costa Rica, the magical Hotel Horizon awaits you! Facing the Pacific Ocean, we can see, hear, smell and feel its presence from dusk till dawn, dawn till dusk.
This energy is our blessed companion, day and night.
Accommodation is offered in comfortable wooden cabins and villas with a private bathroom, kitchenette, and balcony.
Guests can choose between 4 different types of lodging, from one-bedroom ocean view cabins for singles or couples to the larger one-bedroom villas, two-bedroom ocean view cabins, and a two-bedroom villa that can fit 4 guests.
All units in our hotel have air-conditioning and WIFI access.
The Horizon cabins have ocean views, and the villas are bigger, have two floors, with their own gardens, pools, and parking.
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Fishing And Snorkeling In Santa Teresa
Artisan Fishing from Nantipa
Half-day and full-day fishing trips are available from Santa Teresa, with the variety of fish dependent on the seasons. Nantipa famously offers a special artisan fishing experience, immersing guests in local fisherman culture while giving them a chance to snag sailfish, marlin, tuna, roosterfish, and more.
Tortuga Island snorkeling from Nantipa
The best place for snorkeling in Santa Teresa is Tortuga Island. This beachy day trip location is about 45 minutes by boat from the Santa Teresa area and gives travelers a chance to swim and snorkel in azure waters. Its a nice break from the strong currents and rocky coast of many Santa Teresa beaches.
Great Places To Stay In Santa Teresa
December 15, 2013 by Monirul
Santa Teresa, a small town in Puntarenas Province, is located about 150 kilometers west of San José. Even decades ago Santa Teresa was a small village that has now become a lively town. Despite a decade of explosive growth, the regions natural beauty remains intact. The sea is alive with wildlife and is almost perfect when it comes to shape, color and temperature. Santa Teresa provides a great opportunity for visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of more crowded destinations.
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Pm: Drive Your Atv Over To Montezuma
On days when the surf is too big, youll want to take an excursion over to the other side of the peninsula, at Playa Los Cedros. Its very secluded with all these little rock pools, a really pretty cove, and all these cool shells for collecting. Near there, in Montezuma a little hippie town known for its beautiful waterfall, the Montezuma Falls there is a lovely restaurant with a great view of the beach called Playa de los Artistas. Itll be the best meal youll have the entire trip. The menu is handwritten every day and adapts to what is fresh and available. They have really good sharing dishes, like spicy hummus, and a good wine menu too, which isnt easy to find. In the afternoon, drive your ATV down a road called Doghouse Shortcut Road straight into the jungle in Montezuma.
Finding Your Balance: Best Santa Teresa Tours And Activities
For many, the Nicoya Peninsula offers all they could ever want in a Costa Rica vacation. Stray from the countrys more famous locales and youll be met with rugged coastal landscapes, magnificently empty beaches, and a long dry season. Heres a taste of what you can expect to do and see on a Santa Teresa vacation:
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Am: Catch A Puddle Jumper To Tambor
If youre coming from Los Angeles, take the red-eye on Delta that gets you into San Jose at six in the morning. From there, we take a 25-minute flight to Tambor through SANSA Airlines, which I call the Indiana Jones plane its a 12-seater and is equal parts exciting and terrifying. For under $100 round-trip, its worth it because its so fast. There is a weight limit of 30 lbs for main luggage and 10 lbs for carry-ons per person, so dont take too much : Pack a few short dresses and a pair of shoes you wont be precious about, because they will get a bit wrecked. From Tambor Airport, catch a taxi to the villa its about 45 minutes and costs about $70. If small planes or packing light isnt your thing, you can also drive down and get a 70-minute ferry to cross the Gulf of Nicoya, but that can take six to seven hours door-to-door, depending on how many stops you make. Either way, youll need a rental car so you can take day trips across the peninsula or to Santa Teresa and Malpaís, which are all on the same 20-minute road. Make sure to rent a 4×4 even though they just started paving the main road this year, the conditions arent great, especially if it rained the night prior or an ATV. All the locals ride them while wearing bandanas and goggles because its really dusty, very Mad Max.
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Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
According to Forbes, the best hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, is the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena. It is a striking building that was once a 17th-century convent, and it is located in the old town area of the city close to many historic attractions. The rooms at this hotel boast French-style décor. One of the most popular parts of the hotel is the large outdoor pool with a bar, but this is far from the only facility at this hotel. There is a hammam, a fitness center, a spa, a whirlpool hot tub, and meeting rooms. 1621 is a gourmet restaurant serving French and New World Fare, and there is also the bistro-restaurant El Caustro, which has a buffet and a la carte menu.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Take the Puntarenas Ferry to Manuel Antonio National Park. Its one of the top tourist attractions in Costa Rica. Its 1,983 hectares are home to countless creatures, such as sloths, howler and white-faced monkeys, toucans, and iguanas. Its a great place for walking/hiking enthusiasts with 10 different trails to explore. While you dont need one, we do recommend hiring a guide, to really understand the amazing biodiversity of the park and see all there is to see!
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How To Get To Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Santa Teresa is slightly off the beaten path, but its not that difficult to get to. Its about 150 km from San Jose International Airport. If you rent a car at the airport, take Route 27 to Puntarenas, where you can take the ferry to Paquera. The ferry schedules vary depending on the season, so be sure to check out the ferry timetable before you go.
You can also take the Transportes Cobano bus, which leaves from Downtown San Jose twice a day and brings you to Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. The bus drops you off at the ferry and you go on as a foot passenger. The bus also goes on the ferry and picks you up on the other side. Just be sure to keep your bus receipt!
There are also private/shared shuttles from most of the major tourist destinations in Costa Rica.
Pm: Get In An Afternoon Surf
Once you reach town, around lunchtime, youll want to eat at Couleur Café up the street. I order a fresh green juice and the veggie sandwich because its simple and on panini thats delicious. Relax around the house and drink beer by the infinity pool until your friends, who have decided to drive the whole way down from San Jose, arrive, likely around sunset. Thats when everyone goes to the beach for a surf. Get there around 4:30 p.m. and try to leave before 6:30, because it gets dark fast, and there will be hermit crabs and spiders everywhere.
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Explore The Little Boutiques And Have A Cocktail At Selina’s
Guaranteed youll drive past this gorgeous pink and blue building during your time in Santa Teresa.
Selinas have nailed the vibe here in Santa Teresa. If youre looking for somewhere to get some work done the internet here is the. best in Santa Teresa.
If youre looking to meet other travellers the space outside the back of Selinas is always filled with social butterflies.
If youre looking for somewhere to have a cocktail after the sun sets, Selinas is conveniently located on the walk back up from the beach
Oh and there are 5/6 cute boutiques located on the road side of Selinas waiting patiently for you to enter and get your new evening outfit
Our Experience Surfing In Santa Teresa
Have I already said that I love Santa Teresa? If youre looking for a fun surf holiday, Santa Teresa is the perfect place to do so.
When we arrived in Santa Teresa it felt like wed pressed pause on things, and started living a little slower.
Me attempting to surf in Santa Teresa
We would wake up every morning and get a couple hours of surfing in before breakfast, then chill in the hammocks of our hostel during the hot hours of the day, and go back to the beach for a sunset surf session.
The beach tends to be pretty quiet during the day, since it gets very hot. At sunset however all of Santa Teresa seems to come down to the beach.
There are no bars on Playa Santa Teresa so people bring their own drinks. You also get some local guys walking along the beach with crates of cold beer or homemade snacks. We even saw a guy making mojitos on the spot!
Me and my friend Jordan enjoying some sunset drinks in Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa also has a fun nightlife, without being an excessive backpacker party town. At the Thursday night bars you can find both tourists, expats and locals alike.
Costa Rica is considered one of the safest countries in Central America. I never felt unsafe walking back to our hostel after the beach parties.
Ive been surfing in Bali, the Canary Islands, Australia and Sri Lanka, but Santa Teresa was my favourite place to do so. The waves were easy to surf for my surfing level, and the soft sand break meant it was very hard to injure yourself.
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Where To Eat In Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Eating was by far our favourite pastime in Santa Teresa. When it comes to culinary delights this town is small but mighty.
- Habanero: Our favourite spot was Habanero, a Mexican Grill and Bar with amazing food and delicious drinks, located on the beach at Playa Cielo. We took advantage of their 2 for 1 happy hour and indulged in some unique cocktails while enjoying a beautiful sunset.
- Burger Rancho: Another one of our favourites wasBurger Rancho, offering a great selection of gluten-free dishes, burgers, and seafood specialties.
- Olan Pure Foods: Try Olam Pure Foods for organic, veggie and vegan-friendly food served all day long. Much of the fruit used in their smoothies are sourced from the fruit trees located on their property.
- Zula: Curb your Israeli food cravings with Zula. They offer the best falafel and hummus in town and sometimes have live music.
- Caracolas:Caracolas serves up traditional and Costa Rican food but is more well-known for their simple and stellar beach-side location.
- Kojis: We visited Santa Teresas iconic Japanese restaurant, Kojis for dinner one night and were impressed to learn that all their food is locally sourced.