Surfing every day of the year, unforgettable sunsets, adventure sports, nature in its purest state and fantastic beach parties. This is Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, the last refuge for wave hunters.
Costa Rica has always been a favorite destination for people who love nature, exotic animals, bird watching or adventure sports. However, Costa Rica is also a place for independent travelers who live in the moment and are accompanied by their trusty surfboard.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica’s alternative spot
It’s no surprise that the Nicoya Peninsula located in Puntarenas province is home to their special paradise: Santa Teresa, a traditional fishing village that began catching the eye of tourists about ten years ago. Although it has maintained its original charm, Santa Teresa has become an up-and-coming destination in Central America thanks to its white sand beach with a forest that nearly reaches the sea, the wind that guarantees waves year-round (with surf spots for every skill level), and laid-back atmosphere where days filled with waves and seawater end in parties to the beat of reggae or Latin music and feature epic sunsets as the backdrop.
Aside from surfing, Santa Teresa’s visitors can also enjoy many other activities such as canopy zip-lines (Costa Rica’s national sport?), grabbing a bite or a drink at one of the small cafés overlooking the sea or early morning jogging sessions. Another option is to rent a bike to get around and explore nearby places such as Mal Pais, another perfect surf spot that is only 3 kilometers away, Playa Carmen, which is perfect for hiking and mountain biking, or Montezuma, only 19 kilometers away.
Montezuma, a picturesque town surrounded by tall cliffs and jungles, shares Santa Teresa’s spirit in the sense that its traditional wooden homes are still intact. It has served as a refuge for artists and bohemians from all over the world for years. It’s famous for a Saturday market featuring great music, organic products and local artisanal goods, clothing, ceramics and paintings.
As far as its beaches, Montezuma’s has rocky coves as well as spots with extremely fine sand. For example, Playa Montezuma is a very long beach near the town that is perfect for swimming, while Piedra Colorado is a small, solitary cove that involves a 15 minute hike. The large Playa Grande beach has great waves and is perfect for surfing, and the idyllic Playa Las Manchas beach boasts gorgeous turquoise water.
Montezuma is home to the nation’s most popular waterfalls, consisting of three 20-meter cascades that form natural pools. They can be reached by foot from the town along a path that crosses rivers and jungles with playful monkey communities and several types of birds. Once there, the possibilities are endless: swimming, hiking along paths for all skill levels, biking, fishing, scuba diving or taking a glass-bottom boat to Tortuga Island.
The adventure continues. Approximately 10 kilometers from Montezuma, on the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula, we come across Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, the oldest in Costa Rica (the nation of natural parks). It features more than 1,000 hectares of protected land and nearly 2,000 hectares of ocean that belong to the protected area.
The rich vegetation includes several types of forests with varied fauna such as deer, mantled howler and white-headed capuchin monkeys, coyotes, pacas, armadillos, coatis and around 240 bird species (brown pelicans, brown boobies, magnificent frigatebirds and more), making this a true sanctuary for birdwatchers.
The forest paths lead to stunning, untouched beaches such as Balsitas beach. From here, only two kilometers from the coast, visitors can travel to Cabo Blanco Island, which the park is named after. This island, which has a tremendous biodiversity in very few square meters, is home to frigatebirds, pelicans and Costa Rica’s largest community of boobies.
Ballena Bay, located 69 kilometers from Santa Teresa, features Playa Tambor. This lovely beach is large and perfect for swimming or water sports and also offers a wide variety of tourist services. Barceló Tambor, an all-inclusive resort with colonial-style rooms, comprehensive facilities and extraordinary views of the Pacific, is located on this beach. Would you like to learn more about it?