Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica is just a few hours from much of anywhere in the U.S. and the list of options for what to do in Santa Teresa and the best places to stay in Santa Teresa are limitless.
This sleepy little town is located just north of Montezuma, Costa Rica on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula.
For thrill seekers, beach bums, nature fiends and honeymooners alike, Santa Teresa is a freewheeling adventure playground.
Mal Pais Costa Rica is known for its beautiful beaches and adventure lovers can enjoy white water rafting, canopy, hiking, surfing, staying at luxurious boutique hotels or all-inclusive resorts made just for families – you can find it all in Costa Rica.
There is so much to do while staying in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica; it’s a great destination if you are seeking action packed adventure or if you are seeking a more relaxed escape complete with yoga, massages, or enjoying a cocktail while watching sunset.
Whatever you are seeking on your Costa Rica trip, it is likely that you will be able to achieve it in Santa Teresa as it is perfect destination to have the best vacation ever!
It’s extremely mellow and low-key so if you are looking for a party town – wrong place.
Keep reading my Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica Travel Guide as I will help you answer the following the questions:
- How To Get To Santa Teresa and Mal Pais, Costa Rica?
- Is Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Safe?
- How far is Montezuma from Santa Teresa?
- What is the closest airport to Santa Teresa Costa Rica?
- What are the Best Hotels in Santa Teresa?
- What are the Best Restaurants in Santa Teresa?
Best Things To Do In Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
The Nicoya Pennisula is perfect for those looking to party all night and sleep it off on the beach all day, this freewheeling, sun-soaked peninsula is the spot.
Down south, the Mal País/Santa Teresa area attracts young travelers to imbibe and dance in the sand, then recover over a delicious breakfast at Aremis Cafe.
Up the coast in Playa Sámara, the party goes all night at Tabanuco and even continues the next day at beachfront bars that double as taquerias.
The more health-conscious beachgoer should head farther north to Nosara, where visitors can eat gluten-free, stretch themselves silly at Nosara Yoga and sip cucumber cocktails at Harmony Hotel.
What is the Best Area to Stay in Mal Pais Costa Rica?
Santa Teresa is the best area to stay in if you want to have an authentic Costa Rican Experience.
Santa Teresa has 800 miles of shoreline, protected rainforest, and reserves, volcano-heated hot springs, and lush river valleys that keep me returning year after year.
Santa Teresa has not become a tourist trap just yet like so many other parts of the country with the influx of condos and mega-resorts.
This little town remains rugged, rustic and natural but I worry that will not be the case much longer because Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica are no longer my best-kept secret.
Whether it’s a family trip with horseback riding or a romantic getaway with your spouse there a ton of things to do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
Things To Do In Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica
With the onslaught of backpackers and surfers came the boutique hotel, restaurants, and shops – Just like that Santa Teresa has flourished into a one of kind destination that will make you a repeat visitor like my husband and me.
On the surface, Santa Teresa appears to be rather remote and unexciting at least that’s what my husband and I thought on our first visit to Santa Teresa.
Since that first visit we have fallen in love and it has become our little slice of heaven right here on earth that is full of excitement, activities and some of the best beaches in the world.
Santa Teresa Beach
If you are not a great swimmer please proceed with caution because those waves will take you out and I mean that literally.
There are a few small bays on the shoreline where you can possibly swim but they are hard to find and you have to look for them. (Ask a local)
Playa Carmen is the most popular beach in the area, right in the middle of town. It’s known for its great surfing and fun vibe. In the old days, this beach was sometimes called “Malpais” but in fact, Playa Malpais is a few miles to the south and doesn’t have a surf spot. Located in the center of the Santa Teresa – Mal Pais area, Playa Carmen is the most crowded, and so are its waves. The street behind the beach is full of restaurants, bars, hotels, rental villas, and many houses. There are a few roads that head up into the hills, dotted with boutique hotels and rental villas from which you can walk or drive down to this beach.
Santa Teresa Costa Rica
The actual Playa Santa Teresa is situated around 3 km north of Playa Carmen, past the soccer field. » Map of Playa Santa Teresa
In recent years this area has become more and more popular and many new hotels and restaurants have popped up. The beach here is a broad and long expanse of white sand edged by jungle. The surf on Playa Santa Teresa is more challenging and presents both point and beach breaks.
Selina - Santa Teresa North Beaches
Santa Teresa North, Costa Rica is a remote beach town that seems to have a little something extra. When you’re here, you feel an infectious energy that can’t be explained. Heralded as the “The Next Tulum,” the year-round sunshine and consistently 80-degree heat will make you want to unpack and stay (a lot) longer than you had planned. The long white sand beaches, endlessly perfect surf waves, live music and parties, paired with mind-bending culinary experiences and beautiful people define this surf haven.
Playa Hermosa - Santa Teresa Beach
Ocean winds whipping through your hair. Saltwater on your skin. The scents. The adrenaline. What is there not to love about surfing? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you can't beat Playa Hermosa in North Puntarenas. Not to be confused with Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste, the one in Puntarenas is situated five kilometers south of Jacó and brings in surfers of all experience levels from all over the world.
Surfing in Santa Teresa & Mal Pais
The beaches of Santa Teresa offer some of the best surfing experiences in Costa Rica. They boast of world-class breaks and ideal surf conditions all through the year.
Santa Teresa’s main attraction is the consistent waves. This remote tropical town is located at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.
You can enjoy surfing and relaxing in this tropical paradise which boasts of white sand beaches, blue lagoons, rainforests teeming with wildlife and plenty of silence and solitude.
Surf Rock - Best Places To Surf in Costa Rica
Experienced surfers head to Suck Rock for a challenge when they are in Santa Teresa. The waves breaking off of this reef break can be as high as 20 feet. If you catch a wave just right, you have the opportunity to ride for over 100 yards. Unlike some of the other beaches in the Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula, you want to head to Suck Rock during high tide to experience the massive swells.
Hotel Casa Cecilia, The FIRST Beachfront Hotel in Santa Teresa, Mal Pais
Santa Teresa and surrounding beaches are perfect for all levels of surfing ability. In front of Casa Cecilia there is a right reef point break for advanced surfers and several beach break peaks for beginners and intermediates.
It is not uncommon for Casa Cecilia staff to invite guests to tag along on our own surf adventures or to give personalized lessons. Let us know when you make your reservation and we will tailor a surf package to meet your needs. Some of our partners are:
Mar Azul, Malpais Pais - Surfing
Mal Pais is a small beach town located on the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula in Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica on the Pacific coast. It is a tourist friendly place with a warm ambiance. Featuring consistent waves all year round, Mal Pais lures thousands of surfers from all over the globe. Because of its incredible surf breaks and other sport opportunities, the town has gained tremendous amount of popularity. Moreover, international and local surfing competitions are held every year in Mal Pais for advanced surfers. On your surf vacation to Costa Rica, get ready to brave the raging waves of Mal Pais!
Ride huge waves in Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas
The beautiful blue waters and great vistas, but the one in the Puntarenas province is the one with the best waves. Surfers flock to this haven to enjoy the consistent swells and clean, pristine sands. It is thanks to this cleanliness that the beach was awarded a Blue Flag award.
Playa Carmen Surfing
On the other side of the Nicoya peninsula, when you first drop down from the jungle-covered plateau above, you will find the great surf beach called “Playa Carmen”. The best surf spot in the area sits right in front of the commercial center of the Santa Teresa and Malpais villages, with two banks, a french/belgian bakery, sushi, and half a dozen surf shops. On the beach is the Coco Logo nightclub and a beachfront Pizzeria.
Additional Things To Do in Santa Teresa
There is so much to do while staying in Santa Teresa; it’s a great destination for those who are seeking action-packed adventure days, as well as those who are seeking a more zen-like escape complete with yoga, massages, and long sunset walks.
Maybe the perfect Santa Teresa day is complete with action and relaxation. Whatever you are seeking on your Costa Rica trip, it is likely that you will be able to achieve it in Mal Pais Costa Rica.
Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Costa Rica
The reserve is named after the island Cabo Blanco, located 1.6 km from the reserve's southern tip. Since the times of the Conquistadores it has been known as the "White Cape" because encrusted guano covers the rocks. Cabo Blanco is an important seabird sanctuary and popular with ornithologists. It hosts large numbers of brown pelicans, frigate birds, laughing gulls, common terns, ospreys and Costa Rica's largest community of brown boobies.
Montezuma Falls « Montezuma Costa Rica
Montezuma Falls is perhaps the most famous waterfall in Costa Rica. It isn’t a single waterfall, but three separate falls. To reach the first falls, start at the main beach road near Hotel Amor de Mar, and walk up the river for approximately 20 minutes. Here you will reach the tallest waterfall, with a huge swimming hole. Usually there are lots of tourists here. You may see people climbing up the cliff and jumping off.
Curu Wildlife Reserve and Nature Park
Curú National Wildlife Refuge and farm are located on the southem Nicoya Peninsula of northwestern Costa Rica. The area is teaming with abundant wildlife and hosts one of the most beautiful beaches and protected bays on the Nicoya Peninsula. The area 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.
Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica - Florblanca Resort, Santa Teresa
Yoga has been central to the culture and the daily routine of Florblanca since our opening, evidenced by our seaside open-air yoga dojo, a centerpiece of the property. Santa Teresa, and Florblanca specifically, exemplifies an active lifestyle, and our exceptional yoga classes will open the door to new experiences by stretching your mind, body and soul.
Playa Tamarindo: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour
There is something very special about sunsets in Tamarindo. The long stretch of beach, surfer silhouettes in the ocean, clusters of friends and families, the mountainous backdrop to the north and sporadic palm trees are just a few of the things that make the beach such an ideal sunset spot.
Canopy Tours – Zip Lines
The Malpais canopy tour is closer for tourists staying in Santa Teresa, and it’s longer and faster. To find it, just drive south on the main beach road until you’ve almost reached the fishermen’s beach at the end of the road, and you’ll see signs for it on your left.
Horse Back Riding in Costa Rica - Santa Teresa and Mal Pais
The horses at Ollie's Adventures live the very best lives in paradise.
Adrian, the owner of Ollie's adventures has always had an absolute passion and love for working with horses. It is of utmost importance to him that his horses are always happy and healthy.
Pacific Dirt Road | Rentals and Tours in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
ATVs are the easiest way to get around in many areas in Costa Rica as many of the roads can be impassable in car. We ensure "Honda Reliability" with our Honda 420 TRX ATV's. They are regularly service to ensure safety to our customers. We update the quads every year, so you are getting the best quads available in town.
Kayaking, much like surfing and jet skiing is an activity that is largely influenced by the prevailing behavior of the sea, specifically the waves and tides. One of the most important things to accomplish prior to braving the open seas is charting the waves based on the local weather. The beaches have this information on hand, not to mention you can always check travel websites to see which times of the day are best for kayaking.
Water temperatures are also charted on a monthly basis so tourists can factor this in when planning their great Costa Rica getaway.
Where To Snorkel In Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Snorkeling in Santa Teresa can be an awesome experience especially in the dry season (Dec-Apr) when the water is generally more transparent.
The area has very clean water and thus an abundance of fish and other creatures. Moray eels, sea turtles, and octopus are commonly seen.
Please, be careful because the waters in Costa Rica can be extremely rough and are not made for beginning swimmers.
Playa Las Manchas – Costa Rica’s Cutest Beach « Montezuma Costa Rica
As for the snorkeling, it’s probably the most popular spot in Montezuma, and one of the best in the peninsula, along with Cabuya Island and Playa Los Suecos in Malpais. You can sometimes also see an octopus, eel, or a sea turtle. Thanks to efforts in the past few years by sea turtle conservation groups, we should be seeing more turtles in the coming years.
Playa Los Suecos « Montezuma Costa Rica
I have to say that Playa Los Suecos is the best snorkeling spot that I’ve found in the area. Las Manchas in Montezuma can also be amazing, but it’s more consistent here, and I’ve seen more large animals such as a huge stingray and sea turtles. One of the reasons it’s probably so good here is that it’s right next to Cabo Blanco‘s protected marine reserve.
Cabuya Island « Montezuma Costa Rica
The south side of Cabuya Island has a great surf spot… an open secret called “The Secret Reef”. Because of the long hot hike to get out there, few tourists ever head to this spot because there are so many easier surfing opportunities in Santa Teresa. But locals go there from time to time, since during the right swell conditions, it can form a large heavy wave that thrills adrenaline junkies.
Playa Las Rocas – A Secret Awesome Beach Experience in Montezuma « Montezuma Costa Rica
Amazing Playa Las Rocas is a short drive from Montezuma to the south, or perhaps 20-30 minutes by foot. It’s between the beaches of Playa los Cedros and Playa las Manchas.
This beach has a lot to it… there are two sandy beaches, with few waves because the rocks prevent the surf from getting too big, so it’s ideal for kids.
Hermosa Tidepool « Montezuma Costa Rica
It’s a great place for them to learn to swim, or learn to snorkel. They can also experience the sea-life close up. We have seen TWO types of nudibranch here… very rare and amazing species unlike any others in the ocean.
Keep in mind that there’s no shade here… the tropical sun reflecting off the water will fry your tender white gringo skin in double-time, so wear a hat and slather on a thick layer of sunblock.
Map of Santa Teresa Beach and Florblanca Resort
Traditional Costa Rican Cuisine
Eating has got to be the best thing about exploring Costa Rica. When it comes to good eats Santa Teresa has all of the boxes checked off from street food to 5-star dining.
The best ways to experience a different culture is to approach it like a local and your first stop should be the local farmers market. Here’s my guide to show you what and where to eat in Mal Pais.
Basic Dishes In Costa Rica
There are several staples that are an integral part of most meals in Costa Rica. Rice and beans along with Corn tortillas are served with almost every meal including breakfast.
- Breakfast – A typical Costa Rican breakfast is a plate of Gallo Pinto, eggs, homemade corn tortillas or fresh bread from the bakery, and sweet plantains.
- Lunch – A typical Costa Rican lunch is rice, beans, and chicken, pork, beef, or fish, a salad, and sweet plantains. You can also eat tortillas, avocado, and Picco de Gallo. Additional lunch options are shrimp, mixed seafood, pork, mixed vegetables, or fresh ceviche.
- Dinner – A typical Costa Rican dinner has the same options as at lunch.
What to drink in Costa Rica
Jugos frescos or jugos de naturales frescos are the main drink of choice whether it’s for lunch or dinner. Most locals make their own homemade juices using native fruits like tamarindo, passionfruit, mango, pineapple, strawberry, lime, and orange are very refreshing.
You will find locals selling these juices in a plastic bag that is tied with a knot with a straw sticking out of it.
Cocktails on deck!
I love love love a good cocktail. Did I say I love cocktails! If you are with your hubby or hanging out with your girlfriends there is nothing better than listening to the waves crash and drinking a good cocktail.
If you are in Costa Rica I would drink what the locals drink which includes Imperial, Pilsen, and Bavaria.
- You must try guaro – the national liquor of Costa Rica. There are a few signature cocktails that are a must-try when visiting Costa Rica. Chili guaro is a famous shot in Costa Rica. It kind of tastes like a light Bloody Mary and it is made with guaro, tomato juice, Tabasco, and lime.
- Miguelito is another delicious shot that is similar in taste to a pina colada but stronger. A basic Miguelito shot is made with guaro, coconut milk, and evaporated milk.
- A guaro sour is a traditional cocktail that is made with guaro, lime, club soda, and a little raw sugar. This is always my go-to cocktail when visiting Santa Teresa.
Koji’s Restaurant is a sushi shack located on the beautiful beach, Playa Hermosa, in the tropical town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. It is well known for serving mouth watering Japanese food particularity sushi. Offering reasonable prices, excellent quality food and lovely ambiance, Koji’s Restaurant has made a name for itself in a short time. You can expect a wide range of rich and flavorful cuisines and an idyllic platform for family dinners, romantic candlelight dinners and special occasions. Moreover, they have a great customer service. The wait staff is highly efficient ensuring guests’ comfort and order accuracy.
Mary's Mal Pais
Mary’s Restaurant started in 1996 in Mal Pais. Just down from the fishermen the idea was always to have the freshest local food possible. Nearly 20 years later Mary’s now has our own organic farm, and continues the self sustaining tradition that built Mal Pais in the first place.
Burger Rancho is a small fast food restaurant located on the main road in Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. It is a typical burger joint which serves some amazing tuna burgers according to the reviews on TripAdvisor. Even though the atmosphere is crowded and a little bit dusty, the diner is a popular place among both tourists and locals alike due to its affordable prices, versatility and of course, delicious menu. The restaurant is found in the central part of the town directly across the soccer field. It has an open air rancho style covered with brilliantly colored curtains.
Bar Restaurant Pizzeria Playa Carmen Review
Hold a slice of Pizzeria Playa Carmen's brick oven pizza at just the right angle and it almost appears to be riding along one of Playa Carmen's famous surf waves right in front of you. Plopped just a few paces from the shoreline, serving more than 20 variations of pizza, 60 local seafood and meat plates, eight salads, 15 snacks and sandwiches and 20 cocktails, Pizzeria Playa Carmen adds up to one of Santa Teresa's supreme spots.
Brisas del Mar Restaurant
Perched atop a hill, Brisas del Mar, offers some spectacular views of the Costa Rican paradise. You can see beautiful sunset while you dig into your sumptuous meal. The restaurant has a mix of local and international cuisines for tourists coming from different parts of the world. Many people who live in the Santa Teresa area consider Brisas del Mar to be among the top three best restaurants here. They often get a menu makeover but some of the best dishes are never replaced. The restaurant has a cordial and romantic air about it encircled by picturesque views of the ocean and tropical skies. Brisas del Mar is very popular among locals and tourists alike so making reservations in advance is strongly suggested.
Nectar Restaurant at Florblanca Resort, Costa Rica
Our Restaurant Nectar at Hotel Florblanca is laid back and elegant; an indoor/outdoor hangout for guests and locals wanting to dine, celebrate, or enjoy after a day at the beach.
The kitchen serves up fusion cuisine with Latin, Mediterranean and Asian influences. The menu is built around seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on organic local produce, fresh seafood from the surrounding waters, and traditional favorites. From sushi to fish tacos, from salads to chocolate soufflé, our menu is varied and creative.
Where To Stay In Santa Teresa
Florblanca, Costa Rica Resort | Luxury Resort in Santa Teresa
A luxury Costa Rica resort on the shores of the Pacific coast, Florblanca is an award-winning destination for every adventurous traveler. Located on the pristine beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, in an unspoiled tropical jungle overlooking the world famous surf of Playa Santa Teresa, Florblanca offers a vacation experience like no other.
Casas de Soleil
Welcome to a tropical oasis where each villa is designed to provide a uniquely immersive experience. Each villa on the property is surrounded by incredible gardens, creating unforgettable indoor/outdoor living experience that incorporates the pure, natural beauty of Santa Teresa in every space. Our casas are spacious and comfortable, creating an intimate enjoyable setting for friends and family. Our villas were designed, built and furnished thoughtfully to offer everything you can imagine in a luxury property.
Latitude 10, An Exclusive Beachfront Resort in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Latitude 10° Resort is the kind of place where you’ll trade stories with friends you’ve just met. With only 5 luxury casitas at our boutique hotel – all open-air – each one is surrounded by overgrown palms and native plants. And the best part? You’re just steps away from the Pacific Ocean.
Shaka Costa Rica
Learn to surf, make lifelong friends, and enjoy the tropical beach lifestyle.
While we're not a resort, we offer many of the comforts of one along with the relaxed vibe of a surf camp for 'grown-ups'.
Our location in the heart of the Hermosa surf zone gives you the freedom to take full advantage of the best conditions. Check the tides, grab your board, let's surf!
THE GENUINE SURF EXPERIENCE. It starts here.
Playa Cielo beachfront resort, Santa Teresa
Where the beach meets the sky….
Beachfront, award winning, luxurious, private villas
tucked in a tropical lush garden with chemical free swimming pool and renowned onsite restaurant, right on the beautiful beach of Santa Teresa and centrally located within walking distance of restaurants and shops.
Perfect honeymoon destination, romantic time, and family getaway.
Selva Resort- Luxury In Santa Teresa
Your Perfect Escape
Selva Resort, a marvellous luxury resort, is located in the heart of Playa Santa Teresa in a private, secluded hillside. Surrounded by amazing views of the jungle, the resorts offer each guest a unique experience of both natural environment and complete vacation amenities.
The compound’s structure, villas’ design, and facilities – are all designed to enable ones complete comfort during the stay of a lifetime.
Villas Santa Teresa
Relax in a hammock and enjoy the vibe of Santa Teresa, a small beach town located next to Mal Pais and Playa Carmen. Watch the surfers gliding across the waves.
Get inspired by a breathtaking sunset accompanied by the sounds of the tropical birds and monkeys playing in the surrounding trees…
Santa Teresa Costa Rica | Beachfront Hotel
Tropico Latino is an intimate beachfront hotel located in Santa Teresa, a breathtaking white sand beach on the Pacific Ocean of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone. Situated on four acres of unspoiled tropical beach, you will find beautiful swimming areas and also outcroppings of rock where natural tide pools form.
surf camp costarica
We are located in the heart of Santa Teresa- a slow paced and quaint little town on the pacific coast of Costa Rica. You will love a Surf vacation with Lucero because we provide a comfortable stay with a personal touch and friendly learning atmosphere for surfers and yogi's of any level with the perfect balance between surf, activity, yoga and individual free time in a tropical paradise. We started exactly ten years ago and have enjoyed the company of so many beautiful people that came and stayed with us. We are still determined to make every vacation amazing. It does not matter if you come alone, with your friend, husband or with your mom/dad, this vacation package is great for everyone that loves outdoor, active beach vacations and packages can be changed a bit in case your partner does not want to do the surfing but rather lays on the beach
What To Know Before You visit Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica
Costa Rica isn’t as cheap as it used to be, and you will get hit with a 13 percent tax at every hotel and restaurant in addition to a 10 percent service charge at every restaurant.
I am doing most of the work for you but you will need to set airfare alerts to make sure you get the best rates.
- Bug Spray – Bring bug spray. You are traveling to a tropical climate and that means bugs. Bugs everywhere. Aside from the more serious Zika. Bug spray is extremely expensive in Costa Rica so don’t leave it at home.
- SunScreen – Costa Rica is close to the equator. If you are coming from a northern climate, ie the United States, Canada or Europe, you will quickly notice the sun is a lot stronger. Wear sunscreen.
- Renting A Car -Seeing the country by car is a great experience. Although it is recommended to hire a driver Renting a car in Costa Rica is NOT like renting in the US. It is a lot more expensive and you are required to purchase basic coverage, doesn’t matter if your credit card offers insurance, it is a must and the cost is typically higher than the car rental.
Driving in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Driving in Costa Rica especially Santa Teressa will be completely different from what you’re used to in the states. Traffic rules (laws) in Costa Rica are often looked on more as guidelines. There are no street signs or street addresses as we have in the US.
Credit Cards or Cash
Both debit and credit cards are widely accepted in Costa Rica. ATM’s are everywhere but there are few considerations to keep in mind.
- Call your bank or financial institution and let them know you are traveling.
- Nothing more frustrating than, after a great meal, your card is declined.
- Cash is King.
Travel Safely in Costa Rica
Crime is part of life no matter where you travel to and Costa Rica is no exception. I have been to Costa Rica dozens of times and nothing has ever happened to me or my husband.
It’s unlikely you will experience any violent crime unless you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Remember, Costa Rica is a third world country and most people are poor. Don’t let your common sense go, listen to that gut feeling, if something feels wrong it probably is wrong.
Don’t Leave valuables in the trunk of your car and not on the seat, in plain sight.
How To Get to Santa Teresa Costa Rica
The most common ways to get to Santa Teresa are either by plane or ferry. Other options include a speedboat then shuttle via Jaco and driving (which is a bit treacherous) so hold on to your hat because you will think you are about to meet your maker.
Two Options On How To Get To Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica.
Fly to Santa Teresa
The quickest and easiest way to get into Santa Teresa is to take a quick 25-minute puddle jumper flight from San Jose to Tambor then arrange a private taxi/shuttle from Tambor into town.
Please arrange for transport from Tambor to your hotel prior to arrival to arrange for a driver to pick you up!
Sansa flies out of the SJO airport but in order to get to their planes, you have to go on a quick walk to their ‘terminal’.
You’ll be bombarded by taxi drivers, private shuttle services and a ton of people with signs providing tour services.
Just keep walking and you’ll see a gated parking lot with arms blocking the entrance, that’s where you turn in.
The Security guards will open the gates for you and then you walk to the building where you check-in and wait in their ‘departure’ area.
NatureAir flies out of SJO as well but you can get to their departure area without leaving the airport. Once you exit the arrivals area, go back up to departures and follow the signs that say “domestic flights”.
The great thing about flying is the ease and the stunning view of the jungle as you fly overhead. Please note that these are all propeller planes that are tight for space and have limited seating capacity.
keep your luggage below 30lbs! For every lb over 30, you’re required to pay $1 in fees (i.e $1/pound).
Ferry to Santa Teresa
The Ferry is from Puntarenas to Paquera. Click here for the Ferry Schedule. It’s roughly $1.40 for a ticket!
There are three Ferry options:
- Direct Bus: This bus leaves from the bridge at Villa Bonita in Alajuela at 6:20 AM and 2:20 PM. The cost of the ticket is $15.50 and the bus will take you from Alajuela to Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. It does not drop you off in front of your hotel so have a good idea of where you’re going to get off at a landmark.
- Regular Bus: Go to the bus station in San Jose and take the local bus to Puntarenas which departs every 40 minutes. Once you arrive in Paquera, get on another bus to Cobano and once you’re in Cobano, you’ll have to take another bus into Santa Teresa. Click here for the Cobano bus schedules.
- Private Shuttles: This is by far the easiest way to go about doing the transfers but it will cost you roughly $50USD.
I would recommend the following companies for the private shuttle-ferry-shuttle service:
- Tropical tours
- Montezuma Expeditions
Best Time To Go to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
High season is December through April, with reliable sunshine but larger crowds and prices to match. The rest of the year is the green season, with better deals and regular rain showers.
October is the wettest month, but if you don’t mind a little rain every evening I say go for it.
The hubby and I got in a torrential downpour riding our bikes back to Florblanca but what’s the point in being pissed? We were in Costa Rica things could be worse.
Weather In Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a tropical climate, with a wet and a dry season each year on the Pacific side, and occasional showers throughout the year on the Caribbean side.
The weather in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica varies depending on which side of the country you’re visiting.
November through mid-April – These are warm, sunny comfortable months. You will experience warm days with cool offshore breezes, cooler nights, and lush greenery throughout the Nicoya Peninsula area.
You may have the occasional rain shower, but typically these months are full of sunshine and clear skies. Although there is always some humidity in Santa Teresa Costa Rica, these months are typically the driest of the year.
Late-April through August – You will experience some rainfall during these months, generally during the evening or nighttime.
It’s a beautiful time of year and travelers even get to take advantage of fewer crowds in the area and lower prices.
While this is still considered the green season and rains can be expected, you will still experience plenty of sunshine.
September and October – This is when my hubby and I typically visit Santa Teresa and the rains are a little heavier during these months.
You will still have extremely gorgeous days with heavy rains about an hour or so every afternoon and the sun pops back out like it never left.
This is the perfect time kick back in your hammock with a good book and just relax to the sound of rain on your tin roof.
These months are beyond relaxing and peaceful which is why the hubby and I keep returning and the weather in Santa Teresa has never deterred us from going back.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
I can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially when visiting a country like Costa Rica. You will need insurance even if you just plan on hanging out on the beach.
What’s the worse thing that could happen? Hindsight is always 20/20. What if you decide to go hiking, surfing, scuba diving, or zip-lining), you need to be protected on your travels and peace of mind is irreplaceable.
I learned about the importance of travel insurance the hard way last year in the Czech Republic and now I will never travel without coverage.
Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica is an experience, a “Pura Vida” experience. What makes Santa Teresa so appealing is the undeveloped landscape.
Let the Pura Vida take you on its journey (go with the flow), and remember to have fun!
Santa Teresa is the best area to stay in Costa Rica and it has to be on your radar otherwise, you wouldn’t know this little sleepy town existed.
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Additional Articles For Exploring Costa Rica
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