Santa Teresa was the most remote town in Costa Rica we went to. We had to drive long stretches on hilly gravel road to reach it from Coco Beach and had to take a ferry to exit out from here. Despite these challenges, it was one of our favorite places in all Costa Rica. Read on to know why.
First things first, Santa Teresa is a proper surf town. If you aren't interested in surfing, it's unlikely this place will be worth your time. Chakri wanted to learn surfing, so this place was ideal to take some surf lessons. This was one of the main reasons we came to Santa Teresa.
Next, the town is quite basic - there is a single gravel road which runs across the town from end-to-end and that's it. Most in-town folks commute via ATV's and bikes. Our rented 2WD Toyota Yaris worked fine on this road and we didn't need to drive a long distance within the town itself.
With those caveats called out, here's how we spent three days in Santa Teresa. Our first stop was at Playa Santa Teresa which was a super long white sand beach. We spent a good part of the day playing in the water here. The beach was clean, and the water was cool and refreshing.
All along the beach, there are trees which provide for good shade if you want to relax. Be aware of the iguanas living in the midst of trees, and try not to disturb them.
Next, for lunch we arrived at Pronto, which is literally walking distance to the beach. Most restaurants in this town have this advantage. Anyway, Pronto blew my mind off, the food was great. Despite the remote-ness of the town, the food at Pronto reminded me of the meals I've had at fancy restaurants in Napa Valley, which was amazing.
After lunch, we checked-in to our Airbnb, which was right next to Pronto. (Do you see the theme here? Everything is next to the beach, when the town is so small). This place was easily the best place we'd stayed in Costa Rica, by far. A piece of art.
Related: New to airbnb? Here's a code which will get you $40 off your next booking.
Later in the day, we went back to the beach and witnessed a beautiful sunset. A lot of locals show up to watch the sun go down here. Unlike the beaches in Coco area, the sun sets right in the middle of the ocean in Playa Santa Teresa, which makes it even better.
After sunset, we shopped for groceries at the single grocery store in town and enjoyed a home cooked meal with wine for dinner.
The next day, Chakri took his first surfing lesson. The surf instructor took us to the nearby Playa Hermosa because the waves were more gentle here. This beach was wider than Santa Teresa, but the trees were still present. Chakri spent the rest of the day learning how to surf and I alternated between book-reading, sleeping and wandering along.
Later that night, we went to Al Chile Viola for dinner. This was a fancy Italian restaurant, and again, the food was amazing. The quality of food, and the customer service was on-par with the high-end restaurants in San Francisco. I loved the pasta and dessert. Pictures will do no justice, but here's a glimpse.
On our last day in Santa Teresa, Chakri spent the morning practicing surfing, and I played in the beach. For lunch, we went to Soda Tiquicia, which served local Costa Rican cuisine. It was fine. After lunch, we had to leave Santa Teresa to our next destination, so we headed out.
Looking back, I feel Santa Teresa had a very hippie vibe, probably because of the presence of many young people - who likely come here to surf. There are lots of hostels here, which is great for people on budget. Few places in Santa Teresa are cash-only, so it makes sense to carry some cash in person.
I loved Santa Teresa because it was so distant and remote. It felt like we were at a far-flung corner of the world while we were here. It wasn't even slightly touristy, and I didn't see any of the typical tourist traps like souvenir stores and hawkers trying to sell stuff. This sort of place appeals to my personality, and is perfect for a beach vacation. Especially if looking to avoid tourists and enjoy surfing or being a beach-bum. :)
What was your favorite place in Costa Rica? Why did you love it?