Costa Rica has long had its claim as one of the world’s premier surf destinations. It has an abundance of picture-perfect waves that will challenge even the most seasoned surfer and is a country that ticks all the boxes when it comes to the perfect surf holiday.
The remote tropical paradise of Santa Teresa, found at the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula, is home to some of the country’s best surf and some world-class waves without the crowds that other surf destinations around the globe are filled with. Consistent swells pour in during June with beach breaks, points, slabs, peeling reef breaks, and even a few river mouths to choose from as well as the chance to explore the untouched parts of the coastline.
The main beach at Playa Santa Teresa is best surfed from low to mid tide when a-frame peaks run down the beach. On a big day, some of the areas point breaks start to light up and can handle up to triple overhead. Playa Hermosa is a long beach at the northern end of Santa Teresa, whilst the inside is where the beginners learn the basics the outside offers a variety of peaks with punchy hollow sections for intermediate and advanced surfers.
Mal Pais has multiple setups that, when conditions align, mimic Indonesia’s hollowest breaks. Punta Barrigona is a long left-hander that wraps around the point, turning into a long workable wall with plenty of sections to hit. Sunset Reef can handle solid swell and offers a super fast take off straight into a barrel when it’s firing before walling up. It’s worth packing a pair of reef boots and a stick that can handle solid swell. Separating Mal Pais and Santa Teresa is the small and beautiful beach of Playa Carmen, a great spot to hang out for the day with a long, peeling right.
Away from the waves, Santa Teresa and its surrounding areas offer miles upon miles of the most beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, exotic wildlife, friendly and inviting locals, mouth-watering cuisine, and a wide range of activities that will keep even the most adrenaline-fuelled people content. There are boat tours that take you snorkeling in the Tortuga Islands, horseback riding and zip-lining on canopy tours, find your inner zen with a yoga class in town, swim the Montezuma Waterfalls as well as hiking and quad biking in Costa Rica’s oldest Nature Reserve, Cabo Blanco.
The main strip along Santa Teresa has seen a boom in the last few years, and while it’s still small and there are no high rises here, there are still great places to eat and hang out during the day, then sink a few cold ones once the sun goes down. An influx of international chefs have brought their own cuisine to the area using local ingredients, from healthy salads and smoothies, local and national dishes, sushi, burgers, vegan dishes, fresh seafood and everything in between. So aside from all the surf on offer, Santa Teresa is rapidly asserting itself as a foodie destination.
Santa Teresa is located roughly 150 Km west of San Jose International Airport, in the Nicoya Peninsula. There are plenty of options to get you from the hustle and bustle of the city to the tranquil paradise of Santa Teresa.
The Tambor Airport in Santa Teresa is the easiest option, but you will have to change to a domestic flight once you reach the international airports. You can rent a car and drive the 1.5 hours down Route 27 before you reach Puntaneras town where you can catch the ferry to Paquera — a short 45-minute drive to Santa Teresa.
Public transportation is pretty good over in Costa Rica. You can catch the twice-daily bus from San Jose to Santa Teresa or opt for private shuttles.
Editor’s Note: This feature was done in partnership with our friends at Surf Holidays.Check out their picks for May: The Mentawais and Portugal. You can book your trip to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica here.