Santa Teresa is a small, but fast growing town in Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. It is located about 150 kilometres (93 mi) west of the capital city of San José. Like other coastal villages on the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa started as a remote fishing village. The other principle industries were cattle ranching and logging. In the early 1990s, the town of Santa Teresa was "discovered“ by low budget tourists and started growing since then. It is one of the country's premier surfing spots along with the neighboring community of Mal País.
Santa Teresa, stretches over 5 kilometres (3 mi) of both paved and gravel roads. It is remote and has basic infrastructure with a few shops and some internet cafés. There are now more than 30 hotels, ranging in price from US$10 to $1000 per night. Santa Teresa is known for gold-grey beaches, good surf conditions and a relaxing atmosphere. Surfing conditions are generally best during mid to high tides. Santa Teresa has also become known for its many excellent restaurants, all started by various chefs who have moved to the area from various other countries.
Public transport in town exists and connects to the neighboring cities of Cobano, Montezuma and Mal Pais. Direct bus connections go as far as San José. Car and ATV rentals are also available. Many tourists rent ATVs due to the narrow and rough roads. Many visitors fly to San Jose and catch a 25min connecting flight to Tambor. Skyway Airlines and Sansa Airlines serve Tambor. Santa Teresa is approximately a 45 minute drive from the Tambor airport.
The roads are quite rough and are the typical mixture of deteriorating paved and gravel roads. The best way to get around Santa Teresa is to rent an ATV or an SUV if driving in from San Jose.
Beach access is not well marked, not well-lit, and rugged, but there are entry points at 9.6304589,-85.1541772 and 9.6429847,-85.167605 and 9.6455663,-85.1709777.
Surfing and eco-tourism are the top things in Santa Teresa to see and do. The Cabo Blanco Nature Preserve is less than 30 minutes away if you rent an ATV. The coast along the town as well as south and north of Santa Teresa has different breaks and a constant swell all year. Many hotels and surf instructors offer surfing-related services such as surf lessons and board rentals.
One of the most legendary surf breaks in Costa Rica is located in Santa Teresa and is known as “Suck Rock" located in front of the Red Palm Villas Resort. This right-hand point break can be good when the swells are large, and it’s known to get hollow at times
Next to Suck Rock, to the south is one of the most consistent beach breaks, on the gorgeous white sand beach known as “La Lora” (name given by the Disco Bar “La lora amarilla”).
Surf - Boards rental places are everywhere. The normal deal is US$10 for 24 hours. Some places will ask for credit card details for guarantee. Better to look for places closer to the surf spot which is more on the northern end of Playa Santa Teresa. Dang shop is a good place right in front of the surf spot.
Most of the restaurants are fairly inexpensive and reflective the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Santa Teresa.
- The top restaurant in town is Brisas Del Mar. The restaurant is located up the hill approximately 50 meters from the soccer field. Their specialty is fish and cocktails.
- Pizza Tomate is one of two pizza restaurants in town. Their pizzas are fairly affordable and they will deliver for a nominal fee.
Additionally, there are a variety of unremarkable sodas that serve the usual pinto gallo and local cuisine along the main road.
- 1 El Facon, ☏ . Fresh local fish, seafood, also vegetarian and vegan options. They have a wood-fired kitchen and a clay oven. Reservations required.
- Zenaidas: Right in front of the surfing spot of Playa Santa Teresa. The camping ground is right on the last tree line of the beach so you can see the surf from your tent. Bathroom and shower not so great but working, free wifi next to the owner's house. US$7 per person.
- Sunset Camping: On the south end of Playa Santa Teresa. Nice spacious campground but pretty empty of people and far from the surf. Bathroom, shower and electricity. US$7 per person.
- Cuesta Arriba B&B Hostel
- Hotel Casa Cecilia
- Canaima Chill House
- El Rey Patricio
- [formerly dead link] Funky Monkey Lodge (Beach hotel), Santa Teresa Mal Pais (center os Santa Teresa), ☏ . Check-in: all day, check-out: 11:00. Beach Lodge with spacious bungalows, AC/ocean view apartments, 4 min walk from the main surfing spots. Boutique hotel with restaurant and swimming pool. Excellent location. May Jun Sept Oct/20 Dec-8 Jan/other times: budget room US$40/80/60; 2-4 person bungalow $75/120/95; ocean-view AC room $100/140/120; other rooms, suites and apartments available.
- Hotel Raratonga
- Red Palm Villas.
- Latitude 10 Exclusive Beach Resort, Santa Teresa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Located directly on one of the top ranked beaches in the world. 5-suite resort within walking distance to Santa Teresa. Secluded and romantic. Open sky bathrooms. Full service spa. Complimentary breakfast. Yoga retreats. Surf lessons. Restaurant on property. Free bike rental. from US$210.
- Flor Blanca