It is no accident that we have chosen Santa Teresa for our Costa Rica retreat location. Santa Teresa epitomizes the best that Costa Rican beach life offers: friendly people, warm ocean waters, natural beauty of a jungle environment, seclusion from the ‘rest of the world’, great restaurants and plentiful options for relaxation and exercise.
The small beach village of Santa Teresa is located on the southern Nicoya Peninsula along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica (‘rich coast’) in the north of the Puntarenas province about 70 miles west of San José. The central part of Santa Teresa extends along two miles of road that travel from the intersection of ‘El Cruce’ on Playa Carmen until “La Lora” on Playa Santa Teresa.
The beach is well known for having some of the best surfing in the entire country. Beyond the obvious water sports of surfing and stand up paddling, you can enjoy yoga, horseback riding, hiking, zip-line tours, a deep-sea fishing excursion, ATV tours or just a leisurely afternoon on the beach. The jungle comes right up to the shore around Santa Teresa and when you walk or drive north or south you can explore miles of untouched coastline. When the sun goes down there are great restaurants and a bit of nightlife. There is a dance hall at “La Lora”and open-air beach lounges where DJs spin music and offer reggae music nights.
Less than a mile past “La Lora” you come to the “Peñón” which is a large shaped rock sitting just off the beach. At low tide you can take a walk on the beach and enjoy fantastic views. After the Peñón you come across tide pools enclosed by a reef and ideal for exploring or swimming in the natural pools. Another mile on you come to a junction. Here the road to your right goes uphill to Manzanillo or a turn to the left and you arrive at Playa Hermosa (translated Beautiful Beach) which is a wide beach with palm trees and our surf spot for the retreats.
Visit to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve
If you want to experience a hike through a tropical forest, take a trip to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve which is about a 45-minute drive away south of Mal Pais. The reserve is Costa Rica’s first protected land established in 1963. It is a natural gem encompassing some 1,172 hectares of land. Within Cabo Blanco, ‘White Cape’, is an additional 18 hectares of water with a large underwater ecosystem to explore. Hiking the trails is a common activity but you should plan on getting an early start if you want to make it to the most remote uninhabited beach on the peninsula a 4 km hike one-way.
For nature fans you can enjoy biodiversity that encompasses 150 tree species including Sapodilla, White Plum, Dogwood and the beautiful Frangipani. Bird watching is another activity with species that include parakeets, frigates, osprey, brown pelicans and white-throated magpies. Did we mention white-tailed deer, anteaters, armadillos, ocelots, howler monkeys, hog-nosed skunks, coyotes and gray foxes? Most of the mammals are nocturnal except for the howler monkeys which are commonly seen and heard ‘howling’ in the area around Santa Teresa.