Many visitors to Costa Rica head for well-known destinations like Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Puntarenas. Costa Rica also offers a wide variety of off-the-beaten-path beach towns on both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. Santa Teresa, located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, has become a haven for surfers, yoga enthusiasts, and remote workers due to its cool beach town vibe and white sandy beaches.
From San Jose
Land and Sea: Shared and private shuttles leave from downtown San Jose and from SJO Airport and take 6 to 7 hours to arrive in Santa Teresa. They will drive you from San Jose to the port of Puntarenas where you hop off, grab your bags and take a 90 min ferry trip to Paquera. From there you’ll either rent a car, arrange a pickup or get a taxi to Santa Teresa. This is a great resource, twoweeksincostarica.com, if you’re looking to rent a car and/or take the ferry to get to Santa Teresa.
Interbus offers shared shuttle rides with ferry tickets for $52.
Air: SANSA Airlines operates direct flights to the closest airport, Tambor (TMU), with traveling times of around 35 minutes (~$140 one way/~$280 roundtrip). Your hotel may be able to arrange a transfer from Tambor Airport to your accommodation, or you can book a taxi or hire a car to collect here. Drive time from Tambor to Santa Teresa is 40 minutes.
Land: Shared and private shuttles leave from Liberia and can be booked online via Interbus. If you’re adventurous you can also drive from Liberia to Santa Teresa (4 hours nonstop). Various trip reviews describe the roads between as treacherous and remarks also recommend staying on route 21 despite alternate directions from Google Maps and Waze. Check out this post from Paradise Catchers that details how to drive and what you’ll see along the way.
Air: SANSA Airlines flies nonstop from Liberia (LIR) to Tambor (TMU) once daily (~$150 one way/~$275 roundtrip, 30-minute flight). Your hotel may be able to arrange a transfer from Tambor Airport to your accommodation, or you can book a taxi or rent a car.
When to Go
Santa Teresa is considered a great year-round destination. October is usually Costa Rica’s rainiest month and some hotels close for repairs and updates in the fall. It’s wise to check with your hotel about closures and construction when booking a trip between late September and early November.
Where To Stay – Hotels
Where to Eat
Located just meters from the beach, El Facon offers a variety of certified meats, fresh local fish, seafood, and vegetarian and vegan options. Their wood-fired kitchen and clay oven make the flavor of their dishes incredible. They offer a wide variety of local craft beers and a large number of cocktails and wines from their bar.
Open 7 Days a Week
Open every day from 8 am to 5 pm
Reviews rave about the freshness of the food, great ambiance, and friendly staff. Seems to be a solid choice for breakfast and for those looking for healthy options to fuel their daily activities. Stay or order ahead for takeaway.
Open 7 Days a Week
Craving Italian Food? Owners Kamila & Giuseppe prepare authentic southern Italian specialties, many based on old family recipes. Their menu offers brunch, lunch, and dinner and the restaurant is open for both eating in and take-away.
Open Wednesdays to Sundays
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Koji’s – Sushi and Japanese Restaurant
Enjoy Sushi and Japanese cuisine al fresco in their romantic courtyard. Rated as one of the top restaurants in Santa Teresa. Takes reservations – WhatsApp
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays for Dinner
El Corazón – Vegetarian Restaurant
Located in the heart of Santa Teresa, El Corazón offers vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Takes reservations – WhatsApp
Open Mondays to Saturdays
Beachside dining with all the standards you’d expect like salads, sandwiches, pizza and burgers.
Banana Beach Restaurant is conveniently located in the middle of Santa Teresa (about 1km north of the crossroads at the entrance of town) and is open daily until 1am. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Relax on the beach, enjoy a smoothie or cocktail (2 for 1 cocktails are especially popular) or a meal, and experience an unforgettable sunset. Each evening features live music, great food, and great vibes.
Kooks Smokehouse and Bar is an American style BBQ restaurant and sports bar. In addition to showing sports from around world they offer smoked meats, traditional bar items like burgers and wings, an assortment of vegetarian and vegan options, American twists on Costa Rican classics like chifrijo, ceviche, signature cocktails, local craft beers, and more.
Open 7 Days a Week
Located in Playa Santa Teresa, right next to the beach, with incredible sunset views, Uma is one of the most popular restaurants in town! Their restaurant and bar offer incredible fresh ingredients and excellent Mediterranean cuisine. House specialties include killer cocktails, fresh fish, and seafood, including grilled whole fish, fresh salad, and vegan and vegetarian options.
Open from Tuesdays to Sundays