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Santa Teresa, in Costa Rica, is a charming little surf village known for incredible beauty with its white sand coves, steep jungle-covered hills and forests teeming with monkeys and exotic birds. It has excellent surf year round, many food options and an unbeatable atmosphere. The highlight of Santa Teresa are the gorgeous beaches. Besides surfing and sunbathing, beaches serve as the main gathering place, especially at sunset. From around five in the afternoon until well after the sun sets at around six, it seems like the whole town comes out. Small and large groups gather on the sand, surfers catch their last waves of the day, and everyone tries to get that perfect sunset selfie. Although this jungle-backed beach town is remote, it certainly is not dull. Hip restaurants, beach parties, consistent surf breaks, jaw-dropping sunsets, tasty eats, and a social vibe that lets visitors reimagine what life is all about, it’s no wonder Santa Teresa is one of Costa Rica’s hot spots.
The dedicated LVH team ensures the ultimate in service and satisfaction are provided to all guests throughout their entire stay in the Santa Teresa. LVH can arrange for private chefs, private jets, exotic cars, luxury yachts, and anything else guests require to make their Santa Teresa vacation stay remarkable.
Santa Teresa luxury villas can be arranged through LVH to accommodate families, large groups and are perfect for hosting lavish events. Vacationers seeking Santa Teresa luxury vacation homes have the best to choose from when booking their stays.
These four areas in Santa Teresa are among the loveliest. It’s easy to see why:
Located in Cobano, Hermosa Hills is in a rural area and on the beach. The natural beauty can be seen at Santa Teresa Beach and Hermosa Beach. Explore all the area has to offer with mountain biking, hiking/biking trails, and ecotours.
Even though Manzanillo is only a 20-minute drive away from Santa Teresa, the tranquil beach village has so far escaped tourist development. There aren’t any hotels in Manzanillo, only a small nature lodge hidden in the hills and some vacation rentals. A beachside restaurant serves typical Costa Rican dishes with nice beach and sunset views. The beach is shaded by stocky palm trees and old almendros leaning far out over the sand. Bathing is possible at mid to high tide. At low tide visitors can walk over the rocks to a shallow lagoon protected by a reef. It’s a good place for snorkeling and has the best light in the morning hours.
This area has one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica. It’s known for its amazing surfing and fun vibe. The street behind the beach is full of restaurants, bars, hotels, and houses. There are a few roads heading up into the hills, dotted with boutique hotels and villas from which visitors can walk or drive down to the beach.
Santa Teresa Beach is located on the northern, more exclusive part of Santa Teresa. In this area, surfers can find the most consistent waves in the country. There is also an impressive array of dining options, bars, art galleries, boutiques featuring local designers, nature and hiking trails, and more. It’s also the home of Villa Melinda, a stunning seven-bedroom beachfront home with a plethora of luxury amenities including an outdoor infinity pool, outdoor dining and patio with a massage, yoga and workout area. This beautiful waterfront property accommodates up to 18 guests.
Santa Teresa restaurants offer the finest cuisine. These six establishments are among the choicest the town has to offer:
Of all places, guests will experience an Italian meal here like they’ve probably never experienced before. Chef Emiliano from Florence challenges guests’ taste buds with imaginative dishes using authentic Italian ingredients. The exciting menu includes traditional homemade pastas: beef lasagne, eggplant parmigiana, osso buco à la Romana, and seafood such as sea bass rolled around grilled vegetables. For dessert, try a killer dark-chocolate mousse sprinkled with sea-salt crystals, or try the signature frozen coffee made with local Cafe Tica liqueur. During the high season, December to May, there's live music three times a week.
Owners say the idea of Katana is simply to create the best experience by trying to touch the hearts and souls of its customers. They do this by creating dishes inspired by many Asian cultures, transforming Asian fare into their own vision. They have a number of delicious rolls on the menu such as the Katana roll fashioned from tuna, avocado, cucumber, yuzu miso and white fish topping; volcano roll made with tempura futomaki, avocado, sweet potato, tuna tartare and aioli; dragon roll made with white fish tempura, chipotle, avocado, seared tuna and tempura flakes.
Koji’s Japanese Restaurant is considered to be the home of the best sushi in Santa Teresa. They use only the freshest fish and shellfish from the area as well as locally sourced vegetables, fruits and meats, offering a wide selection of excellent Japanese inspired food. Chef Koji Hyodo’s grilled octopus is barely fried and sprinkled with sea salt, and there's a perfectly sweet crunch to the soft shell crab and lobster tempura.
Manzu is designed to remind guests of the palm thatched huts where the ancient Chorotegans used to live. It offers a relaxed ambiance set by the warm, salty breeze from the sea and the modern twist of an open kitchen. Enjoy the international menu with traditional Tico recipes passed down from generation to generation, all made with fresh, local ingredients. Mixologists surprise guests with their signature cocktails. Some of what’s on offer: Fresh Pacific tuna served with fennel risotto, vegetables and a wine reduction; coffee beef tenderloin with coffee infused sauce, sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach. For dessert try the Chocolate volcano with vanilla ice cream.
Nami offers a combination of simple and modern Japanese cuisine with high quality ingredients including fresh, local fish. In addition to a plethora of sushi rolls, main courses include udon noodles with vegetables and meat, chicken or seafood; sesame tuna; Nami sashimi. Special dishes include shrimp tempura with tuna, avocado, covered with spicy white fish, scallion and onion served with ponzu sauce; shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, covered with crunchy spicy tuna and sesame sauce; and shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy tuna, covered with tuna tataki.
Nectar at Hotel Florblanca is laid back and elegant; an indoor/outdoor hangout for guests and locals wanting to dine, celebrate, or enjoy a cocktail after a day at the beach. The kitchen serves fusion cuisine with Latin, Mediterranean and Asian influences. The menu is built around seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on organic local produce, fresh seafood from the surrounding waters, and traditional favorites. From sushi to fish tacos, from salads to chocolate soufflé, the menu is varied and creative. The fish is so fresh, it’s hook to fork!
Santa Teresa has some stellar venues paying homage to arts and culture. These four are among Costa Rica’s finest museums:
The Jade Museum houses archaeological treasures of the region, including the largest collection of pre-Columbian jade artifacts in the world. Visitors have access to the museum’s collection of more than 7,000 artifacts. Discover semi-transparent jade carvings representing reptiles, shamans, fertility goddesses, and ceramics with some Mayan influences.
The Dr. Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia Museum highlights the historical significance of the life and work of Dr. Calderon Guardia during his tenure as President of the Republic from 1940-1944. The Costa Rican government believed it was its duty to restore, maintain, and protect the beautiful and almost century-old building housing the museum’s artifacts chronicling the history of the country. Guided tours include the museum’s three areas: Social reform, visual arts, and architectural heritage.
Founded in 1994, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design is on the site of the old national liquor factory. The museum has four exhibition rooms for rotating and permanent collections, an auditorium, and an open-air terrace for performances and events. There are about 900 pieces housed in the museum’s permanent collections.
Originally utilized as a military barracks during the 1948 civil war, the Costa Rican National Museum resembles a yellow fortress in San Jose’s city center. Even today, visitors can see hundreds of bullet holes marking the walls. Discover pre-Columbian artifacts unearthed at Costa Rican archaeological sites like grinding stones called metates. The exhibit also has a butterfly garden with more than 25 species of butterflies and a fascinating overview of their lifecycle. The entire museum can be explored in about two hours.
Whether looking for a night of partying or relaxing in a lounge with a glass of wine, everyone will enjoy the nightlife in Santa Teresa. These four venues might appeal:
This is the perfect place to have a chill cocktail or a craft beer and watch a glorious sunset. Mixologists are very happy to create special cocktails for guests. Banana Beach often hosts events, from bikini contests to surf competitions. There’s live music nightly, beautiful people, toasty beach bonfires and a lively ambiance.
Part cocktail bar, part vegetarian restaurant, part art gallery, Drift Bar is wholly satisfying. Drinks are made with cold-pressed juices and are best consumed in the chic lounge or while browsing the art. Guests who want to get their Santa Teresa beach villa rentals, can always order a sealed cocktail in a glass bottle (along with a reusable bag of ice) to go.
Kika is considered by many to be the best bar in Santa Teresa for live music. On Thursdays, it’s the hottest venue in town featuring a live band, loads of people and a great vibe. It’s also a top venue for food and delicious cocktails.
A long-time favorite for sundowners on the beach and nightlife is Ranchos Itauna, a Brazilian-inspired restaurant and lounge. Legendary for its full moon parties, Itauna also hosts Deep Tuesdays with dancing to electronic music until sun-up, backed by a mighty beach bonfire.
No matter when visitors descend upon Santa Teresa, there is always some event taking place. These four offer something for everyone’s tastes:
Carnaval Nacional, an annual street festival, is held every Dec. 27 in downtown San José. There is live music, clowns, food, fanfare and much more. Street dancers in colorful costumes, decorations and a parade are just a portion of this exciting event.
Celebrated as the day Costa Rica secured its autonomy from Spain in 1821, Independence Day is celebrated with marching band parades of children playing their instruments to the tune of the Costa Rican national anthem. Typical Costa Rican foods are normally sold by street vendors.
This 12-day celebration of Costa Rican Afro-Caribbean Culture commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Caribbean coast in 1502. Beginning the week of Oct. 12, colorful parades with street dancing, vibrant costumes, Caribbean food, and open-air concerts are part of the celebration. Think the Carnival of Brazil minus a few thousand people with the unique laid-back vibe of the Costa Rican Caribbean.
Festival de la Luz, or the Festival of Lights, is held the evening of the second Saturday in December marking the official start of the holiday season. The fiesta is underscored with lively, festive music. A beautiful procession of white floats with glistening lights parades through the streets of San Jose, including the Paseo Colon and Avenida Segunda. Don’t miss the brilliant fireworks show following the festival!
There is no shortage of things to do to create lasting memories in Santa Teresa. These four sound particularly intriguing:
Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is a protected conservation area with more than 1,200 hectares of mixed forest. This seabird sanctuary is popular with travelers who want a taste of coastal birdwatching. About 240 bird species have been recorded in Cabo Blanco, along with several mammals. Visitors might spot armadillos, anteaters, monkeys, coatis, and if they’re lucky, the ever-elusive ocelot.
Barra Honda Caves National Park is an extensive network of caves about 40 minutes from Samara Beach that hold a number of secrets off-limits to the public like indigenous artifacts and the remains of humans. The public has access to one cave, Terciopelo. Guided tours with equipment are available in the dry season from the end of November through April. The three-hour tour begins with a 62-foot descent into the interior of the cave. Brave adventurers at Barra Honda will discover the wonders of this limestone cavern, including stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, cave grapes, and more.
The Montezuma Waterfall is one of the most popular Nicoya Peninsula attractions for visitors. With an experienced guide, visitors can hike along a stream past a couple of smaller falls before coming to the star player, a massive water cascade that has been photographed by tourists and posted on Instagram countless times. It’s a real crowd pleaser! Adventurous hikers can also take a canopy zip-line tour here.
It would be impossible to visit Santa Teresa and overlook the influence of the area’s surf culture. It’s where all the wave fiends tend to congregate. Walk along the beach and witness lifelong surfers – local and international – navigate the amazing breaks along the rugged coastline. If visitors are ready to paddle out and catch a wave for themselves, they won’t have any trouble arranging it in Santa Teresa. Between the surf lessons offered and the endless selection of rental shops, potential surfers can have the Santa Teresa surf experience best suited for their level of experience.