Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Nicoya Peninsula
Province of Puntarenas

Santa Teresa Travel Guide

Santa Teresa, like other coastal villages on the Nicoya Peninsula, started as a remote fishing village, relying on agriculture, cattle ranch and small-scale fishing. Today, tourism is the main source of income of most families, and the town hosts surf camps, yoga retreats, and both luxury and budget accommodations.

One main road runs from the fishing village of Mal Pais through Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa, and finally Playa Hermosa to the north. The majority of businesses are located in Playa Carmen and Playa Santa Teresa. This entire area is known as Santa Teresa. The highlight in Santa Teresa are the gorgeous beaches. The town is built up just a short walk from the palm-tree-lined sand.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is well-known for surfing. Playa Carmen, La Lora, and Playa Hermosa are the best surfing beaches in Santa Teresa.

You can find many Yoga and Wellness Retreats in the area.

Santa Teresa tours to other destinations nearby

Montezuma Waterfall
About 45 minutes from Santa Teresa, the Montezuma Waterfall is one of the most popular Nicoya Peninsula attractions for visitors. You can hike along a stream past a couple of smaller falls before coming to the main water cascade.

Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve
The Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve of Costa Rica is part of the Tempisque Conservation Area in the province of Puntarenas, covering an area of 3,140 acres terrestrial and 4,420 acres marine on the southern tip of the Nicoya. This seabird sanctuary is popular for birdwatching. Around 240 bird species have been recorded in Cabo Blanco, along with several mammals. You might spot armadillos, anteaters, monkeys and coatis.

Curu Wildlife Refuge
Curú National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southern Nicoya Peninsula. The area has abundant wildlife and hosts one of the most beautiful beaches and protected bays on the Peninsula. It offers easy access to seeing some of the most sought-after species such as White-faced Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Scarlet Macaws, White-tailed Deer, Collared Peccary, Coati, Raccoons, Coyotes, Iguanas, and hundreds of species of tropical and migratory birds. Curú is an example of a successful sustainable development program. It is managed sustainably to produce a profit and local employment while also protecting its threatened and endangered forested habitats such as mangroves, tropical moist and dry forests, and coral reefs.

Barra Honda Caves
Barra Honda’s main attraction is a large, intricate system of limestone caverns. The nearly flat mesa of the Barra Honda consists of a former coral reef dating back over 60 million years. Tectonic faulting uplifted it from its former seabed and rains created underground waterways. The constant dropping of rainwater on calcium carbonate has then created these underground art galleries – fancies of nature slowly grown over millenniums of years.

Day Trip to Montezuma
In the same direction as Cabo Blanco is another laid-back beach town called Montezuma. There is a large waterfall, a zip-line course and more scenic beaches. The small town also has its own array of little shops and restaurants.

Horseback Riding
Horseback riding along the beach or through the jungle.

The best place for snorkeling in Santa Teresa is Tortuga Island. This day trip location is about 45 minutes by boat from the Santa Teresa area and will give you the chance to swim and snorkel in azure waters. It’s a nice break from the strong currents and rocky coast of many Santa Teresa beaches.

Location and Map

Driving by car from San Jose to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, takes around 5 hours (172 kms /107 miles). Take Route 27 until you reach the Paquera ferry terminal. On the other side of the water, continue to your left at Route 21, and you will arrive at Santa Teresa.

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