Tag Archives: Costa Rica Vacations

Spotlight on Santa Teresa – Costa Rica’s Dreamiest Seaside Hot-Spot

Finding a dreamy seaside spot for a few days of R&R is ridiculously easy in Costa Rica although with the kind of international fame some beaches boast, finding a quieter beach may be a challenge. Santa Teresa is one of many beaches in Costa Rica just off the tourist radar: established enough to offer an abundance of activities and choices yet far enough from the tourist trail that it feels remote and uncrowded.

Santa Teresa


Where is Santa Teresa Beach?

Nestled on the southern end of the wild western coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa is one of Costa Rica’s most Instagrammable treasures. This kind of paradise will need some effort to reach but – trust us on this – it’ll be worth every mile covered.

How to Get There – To reach Santa Teresa from the capital, San Jose, you’ll need to take a short flight (20min) to the town of Tambor in the peninsula proper and, from here, enjoy a ridiculously scenic half-hour drive across the southern tip of Nicoya. Better still, if you plan your adventure vacation around Arenal, Manuel Antonio and Turrialba, you’ll already be half-way to the Nicoya Peninsula, a thrilling adventure hub of its own accord. See all the great activities available in Nicoya. Once there, you can take private transport to Santa Teresa for your seaside vacay and fly back to San Jose.


What’s special about Santa Teresa?

Everything about Santa Teresa screams ‘paradise’ and although this once sleepy village has evolved into a thriving destination in its own right, complete with gorgeous eco-resorts, luxury villas and amazing restaurants, it still hasn’t lost that old-world appeal. Santa Teresa may be tipped to be the next up-and-coming ‘it’ beach in Costa Rica but it’s still a long way away from the at-times over-built and over-crowded northern Pacific coast.

Away from the mainland and the busloads of tourists, you’ll discover a side of the country that’s still laid-back, rustic and immensely idyllic. Framed by exotic wilderness and stretching out to the horizon, Santa Teresa Beach attracts surfers, families and discerning travelers who just wish to get away from it all for a while. With year-round perfect temps and glorious sunshine (accentuated by magnificent storms in rain season), a still-unpaved main road and countless hidden coves and nearby highlights, Santa Teresa is the kind of place that’ll make you fall in love with Costa Rica.

Many expats started off just like you: visiting for a few days and, essentially, never leaving. They’ve built beautiful homes on the hills behind the beach and have opened up bars, cafés, restaurants and lodges, offering some seriously luxurious comforts and indulgences that simply didn’t exist in Santa Teresa 20 years ago.

And that’s what makes this beach the dreamiest seaside hot-spot in Costa Rica.

Santa Teresa


Relax, Unwind and Immerse Yourself in Pristine Nature

Surfing, yoga and organic produce have become Santa Teresa’s best calling cards and they’ve helped attract a young, vibrant, laid-back crowd of outdoor enthusiasts.

Here are some of the amazing things to do in Santa Teresa:

Wellness & Yoga – Devoid of mega-resorts yet filled with a smattering of excellent hotels and lodges, the whole area around Santa Teresa is tailor-made for relaxation. Here, you’ll find a few exceptional wellness spa hotels that are a treat to visit after a full day of surfing, as well as yoga retreats that’ll reset your rhythm – from multi-day course to day classes, everything’s on offer and all in the most idyllic setting of all.

Santa Teresa

Surfing – Santa Teresa is now home to a few excellent surf camps, given it’s also home to some of the best surf breaks in the whole country. Private, couple and family lessons are available, if you don’t wish to commit to a whole week of practice.

Santa Teresa

Hiking – Just a few miles south of Santa Teresa is the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve that covers over 3,000 acres of land wilderness and 4,000 acres of marine habitat. The reserve boasts two fantastic hiking trails, the longer one (6miles) guiding you to a jaw-dropping beach lapped by crystal-clear water. Head here early (this is the reputed hottest part of the country) and take a guide to spot elusive wildlife – capuchin monkeys, wildcats, anteaters and deer inhabit the reserve.

Santa Teresa

Beach hopping – This area of the Nicoya is home to four splendid beaches, all linked by the one dirt road. Aside from Santa Teresa (still the best base to explore them all), you can visit Mal Pais, Playa Hermosa and Playa Carmen. Hermosa boasts calmer waves that are perfect for beginner surfers.

Santa Teresa

Snorkeling – Isla Tortuga (Turtle Island) is a great snorkeling destination, one of the best for families. Usually, day-trippers head here from the mainland but you can easily visit from Santa Teresa, given the island is just off the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. See the Highlights of Isla Tortuga Day Cruises.

Santa Teresa

Fishing – Mal Pais is the fishing capital of the region and you can enjoy a one-day fishing trip in search of tuna, grouper, snapper and jack.

Enjoy clean eating – The abundance of organic smoothie bars in Santa Teresa gives away the game: this town is all about super fresh, locally-sourced produce. All the restaurants here will tempt you with their delights, which feature vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and plenty of delicious meaty dishes for the carnivore among you. Head to The Bakery for a filling morning bagel before hitting the beach, treat your tastebuds to a fresh taco ceviche at La Cevicheria for lunch and enjoy a sunset cocktail at Manzu, where the home-made guacamole has become legendary.

Santa Teresa

Soak up the sunsets – Santa Teresa’s sunsets are as famous as her yoga retreats – when there’s nothing between you and those amazing burnt-orange horizons, life doesn’t get any better.


Best Places to Stay in Santa Teresa Beach

Santa Teresa

Florblanca – One of the finest accommodation choices here, Florblanca is a dreamy honeymoon retreat and one of Santa Teresa’s best wedding destinations. Just 10 secluded luxury villas, fine gourmet dining, a bevy of wellness treatments on offer, yoga and pilates lessons and impeccable service.

Red Palm Villas This adults-only retreat is another honeymoon gem, offering the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity – the two-floor beachside villas are out of this world and make it ideal for destination wedding events. There’s no restaurant but private chef services are provided.

Latitude 10 Just 10 luxury casitas and an open-air clubhouse make up Latitude 10, one of the most striking rustic luxury choices in Santa Teresa. The outdoor showers and bungalow terraces make you feel at one with the surrounding wilderness – an excellent barefoot romance luxury choice!

Blue Surf Sanctuary With direct beach access, daily yoga and surf classes, spa treatments and a laid-back, totally chill vibe, this boutique hotel is the key to a totally unplugged Santa Teresa vacation.

Tropico Latino An excellent family-friendly choice in Santa Teresa, Tropico Latino offers room options to suit various budgets, spa services, yoga classes, two swimming pool and brilliant child services.


Despite the excellent services and amenities offered in and around Santa Teresa, this glorious village is still one of Costa Rica’s hidden gems and given it’s framed by untouched wilderness, a stay is always a nature-infused, soul-reviving experience. Whether you wish to end your Costa Rica adventure vacation in Santa Teresa, or make your visit reason alone to visit us, rest assured this tropical corner of our paradise will offer a lifetime of incredible memories.

Contact us to know about bespoke vacations in Santa Teresa.

costa rica rios

US & Canada: 888 434-0776 | UK: 0800 612 8718 | International: +1 920 434-7485

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NEWSFLASH: Costa Rica to Welcome ALL US residents from November 1!

Fantastic news out of our idyllic shores this week: Costa Rica will reopen its borders to tourism for ALL US States (as well as Canada and Mexico) from the 1st of November. The news comes after the country was the first in the world to welcome US tourists based on their residency.

The first wave of Costa Rica border openings for US citizens occurred back in September, when the government announced it would welcome residents of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. More US States have been added to the list in the last month and we’re ecstatic to know that the country will open up to the whole of the US as of next month.


Moreover, there will be an in-between allowance added, with residents of Georgia, Florida and Texas allowed in as of mid-October.


As was the case with the previous openings, some conditions do apply. All US tourists must:


  • All travelers must have tested negative in a COVID-19 PCR test up to 72 hours maximum prior to flight departure time from the country of origin
  • Hold travel health insurance with COVID-specific clause for extended medical & living expenses
  • Fill in a Health Certificate before entering the country


You can buy COVID-specific insurance once you arrive in Costa Rica but most tourists choose to purchase a policy beforehand, through their travel agent, to save time upon arrival.


Costa Rica Reopens Completely to US tourism: Why The Sudden Change?

Costa Rica has handled the COVID-19 pandemic remarkably well, implementing harsh restrictions from the get-go. This has helped the country keep an impressively low record of infections and deaths. This was also the reason why Costa Rica has taken such a unique approach to its border reopening: yes, the country relies heavily on US tourism, in particular, but it also wanted to find a balance between keeping the economy churning and keeping COVID infections within acceptable (and handleable) limits.


The idea behind the staggered reopening was to ‘watch what happened’ and, since borders were first opened to the outside world in August, no ‘external’ infections have ever been detected. This means that no foreign tourist has brought the virus with them into Costa Rica, which is amazing news!


What is the COVID Situation in Costa Rica, Right Now?

As with most other countries around the world, second-wave infections have been increasing in Costa Rica. However, numbers remain manageable. As of right now, just over half the ICU beds and almost 30% of moderate-care beds are being used to treat COVID patients in the country, and the health system has never been stretched to capacity at any time during the pandemic.


What Does the Reopening Mean for Costa Rican Tourism?

Although US tourists do make up a huge chunk of the tourism income in Costa Rica, the restrictions in flight numbers and world-wide travel bans mean the country will still only receive about 50% of the usual high-tourist-season crowds.


High-season in Costa Rica usually starts in December (until about April), coinciding with dry season and international holiday periods.


What if You Want to Visit Before November 1?

Residents of the following US States can visit before November 1. However, they will need to show proof of residency upon entry:


As of October 1: New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Rhode Island, California, and Ohio


As of October 15: As mentioned above, Texas, Georgia and Florida residents allowed


As of November 1: ALL US citizens



  • If you’re from an allowed State but can only fly to Costa Rica via a non-allowed State right now, you can still enter the country, provided your layover lasts no more than 18 hours.


  • US citizens who hold Costa Rican residency are allowed back into the country, no matter the State or country they’re coming from. If the origin is in an allowed country/State, or you have spent the last 14 days there, then you won’t have to quarantine. However, if you’re flying in from a currently unallowed State/country, then you will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.


Confused? You’re not the only one! There seems to have been a lot of confusion at airports all over the world in regards to Costa Rica’s allowances. Read this insightful Tico Times article for a detailed breakdown of the rules, at time of writing.


At Costa Rica Rios, we are eagerly awaiting the start of tourist season and are thrilled to know that we can welcome back all US tourists, as well as citizens from a myriad of other countries.


Ready for the adventure vacation of a lifetime?


Make 2020 the year you adventure in Costa Rica and you’ll remember it for all the right reasons!


Contact us to know more.

costa rica rios

US & Canada: 888 434-0776 | UK: 0800 612 8718 | International: +1 920 434-7485

Plan A Trip

Contact Us


North American Winter Calls for Vacation in Costa Rica Rios

Costa Rica Rios adventuresWith a deep freeze trapping much of the United States and Canada citizens, now is the perfect time to visit the beautiful paradise of Costa Rica Rios where temperatures are high, winds are calm, and the water is crystal clear.

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica Rios offers vacationers glorious weather year round and the opportunity to participate in their favorite outdoor leisure activities. Rock climbing, rafting, sailing, and relaxing poolside are just a few ideas for vacationers to plan as daily activities. Looking to be married or need help choosing the perfect honeymoon location? We’ve got that covered too with plenty of activities for newlyweds to spend quality time with each other while taking in beautiful scenery.

So what are you waiting for?  Why stay in the frozen tundra of North America’s winter when you could be enjoying yourselves on beautiful beaches.  Go on and get out of the cold, snowy winter that has taken over much of the North American continent and enjoy yourselves in majestic Costa Rica Rios!


How To Make A Positive Local and Global Impact While Vacationing

Vacationers are starting to branch out more and more into international travel, with a passion for seeing the world and having new experiences. This increase in tourism can quickly lead to a detrimental impact on the environment; impacting biodiversity and pollution in previously pristine areas.

Keeping your vacation trash freeHow You Can Help Make A Difference
As a conscientious traveler, it is your duty to support travel companies that actively seek to improve local economy and minimize their impact on the environment. Sustainable travel companies, like Costa Rica Rios, are proactive and purposeful when implementing green practices and programs. If you choose your travel company wisely, you can help protect global travel for future generations.

How Costa Rica Rios Minimizes Their Impact
Costa Rica Rios is sociably responsible participating in the program 1% For The Planet, annually donating a portion of their revenue for environmental protect projects. The initiative doesn’t stop there – there are a multitude of ways to support local economy and sustain the environment. Here are a few examples of what Costa Rica Rios does to do just that:

  • a recycle program for both the company and the travelers
  • using bio-fuel for all on-location vehicles
  • on-site composting
  • keeping travel sizes small, minimizing traffic and over crowding
  • donating organic waste to local cocoa farmers
  • using bio-degradable water bottles
  • energy efficiency programs
  • supporting local businesses by helping them sell their products to tourists

Cleaning up pollutionPeople Working Together
It’s natural for people to be drawn to places full of beauty and wonder, and many tourist marketers are happy to flood the natural environment with extra traffic and pollution in order to make a profit. It is up to each of us to work together to protect the natural beauty and resources of our favorite locations.

As a vacationer, the biggest impact you can make is with your pocketbook. Choose to do business with travel companies who take the idea and practice of sustainable travel seriously. Choose to make a positive impact by minimizing your use of resources and leaving the exotic destinations as rich and mesmerizing as you found them.


Spotlight on Turrialba

active costa rica volcano

Turrialba is a small agricultural town in the heart of Costa Rica that has largely been left unaffected by the vast number of tourism flocking to other parts of the country. That is not to say it is uninteresting or has nothing to offer! On the contrary, this little town has many treasures to enthrall the discerning traveler. Nestled in a valley, surrounded by primary and secondary rainforest, one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica to the north, as well as the highest volcano in the country, and with the highest mountain on the horizon to the south, its beauty is unquestionable. Located just 1.5 hours form the capital city of San Jose, Turrialba is worlds away from the hustle and bustle.

If your idea of a Costa Rica adventure vacation includes meeting locals and getting a feel for the culture, then this is the destination for you. Its warm and welcoming community is friendly and fun, always rising to the occasion when there is something to celebrate. It seems nearly every second weekend there is something going on, from a mountain bike race to runs to cultural festivals and fairs. It’s also the hub for many indigenous people, who come in for their weekly market shopping and other necessities.

luxury boutique hotel in costa rica

There are no large chain hotels, but several smaller boutique lodges that cater to almost any budget. So if you want luxury on your family vacation or adventure honeymoon, you can still get it in Turrialba.

Turrialba is also the gateway to many adventures. With more than 22 canyons in and around the town, canyoning has become one of the most popular adventures in the area. The beautiful thing about the canyons here, is that the tours all run on a “leave no trace” policy, meaning that when you are rappelling down waterfalls there are no fixed points and all the ropes are set up at each drop by your expert guides

canyoning in the rainforest of costa rica

There are numerous mountain biking trails for enthusiasts, and you could fill your entire Costa Rica adventure vacation with a different trail every day. And the hiking is incredible. There are many private and public reserves to visit including a UNESCO Natural Heritage site just a 20-minute drive from downtown. Due to the low number of visitors to the national parks around here, there is a lot of wildlife. We have been lucky to see the shy and rare Tayra twice this year, as well as an abundance of sloths, toucans and many other exotic creatures. No Costa Rica vacation is complete without a little wildlife!

hiking costa rica's rainforest

The most important archaeological site is also located here and is a wonderful place full of mystery and intrigue. You’ll be able to learn about the pre-Colombus people and their way of life. Dotted all around the valley are relics from the past and many stone carvings and artefacts.

Turrialba is best known as the gateway to the Pacuare River, home of the best whitewater rafting in the country and some of the best whitewater in the world. National Geographic voted this river “one of the top 10 commercially rafted rivers in the world”. There are two ways to raft the Pacuare: A one-day trip that leaves early in the morning and has you off the river by mid-afternoon, or an overnight excursion where you will spend a night or two in a beautiful and remote jungle lodge. An overnight in one of the Pacuare River’s lodges is generally a highlight of any Costa Rica trip.

costa rica wildlife

An unusual fact about Turrialba is that it is home to the Rawlings baseball factory, and every baseball used in Major League Baseball in the USA is made here in this town. The factory produces 50,000 handmade baseballs every week to be shipped to the USA! Also hosted in the town is the world coffee bean bank. This means that if a crop of coffee, anywhere in the world, was to be wiped out due to plague or other phenomena, we have the original strain ready to start the replenishment. If you like your family adventure vacation to include a little education, this is a great place to start.

So if you are planning your honeymoon or your annual family adventure vacation, why not get away from the crowds and experience a little bit of the “real” Costa Rica? We would suggest at least a two-night stay in the Turrialba area before moving on to your next destination.

To see how Turrialba could fit into your next vacation plans, contact us for more information. You won’t be disappointed.

whitewater rafting past waterfalls on the Pacuare River


Have a Blast on Vacation at La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano

 La Fortuna is one of the most visited areas in Costa Rica, with visitors and locals flocking to the region to see one of the country’s most famous landmarks, the Arenal Volcano.

Scientists believe that, geologically, Arenal is still a relatively young volcano at less than 7,500 years old, and that it laid dormant for hundreds of years before exploding on July 29, 1968. The explosion lasted several days, burying an area of 15 square kilometers under ash, lava and rocks. 87 locals lost their lives in this explosion. The three local towns of Tabacon, Pueblo Nuevo and San Luis were destroyed It prompted the locals to change the name of their town of “El Borio” to “La Fortuna,” meaning The Fortunate, as it was untouched by the explosion.

Since October of 2010, the Arenal Volcano has slowly seen its activity decrease, with no explosions recorded between December of 2010 and the present day.

Of course, La Fortuna has reinvented itself. It’s not only as a place to visit to see a volcano, but one of the top adventure destinations in Costa Rica, if not the world. Any vacation to Costa Rica is incomplete without a few adventures in this part of the country. You’ll find travelers from all walks of life and from all over the world when visiting the region. The town is family-friendly, with various activities suitable for younger children. It’s also a romantic destination for honeymooners searching for their own private piece of paradise as newlyweds. There’s a wonderful variety of hotels surrounding the town, from low-budget places to extreme luxury accommodations. Many have volcano views from the rooms.

So, what can you expect from a tour of La Fortuna? Here are a few suggestions:

·      Whitewater Rafting

·      Ziplining

·      Hanging Bridges

·      Canyoning

·      Caving

·      Guided Rainforest Hikes

·      Mountain Biking

·      Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

·      Fishing

·      Tubing

After some adventure, you’ll need to relax. Try a visit to one of the natural hot springs in the area. There are several springs and pools open to visitors, offering therapeutic soaks. This is one of the best ways to top off your visit to La Fortuna before heading to the beach.

Plan your next Costa Rican vacation with La Fortuna as a stop-off point. Contact us today, and we can recommend how to fit this enchanting destination into your itinerary.