Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Santa Teresa is a booming travel destination in Costa Rica, white sand beaches and consistent surf attracts especially surfers and 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.

For many people, surfing is the main pursuit, and many visitors receive their first surf lesson in Santa Teresa. Apart from challenging surf spots for experts, there are also the easy-going breaks of Playa Carmen for novice surfers. Many hotels offer surf instruction and surf camps in Santa Teresa.

Playa Santa Teresa ranks among the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica. You can make long hikes along the picturesque coastline, bathe in tidal pools, or find a place under a palm tree for loafing and reading a book.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica Travel Guide

Santa Teresa has a population of around 3000 people but in temporary holiday homes, apartments, and hotels there’s a floating population of 3,575 people who spend their time mostly during the dry season, Santa Teresa is a tourist area, which hosts 44 hotels, 59 tourist rental houses, and 49 restaurants.

If you are planning to visit the beautiful town of Santa Teresa in Costa Rica, this travel guide will give you all the information you need to make your trip the best experience it can be. Things to do and places to stay in this popular little beach town.̀

How to get to Santa Teresa?

1. Driving

The fastest way to reach Santa Teresa by car is by using Route 27, which will take you to Puntarenas downtown in around one hour, depending on traffic and weather conditions.

At the very end of Puntarenas town, you can find the Ferry Station, where you need to buy the tickets for the next ferry to Paquera and make the line to get into it.

Depending on the time of the year the schedules vary, however it is always advisable to plan your time based on the ferry hours.

The ride on the ferry is very nice, and it takes around 45 minutes.

After getting off the ferry, you have to follow the road down to Cobano and then head to the crossroads at Playa Carmen, to the right you will reach Santa Teresa, to the left is Mal País.

The total time could be around 4 hours.

Here are the ferry schedule and rates.

If you decide to rent a car in Costa Rica for your vacation in Santa Teresa, we do advise renting a 4×4.

You can rent a car and have it waiting for you at the SJO or Liberia International Airports.

2. Private Transfer from the Airport to Santa Teresa

If you want to ensure smoother, convenient, and efficient travel to Santa Teresa, avoid dealing with issues such as delayed arrival, parking problems, and looking for directions, you should consider booking a Private Shuttle to Santa Teresa.

3. Take the Bus to Santa Teresa

Two direct buses depart from San Jose and Santa Teresa every day, one at 6 am and one at 2 pm. Transportes Cobano runs the service, the price per person is approximately $12.00.

The journey takes 6 hours in total and the bus terminal is located in ¨La Coca Cola¨ in San Jose downtown. Another option using public transportation is taking buses going to Puntarenas, once in there, take the ferry to Paquera, and then take the bus from Cobano to Mal País/Santa Teresa, which runs twice a day at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Transportes Cobano Telephone number: +506 2221-7479

You can also check “La Terminal” website, where you can check schedules and book online.

Where to stay 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, accommodations in Santa Teresa range from hostels to luxury hotels and guest houses in Santa Teresa.

If you are planning to travel during the peak season – December through April – make sure to book your accommodations in Santa Teresa early.

A few places to stay in Santa Teresa worth checking out, just to get the ball rolling are: Latitude 10 Beachfront Resort, Surf Vista Villas, Otro Lado Lodge, and Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny.

More information about Places to Stay in Santa Teresa here.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Hike to Montezuma Waterfalls

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 daredevils out there, you can actually climb up the waterfall and jump off of it. Be careful of the rocks below, though.

Eco adventure Tour in Santa Teresa

Ideal for lovers of sun, sand, nature, wildlife, and local culture, this private 9-hour tour of Santa Teresa showcases the area’s rich beauty. Your private tour includes a 2-hour hike in Curu Wildlife Refuge to look for native animals, followed by a typical Costa Rican lunch with a local family. In the afternoon, snorkel in the Tortuga Islands and finish your day at the Florida waterfalls — it’s a perfect introduction to Costa Rica’s natural highlights.

Bioluminescent Kayak Tour in Paquera

Discover the Nicoya Peninsula on an after-dark kayak tour, where you’ll see Costa Rica bioluminescent waters all around you. Exploring by kayak means you can enjoy the natural phenomenon without the distracting noise of a motor, and you’ll spark bursts of sparkling light each time you dip your paddle into the water where bioluminescent algae are present.

Cabo Blanco National 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.

Surfing in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa has become one of the top destination surf spots for surfers in search of the best waves in Costa Rica. Because of its rolling coastline, white sand beaches, and notoriously ‘hollow’ low tide waves, Santa Teresa attracts surfers of different levels of expertise. Beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers alike can find a perfect breaking wave that caters to their level of experience.

Top 10 Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

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 reef point break.

is Santa Teresa Costa Rica Safe?

The people here are very friendly and as long as you use your common sense, you should be able to enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Most crime in Santa Teresa is petty theft, so we recommend you only carry the valuables that you really need, if you can, leave your passport in the hotel safe, And keep your cash and cards in different places in case they do get stolen. 

Where to eat in Santa Teresa

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 restaurants in Santa Teresa are:

  1. The Bakery
  2. The Somos Cafe
  3. Satori Terrace Sushi Bar
  4. Katana Asian Cuisine
  5. Soda Tiquicia
  6. Brisas Del Mar
  7. Nectar at Florblanca.
Habaneros Restaurant - Santa Teresa