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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.