Looking to visit Santa Teresa and need an itinerary? We have a 3-day Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary for you!
Are you ready to explore Santa Teresa, Costa Rica – a picturesque paradise that’s captured our hearts and is sure to capture yours too? Whether you’re a solo adventurer, a couple seeking a romantic escape, or a family yearning for a unique beach getaway, Santa Teresa offers a mosaic of experiences that cater to every traveler’s dream.
Our recent trip to this enchanting coastal town, nestled on the Nicoya Peninsula, was nothing short of magical. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, spectacular beaches, and thriving surf culture, Santa Teresa is a destination that deserves a spot on your travel list. From the moment you arrive, the town’s vibrant energy and the warm, welcoming nature of its people make you feel right at home.
Picture this: pristine beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, lined with lush palm trees swaying gently in the ocean breeze. The rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the shore creates a symphony that soothes the soul. The town’s streets, though unpaved, are bustling with life, offering a plethora of quaint cafes, enticing eateries, and unique shops that showcase the local culture and craftsmanship.
Santa Teresa, with its perfect blend of natural beauty and bohemian charm, is more than just a destination – it’s a lifestyle. It’s a place where time slows down, allowing you to embrace each moment, whether you’re riding the perfect wave, exploring the rich biodiversity of the nearby nature reserves, or simply relaxing on the beach as the sun sets, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink.
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In this guide, we’ll delve into the heart of Santa Teresa, sharing our personal experiences and top recommendations for a 3-day itinerary. From exhilarating surf lessons to serene yoga sessions, from exploring hidden natural treasures to indulging in the local culinary delights, we’ve got you covered.
So, let’s embark on this unforgettable journey together and discover why Santa Teresa isn’t just a tropical paradise – it’s a place where memories are made and the spirit of ‘Pura Vida’ comes to life.
Arriving in Santa Teresa – 3 Day Santa Teresa Itinerary
Arriving in Santa Teresa is an adventure in itself! Nestled in the Nicoya Peninsula, getting there is part of the experience, offering a glimpse into the diverse landscapes and vibrant culture of Costa Rica.
Arriving in Santa Teresa from Major Cities
From San José:
- By Road: Renting a car in San José is a popular option. It offers the freedom to explore at your own pace and the journey is an adventure with scenic views. Expect a drive of approximately 5-6 hours, including a ferry ride across the Gulf of Nicoya from Puntarenas to Paquera, which is an experience in itself.
- By Air: Another convenient option is to take a domestic flight to Tambor Airport and then continue by taxi or rental car to Santa Teresa. The flight is short and offers stunning aerial views of the Costa Rican landscape.
Quick Facts and Things to Know Before Visiting Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary)
- Santa Teresa enjoys a tropical climate. Expect warm weather year-round, with the dry season from November to April and the wet season from May to October.
- The Costa Rican Colón (CRC) is the local currency, but US Dollars are widely accepted. ATMs are available, but carrying some cash is advisable.
- The cuisine in Santa Teresa is diverse, with a strong emphasis on fresh seafood, local fruits, and traditional Costa Rican dishes. Don’t miss out on trying the fresh ceviche or the classic ‘casado’.
- While WiFi is available in most hotels and cafes, the connection might be slower compared to larger cities.
- Santa Teresa is known for its eco-conscious community. Travelers are encouraged to respect the environment, reduce plastic use, and support local sustainable practices.
Culture and Lifestyle:
- Embrace the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle. Santa Teresa is known for its laid-back atmosphere, making it a perfect place to relax and unwind.
- Santa Teresa is a renowned surf destination. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the beaches here offer excellent surfing opportunities.
Remember, Santa Teresa is more than a beach destination; it’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the natural beauty and laid-back culture of Costa Rica. Every street and beach in this town has its unique charm, inviting you to explore and create lasting memories.
With these insights, you’re all set to start exploring Santa Teresa! Let’s dive into the itinerary to make the most of your 3-day adventure in this tropical paradise.
Day 1 – Exploring the Heartbeat of Santa Teresa: Beaches and Town Vibe (Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary)
Day 1 – Discovering the Charm of Santa Teresa: The Beach and Town Life
As the sun rises over the Nicoya Peninsula, your first day in Santa Teresa begins with the promise of adventure and relaxation. Santa Teresa, a town where the jungle meets the sea, is a playground for both the spirited adventurer and the serene soul-seeker.
Morning: Surf’s Up at Santa Teresa Beach
- Surfing: Santa Teresa’s reputation as a surfers’ paradise is well-deserved. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, the waves here cater to all levels. Start your day with a surf lesson at Santa Teresa Beach. Local surf schools, known for their skilled instructors, offer lessons that will have you riding the waves in no time
- Beach Exploration: If surfing isn’t your thing, take a stroll along the beach. The long, sandy coastline, fringed with lush greenery, is perfect for a morning walk. Feel the soft sand between your toes and let the ocean breeze refresh you.
Lunch: Local Flavors
- Culinary Delights: After your morning activities, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of Santa Teresa’s charming cafes or restaurants. The town is known for its variety of cuisines, catering to all tastes. From fresh seafood to traditional Costa Rican dishes, each meal is an opportunity to savor the local flavors
Afternoon: Exploring the Town
- Boutique Shopping: Spend your afternoon wandering through the town’s boutique shops. From handmade jewelry to unique surf gear, these shops offer a glimpse into the local arts and craftsmanship.
- Relaxation and Wellness: For a more relaxed pace, consider a yoga class at one of the local wellness centers. Many hotels and resorts offer yoga sessions, perfect for unwinding and reconnecting with yourself
Evening: Sunset and Socializing – Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary
- Sunset at the Beach: As the day winds down, join the locals and tourists alike at the beach to witness a breathtaking sunset. Santa Teresa’s sunsets are renowned for their stunning colors and peaceful ambiance.
- Nightlife: In the evening, the town comes alive with a vibrant nightlife. Enjoy a cocktail at a beachfront bar, or indulge in some live music at one of the local venues. The friendly and laid-back atmosphere makes it easy to mingle and make new friends
This first day in Santa Teresa offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion, setting the tone for an unforgettable Costa Rican experience.
Day 2 – Embracing Nature and Adventure in Santa Teresa
Your second day in Santa Teresa is all about connecting with nature and experiencing the thrill of adventure. This day is designed to showcase the area’s stunning natural landscapes and offer opportunities for some unforgettable outdoor activities.
Morning: Adventure in the Wilderness
- Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve: Start your day with a trip to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. It’s an ideal spot for hiking and observing wildlife. The reserve, one of Costa Rica’s first conservation areas, offers a chance to explore both land and marine biodiversity. A visit here provides a serene and enriching experience amid unspoiled nature
- Alternative Option: If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider renting an ATV for a self-guided exploration. The surrounding areas of Santa Teresa, like Mal Pais, offer hidden trails, stunning viewpoints, and secluded beaches, perfect for an adventurous morning.
Lunch: Refuel with Local Delicacies
- Local Cuisine: After your morning exploration, enjoy lunch at one of the local eateries. Santa Teresa offers a variety of dining options, from seaside shacks serving fresh catch to cozy cafes with healthy, organic options. This is a great time to try the local specialties, like gallo pinto or a refreshing tropical fruit smoothie.
Afternoon: Relaxation and Exploration
- Relax on the Beach: Spend your afternoon unwinding on one of Santa Teresa’s beautiful beaches. Playa Hermosa and Playa Carmen are perfect for relaxation, sunbathing, or a leisurely swim in the crystal-clear waters.
- Surfing: If you’re up for more surfing, the afternoon waves provide another chance to hit the surf, either independently or with a guide.
Evening: Experience the Local Culture
- Dinner in Town: For dinner, explore Santa Teresa’s thriving culinary scene. The town has a fantastic array of restaurants offering everything from traditional Costa Rican dishes to international cuisine. Enjoy a meal under the stars and reflect on the day’s adventures.
- Explore Local Nightlife: End your day by experiencing Santa Teresa’s laid-back nightlife. The town may be small, but it has a lively evening scene, with local bars and venues hosting live music and gatherings – a perfect way to mingle with both locals and fellow travelers.
This action-packed day balances adventure with relaxation, allowing you to experience the best of Santa Teresa’s natural beauty and vibrant culture.
Day 3 – Immersive Coffee Experience and Serene Farewell – Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary
On your final day in Santa Teresa, immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the serene beauty of this coastal paradise. Today is about taking things slow, soaking in the atmosphere, and enjoying the unique experiences Santa Teresa has to offer.
Morning: Dive into the World of Coffee
- Coffee Farm Tour: Costa Rica is renowned for its coffee, and a visit to a local coffee farm is a must. Engage in a tour where you can learn about the coffee production process from bean to cup. This is not only educational but also a sensory delight, especially when you taste the freshly brewed coffee amidst the lush surroundings.
- Relaxed Breakfast: After your coffee farm visit, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of the town’s charming cafes. This is a great opportunity to reflect on your experiences and savor the local flavors one last time.
Afternoon: Leisurely Exploration and Souvenir Shopping – Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary
- Stroll Through Town: Spend your afternoon strolling through Santa Teresa. Visit local artisan shops and pick up souvenirs such as handmade crafts, jewelry, or local coffee to remember your trip.
- Beach Time: If you prefer to relax, head back to the beach. Whether it’s for a final surf session or just to lie back and soak up the sun, the beaches of Santa Teresa are the perfect backdrop for your final hours in this paradise.
Evening: Sunset and Culinary Farewell
- Sunset Viewing: As the day comes to an end, find a spot on the beach to watch one of Santa Teresa’s spectacular sunsets. It’s a peaceful and reflective way to bid farewell to this beautiful place.
- Dinner: For your last meal in Santa Teresa, choose one of the town’s top-rated restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet meal or traditional Costa Rican cuisine, enjoy this final culinary experience in a setting that captures the essence of Santa Teresa.
Preparing for Departure
- Pack Your Memories: As night falls, prepare for your departure. Take a moment to pack not just your belongings but also the memories and experiences you’ve gathered during your stay.
This final day in Santa Teresa allows you to unwind and absorb the tranquil beauty and vibrant culture of this Costa Rican gem. As you leave, you’ll carry with you the essence of ‘Pura Vida’, a sense of peace, and countless memories from this unforgettable journey.
Where to Stay in Costa Rica (Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary)
You can check the map below and compare prices for Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary Accommodations or you can check our favorite and recommended accommodations in Costa Rica below.
For your stay in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, there are a variety of accommodation options available to suit different tastes and budgets.
LALOON Luxury Suites: Offers an elegant experience with sophisticated suites, private terraces, and infinity pools, emphasizing luxury and comfort amidst Santa Teresa’s rustic charm
Hotel Nantipa: A beachfront haven that blends modern luxury with the natural beauty of Costa Rica, offering luxurious suites and bungalows with stunning ocean views and immediate beach access
Fuego Lodge: This family-owned hotel provides a tropical staycation experience with an outdoor pool, yoga, pilates lessons, and convenient access to beaches and local amenities. It’s a great choice for those seeking a balance of comfort and tropical ambiance
Vista del Alma: An adults-only boutique resort located on a mountaintop in South Santa Teresa, offering luxurious villas with spectacular ocean views and private pools or jacuzzis
Point Break Santa Teresa: A great option for budget travelers, offering various room types with private terraces and garden views, along with a communal kitchen and surfing lessons
Selina Santa Teresa North: Known for its bohemian vibes and guest-centric amenities like a juice bar, surf classes, and a communal pool, making it an excellent choice for those on a budget
Akwa Resorts Ocean View: Located near the beach, it offers villas, bungalows, and rooms with outdoor pools and ocean views, catering to various preferences and providing a blend of comfort and adventure
GiGi Brown Beachfront: A 5-star hotel less than 1 km from Carmen Beach, offering accommodations with outdoor swimming pools, gardens, and sea-view rooms, suitable for those seeking luxury and comfort
Each of these options provides a unique experience, whether you’re looking for luxury, comfort on a budget, or a unique stay close to nature. It’s advisable to check current prices and availability to find the best option for your trip to Santa Teresa.
Final Thoughts on Your Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary
As our journey through Santa Teresa draws to a close, we reflect on the unique experiences this vibrant Costa Rican town offers. Santa Teresa, with its perfect waves for surfing, serene yoga spots, and breathtaking sunsets, is a paradise for both adventure seekers and those looking to unwind.
This itinerary has taken us through the heart of Santa Teresa’s natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle. From the adrenaline of surfing to the tranquility of yoga and the natural splendor of Cabo Blanco and Tortuga Island, there’s a rhythm in Santa Teresa that resonates with every traveler.
Accommodations in Santa Teresa range from luxurious suites to cozy budget-friendly options, ensuring a comfortable stay for all. The culinary scene, rich in local flavors, adds to the charm of this tropical getaway.
Remember, Santa Teresa is more than just a destination; it’s an experience that embodies the ‘Pura Vida’ spirit. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, Santa Teresa has something special to offer. It’s a place where memories are made, where the ocean meets the jungle, and where every sunset marks the end of another beautiful day in paradise.
Safe travels, and may your time in Santa Teresa be as enriching and memorable as the town itself! 🌊🌴🏄♀️🧘♂️🌅
FAQs on Santa Teresa Costa Rica Itinerary
Is Santa Teresa worth visiting?
Yes, Santa Teresa is highly recommended for its laid-back surf town vibe, beautiful beaches, and fewer crowds compared to other tourist destinations.
How many days are ideal for a visit?
The ideal duration varies depending on your interests. A short visit of 2-3 days is enough to enjoy the surf and beach, 4-6 days allows for a more comprehensive experience, and a week or more is great for those wanting to deeply explore the area, especially surfers and nature lovers.
Nearest Airport to Santa Teresa:
The nearest airport is Tambor Domestic Airport (TMU), about an hour’s drive from Santa Teresa.
Ferry Duration to Santa Teresa:
The ferry ride from Puntarenas to Paquera takes about 75 minutes, followed by a drive of just over an hour to Santa Teresa.
Shuttle Duration from Liberia to Santa Teresa:
The shuttle journey typically takes around 5 hours.
Is Santa Teresa Beach good for swimming?
Yes, the beach is swimmable. However, due to strong Pacific Ocean waves, many people prefer to cool off in the local tide pools.
Is Santa Teresa a party town?
While you can find nightlife and beach parties, Santa Teresa is not typically known as a party town like others, such as Jaco. It is relatively quiet, especially during the rainy season.
Can you drink the tap water?
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Santa Teresa, as it comes from local wells. It is fine for brushing teeth and washing produce.
About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.