Spring Break in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

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Advisor - Ian White
Curated By

Ian White

  • Costa Rica

  • Beaches

  • Family Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Beach Town

  • Entertainment

Two persons holding hands at beach during sunset.
Curator’s statement

Our family started traveling to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, for Spring Break almost 10 years ago and have been five times now! Clearly we fell in love with this special destination located at the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula. Santa Teresa isn’t as developed as many other Costa Rican tourist destinations, but there has been significant improvement to infrastructure including paving of some roads! You still won’t find any big resorts - but that’s not why you come here after all. As with all development, there comes more people, higher prices, etc. but we still think Santa Teresa offers a true and authentic Costa Rican experience at an incredible value. Be it surfing, fishing, shelling, zip lining, horseback riding or just relaxing - we hope you enjoy ST as much as we do!

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Where to stay in Santa Teresa

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Things to do in Santa Teresa

A group of people ready to zipline wearing orange and gray helmets
  • Surf Lessons - Schedule lessons early in the week and your have instructors leave rental boards for personal sessions after you are comfortable. Playa Hermosa has waves for every skill level and is typically where most surf lessons are held. There are a number of options in town for instruction and board rentals, some of our favorite are Nalu and Del Soul Surf School.

  • Zipline - Zipline in Costa Rica? Of course. There is a great course in Mal Pais - Canopy Mal Pais. Pay for the digital picture link - you won’t be disappointed. Are you brave enough to ride upside down?

  • Montezuma Falls - A short drive (or ATV tour) from Santa Teresa - this is a relatively easy hike in for a pretty cool waterfall experience. The falls themselves are impressive, but you can also swim in the pools below and jump off some of the lower 'cliffs'.

  • Fishing - Costa Rica offers some incredible fishing and the boat access in Mal Pais allows for quick access to fisheries that take larger boats from other areas hours to reach. There are 'inshore' and 'offshore' options including the change to catch the elusive rooster fish ('pez gallo'). We've always had great trips with our friend Jason. Ask about swimming over the underwater volcano.

  • Horseback Riding - Explore the unique landscapes of the peninsula on horseback! There are several operators in the area offering similar experiences. We recommend - Ario Tours. They offer various types of tours to suit your specific needs.

  • Exploring the Beaches - There are various beaches in the various that change dramatically with the tides. Take advantage of low tide to walk the beaches, look for shells and explore. Check out "Secret Beach" just past the 'marina' in Mal Pais, down the dirt road - also called Playa Cuevas.

Places to eat & drink in Santa Teresa

Cooked seafood in a plate.

One of our favorite things about staying in Santa Teresa is the diversity of food options! Here are some of our favorites. Be sure to coordinate nights to take advantage of live music, bonfires, DJs, and more. Most are pretty casual and kid-friendly! Having drinks and dinner on the beach at sunset is not to be missed!

  • The Bakery - Our go-to for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Its located in the middle of town so parking can be tough, but worth the drive. The food is AMAZING. Large menu with plenty of options. Coffee, juices, smoothies...yes pls!

  • Koji's - A family favorite for sushi. It’s only open for dinner and gets crowded so make reservations. Plenty of non-sushi options for the whole family, but sushi lovers are in for a treat. Great candlelight setting!

  • Eat Street - Shipping container open-air concept with covered dining. Four unique options - Sunrise Cafe, Nomad, Happy Bowls, and Boule Bar offer options for everyone!

  • Rocamar Beach - Great spot on the beach for sunset drinks and dinner. Check the schedule for bonfires, DJs, fire shows and more. Great place to hang and kid-friendly too.

  • Katana Asian Cuisine - Another great choice for Asian cuisine. Robust menu with plenty of options. Great atmosphere....feels a little more upscale that other options. Highly recommend.

  • Playa De Las Artistas - Ideal to hit on the way back from a afternoon Montezuma Falls tour. Seafood, Mediterranean, European - nice waterside location, great ambiance and pretty incredible food.

  • Couleur Cafe - Walking distance off Playa Hermosa beach. Breakfast and lunch, dinner on Wednesdays. French-owned, chill open-air spot with great drinks, atmosphere and of course, food! Kids love it.

  • Manzu - Newer beachfront restaurant option (part of the Nantipa boutique hotel). Quickly gaining in popularity, offering a variety of options throughout the day from a tasting to kids menu!

  • Tipsy St CR - Wine shop, importer and wholesale distributor based in Santa Teresa. Offering a range of specially selected wines and spirits, as well as craft beers. If staying in a villa you can pre-stock the house with delivery!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Cindy Benavides’s guide, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Ultimate Travel Guide.

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Costa Rica.

Advisor - Ian White

Travel Advisor

Ian White

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