30 Nov Surf Town Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
As a traveler always looking for places to go, I always make it a point to ask locals where their favorite spots are. After living in Costa Rica for months, some people answered the gorgeous mountains of La Fortuna and some said the the laid-back town of Puerto Viejo.
Most of them though, are in awe of Santa Teresa. I couldn’t leave Costa Rica without seeing it, but dreaded the long bus and ferry ride. I researched other options and came across a transport service that could cut my travel time in half!
San Jose to Jaco bus (3 hours)
Jaco to Montezuma speedboat (1 hour) $40
Montezuma to Santa Teresa shuttle (45 minutes) $10
Take the speedboat from Jaco to Montezuma with Zuma Tours
Once you get to Santa Teresa, you’ll have a lot of options for budget accommodation. I stayed at Pura Vida Mini Hostel for a week, dorm beds are $10, private rooms start at $15, . The pool wasn’t ready at that time (November 2105) but the owner and staff were quite helpful with everything else that I needed. Who needs a pool when you have the ocean just a few steps away anyway? Tranquilo Backpackers is more accessible, just off the main road, close to Super Ronny #1 . Casa Zen is a little farther away from the busy center, but offers 2-3 yoga classes a day.
Click on the map for a larger image
This surf town has loads of surf shops, quaint little cafes, local sodas and restaurants to offer. If you want to try a full local meal, Soda Carmen has the best selection of casados, about c3,500 each . There are also quite a selection of different cuisines, so if you’re craving for sushi, falafel, tacos, pizzas or pastries, just walk along the main road and you’ll find everything there.
Grab some ice cream from the supermarket to beat the heat. From the main road, find a pathway that leads to the beach. You’ll most likely end up along Playa Carmen where people watch the surf and chill in hammocks all day. They have beach volleyball in the afternoons and fireshows at night, depending on the weather. Walk north past the river towards Playa Santa Teresa to find more surf spots. Board rentals start at $10 per day.
Everyday, I found myself just chilling on my sarong by a place called Camping Sunset. It was flat enough so I could do some yoga and quiet enough that I could focus on writing on my journal or painting the amazing scenery. I met some friendly locals who gave me a fresh coconut after harvesting it directly from the tree themselves.
I wanted to explore the town and bike all the way to Playa Hermosa one day only to get drenched halfway! The road is really bad in Santa Teresa, no wonder bicycle rentals were quite expensive, about $10-12 per day, double that of Puerto Viejo. The rain poured for a couple of hours as everyone in their ATVs and 4×4 SUVs breezed past me with strange looks as if asking why the hell I decided to bike this route. The next day, I was known in town as “the girl who biked in the rain”.
A one-way taxi ride from Santa Teresa to Playa Hermosa can cost c4,000, which isn’t so bad if you can find people to split with. It’s about half an hour, maybe 8 kilometers away, but the craters on the road will definitely slow you down, raining or not. Motorbikes and ATVs can cost about $60 per day.
If you’re looking to learn while you’re here, check out Proyecto Santa Teresa near the football field. They offer TEFL Certification, Spanish Classes, surf classes and volunteering options for those who are planning to stay longer.
Whatever you decide to do, definitely don’t miss the gorgeous sunsets on the Pacific coast. Expats with their kids and dogs, local surfers and travelers of all ages come out for this magical time of the day.
Photo by Esteban Mendoza