Santa Teresa was the first place we stayed in our Costa Rican adventure. It’s a low key town with a special combination of surfing and yoga. The main road is dotted with unique jewelry stores, boutique shops, juice bars, and local restaurants serving up vibrant, healthy and extremely fresh food. Although all of Costa Rica is a tropical adventure paradise, Santa Teresa is a little haven for all you hippie surfers out there.
Santa Teresa can be a bit off the beaten path; it’s down at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. We flew into San Jose and rented a car, drove to Punta Arenas then took a 1 hour ferry across to Paquera. It’s fairly easy to do, they have many different ferry times and its only $5-$10 for the ride (here is a resource we used and found very helpful to explain the whole process) . After that you can drive and explore some of the beaches along the southern peninsula before you arrive in Santa Teresa. Be sure to take a route that passes through Montezuma. We almost stayed here, but Davis wanted to surf, so we went with Santa Teresa instead.
You can also get there by scaling down the coast from Tamarindo. We chose to start first with Santa Teresa then travel up the peninsula, but either way works. There are also local buses that can take you between towns, but we liked having a car to go and explore surrounding beaches a little more easily.
Where to Stay
· Otro Lado Lodge - this is where we stayed and it was an ideal place. They offer full bungalows equipped with hammocks, a loft, and even a kitchen if you want to cook up some of your meals (but that may be hard because there are SO many good places to eat at). They have a yoga shala and local retreats as well as a pool to kick it by in case you get to hot at the beach and need to circulate in and out of the shade.
· Nautilus Boutique Hotel - similar vibes to Otro Lado Lodge but with more yoga classes offered daily and a restaurant open to non-guests for eating. Another great oasis for the yoga surf lovers out there (but doesn’t offer a kitchenette if that’s a big perk for you)
· Latitude 10 Exclusive Beach Resort - if you looking for the ultimate luxury stay, this place has it all. With a private beach front, spa services, and all the fine linen touches, this place will not leave anything to be desired.
Where to Eat
· Olam - vegetarian and plant based restaurant in the Nautilus Boutique Hotel offering really unique dishes for breakfast and lunch. Great gluten free, grain free, vegan options.
· Chopit- touting their grass-fed beef and organic local vegetables, this is a great find for both your meat and plant based lovers alike. They’re happy to skip a bun and put your burger over salad if you like too.
· Product C - if your at all into fresh ceviche (which when you are by the coast you should be) you’ve gotta check out Product C. Great for an appetizer or snack along with their plantain chips.
· Earth Cafe - there are juice and smoothie bars on almost every corner so make sure to try a few. This was one of our favorites though.
· Casa del Mar Steak House - this was a great place where they cooked different meats and/or veggies over a large open fire. Cool vibe and very yummy.
What to do
· Yoga - many of the hotels offer yoga classes you can take if you are staying as a guest or if you just want to drop in for one. Some places even offer private classes if you have a small group or are looking for a more intimate setting.
· Massages – there are a lot of places that offer all kinds of spa services. If you ask, most hotels can assist you in bringing the masseuse to your room! Else you can check out these resorts with some nice packages.
· Surf - people travel from all over the world to surf in Santa Teresa, and with good reason. There are several breaks for all skill levels within a close area. The beach is about 200 ft from the main road. You can rent a surf board for the day for about $20 and if you are looking for a surf instructor, they are also available. The further north you go along the Santa Teresa stretch, the steeper and more advance the waves get. In the time we were there (April), consistent over head sets rolled in all day. It can get blown out in the afternoon, so be sure to surf around sunrise or sunset and talk to the locals about guidance with the tides. There were plenty of waves to go around!
· Explore the Town – a lot of fun stores to wander through for hours. Make sure and make some time if your not in the main area to explore the streets. It’s actually bigger than you think, and a lot of little shops and boutiques to peak into.
· Take a Day Trip to Montezuma - Montezuma is only 40 minutes away by car from Santa Teresa and has its own special vibe. The town is a little smaller and sleepier than Santa Teressa, but it can still be fun for a quick day trip.
WHat we Got Right
· Stay a Bit Outside of the Main Square - Our hotel was about 5-10 minute drive from the main area and we were really pleased about this. It allowed us to have an extra layer of remoteness to our trip and surf was a lot less crowded (Davis didn’t have to compete for waves…)
· Stay in Santa Teresa vs. Montezuma – If you are considering staying in Montezuma, just know it is quite a bit more limited in hotels and restaurants. It was fun for the day, though we didn’t find it quite as enchanting as Santa Teresa. We were very happy we chose to stay in Santa Teresa and would do it again.
· Explore the Juice Bar Scene - If you are into smoothies and fresh juices, Santa Teresa certainly has an abundance of both. Explore a few while your there because they blend up some unique concoctions.
What to Pack
Feel the magic for yourself and take a journey down to Santa Teresa this year. Any more questions? Leave us a note and we’d love to help!
That’s all for now-