If you’ve ever internet-searched surf destinations in Costa Rica, then Santa Teresa is almost certain to make, if not top the list. This charming coastal town is nestled along the renowned Santa Teresa Beach, a surfing haven boasting excellent year-round waves. So, let’s talk about some of the best things to do here, paired with a few standout Santa Teresa, Costa Rica vacation rentals.
And, while surfers from around the globe flock here, Santa Teresa transcends its reputation as a “surfers’ haven.” It’s a lot more than that. Over the decades, Santa Teresa has evolved into an ideal beach retreat, the town is also a wellness hub and luxury vacation destination that boasts numerous cafes, restaurants, and beach clubs.
Beyond the waves and beach, Santa Teresa is a portal to myriad experiences. From exploring nature reserves to embracing the serenity of yoga, the town caters to diverse interests. So, let’s touch on the best things to do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica and follow it up with a few of our guests’ favorite Santa Teresa, Costa Rica vacation rentals. Because when you’re here to explore, you’ll need a place to stay.
12 of the Best Things to Do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Nestled deep within the southern Nicoya Peninsula, the quaint and welcoming Santa Teresa serves as an excellent hub for discovering Costa Rica’s surrounding beauty. Here are some of our favorite things to do in and around Santa Teresa, so you can make the most of your time in here.
Master the Waves
Embrace the surfing culture that defines Santa Teresa. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, the area’s renowned surf breaks offer an ideal opportunity to either catch your first wave or hone your more seasoned skills. There are also several area surf lessons and schools to get you from point A to point B, if you’re so inclined!
And if surfing isn’t your vibe, try Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) for a different aquatic adventure.
Swim the Montezuma Waterfall (Dry Season)
During the dry season – the falls can get dangerous during high rains – explore the enchanting Montezuma Waterfall. Hike the lower beach trail for easy access to the biggest waterfall and swimming pools, or switch to the upper trail for a more challenging trek and scenic views.
If you’re in the mood for an even bigger adventure, pair your waterfall excursion with access via hanging bridges. Make sure to pack plenty of water!
Learn About Turtle Conservation
This area of the Nicoya Peninsula acts as an incredibly important sea turtle nesting habitat. To protect the mating turtles, fresh eggs, and new hatchlings, several conservation efforts exist in the Santa Teresa area.
For example, the Romelia Sea Turtle Conservation Program welcomes volunteers to help safeguard nesting environments during the dry season. While you’ll have to apply to officially participate, anyone can watch the group’s turtle releases and hatching events from a respectful distance.
Explore an Island Cemetery
Discover the intriguing Cabuya Cemetery Island during low tide. Accessible by a narrow path, this burial ground holds a unique story of locals burying a man found dead at sea. It is essential to check tide times and leave before the water returns.
Bliss Out at the Beach
After riding the waves (or not), unwind on the Pacific shores of Santa Teresa’s stunning beaches. Because, while Santa Teresa is a beach unto itself, the Santa Teresa area is home to many strips of sand – many named but some, so quiet and isolated that you can name them for yourself, if only for the day.
From bustling Playa Santa Teresa to the serene Playa Carmen, each beach in the region offers a unique atmosphere. And, because we believe in keeping promises, we’ll say this: Don’t miss the picturesque Piedra Colorada or the scenic Playa Manzanillo for a more secluded experience.
This region has long been known for its chill vibes and wellness lifestyle, including (and especially) yoga.
So, whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced yogi, here’s your invitation to find your inner zen in Santa Teresa. Various studios, including those at local resorts and yoga studios, offer drop-in classes open to the public and that cater to all levels. It’s an excellent way to rejuvenate both your body and mind.
Take a Day Trip to Montezuma
Take a short trip to downtown Montezuma, a bohemian village about 10 miles (17 kms) east of Santa Teresa. Explore the town’s unique charm, which blends a traditional Costa Rican fishing village with a now-international reputation of hippie foreigners and vibrant crystals.
Visit Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve
Venture to Cabo Blanco, Costa Rica’s first nature reserve. Escape the crowds and explore the park’s rustic trails, which wend and weave through rugged terrain and ocean views. The out-and-back beach hike offers an immersive experience in nature, providing a stark contrast to more popular parks like Manuel Antonio.
Indulge in the Spectacle of a Santa Teresa Sunset
There’s nothing quite like a sunset at a Costa Rican Pacific beach. Here in Santa Teresa, witness the breathtaking sunset with a cold drink of choice in hand. Whether you choose to dig your toes into the sand or opt for a cliffside perch, it’s truly a mesmerizing experience to watch the sun’s slow descent into a kaleidoscope of colors that paint the sky and blanket the waves.
Splash in the Mal Pais Tide Pools
Uncover the hidden gem of Mal Pais (sometimes styled Malpaís), home to tide pools that ebb and flow, creating secluded and rocky pools that you may have all to yourself. Explore the diverse marine life and relax in natural formations resembling private hot tubs.
Visit an Island Paradise
Escape to Tortuga Island, or Isla Tortuga, for a taste of true tropical paradise. Accessible only by boat, this pristine destination offers white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and abundant marine life. Snorkeling and diving opportunities abound.
Embrace the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Explore the digital nomad lifestyle and make an extended vacation of it! Santa Teresa is a national favorite for digital nomads, which means that you’ll find plenty of internet cafés and even a co-working space to accommodate your needs. With reliable internet, comfortable workspaces, and a vibrant atmosphere, the town offers a dream setup for those who seek to balance work and play.
Where to Stay: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Vacation Rentals
There’s so much to love about a stay here – and so many places to stay that you’ll love! Feel free to peruse all our available properties and, in the meantime, here are a few rentals we think you’ll enjoy:
Santa Teresa | 7 Beds | 8 Baths | 11 Guests
Tucked into one of the most optimal locations in Santa Teresa, Casa Naabo is a splendid retreat just minutes away from an incredible swimming and surfing beach in the vicinity.
Casa Naabo is designed for calm and wow factor: Step into the villa’s expansive entertainment space, w which seamlessly merges the indoors with the outdoors, creating an incredible open-concept area. Whip up a feast in the gourmet kitchen and then, sit down to a meal in the spacious dining area – perfect for groups and family gatherings.
Outdoors is even more impressive, with a large deck that invites you to bask in the sun or take a refreshing dip in the sparkling pool while savoring the breathtaking views. Want to kick it up a notch? Revel in spectacular sunset and white-water views from the rooftop deck. Welcome to paradise!
Villa I Wabi
Playa Hermosa (South Guanacaste) | 4 Beds | 4.5 Baths | 8 Guests
Located in Guanacaste’s southern Playa Hermosa, between Manzanillo and Santa Teresa, Villa I Wabi promises the combination pool-outdoor living space of your dreams. Here, an expansive pool deck joins shaded outdoor living spaces, a large yoga shala, sun-drenched sun loungers, and a sparkling swimming pool. And, everywhere, lush tropical gardens and dense jungle to house exotic wildlife in your own backyard.
While you could come for the pool alone, Villa I Wabi is designed to impress indoors, too. With four bedrooms suites, designer furniture, daily housekeeping and laundry service, and top-of-the-line finishes, this is an incredible retreat to one of Costa Rica’s more remote corners of the Pacific Coast. And, did we mention? You have private beach access!
Santa Teresa | 7 Beds | 7 Baths | 16 Guests
Just steps to white sands, Villa Nova is spectacular and always one of our guests’ favorite Santa Teresa, Costa Rica vacation rentals.
Here, surrounded by sun-kissed sands, great surf, and the kind of quiet serenity you don’t often find in a popular beach town, this home welcomes you to great waves and untouched nature. It’s a private oasis and your own slice of paradise, all rolled into a jungle home where you’ll relax in turquoise pools and be surrounded by lush gardens. You know – the very definition of paradise.
And if you think it can’t get any better than that, then let us introduce you to Villa Nova itself: six private suites with ensuite bathrooms, two gourmet kitchens, two living rooms, and one expansive outdoor rancho with BBQ, palm-thatched seating, and open-air dining. All this, surrounding the home’s two incredible saltwater pools – resort-like surrounds, including shallow areas for kids and lounging.
Santa Teresa | 7 Beds | 7.5 Baths | 14 Guests
When it comes to luxury villas in Costa Rica, few are more spectacular than The Ocio Combo, offering two ultra-modern, luxurious homes nested in the hills overlooking Santa Teresa and the golden coastline.
Welcome to an incredible, five-star property that tosses expectations on their head and redefines rustic and contemporary luxury: two private homes, inspired by nature and designed in a Moroccan style. The result is a slice of Costa Rican jungle, elevated to the heights of both luxury and breathtaking views, which frame the sapphire Pacific and the famed Nicoya Peninsula.
You’ll love the homes’ sweeping Santa Teresa views from both levels and the infinity pool, which overlooks Mal País. (There’s also a separate kids’ pool!) Other amenities include the property’s five oversized master suites, an expansive pool terrace, and a TV/media room with a pool table, bar, pool table, and hot tub. And, lest we forget, a private heliport for your ease of arrival.
This private retreat is composed of two separate residences: Villa Terracota is a new and exclusive villa sprawling 17,500 square feet and offering 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, to comfortably accommodate up to 10 people. Its sister property, Villa Tierra, offers a private villa of 4,500 square feet, with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms to comfortably accommodate an additional 4 guests. Together, they comprise one of the Nicoya Peninsula’s most exclusive and luxurious homes.
Looking for More Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Vacation Rentals?
When you reserve one of our Costa Rica all-inclusive villas, you’re guaranteeing yourself both a spectacular vacation home and full (and FREE) travel concierge services.
So, what does that mean? After you make your reservation, your personal concierge will get in touch. She’ll send our welcome book, which includes plenty of details about the Tamarindo area, activities, tours, and other need-to-know information. Then, your concierge will follow up, in order to know you and your travel group as well as s/he knows Tamarindo.
After you’ve built your must-see, must-experience list, your concierge will help you build your trip around your wish list: tours, adventures, spa services, personal chefs – whatever you seek, your concierge will source. Then, s/he will book them all on your behalf, with zero markup.
And, while you’re here, your personal concierge is on call to attend any problems, questions, or other issues. You’re never without helping, and that itself is its own amenity.