Always on the hunt for destinations that haven’t necessarily made it on the radar of the general population, I was happy when a friend suggested I check out this small town in Costa Rica. Santa Teresa is already well known, but within a community of expats and adventurous travelers who were looking for a chill place to call their own. I had been to Costa Rica before, but only to the larger cities where I experienced the larger, well-known resorts. The “pura vida” lifestyle of Costa Rica had always been attractive to me, so when the opportunity to go in a bit deeper to a more remote area became a possibility, I was all about it.
The sleepy surfer town of Santa Teresa is poised to soon become the next go to spot in Central America for those seeking a more down to earth getaway, where luxury accommodations are readily available but dirt roads and roadside taco shacks are still part of everyday life. Due to its remote location, Santa Teresa hasn’t yet been infiltrated by hoards of visitors although the town does have a healthy expat community that continues to grow, which means beyond the friendly locals, there are approachable English speaking foreigners roaming around town.
With our rental jeep, it was easy to maneuver around town, as it’s mostly one main road. During our week stay, we quickly became familiar with the local grocery store as well as the taco joint and sushi restaurant, all main staples of any good trip to Santa Teresa. During the time we were there, it was evident that a shift in tourism had already begun, but the nice part was that it was still all a bit understated and perfectly blended with the natural beauty of the town around it.
Every Sunday at the Rocamar Beach Club, locals and tourists all gather for a family “Sunday Funday” on the beach. It’s a healthy mix of families and adults and the festivities start in the late afternoon and run late into the night around a bonfire, surrounded by artists and musicians. It’s a very sweet representation of what Santa Teresa is all aboutat the end of the day; everyone is just there to be happy. When we arrived, closer to the starting hour, because we were a bit eager, we found ourselves alone, surrounded by a lot of empty tables and chairs. Fast forward a couple of hours, a few tacos and many cocktails later, the place was packed and the energy was infectious. It seemed like everyone had a story to tell and with our drinks, we were happy to hear them.
The best way to get to Santa Teresa is by private charter plane, and as posh as that sounds, the prices are actually not as scary as one might think. Upon arrival to San Jose International Airport, guests are greeted and escorted to a private terminal where Prestige Wings is located, a company created to effectively meet the needs of private Costa Rica. Flights are all customized to the needs of each client, as they are all charter flights. The company is also one of the only companies in Latin America that is certified by ARUGUS International, with a Platinum Rating for their high safety standards.
The strategic location of the airline at San Jose, allows access to most of the regional airports in Costa Rica and someone from the company is by your side every step of the way upon arrival. From a personal drivers that will take you through private security, to expert pilots that take away any anxieties one may have from flying in smaller aircraft, Prestige Wings will ensure your trip to Santa Teresa starts and ends without a hitch.
I’m a big fan of small planes, so this was really something I was looking forward to. Also, just being able to say that we flew private (on a budget, which nobody really needs to know) was also fun. The airports and or strip of runway with a covered bench that doubles as an airport in Santa Teresa are all really low key and it’s important to try and live that pura vida lifestyle while experiencing them because at times, you might be the only one at the airport, waiting on a tiny plane to pick you up.
Where To Stay
For those looking for some resort time, Florblanca is a luxury Costa Rican resort located on the shores of the Pacific coast. The award-winning destination is situated on the pristine beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, in an unspoiled tropical jungle overlooking the famous surf of Playa Santa Teresa. The accommodations at Florblanca are situated among the diverse flora and fauna of the jungle and the spacious villas come with stunning outdoor bathrooms equipped with oversized soaking tubs. Monkeys also dominate the trees above, making for a truly unique experience.
Guests at Florblanca can enjoy locally grown food prepared by the chefs at Nectar, their signature restaurant. The resort will also gladly arrange surfing, hiking, horseback riding or zip line excursions through their activity center. On property, there are also professionally guided sessions of Yoga and Pilates in an incredible indoor/outdoor studio space. Rejuvenating body treatments are also available at Spa Bambu.
Joya Villas, a more private option, is made up by two extra large vacation rental homes that are constructed with a blend of large steel frame “I” beams and carefully crafted wooden screens and floors to create a new style of architecture that is especially different for its location. Set up against a lush steep hill backdrop, the villas come out from the ground and hang over open social spaces that are the epitome of indoor/outdoor. The stark and bold steel frames sit on top of retaining walls that evoke a tropical modernity which is all about lightness and openness; allowing the inhabitant to have a profound and direct connection to the natural landscape that surrounds the villas and the ocean beyond.
The villas are both massive, so they are best shared with your family or a group of friends. Each experience can be catered to the individual stay with hotel amenities available such as daily maid service, private chefs, massages and even private swim instructors for those who might be traveling with kids.