10 Days Enjoying Barefoot Luxury at Nantipa in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

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Lori Gladstone

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10 Days Enjoying Barefoot Luxury at Nantipa in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Curator’s statement

During Christmas 2023, I stayed at the Nantipa Hotel in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, with my husband for eight days. It was a huge departure from any other resort/destination we have visited. The charm and uniqueness of this property and location is worth highlighting, and I would definitely recommend this gem of a property to the right clients.

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Where to stay

Hotel Nantipa - A Tico Beach Experience

Lush villas and bungalows wedged un-imposingly in the Costa Rican oceanside featuring stylish design and a sustainable perspective perfect for the conscious traveler.

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  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

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Nantipa is a very small beachfront luxury hotel with just 15 rooms and a small number of bungalows. It sits on a stunning beach and is nestled in the middle of the bohemian town of Santa Teresa. We spent eight glorious nights in a Manti Bungalow over the Festive period. It was a very comfortable 800-square-foot of space opening up to a large private terrace in the jungle with a plunge pool and hammock. The bathroom was quite large and offered an indoor/outdoor shower option. The outstanding staff at this property is one of its redeeming features. The concierge staff and front desk will make every effort to ensure you are well taken care of in all aspects of your vacation.

The pool area has a grassy area with tables as well as sun loungers and umbrellas. It was too hot to sit there most of the days since it was December and the temperatures were quite high at that time with no rain or wind. We spent lazy days on the beach, steps from the outdoor restaurant, Manzu. We ate delicious breakfasts there each morning and usually ceviche and salads for lunch. There are rocks right in front of the property, so it is necessary to walk further down the beach to swim. Be sure to wear water shoes or flip-flops as the sand is extremely hot! It is important to be mindful of the tides as well as the rocks can be hidden at high tide, making for dangerous conditions. It was nice to see the volunteer lifeguards protecting the beach and advising guests along the coast where and when it was safe to take a dip.

Couple posing in front of a waterfall

The wonderful staff at Nantipa helped us coordinate all of our activities the first day. They arranged several tours for us that were incredible. They also recommended restaurants in Santa Teresa for us to try, made reservations, and even took us there and picked us up in the hotel four-wheel vehicle. The activities we enjoyed began with a half-day of fishing. We caught two huge Mahi-Mahi and saw humpback whales! They filleted the fish for us and the hotel chef met with us to discuss how to prepare our fish for lunch and dinner. We arranged three days of surfing since it is the absolute culture of Santa Teresa. Another highlight of the trip was to a 5000-acre ranch to ride horses in Manzanillo at Haciendo Ario. We learned about the working cattle ranch, and toured the stunning area, which opened up to a deserted beach at sunset. We even stopped by a local house to buy some fresh coconut water from them. It was a magical experience led by Melissa Fernandez, who was our tour guide.

The last excursion we took was to the Montezuma Waterfalls. This was a very challenging hike with a wonderful guide to these amazing waterfalls we were able to swim and frolic in during the hike. I will say this is an advanced hike with slippery terrain and not for the elderly or very young or those with balance issues like myself!

Couple posing on sea side

We enjoyed a few restaurants in Santa Teresa as well. The Bakery for breakfast is a fabulous choice! A lovely patio and delicious pastries and an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch items. For dinner, we loved El Falcon so much we ate there twice! It is an Argentinian steak restaurant. Santa Teresa has a lot of Israeli and Argentinian residents. This restaurant has wonderful grilled meats and fish and a very casual vibe, as do all the restaurants in this area. We had a nice Italian dinner at Pronto one evening. We also tried Katana for Asian-Fusion Cuisine, which is a nice restaurant as well.

Nantipa is a little gem on the Nicoyan Peninsula. It is not easy to access as we flew into San Jose and had to transfer to a small plane for the 30-minute flight to Cobayo. Here you can feel the raw essence of nature, in the animal sounds, the smiles of the people and the green of the trees. The ocean is all powerful and the golden sunsets are breathtaking. The dogs run free in Santa Teresa. They leave their houses in the morning to explore the coast on their own. They are at every restaurant and on every beach. This little slice of heaven called Nantipa is best suited for those seeking quiet refuge in a bohemian, barefoot surf-culture little town. In the dry season, the dust is abundant. For some reason, the dust, the dogs and the ultra-casual vibe seem to work.

Need to Know

I recommend Nantipa in Santa Teresa for those looking for a beachfront experience in a quiet little surf town.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. In need of further inspiration? Check out Ronit Margolis’s guide, Family vacation in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

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Lori Gladstone

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