The Top 6 Reasons You Should Visit Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

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The Top 6 Reasons You Should Visit Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

horseback riding at sunset in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

The sunsets in Santa Teresa will take your breath away.

Whether you’re an avid surfer, a nature lover, or an adventure-seeker, you can find your dream vacation in the unspoiled paradise of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Here are the top 6 reasons you should add Santa Teresa, Teresa to your travel bucket list now!

The beaches

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is known for its wild and unspoiled coastline, where lush mountains and green jungle are the dramatic backdrop for miles of pristine beaches. Although there are a few popular beach bars and restaurants set along these beaches, the nature here still rules supreme.

Rocky tide pools beckon in every direction, filled with clear water and colorful little fish that catch your eye. Palm trees sway in the sea breeze, offering the perfect shade for an afternoon siesta. After a long beach walk, make your way to the beachfront Hotel Tropico Latino in Playa Carmen for a fresh fruit smoothie and relax in a hammock. This is also one of the best places in Santa Teresa to watch the sunset.

Longboard surfing in Costa Rica

Get stoked! You can find waves for every level of surfer in Santa Teresa.

The surfing

A surfer’s paradise, Santa Teresa has long been a top destination for surfers of all levels. The surfing scene here is the glue that seems to hold everything together – if you’re not out catching waves yourself, chances are you’re enjoying the show from the beach, especially at sunset. With miles of fun beach breaks and some long point breaks also in the area, experienced surfers will be frothing to get in the water.

If you’re a beginner surfer who dreams of paddling out at Santa Teresa, a surf retreat can get you there. Pura Vida Adventures is a top-rated surf retreat based in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica with accommodations right in front of the Playa Carmen surf break. Their weeklong surf retreat covers all the fundamentals, and their expert team of instructors will get you up and riding waves at these epic beaches.

The adventures

Thrill-seekers will find plenty of opportunities for adventure in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. While surfing is perhaps the biggest draw, there’s plenty more to explore. In the small village of Mas Pais on the south end of the Santa Teresa area, a fun zip line will get your adrenaline pumping, letting you fly high above the jungle canopy. You can also rent an ATV from one of the many operators in town and get off the beaten path to explore the miles of jungle roads in either direction. There is a community-wide effort in Santa Teresa to encourage ATV drivers to drive slowly and carefully to avoid accidents, so be respectful of speed limits and always watch out for pedestrians and wildlife.

For a more serene but still memorable adventure, choose to explore the area’s remote beaches on foot, stopping at the crystal-clear tide pools along the way. A popular path is setting off to the south from Playa Carmen and heading toward Mal Pais. At mid to low tide, you’ll find tide pools of all sizes and depths to swim in and explore. If you make it as far as the fishing village in Mal Pais, continue south to check out Secret Beach and the rugged coastline around the abandoned hotel of Sunset Reef.

A howler monkey in the trees in Costa Rica.

Howler monkeys love to lounge in the trees above Santa Teresa.

The wildlife 

Don’t be alarmed by that deafening, deep-throated growl you hear coming from the trees… it’s just your neighborhood howler monkey! It’s common to see these mysterious monkeys hanging out in the treetops in Santa Teresa, where you can also spot toucans and other tropical birds. Look out for the giant iguanas crossing the road or basking in the midday sun – the largest ones can be several feet long and have a colorful, prehistoric appearance. Costa Rica is also home to the magical blue morpho butterfly, which flutters slowly through the air on giant iridescent wings. At the beach, hermit crabs in shells of all shapes and sizes can be found at your feet, and in the green season, the beloved purple and orange Halloween crab makes its appearance. Countless other interesting creatures make up the diverse wildlife of Santa Teresa, and every day you can have a close encounter with the natural world.

The sunsets

Each day at around 5 p.m., if feels like everything slows down in Santa Teresa. The evening ritual of watching the sunset just brings everyone together – friends, couples, tourists, locals, scruffy beach dogs, and surfers alike. It’s a really cool moment to connect with others while you marvel at the beauty of nature, and it’s at the heart of beach life in Santa Teresa.

Watching the sunset from the wild and undeveloped beaches of Santa Teresa will take your breath away. If you’re feeling social, gather your friends and grab an ice-cold Imperial beer from El Carmen pizzeria right on the beach in Playa Carmen. Or for a quieter sunset, explore the stretch of empty beaches to the north around Playa Hermosa to find the perfect viewing spot.

The nightlife

After you’ve surfed in the morning, explored the jungle in the afternoon, and watched the sunset with friends, you may be totally zonked out. But if you’ve still got some gas left in the tank, the nightlife in Santa Teresa will show you a good time. A seemingly endless stretch of fun restaurants and bars line the main road in Santa Teresa, and on any given night you’ll find live music and a bustling social scene. The sports bar Kooks is a favorite meeting place for early evening drinks and the best place to watch any sporting event. If you’re really ready to party, hit up La Lora Amarilla at least once during your stay. The authentic Latin American dancehall has an epic reggae night that brings out the entire town (plan to sleep in the next day).

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