Guide: Santa Teresa – our favorite beach in Costa Rica

Playa Santa Teresa is Costa Rica’s hip and beautiful beach babe. The golden beach is with its soft sand, slender palms and pastel-colored sunsets a true yoga and surfers paradise.

Written by Mette / Photo by Martin
The Travel Guide has been published in IN Magazine, 2016
Translated from Danish

Santa Teresa is unconditionally our favourite place in Costa Rica. The elongated and scenic beach is located at the small remote fishing village of Mal País in the southwest corner of Península de Nicoya. The trip through the dense jungle is a steep and rough trip on gravel roads, which requires a patient and relaxed Pura Vida pace. The trip gives you the feeling of arriving in a secret place that only a few people have explored before you.


Here we have gathered our best tips for where to live, eat, shop and jump on a surfboard or yoga mat. If ever there was a place to ride the waves and find your inner yogi – this is it!



Although Santa Teresa Beach is far from an unknown tourist destination it has managed to maintain an unspoiled and peaceful atmosphere. The beach is simply put clean and natural. And the only road connecting the beach and the well-hidden jungle huts and restaurants is a red gravel road and a couple of jungle trails.

The charming boutique Hotel Tropico Latino has both bungalows, suites and a family house located just a few steps from the beach as well as all the necessary amenities for a luxurious vacation: Daily yoga sessions in open premises overlooking the beach, a spa with 100% natural beauty products. An outdoor beach restaurant with creative international dishes of organic produce and local fresh fish, shellfish and meat.


Santa Teresa’s tropical charm and laid-back lifestyle has spellbound people from all over the globe, bringing with it some of the world’s best and most popular cuisines. From sublime sushi, Italian gourmet and Argentinian steaks to finer bakery, American burgers and organic health food.

Start the day with a delicious and heart healthy breakfast at the white-painted Zwart Art Cafe, which also serves as a bookstore and gallery for the owner’s colorful surfer-inspired paintings. Have lunch at the small but well-attended family-owned Fish restaurant Product C, which also sells fresh catch of the day as well as oysters – to bring with you. End the evening in the jungle setting at the minimalist restaurant Katana, serving exquisite Asian dishes and creative cocktails.



In Costa Rica all beaches are public property, which means that the distance between the beach bars is further than you would expect in a tropical country with more than 1200 kilometers of coastline. But In Santa Teresa you will find one of the best beach bars in the country, also featured on the Top 5 list at the prestigious Travel + Leisure travel magazine.

Every day at sunset the beach bar and lounge restaurant Banana Beach is a popular gathering place for surfers, shoppers and travelers. The restaurant serves crisp salads, delicious sandwiches and delicious main courses with fresh fish and meat. The place is positioned under a green roof of puffy palms with hammocks, rustic wooden furniture in the sand and colored cables of lights hanging in the parasols.


The harmony of Santa Teresa’s beautiful scenery is optimal for a couple of days of self-indulgence in the world of yoga. Several hotels offer yoga packages combined with spa, massage and surfing. Also you can find open teams on a daily basis. Casa Zen, Nautilus and Tropico Latino.

The two most rewarding yoga hotels are the elegant and luxurious Pranamar Villas located just north of Santa Teresa on Playa Cocal Beach, and the intimate and charming Horizon Hotel, which – as revealed in its name – is on a hillside overlooking Santa Teresa with a mesmerizing view over the endless Pacific Ocean.



If the topic of conversation is Costa Rica any surfer will get dreamy eyes. Santa Teresa is known as a green-blue surfer mecca. Year round, the Pacific Ocean hits the beach with a rhythmic stability, providing perfect waves for both beginners and experienced surfers. And with the feel of the Costa Rican motto Pura Vida – which also features the essence of a surfing lifestyle – Santa Teresa is undoubtedly the place to seek you own personal surfing adventure. There are several surf shops where you can rent boards and book lessons with an instructor. Del Soul Surf is Santa Teresa’s best surf school and owned by former professional surfer Amit Londner.


Along the main gravel road of Santa Teresa you will find surf shops, souvenir shops and small supermarkets. But it’s in the stylish, colorful and oriental-inspired Santa Ganesha store that you’ll find the best shopping. It also features a spa and an Asian take-away kitchen. In the store you will find an eclectic collection of handicrafts, interior fashion, shoes and jewelry. Everything from colored and hand-made carpets and pillows, Costa Rican hammocks, designer clothes, beautiful leather goods and fine accessories, crafted by local artists or imported from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Morocco, Bali and India.


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