Located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, the small town of Santa Teresa attracts mostly for its ideal beach for surfing. But Santa Teresa also welcomes non-surfers who will enjoy other activities that we love.
1. Surf in Playa Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa is the star of Surfing in Costa Rica. This water sport is an essential part of your stay in Costa Rica, whether you've been on a board or not.
In Santa Teresa, there are strong currents and great waves always well formed: they will not disappoint you, we promise! You did not bring your equipment ? Don't panic, many shops in the town of Santa Teresa will rent you surf or paddle boards for the day and you will also see clubs that offer classes. There is everything you need to have fun on the waves, even beginners. Perfect !
2. Natural Pools of the Mal Pais
At low tide, make your way quickly to the Mal Pais Natural pools south of Playa Santa Teresa. The further south you go, the rockier the beach will be. Therefore, it is in Mal País where you will have the beautiful spectacle of the waves breaking with a crash on the rocks, but not only ... Dozens of pools dug by nature in the rocks invite you to a small quiet bath with a view. Unique and impregnable.
The water heated by the sun when the tide is out is very pleasant. You will splash with the few fish that are caught there and will be released at the next high tide. Nature is well done!
3. Enjoy The Beach
Although the beach is less suitable for swimming than others in Costa Rica, you can simply enjoy its beautiful white sandbar and splash in everything that happens without straying too far. Idleness is great too! Take the time to relax on the beach with your family and build sand castles with your children. You will have time for the best hikes later (or earlier?).
Either way, you are at the perfect place to admire Costa Rican sunsets. He usually goes to bed around 6 p.m. but the show starts earlier with the sky putting on her evening dress. The show is dazzling. Enjoy it! Santa Teresa beach runs alongside the small town. Therefore, it will be easy to find a restaurant there for dinner after sunset.
4. Horse Riding
As in many places in Costa Rica, companies offer horse riding. This is the case for many of the best beaches in the country.
The hike generally begins in the heart of the rainforest in the heights of Mal País. You will have the opportunity to see many animals and climb the hills that overlook Santa Teresa. The views are all more beautiful than the others.
The walk continues at the end of the day on the beach, where you will jog along the water with a view of the setting sun. You will be offered a break with fresh fruit juice before returning to the lodge. A program that seduces at all times.
5. Curù National Wildlife Refuge
In terms of Natural Reserve, Costa Rica will delight you. Are you probably planning to go to the famous Monteverde Natural Reserve? Otherwise, you must. But there are others. Less known but so beautiful! Still on the Nicoya Peninsula, but an hour's drive from Santa Teresa, is the Curù National Wildlife Refuge, which is worth visiting. Hiking lovers will love this reserve in the arid climate with its savanna airs. Like any good refuge, there are many species of animals to observe: raccoons, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles ... They all respond to the call.
The mission of the Curu refuge is to save the endangered species of spider monkeys that live in semi-freedom in an enclosure. You will find several trails. We are far from the ascent of the Arenal volcano and other more sporty hikes in Costa Rica, but among all the natural reserves in the country, this is the least marked and therefore the wildest, so we recommend it.
6. Montezuma Waterfall
Credit : Stephen Ross – @scubagooding.photo
Just 45 minutes from Santa Teresa is the town of Montezuma. Quieter and more familiar than your neighbor, you will love visiting the surroundings. After strolling through the streets of the village, go to see the Montezuma waterfall, which is only a 10-minute walk from the village. It is very easy to access, perfect if you have children!
During the short walk, they will have fun jumping from stone to stone up the small river. The basin into which the beautiful waterfall flows invites you to swim. The water is cool but very nice. You can opt for a picnic in front of the beautiful waterfall.
7. Cabo Blanco National Park
Credit : @timouroundtheworld
This nature reserve is located at the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula. Only part of a few hundred hectares is open to the public. The rest is reserved for the protection of wildlife and only scientists have access to it.
There are several hiking trails of different lengths within the park. They are not difficult but it is hot! bring water. Although a guide is not essential to travel the marked trails, it is nevertheless advisable to bring one that shows you all the species of plants and animals that live here. That way you won't miss a thing.
The park is open from Wednesday to Sunday. Admission is $ 10 per person. The park ranger will show you the different trails that exist. You choose !
8. The Cabuya Phenomenon
In front of Montezuma is the cemetery island of Cabuya. Creepy, will you tell us? Not at all ! It is a cemetery dating from pre-Columbian indigenous times. This island is only accessible twice a day when the sea recedes. In fact, it is at low tide that the path leading there is discovered and therefore accessible on foot from the shore.
Beyond the cemetery, the island is beautiful to visit. It is covered with vegetation that must withstand the local climate. You will see various species of Yucca and other succulents there. Enjoy the magnificent views of the ocean or the coast. This island is easily accessible, it would be a shame not to go there!
During low tide, a strange phenomenon occurs. The Cabuya Peninsula is revealed. It is only accessible when the sea recedes and we really recommend that you go around it. A cemetery has been established on this island.
9. Swim in the Beaches of Montezuma
Credit : Wikimedia
Montezuma is much more familiar than his neighbor Santa Teresa, he has been told. Apart from Montezuma beach, which is not necessarily suitable for swimming due to the rocks in the water and the currents that can be strong. On the other hand, if it's just to enjoy the wild scenery, go for it! She is very beautiful. For swimming, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the surrounding beaches without rocks or currents. Your young children will be delighted and you will be reassured.
10. Visit the Butterfly Garden of the Mariposario
Credit : @lindsagee
In this beautiful park, you can see up to 1,500 butterflies of 150 different species. Keep in mind that the life expectancy of a butterfly is 2 to 3 weeks. So if you visit it several times you will see other species than the previous time.
The park also features all stages of the life and development of this fascinating insect. From egg to caterpillar, you will learn more about their behavior, such as courtship or mating. In all modesty ;-)
You will probably also be lucky enough to be able to observe a bud, butterflies are born almost every day in the maryposarium! In short, an amazing, unique and fascinating motherhood!
How to get there?
The roads of Costa Rica are not necessarily all well maintained, it is also better to rent a powerful 4x4 type vehicle. You are on the Nicoya peninsula, of course, but don't think you can get from Samara to Santa Teresa in 30 minutes… No, it will take you 4 hours! Study the routes well before you leave, and this is true for most trips around the country. It's part of the charm of the place ;-)
From San José, the fastest route is to drive to Puntarenas and then take the ferry that takes you to the Ferry Playa Naranjo on the Nicoya Peninsula in 1.5 hours. Then take the road back to Santa Teresa. The same idea for Montezuma. It takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to get there from Samara. From San José, you will also have to take the ferry, then you will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive to town.
Where to stay?
Accommodation in Santa Teresa Located in the South of the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa is far enough away from everything, you have no choice but to sleep there. It is more reasonable. After all, you are on vacation in the land of Pura Vida. Above all, do not rush! you will see what you have to do with it in due time. Therefore, there are many hotels or guest houses in Santa Teresa.
You will find accommodation easily, but if you can anticipate it, it is always better! Airbnb offers you, among other things, a wide variety for all budgets. Treat yourself! Staying in Montezuma If you're not in the mood to party, or rather go to bed early with your kids, sleeping in Montezuma is a great idea. Life is calm and relaxing. The Pura Vida!
You will easily find hotels, inns or pensions for all budgets. If you come in high season, try to book in advance, although this is not the most popular city ... bad, but good for you. After visiting Santa Teresa beach, you can continue your journey south and go for example to Manuel Antonio National Park before going to see a volcano like Cerro Chirripó. The distances are long, but if you rent a comfortable car, you will only have to enjoy the landscape that passes by. Good trip !