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Our Santa Teresa Travel Guide: How to Get the Most out of Your Trip to Costa Rica

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Heading to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica? Whether you’re chasing legendary sunsets, diving into natural parks, indulging in healthy eats, or catching your first surf, Santa Teresa promises an unforgettable adventure. Our colleague Emilie spent a dreamy week in the Puntarenas province and came back with insider tips that’ll make your stay truly magical.

With direct flights from Toronto, here’s a great idea for your next vacation destination!

Santa Teresa travel guide

How do I get from Liberia airport to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica?

  • By plane: Domestic flights are available to Tambor airport, the closest city to Santa Teresa. This is the fastest route, but also the most expensive, at about $130 USD per person.
  • By shuttle: Shuttle service is also available from Liberia Airport. The minibus carries only a dozen passengers and the trip takes about 5 hours. There are several local providers, but it’s advisable to book in advance to get the best rates; expect to pay about $50 USD per person.
  • By bus: This is the cheapest option, but also the longest. The trip can take between 6 and 10 hours on bumpy roads.
  • By car: For more freedom, renting a car is an option. It’s best to take Route 21, which is in better condition than the alternative Route 162.

How do you get around in Santa Teresa?

Ready to rumble through the rustic roads of Costa Rica? Renting an ATV is not just fun; it’s practically a rite of passage here. With daily rentals around $50, you can haggle your way to a sweet deal for longer stays. Just remember, the nearest gas station is a 30-minute drive from Santa Teresa.

If you must get a rental car, make sure it has 4-wheel drive, especially during the rainy season. Road conditions and gradients are not to be underestimated!

For a greener option, electric bikes are your eco-friendly steeds waiting to whisk you away.

Is Santa Teresa in Costa Rica expensive?

While Santa Teresa dazzles, it does so with a price tag. Some even go as far as saying that it’s probably the most expensive city in Costa Rica. Accommodation and restaurants can easily be 30% more expensive than elsewhere in the country. Expect to pay around US$20 per meal, excluding drinks, and around US$5 for a coffee.

I’d say that unlike elsewhere in Central America,
it’s a place where you need to prepare and stick to a budget.

Zero-waste travel

Embrace the coconut life, but do it sustainably. There are plenty of coconut vendors here, so don’t forget to take your stainless steel drinking straws and scrape the coconut flesh inside. Costa Rica is a precious and fragile place; it’s our duty to protect it as best we can!

How many days should you spend in Santa Teresa?

If you’re mainly drawn to surfing and yoga, 4-7 days should allow sufficient time to engage with these activities and to explore Santa Teresa’s culinary scene. However, if you’re interested in exploring the broader Nicoya Peninsula, consider allocating a few extra days. This would provide time to visit the nearby town of Montezuma, the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, and the natural pools of Mal Pais.

Learn to surf

The beaches in Santa Teresa are a paradise for surfers, where the waves beckon beginners and pros alike.With plenty of board rental shops and instructors ready to show you the ropes, taking surf lessons is pretty much a breeze. Playa Hermosa, with its gentle currents and rock-free shores, is a great spot for beginners.

Playa Hermora is where most beginners’ courses take place, because of the calmer current and rock-free shoreline. So the inevitable fall is much less painful!

We loved the ease and availability of renting a surfboard for the week.
There are tons of stores where you can get one!

Take yoga classes

Retraite de yoga à Santa Teresa au Costa Rica yoga retreat Santa Teresa

Yoga is the second star sport here! There are plenty of beautiful studios with incredible views of the tropical forest or the sea. Yoga classes are not expensive, and you don’t necessarily have to book. It’s often walk-in, first-come, first-served.

It’s even possible to have one right on the beach, to the sound of the waves!

One of the small hotels where we stayed even had its own outdoor space (a gazebo of sorts) with all the equipment available to do your own practice, whenever you felt like it. In the morning, we’d have our coffee, do a few stretches and yoga positions, and then go for a swim. It was a great way to start the day. Pure bliss!

Where to eat in Santa Teresa

When it comes to dining, restaurants in santa teresa are a culinary treasure trove. From quaint veggie spots serving up vibrant salads, delectable acai bowls, and mouth-watering sandwiches, to more upscale dining experiences for a sumptuous evening out, the array is sure to tantalize every taste bud.

Honestly, to me, every bite was a delight.

Don’t forget to jot down these culinary gems:

  • Soda Tipica Las Palmeras: Dive into authentic Costa Rican cuisine with their fresh-off-the-grill casado platters.
  • The Bakery: A haven for pastry lovers and those in search of a cozy breakfast spot.
  • Drift: Where the ambiance is as enticing as the menu, perfect for a laid-back meal.
  • The Roastery: For coffee aficionados looking to sip on the finest locally sourced beans.
  • Ani’s Bowls and Salads: Your go-to for a refreshing, healthful meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
  • El Patio: A magical dining experience with a menu that sings of freshness.
  • Somos Cafe: Where every cup of coffee tells a story of passion and precision.
  • Hotel Tropico Latino: Not just a place to stay, but a place to dine and indulge in culinary excellence.
  • Tierra Mar: A culinary adventure that blends sea and land for an unforgettable dining experience.

Enjoy the quiet nightlife

Is Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, a party town? No! Don’t expect nightclubs or raves in Santa Teresa. Instead, you’ll find some good beach parties and bonfires on the beach, either after sunset or a little later in the evening.

We went to a beach club called Banana Beach. It’s super fun because it’s right on the beach, there’s lots of couches and chairs, and pretty much every night there’s a DJ or band playing music from late in the day until sunset. The cocktails are also great!

Explore the village

The main street, Cobano, is a kaleidoscope lined with small restaurants, terraces, surf shops and trendy cafes. The buildings are rustic and colorful, making it a very pleasant street to stroll. Everything is small here, except for the lush flora, which has retained its rights and is an integral part of the landscape even in the city.

It’s a small town with a big heart, where the lush landscape is as much a part of the scene as the surfboards and yoga mats.

The best Santa Teresa beach (in and around the village)

plages à Santa Teresa Costa Rica beaches
  • Playa Santa Teresa: One of the main beaches in santa teresa and the largest in the region. It is popular (perhaps too popular?) for its beautiful stretch of white sand at low tide.
  • Playa Manzanilla: A few minutes drive from the west coast, this beach is considered one of the best in the region, with great views, waves and comfortable places to lie down. It’s also home to many turtles.
  • Piedra Colorada: A twenty minute walk north of Playa Montezuma is Piedra Colorada, a shady spot with colorful rocks that local artists have piled to form cairns.
  • Playa Carmen: Located just south of Santa Teresa, this beach offers a quieter atmosphere. Currents are stronger here and swimming must be done with caution!
  • Playa Montezuma: A beautiful black sand beach, but it is strongly recommended not to swim here due to strong currents.
  • Playa Hermosa: A gem in the Santa teresa area. This beach, perfect for families and beginners, is known for its calm waves and wide sandy stretch. It’s also a fantastic spot for a picnic while enjoying the breathtaking sunset.

Enjoy the Costa Rica wildlife

wildlife in Santa Teresa Costa Rica faune

There are some really beautiful beaches to visit, local wildlife to admire on Tortuga Island and waterfalls to marvel at in the jungle! To discover the tropical jungle of Costa Rica, head to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. To discover the hippie soul of the region, plan a day trip to the village of Montezuma. There are even some magnificent waterfalls, so majestic that they are only accessible during the dry season.

To enjoy the refreshing waters of the Pacific without the risk of waves, try the natural pools of Mal Pais. Beware of the sea urchins that settle there when the waves roll in!

If you’re not sure you can navigate the area on your own, there are plenty of day trips and tours available on the main road. It’s one of the best ways to explore the many beautiful places in Santa Teresa and Costa Rica!

Admire the famous sunsets

sunsets in Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Find your favorite among the many beaches in Santa Teresa, sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy the show. A daily masterpiece that reminds us why we travel: to admire the planet in its most magical moments and to return, one way or another, changed.

And then there are the sunsets. The evening sky of Santa Teresa is a magnificent canvas of purples, pinks and reds. Some of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen, not just in Costa Rica but anywhere in the world!

All photo credits: Emilie Bertrand

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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