Santa Teresa travel guide

Santa Teresa Tourism | Santa Teresa Guide

You're Going to Love Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a little town in Puntarenas, a province in Costa Rica. Many world-renowned chefs have made Santa Teresa their home and as a result, tantalizing restaurants encompass the town.

Whether you relax in a hammock or explore the golden beaches, forests, or waterfalls, you won't get enough of Santa Teresa.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Santa Teresa

1. Kayak Tours

Venture into the Curu Wildlife Refuge and hike the trails where monkeys, sea turtles, and Scarlet Macaws reside.

2. Isla Tortuga Tour

Snorkel next to turtles or sunbathe in the white sands of Tortuga Island.

3. Montezuma River Waterfall Canopy Tour

Bring a camera and snap your photos as you zip through a nine cable canopy 3,900 feet above the forest.

4. The San Miguel Biological Station

Explore and learn about the tropical marine and dry forest habitats.

5. Horseback Riding

Take a sunset ride into the Manzanillo hills or gallop on the beach as the sun rises.

What to do in Santa Teresa

1. Puntarenas's Cultural Center

Located at Avenida Centenario, La Casa de La Cultura stands as Puntarenas's art and cultural center. The house is considered an architectural and historic landmark in Costa Rica and houses the Puntarenas Public Library, amphitheater, and historical museum. Casa de Las Culturas prides itself in conserving, enriching and advancing local and natural culture, training, and education to community members. It promotes local artists in Puntarenas. Marvel at the Miguel Gómez Doninelli exhibition, which is dedicated to the entrepreneur who helped design and promote Puntarenas to visitors worldwide.

2. Surround Yourself With Tropical Waterfalls

If you love nature, you'll love Montezuma, which is enveloped by waterfalls, rivers, and forest. Montezuma Falls comprises three separate waterfalls that are reachable via diverse hiking paths. The tallest waterfall has a large swimming hole where many tourists and locals take the plunge and swim. Explore the streams and rivers as you stroll the forest. You'll be introduced to exotic animals such as roseate spoonbills, river otters, and blue crayfish.

3. Housed In The Capitana De Puntarenas

Visit the Isidro Con Wong Gallery located in the Capitania de Puntarenas, a restored 1930's customs building that now houses Mr. Wong's art and has become a Puntarenas landmark. Marvel at the plethora of work derived from Isidro Con Wong's sculpture and painting style displayed on the first and second floors of the building. As you peruse the bronze figurines, you'll come across several series of statues dedicated to animals and agriculture. Check out the artist's "Mata Tigre" bronze figures or Monochrome, Realism or Transitions series of paintings.

4. Bridge To Giant Alligators

Located on route 34, Rio Tarcoles sits between Jaco and Orontina. All the Central Pacific beaches connect this route, which is marked by signs for the Rio Tarcoles Bridge. The road joining the bridge is surrounded by little souvenir shops and restaurants. As you stroll across the bridge, you'll be mesmerized by the magnificent view of the river and over a dozen gargantuan alligators roaming freely in the river and upon its banks. You'll be startled by their demeanor around the waterfowl and iguanas sharing the riverside with them.

5. Haven For Wildlife And Forests

Corcovado National Park is a haven of thirteen primary ecosystems housing mangrove swamps, jolillo palm groves, lagoons, beaches, freshwater herbaceous swamps and marsh rainforests. Marvel at the diverse plant life, mammals and bird species spread throughout the park. There are trails through the tropical forest on which you will be surrounded by wild animals such as squirrel monkeys, eagles, poison arrow frog, crocodiles and four species of sea turtles. There are four ranger stations strategically located throughout the park and these serve as information centers where you can learn about the history and ecology of the area.

1. Puntarenas's Cultural Center

Located at Avenida Centenario, La Casa de La Cultura stands as Puntarenas's art and cultural center. The house is considered an architectural and historic landmark in Costa Rica and houses the Puntarenas Public Library, amphitheater, and historical museum. Casa de Las Culturas prides itself in conserving, enriching and advancing local and natural culture, training, and education to community members. It promotes local artists in Puntarenas. Marvel at the Miguel Gómez Doninelli exhibition, which is dedicated to the entrepreneur who helped design and promote Puntarenas to visitors worldwide.

2. Surround Yourself With Tropical Waterfalls

If you love nature, you'll love Montezuma, which is enveloped by waterfalls, rivers, and forest. Montezuma Falls comprises three separate waterfalls that are reachable via diverse hiking paths. The tallest waterfall has a large swimming hole where many tourists and locals take the plunge and swim. Explore the streams and rivers as you stroll the forest. You'll be introduced to exotic animals such as roseate spoonbills, river otters, and blue crayfish.

3. Housed In The Capitana De Puntarenas

Visit the Isidro Con Wong Gallery located in the Capitania de Puntarenas, a restored 1930's customs building that now houses Mr. Wong's art and has become a Puntarenas landmark. Marvel at the plethora of work derived from Isidro Con Wong's sculpture and painting style displayed on the first and second floors of the building. As you peruse the bronze figurines, you'll come across several series of statues dedicated to animals and agriculture. Check out the artist's "Mata Tigre" bronze figures or Monochrome, Realism or Transitions series of paintings.

4. Bridge To Giant Alligators

Located on route 34, Rio Tarcoles sits between Jaco and Orontina. All the Central Pacific beaches connect this route, which is marked by signs for the Rio Tarcoles Bridge. The road joining the bridge is surrounded by little souvenir shops and restaurants. As you stroll across the bridge, you'll be mesmerized by the magnificent view of the river and over a dozen gargantuan alligators roaming freely in the river and upon its banks. You'll be startled by their demeanor around the waterfowl and iguanas sharing the riverside with them.

5. Haven For Wildlife And Forests

Corcovado National Park is a haven of thirteen primary ecosystems housing mangrove swamps, jolillo palm groves, lagoons, beaches, freshwater herbaceous swamps and marsh rainforests. Marvel at the diverse plant life, mammals and bird species spread throughout the park. There are trails through the tropical forest on which you will be surrounded by wild animals such as squirrel monkeys, eagles, poison arrow frog, crocodiles and four species of sea turtles. There are four ranger stations strategically located throughout the park and these serve as information centers where you can learn about the history and ecology of the area.

Where to Eat in Santa Teresa

If you crave fish, curry chicken, or chocolate mousse with your cocktails, visit Brisas del Mar, the most popular restaurant in Santa Teresa. For a cozy romantic and intimate dinner overlooking the sunset, Habanero sits on the beach and serves amazing lobster tacos and cocktails.

When to visit Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa in May
Estimated hotel price
$102
1 night at 3-star hotel
Santa Teresa in May
Estimated hotel price
$102
1 night at 3-star hotel

If you want to avoid the tourists and crowds, May through November is the best time to go to Santa Teresa. It rains in the evening but the beaches are less crowded with fewer surfers.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Santa Teresa

Plane

Fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose (SJO) via Nature Air or Sansa Airlines and catch a connecting flight to Tambor. From Tambor, you can take a ferry, shuttle, or private transportation to Santa Teresa.

Car

From SJO, drive to Puntarenas and take the ferry to Paquera for ₡13,816.48 per car and ₡1,036.24 per person. From Paquera your best option is to take a private shuttle for ₡8,635.30 to Santa Teresa.

Bus

Tambor Adventure picks you up from SJO and takes you to Santa Teresa in 45 minutes. If you arrive at the San Carlos Atlantic Station in downtown San Jose, take a non-stop private bus to Santa Teresa for ₡8,635.30, and you won't have to worry about carrying or losing your luggage.

Airports near Santa Teresa

Airlines serving Santa Teresa

Lufthansa
Good (1,371 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,464 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,898 reviews)
KLM
Good (292 reviews)
Air France
Good (295 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,075 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,657 reviews)
British Airways
Good (937 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (357 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (930 reviews)
Iberia
Good (667 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (640 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (662 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (630 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,249 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (95 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (1,940 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,135 reviews)
Avianca
Good (692 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (788 reviews)
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Where to stay in Santa Teresa

Latitude 10 Resort is an elite hotel located on the Nicoya Peninsula and within walking distance to Santa Teresa. The amenities include complimentary breakfast and yoga retreats. Don Jon's Surf Lodge and Restaurant offers private rooms, apartments, and hostels.

Popular neighborhoods in Santa Teresa

Mal Pais - located four miles from Santa Teresa, this patchy rocky beach is adjacent to a jungle habitat known for its capricious monkeys.

Suck Rock - the front of the Red Palm Villas Resort is known for its surfing point break and massive swells.

Marino Ballena National Park - located in Uvita de Osa in the province of Puntarenas, this amazing reserve provides a front seat to humpback whale and dolphin watching, snorkeling, and diving for sea turtles and caves.

Where to stay in popular areas of Santa Teresa

Most booked hotels in Santa Teresa

Lodge Margouillat
Excellent (9.6, 286 reviews)
$77+
Tango Mar Beachfront Boutique Hotel & Villas
Excellent (8.6, 326 reviews)
$254+
Blue Jay Lodge Costa Rica
Excellent (8.4, 354 reviews)
$45+
Esencia Hotel & Villas
Excellent (8.3, 278 reviews)
$96+
Beach Cabinas
Excellent (8.2, 111 reviews)
$45+
Hotel Tropico Latino
Good (7.8, 133 reviews)
$136+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Santa Teresa

Public Transportation

Buses are the cheapest way to get around the surrounding province but trips take 2-3 hours. Gray Line offers one-way shuttle services starting at ₡23,039.19 or an unlimited shuttle access weekly pass for ₡113,846.83. Depending on your destination, you might have to connect to a ferry.

Taxi

Taxi boats are the most convenient way to get around during the dry season. Taxi Boat Service charges ₡37,401.02 per person, which includes a land shuttle from Santa Teresa to various taxi boat departure points.

Car

The best way to get around Santa Teresa is to rent either a 5-, 4-, or 2-seater ATV and explore the rocky and watery terrain by land; prices start at ₡80,000 per day. You can also rent standard vehicles from the Budget outlet in Mal Pais.

The Cost of Living in Santa Teresa

Shopping Streets

Playa Carmen Mall is full of restaurants, stores, surf shops, and Santa Teresa's ST/CR local store where you can buy handmade silk screened t-shirts worn by the locals. At Montezuma's downtown shopping district you will find a variety of locally made products, unique gifts, souvenirs, and culinary gift baskets.

Groceries and Other

Local fruit is very economical and abundant. Super Ronny 1 supermarket is favored for its fresh meat and whole organic chicken. You can purchase Bimbo, the Costa Rican bread, for ₡1,151.06, or a fruit smoothie for ₡1,726.20 to ₡2,876.43. However, baked goods start at ₡2,013.50.

Other popular cities in Puntarenas