We have been traveling to this idyllic Costa Rican surf outpost for over fifteen years and it is still one of our favorite escapes. The surf is always warm and often pumping on the pristine white beaches of Santa Teresa. There is beautiful weather and fantastic places to stay. A group of international ex-pats who have made this town their second home have brought in healthy and innovative food making this a perfect, winter family adventure.
Located in the south of the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa stands as one of Costa Rica’s most soulful beach towns. Funky, charming and off the beaten tourist path, this destination is a favorite for surfers, beach lovers and families seeking a tropical adventure.
Santa Teresa and its neighboring village Mal Pais are famous for their pristine white and beaches. The miles of protected and undeveloped beach front that connect these two towns are marked by numerous perfect sand-bottomed peaks that have been drawing surfers from around the world for over two decades.
As with all of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is blessed with some spectacular natural assets ranging from turtle beaches to subterranean caves, birding hotspots and maritime riches. Santa Teresa is also known for its dreamy sunsets that draw locals and visitors back to the beach each evening to celebrate the close of the day with blankets, cocktails and guitars. The ‘Pura Vida’ vibe in this town that abounds from sunrise to sunset is hard to beat.
Since we have been traveling here, we have watched this picturesque surf town evolve into a very sophisticated and international destination with accommodations ranging from eco-rustic to chic and luxurious. This great diversity in lodging options is one of the top reasons we like coming here. We have several properties listed below that we love and highly recommend.
This house was first built 400 years ago on the Indonesian island of Java and then transferred to Santa Teresa’s most exclusive Northern beach.
The original teak home teak house was then tastefully converted into a modern, super comfortable house while still retaining all the wonderful 400 years old original features of ancient hardwood, beautiful painted wooden balconies and stunning carvings on doors and window frames. The house sits several meters back from a pristine atured white sand beach and is engulfed by exotic plants and lush jungle. The manicured grounds are often visited by the local Iguanas, all sorts of tropical bird species and the beautiful Howler Monkeys famous for their loud barking.
Casa Java is very romantic, like a jewel, and perfect for Honeymooners or for a family that wants direct access to surf. It is also a perfect wedding venue for small events.
The home is within walking distance of the famous FlorBlanca (as featured
in Vogue’s most exclusive Hotels) and Milarepa Hotel and Restaurant, one of Santa Teresa’s coolest gathering spots.
Amenities of CASA JAVA are:
3 Master Bedrooms with King Size, Queen, and Double Beds. (Can Sleep 8)
1 Single Sleeping Balcony.
A/C in Bedrooms.
Egyptian Cotton Sheets, Feather Pillows and Comfortable High Quality Mattresses.
Fully Equipped, Modern Kitchen
Outdoor Shower, Pool, Large Deck
120 Meters of Beachfront.
Unlimited Coconut Water and mangoes, when in season
Daily Housekeeping/Maid Service.
Caretaker on Property
Privacy and Discretion
Prices starting at $500-$2000 USD per night (depending on number of guests and season).
This amazing, newly built 8 bedroom house is the ‘coolest’ house in Santa Teresa and the largest. Chic and elegant – it is at the same time very relaxed, comfortable and extremely beautiful. Whether you are having a massage on one of the beach ranchos, relaxing by the pool with an ice-cold drink, snoozing in one of the many hammocks or simply ‘being’, you are in paradise. The house is directly on the beach in front the best Surf on the Northern, most exclusive part of Santa Teresa beach. The exquisite sunsets are famous. Situated on 2.5 hectares of land (about 6 acres) this very charming estate has 150 meters of beachfront and is a few minutes away from FlorBlanca and Milarepa, featured in Voque’s Most Exclusive Hotels.
Imagine, a beautifully made up bed with Egyptian cotton linen, cool, quiet A/C, the sound of the Pacific while drifting of to sleep. The pool and house are surrounded by almond and “banyan” trees, that are home to many monkey families. Three full time maids take care of the home during your stay along with a private concierge. A private chef can also be arranged.
all bedrooms have SuperKing, King or Queen size beds,
all have their own bathrooms
6 overlook beach/pool
2 with garden view,
2 suites have their own private garden,
all have their own private balcony/deck or terrace
Linen: Egyptian Cotton sheets, feather pillows and comfortable, high quality mattresses.
All rooms have ceiling fans and sliding glass doors to a terrace which leads to beach or pool
Prices starting at $1600-$6000 USD (Prices depend on number of guests and season)
Casa Cecelia is one of Terry Simm’s personal travel favorites primarily becuase of its idyllic location and affordable price. This privately owned boutique casa is one of the very few hotels in Santa Teresa that sits directly on the sand nestled just above the high tide. The seven air conditioned rooms are sweet, simple and comfortable. The hotel staff are eager to please and always receive rave reviews from guests.
If you are looking for a quiet and private surf escape where you can wake up and walk 100 yards to a flawless peak, this place will make you smile and feel like you have discovered a secret paradise.
Room rates start at $125.00 USD.
Casa Cassandra is our favorite. It is an ocean-view studio/villa that has room to comfortably sleep 2-4 people: two in the king bed downstairs and two singles in the loft. It offers a full kitchen, spacious deck and outdoor teak shower. Cassandra is perfect for couples seeking privacy, or small families. Enjoy checking the surf each morning while sipping coffee on the deck.
The ideal vantage point from the Casa Cecelia hammock.
One hundred yards directly in front of the palm trees of Casa Capitan (and Casa Java) sits a majestic white sand beach that offers an endless supply of perfectly- shaped peaks. It is a mini surf heaven with tons of opportunity. Terry Simms favorite spot is the peak straight out in front of the house.
If you want to venture out in a 4×4 vehicle and discover the diversity in surf that the area has to offer, you won’t be disappointed. There are several secret reefs within short driving range. Or leave the beach behind and travel by boat to several right, rock points where you can surf by yourself. We love this area for its consistency and all day surf appeal. Beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers will all enjoy the fruits that this Costa Rican wave garden has to offer.
When coming to this surf-rich area you should always be prepared and bring booties for the reef, surf hats for the heat and lots of sunscreen!
With Santa Teresa’s recent growth fueled by creative ex-pats seeking the beach lifestyle, the dining options in the area are impressive. Most restaurants menus are designed around organically grown local produce and cater to the desires of the more sophisticated and health conscious traveler.
There are also several amazing chefs for hire in the town. We are able to arrange for special catered meals in your villa or we can organize a cook for your entire stay. When staying at Casa Java or Casa Capitan there is an onsite concierge that can help facilitate restaurant reservations and/or meal planning.
Our favorite go-to spots are Umi’s for sushi, Marys in neighboring Mal Pais for the chicken dishes and farm to table produce and Alma’s for the Peruvian inspired cuisine and lively bar scene.
Outside of the outstanding surf there are many other physical activities to explore in this region. Yoga, pilates, horseback riding, hiking, scuba, snorkeling, boat excursions, zip lining and nature tours of the preserves are easily accessed from Santa Teresa. If you are wishing to indulge and experience some of the world class health practitioners that Santa Teresa has drawn in there are a vast range of massage and spa services offered on beach side pavilions or inside some of the more luxury hotel establishments that are in the area. Beach walking and sunset watching are among the most popular activities for those who just want to keep it simple and easy.
The quickest and most convenient way to reach Santa Teresa is by air. The recently renovated San Jose International Airport (SJO) is Costa Rica’s largest international hub that services most major airlines from the the US and Europe. The domestic airport is a short taxi ride and is serviced by the regional airlines, Sansa and Nature Air. They offer daily flights that are approximately twenty minutes to Tambor, the local airport that sits about 45 minutes outside of Santa Teresa.
Private charter flights can easily be arranged to Tambor from SJO as well. Taxis to town or car rentals are also very easy to come by. We are happy to assist in planning any travel arrangements that are needed.