Top 10 Reasons Why Santa Teresa is a Must Surf Destination

Santa Teresa is on the very tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, a remote spot that’s blissfully untainted by the noise and artificial light of the city. Santa Teresa has a laid back charm that captivates all who step foot on her jungle-fringed beaches. There is just one main road which runs from Mal Pais, through Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa, and finally up to Playa Hermosa to the north; these beaches are collectively known as Santa Teresa.

There are a million reasons to visit Costa Rica, and for surf enthusiasts Santa Teresa is one of the most remarkable places we’ve ever been. We can’t wait to go back in February. We’ve chatted amongst the Women and Waves team and come up with our collective ‘Top 10 reasons that Santa Teresa is a Must Surf Destination’:

1. Perfect Beaches


Imagine a picture postcard beach with long stretches of almost perfectly white sand, crystal clear warm water, palm trees and a hilly jungle backdrop… You’ve just described Santa Teresa to a tee, recently crowned by Forbes Magazine as “one of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” it is pure paradise.

2. A town with a Buzz about it


Santa Teresa is a trending town, becoming more popular for its world-class surfing and stunning scenery. There are new restaurants, co-workspaces, beach bars, and surf shops springing up, however everything is set back from the beach and nothing is highrise. So there is a buzz about Santa Teresa, but it’s an understated place with a relaxed vibe.

3. One of the top surf spots in Central America


Santa Teresa’s user-friendly multi-level beach breaks make it the perfect environment to learn to surf. Whether you’re a total beginner, progressor or an intermediate you’ll find the waves at Santa Teresa are really consistent, which is ideal to develop your wave riding. ​​The remoteness of Santa Teresa means that even with its increasing popularity the water is still not too busy, and there is enough room to spread the lineup. You’ll reach some exciting and challenging waves with a relatively easy paddle out, making Santa Teresa in our opinion, one of the best spots in Central America for beginners and intermediates.

4. Experience the Sunset Culture


There is a tradition of witnessing the sunset in Santa Teresa. Facing almost due west it’s the perfect place to gather together and watch the light show in the sky. For an hour or so before sunset, it seems like the whole town turns out on the beach, watching the light change and the colours reflect off the ocean and the sand turn pink. You can head out for a sunset surf and catch your last waves of the day under the glow of the setting sun, then join your surf crew on the beach for homemade coconut cakes and sweet treats. Makeshift bars pop up all along the sand creating an amazing beach vibe unlike any other.

5. Amongst the best wildlife in the world 


Many people travel to Costa Rica purely for its wildlife, flora and fauna; and as a country it’s a trailblazer in the field of environmental conservation. In Santa Teresa the jungle literally spills on to the beach, so you’ll find yourself in countless ‘pinch yourself’ moments; casually having breakfast next to an iguana, chilling in a hammock whilst colourful parrots or a family of howler monkeys play in the trees above you, or snorkelling in some of the most pristine waters on earth. The Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is close by, it’s one of Costa Rica’s original conservation areas and its Secret Beach is easily accessible from Mal Pais. The abundant wildlife and access to nature is an epic added bonus, on top of all the incredible experiences already lined up for you.

6. Go off grid!


If you’re someone who likes to switch off and relax during your holiday, then Costa Rica offers you that opportunity. We encourage everyone to get up early and seize the day with an energising early morning surf, then it’s back for a delicious breakfast, video analysis and some yoga. During the heat of the day you can partake in one of our favourite pastimes, having a guiltfree, well deserved nap in a hammock. Rob Barber, Director of Women and Waves says “giving yourself permission to slow down and switch off for a moment is super important. It’s a beautiful feeling; your body is weary but content from an epic morning surf session, you’ve been nourished by healthy and delicious food, and now it’s time to let your mind switch off and get some well earned rest. You’ll feel a million miles away from the stress of work and everyday life”.

7. Snorkel in a Tidal Pool


Since Santa Teresa has epic surf, it isn’t known for its millpond swimming conditions. However if you want to cool off with a swim or snorkel then try one of the area’s beautiful tidal pools. There are a few rocky areas around town that leave perfect rock pools when the tide drops out; the Santa Teresa tide pool is huge, and more than deep enough to snorkel or swim in.

8. Santa Teresa is a hub of surf innovation and expertise


We’re excited to share DFI surf specific training for you with two of the most knowledgeable, creative and encouraging people in the Costa Rican surf community, Val & Augusto. Their  techniques are changing the way we approach surf fitness and performance, and will help you understand your body better, have more confidence in the water, and teach you how to keep surf fit when on dry land. Courtenay, our Costa Rican trip leader says “I remember going for a surf after one of Val’s classes and without even thinking I found myself using DFI breathing techniques from start to finish. I felt so strong and connected!”… I can’t tell you how often I implement their tips and use the advice they gave me whilst I’m out surfing”.

9. The Magic of Montezuma


In terms of experiences you’ll remember forever, we think a trek to the stunning Monetzuma Falls, a sequence of three different cascades, has to be up there. Imagine hiking through the hot and humid jungle, and then reaching a literal oasis, a clearing in the jungle with a waterfall and an inviting plunge pool beneath it. Just crying out for a dip. Montezuma is a wild and magical paradise, and the experience of swimming under the falls will stay with you for years to come.

10. Sunset SUP


Another unforgettable moment has to be our sunset SUP. We paddle out into the changing evening light, watching the ocean turn shades of pink and orange under our feet. At sunset we moor up and crack open coconuts, drinking them out at sea; nothing says you’re living the dream quite like that. 

A phrase commonly associated with Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” which translates as “Pure Life”. With its lush jungle landscape, incredible wildlife, perfect white sand, unforgettable sunsets, magical waterfalls and world-renowned surf, there’s no better way to describe it.

We hope you’ll join us on our next trip to Costa Rica in February 2024. It’ll be everything we’ve listed above, and so much more.

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