Santa Teresa is a small beach town situated on the southern tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula.
Due to it’s laidback hippie vibe and incredible surf beaches, it’s been popping onto a lot of people’s radar over the past few years. Without a doubt, Santa Teresa is growing in popularity as time goes on and is becoming one of the top places to visit in Costa Rica.
Although dedicated surfers and backpackers certainly feel it’s worth the journey, Santa Teresa is a little hard to get to. On the plus side, this has somewhat slowed Santa Teresa’s growth in tourism.
Once you get to Santa Teresa, you’ll be greeted by miles of white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and some of the best waves in Costa Rica.
Hipster cafes and healthy restaurants
Santa Teresa is the kind of place where you chill on the beach and eat great food whenever you feel like it – and there are a lot of incredible places to eat. The food options match the vibe of the town. Lots of hipster cafes, healthy restaurants and ideal places to just hang out.
This rustic vibe that we keep on going on about is infectious. Visitors fall in love with the place, the people, both locals and other travellers.
There’s also plenty of things to do aside from just lounging on the beach or going for a surf. You can take a day trip to one of the nearby nature reserves or hire an ATV and wizz around the jungle.
If Santa Teresa is on your list, we’d recommend going there as soon as possible, before that magic vibe is diluted by too much tourism!
How long should you stay in Santa Teresa?
People tend to get stuck in Santa Teresa. They fall in love with the vibe, enjoy their daily routine that they’ve created and can’t face leaving the beach. Some people stay for months!
If you can’t afford to set aside this amount of time, then 3-4 days is a good amount of time. The journey to get to Santa Teresa can be a bit of effort, so any shorter may not be worth the journey.
You can also split your time between Santa Teresa and the nearby town of Montezuma, if you don’t want to spend too long in one place.
Santa Teresa is a small but fast growing beach town, with only around 5km of both paved and gravel roads.
In this case, small also means a small number of areas to stay in. Easy!
Close to the beach
A good way to choose where to stay in Santa Teresa is easy. Just chose to stay close to the beach.
Santa Teresa Beach is the main beach in the town. Behind it you’ll find a road that runs the length of it. This road is full of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and accommodation.
If you want to be right in the hustle and bustle, you can choose accommodation that’s actually set on this road.
For those fancying a bit more peace and quiet, there are plenty of roads that branch off inland from the main road. Any of these smaller roads still won’t be far from where you want to go!
How much is accommodation in Santa Teresa?
The law of supply and demand comes into play in Santa Teresa. It’s still a small beach town, but it’s popularity is growing exponentially!
The number of accommodations hasn’t been able to grow in line with the influx of people. For this reason, prices tend to be higher than the rest of Costa Rica, and places get booked up quickly. Plan in advance!
Private rooms in hostels start at around $40 per night. Whilst prices for private rooms in a hotel start from $70, and go all the way up to $350 per night!
Where to eat in Santa Teresa
When you’re staying in a beach town, two of your biggest activities become lounging on the beach and eating!
The town’s predominant audience is young travellers, boasting a hipster vibe that has attracted those sorts of cafes and restaurants.
There are lots of healthy vegetarian and vegan places to eat, modern restaurants and of course there are still some local spots.
Here’s our 3 favourite places to eat in Santa Teresa:
The Bakery – one of the best places to eat in Santa Teresa
If somebody has to recommend just one place in Santa Teresa, it will most likely be The Bakery.
The Bakery is certainly not only about pastries and baguettes. It’s a great place for any meal of the day. If you go for breakfast or lunch, you can enjoy some delicious pancakes, avocado on toast, or one of the other many delicious dishes.
Dinner boasts some crispy tacos, schnitzel and pasta. Make sure to head down on a Monday as they have an all-you-can-eat pizza night a.k.a heaven!
It’s also a great place to spend the day working with their fast wifi and relaxing atmosphere.
Zula Restaurant – affordable and delicious israeli dishes
Zula Restaurant serves mouth-watering israeli dishes such as hummus, shawarma, falafel and kebab. This is alongside a number of variations of the traditional Costa Rican dish, Casado.
The portions are pretty big, so you’re guaranteed to leave feeling full and satisfied. The outside area of the restaurant, strung with fairy lights, boasts a social atmosphere and a great place to make new friends.
Katana – fresh and great quality Asian food
If you want to eat at Katana, you will need a reservation as it’s a super popular place. It’s the place to go if you’ve been craving Asian food. They serve amazing fresh fish, noodles, currys and buns.
The service is great and the quality of the ingredients are great. This alongside the beautifully designed interior and outside area, make for a great place to go for dinner.
There is a public bus that runs in Santa Teresa and connects it to other nearby towns such as Cobana and Montezuma.
Unlike with the taxi, the journey to Montezuma isn’t direct. On the plus side, it’s considerably cheaper. You would need to go to Cobana first and then catch a bus to Montezuma. This would cost you around $2.50 per person.
You don’t really need a car whilst you’re in Santa Teresa. There are many easier ways to get around and in most cases you can simply just walk.
The dirt and gravel roads can also make driving a bit tricky if you don’t have an SUV-style car.
On the other hand, getting to Santa Teresa can be a bit of a pain if you don’t have a car. Public transport is convoluted, without a direct route. In most cases, you’ll have to take several buses or a ferry. For this reason, we would recommend renting a car from San Jose rather than in Santa Teresa. Instead of using it to get around in Santa Teresa, the car will already fulfil its purpose to get there. You can rent an SUV car for around $40/day from San Jose.
Villa Cacao gets booked up fast, so if you fall in love with this place, make sure to book ASAP. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular - the dreamy outdoor pool, the modern interior and it’s perfect location.
Even though it’s at the centre of Santa Teresa, it feels like your own private oasis. The flourishing gardens and unique chill-out spots also add to this feel. The service matches the quality of the rooms. It’s all top-notch!
Santa Teresa is a place for connections, and La Posada is the place to do that. It’s inevitable that you’ll meet some amazing people here. Whether it’s whilst swimming in the pool, having a game of snooker, or just making the most of the chill out spaces.
If you need some privacy, don’t worry, the hostel also has lovely private rooms.
It’s not easy to find budget-friendly accommodation in Santa Teresa, especially somewhere that’s actually nice to stay in. Salty Enthusiasts won’t break the bank, yet it’s still a beautiful place to stay.
The hotel feels like a large treehouse, meant for relaxing and providing comfort. You can opt for either a dorm bed or a private room. Both are super clean, comfortable and thoughtfully designed.
It’s a great place to meet other people too. They have lots of communal areas to chill out, and a shared kitchen.