The Ultimate Guide to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Many imagine paradise as a higher place consisting of gem-blue waves dashing onto a sandy beach, reflecting the surrounding palm trees.
This place is to be found on earth — in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica to be precise.
The motto “Pura Vida” loosely translated to ‘Live Life’ or ‘Enjoy Life’ isn’t just a myth or saying but the joy of pure living felt by everyone visiting.
Lapoint has hosted surf vacations in Santa Teresa for more than five years. We have learned a lot and have supplemented our expertise along the way. Sharing is caring when it comes to surfing and we would like to share our tips and tricks about what to do and where to go to make your holiday unforgettable.
Santa Teresa is a charming village known for its unrealistic beauty. It consists of clear water, sandy coves and steep hills covered by tropical forest. You will find clever little monkeys and exotic birds in many different colours. Additionally, this place offers excellent foods consisting of fresh fruit and veg - and locally caught fish.
But the fact that waves are working almost 24/7 is the icing on the cake!
Three minutes south of Santa Teresa, Lapoint Surf Camp Costa Rica is located in the middle of it all.
Best beaches (& surf spots) in Santa Teresa and Malpais area
The best time for surfing in Santa Teresa is during the low currents because the waves are much faster at this time. The variety of surf breaks and the high swells attract the best surfers in the business. Suck Rock, La Lora, Playa Hermosa and Playa Carmen are popular surfing spots in and around Santa Teresa.
Playa Carmen is our “home beach”, located within walking distance from our surf camp and right in the middle of town. It is well known for its excellent surf and fun vibe – which makes it probably the most popular beach in Santa Teresa.
Sandy bottom and beginner-friendly conditions make Playa Hermosa the perfect venue for our surf classes. It is providing excellent waves for all three levels (Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3). This place truly lives up to its name. Sitting out in the line-up looking towards the beach you’ll see nothing but palm trees, blue skies and golden sand.
La Lora Surf Spot
This spot is very popular because it offers consistent surf, making it the perfect location for surf competitions. It is a spot with a long and beautiful rock-free beach and white sand.
Banana Beach is absolutely brilliant. It’s a beach break and thanks to a lovely nearby restaurant - serving meals and snacks all day - it’s always buzzing. Grab a coffee, snack or smoothie and relax on the beach while enjoying live music, nice people and great vibes!
Suck rock is well known for waves that can get pretty big. There is rumours going around that people have surfed 20 feet waves at this location. You will find many photographers hanging out here and taking photos or videos. This is a very nice place to go and if you want to check out tricks of advanced surfers.
Mar Azul, Malpaís
This is a left-hand point break right in the middle of Malpaís and a spot for so-called ‘soul surfers’. Most people tend to go to Playa Carmen or Santa Teresa, as these spots are less rocky and have a more consistent swell.
Best restaurants & cafés in Santa Teresa
The Bakery is one of the best places to eat - no matter which meal. We like showing this spot to guests because it is a great place for nutritious acai bowls, smoothies or juices, tasty pastries, and arguably the best “beer-battered fish tacos” in Costa Rica. The weekly pizza buffet “Monday Madness” is also worth checking out for some flavoursome slices in the backyard!
Bali Beach deli
The best place for breakfast & lunch in all Santa Theresa. The atmosphere is welcomingly cosy and it’s a cafe-restaurant which has healthy breakfast meals like Acai bowls and a huge lunch menu with a range of salads. If you’re looking for a good atmosphere, music and surf vibes right at the beach in Santa Teresa.
Koji’s Japanese restaurant
We are considering the sushi served in Koji’s Japanese restaurant to be the best in town. They use fresh local ingredients such as fish, shellfish, vegetables, fruits and meats and are offering a wide selection of excellent Japanese inspired food too. The restaurant is located on Buenos Aires Road.
Zula is a family-run restaurant serving breakfast lunch and dinner. This delightful spot is also known for the best smoothies in Santa Teresa. These range from well-known flavours like mango & banana to more exotic versions like guanabana. With that comes traditional Israeli and Costa Rican meals but they also have well-known meals including falafel and schnitzel on the menu.
Located right at Banana Beach, Habaneros is a beachfront Mexican grill & bar offering excellent Mexican food. If you like dinner with incredible sunset views this is your spot. The house’s specialities include fresh Mexican inspired fish and seafood, including lobster tacos, grilled whole fish and more, all served with their killer margaritas and famous guacamole.
Kika Santa Teresa
Well established as a top venue for food, drinks and live music since 2008, Kika is considered the best bar in Santa Teresa for live music. On Thursdays, it’s the busiest venue in town featuring a live band, lots of great spirits around and a brilliant vibe.
Activities and things to do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Waterfall hikes in Montezuma
What’s more exotic than a waterfall in the middle of the jungle? We’d love to take you to Montezuma Falls to experience the wilderness and (possibly) the most famous waterfall in Costa Rica. In Montezuma, you might find exotic animals you won’t be able to see in other parts of the area, such as the Roseate spoonbills (a bird similar to the pink flamingo), river otters, blue crayfish and the Jesus Christ lizards who are able to run on the water surface.
Ziplining or the canopy tour is a highlight for many and a lovely adventurous activity. It is essentially a series of cables suspended high above the forest floor, allowing you to travel through the canopy like a giggling monkey with superpowers. On your journey, you will see tropical plants and animals unique to Costa Rica such as howler monkeys, iguanas, parrots and many more. During the tour, there will also be a stop at the Montezuma Waterfalls where you can take photos and go for a swim in the rock pools.
Renting an ATV
One attraction of going on a surf trip to Costa Rica is the unique access to nature. Given the many dirt roads in the area, an ATV, also known as a Quad bike, is the best way to explore the region. If you’re keen on a four-wheeled adventure, we will help to connect you to our trustworthy partner offering the highest standards. Done safely, riding an ATV is a fun way to experience the jungle, maybe even searching for your own little piece of secluded Costa Rican heaven.
Ylang Ylang yoga Montezuma
Ylang Ylang is a beachfront yoga studio in Montezuma. It is open for daily drop-ins and offers an exciting variety of classes. Included are Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini and Kaula Tantra Yoga. The beachfront, open-air yoga studio allows you to enjoy your class surrounded by nature, wildlife and the sound of waves.
For further information about Costa Rica and Santa Teresa, visit our FAQ pages.