The Ultimate Guide to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Truly a special place
Truly a special place | © Vajra Sol Yoga Adventures
Jenn Parker

Santa Teresa is a booming beach town on the western side of the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a beach, surf, and nature lover’s paradise. The white sand beaches and consistent surf have continually attracted a growing number of travelers each year. There is definitely a laid back, surfer, backpacker, hippie kind of vibe here. There are also luxury accommodations, amazing restaurants, happening nightlife, and modern day amenities packed into this small town. Santa Teresa is the whole package.

When to go

The answer to this questions depends on what exactly you are seeking. The green season months are typically better for surfing, but there is the risk of rain, mosquitos, and muddy roads. The dry season months are prime beach weather, but also more expensive and dusty where the road doesn’t have a coat of molasses on it. For experienced surfers, there are definitely world-class waves to be had at several different breaks in the area during swell season, which is May through December. If you don’t mind a little rain or dust, any month is a good month.

Endless beaches of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Where to stay

Accommodations range from hostels to luxury hotels and guest houses in Santa Teresa. Travelers can find rooms for as low as $14 a night up to $600 a night; there is no shortage of choice. If you are planning to travel during the peak season – December through April – make sure to book your accommodations early. A few places worth checking out, just to get the ball rolling are: Latitude 10 Beachfront Resort, Red Palm Villas, Surf Vista Villas, Otro Lado Lodge, and Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny.

Not a bad view at Latitude 10

Where to eat

Santa Teresa hosts an impressive variety of dining options. There is quite literally something for every taste and budget. There are several traditional sodas, a few pizza and burger joints, organic and vegetarian-friendly cafés, and some fine-dining choices. Santa Teresa is a fun place to eat your way through. Some top choices are: Olam Pure Food, Shambala, Habaneros, Katana Asian Cuisine, Soda Tiquicia, Brisas Del Mar, and Nectar at Florblanca.

You are what you eat and there is no shortage of options in Santa Teresa

What do to

There is so much to do while staying in Santa Teresa; it’s a great destination for those who are seeking action packed adventure days, as well as those who are seeking a more zen-like escape complete with yoga, massages, and long sunset walks. Maybe the perfect Santa Teresa day is complete with action and relaxation. Whatever you are seeking on your Costa Rica trip, it is likely that you will be able to achieve it in Santa Teresa.

Go surfing

There are three main surf breaks in Santa Teresa and several more just south in Mal Pais. Playa Santa Teresa has a variety of beach breaks and point breaks. The waves here tend to be faster, hollower, and more powerful. Playa Santa Teresa is great for experienced surfers, especially when there is a good swell. Just north of Playa Santa Teresa is Playa Hermosa, which is a gentler wave and perfect for beginners, especially when the waves are on the smaller side. Then, at the very end, is Manzanillo, which is a reefy point break.

Surf is always up

Do yoga

There is no shortage of yoga available in Santa Teresa and the setting couldn’t be any more ideal. While there are several different options, one of the best is yoga at Pranamar Villas. The yoga shala is a beautiful open-air space where the ocean is just steps away. There are daily classes offered here by a variety of teachers. A real treat, though, is signing up for a yoga and surf retreat at Pranamar Villas with Vajra Sol Yoga Adventures. Not only is Pranamar Villas an incredible place to stay, but a week of yoga, surfing, delicious food, and new friends is actually quite special.

The perfect place for yoga

Hike to the waterfall

Just a short ATV or car ride away is the entrance to the Montezuma waterfalls. This is a great day activity for those looking to hike to and swim beneath a giant cascade. The hike can be a bit hot, so make sure to bring water and wear sunscreen, but the cool pool at the end is a wonderful and refreshing reward. For the dare devils out there, you can actually climb up the waterfall and jump off of it. Be careful of the rocks below though.

Montezuma waterfalls

Explore a nature reserve

Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is one of the oldest nature reserves in Costa Rica and is a spectacular place to visit. Cabo Blanco is home to a large variety of birds, mammals, and other animals, among which are anteaters, white-tailed deer, capuchin monkeys, coyotes, and elusive wildcats. There are also over 150 different types of trees that have been identified here. Don’t miss this beautiful reserve when staying in the Santa Teresa area.

Capuchin monkeys are common in Costa Rica

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