(Way) Off The Beaten Path | Playa Santa Teresa

playa santa teresaFor many tourists coming to Costa Rica, the hardest part of planning their vacation is deciding what they have time to see. With Costa Rica’s incredible coast-to-coast biodiversity, it’s impossible to see everything. If you want to see as much as possible there are two strategies you can adopt: You can plan to tour the country, stopping in areas for periods of time; or you can set up a home base near a center of activity and venture out. Most of our posts are written towards the latter party. This one, however, will require some sort of accommodation once you arrive at the destination, even if you plan to come back to Tamarindo.

Playa Santa Teresa (PST)

Despite just being down the coast from Tamarindo, Santa Teresa offers a very different beach experience than our little town. For many it’s just the break they need from all the excitement of Tama. We’re gonna cover how to get there, how to plan, and what you can expect once you get to PST.

Getting there…

You have three options from Tamarindo: car, bus, flight.

By car.

Leaving Tamarindo you will take the right at Villarreal, headed east on Rte. 152, all the way to Santa Cruz. Then it’s just a right going southbound, past Nicoya until you see Rte. 162 on your right. It’s just past the Melons do la Peninsula grocery store and the map points are 9.972968, -85.187396. From there, you are going to need a visual aid. See the map.

By Bus.

Either via Tralapa, the main bus out of town or one of the smaller shuttle services, you will probably be happier getting a ride there unless you’re really adventurous. Grayline is an option. You’ll need to contact them for specifics. The main difference between shuttles and the big busses is the shuttles will have air-conditioning, and the seating will be more comfortable. You also have to pay for those premiums. The big busses are cheaper.

By Plane.

Unless you are starting your journey from SJO, taking a flight will only take you longer and cost you more. Plus you will still have to get a ride across the peninsula from Tambor airport to the beach. Not recommended even though the flights are lovely. In theory, you could charter direct, or fly to SJO and connect to Tambor.


Obviously a lot of the planning for PST is going to boil down to what you are looking to do there. Let’s assume it’s surf and sun, and let’s assume you have your own board. If not, there are board rental places there too. No problem. You’ll need a room for the length of your stay. Horizon Pacific Vacations can help you find a vacation rental if you need it. Done. Now, there are places to eat in PST. You can even eat sushi for dinner, pancakes for breakfast, and have casados for lunch, but if you are traveling on a budget you may consider muling in some of your food. There is a place to buy groceries there, but you will pay beachside prices for what you find. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are the highest calories, and best bang for your buck (or Colones?) budget-traveler food out there. You can score some bread, peanut butter, and jelly right in Tamarindo before you leave, pack the sandwiches, and live off them for days.

What to expect…

playa santa teresa at sunsetQuiet. The beach in Playa Santa Teresa is known for pretty much one sound: surf. You will find the jungle stretches closer to the sand here, making many nooks to explore if you so desire, and plenty of shade to get out of the sun. The town itself is growing, but don’t expect anything like Tamarindo. That’s why Tama-folk like to get away to Santa Teresa. You’ll have what you need for sure. The people in PST are just like Ticos everywhere: friendly, helpful, and simple, but like anywhere, be aware. Opportunistic  thieves prey on unsuspecting travelers worldwide, and you will not blend in PST, despite that tan you picked up on the beach in Tamarindo. Don’t draw attention to yourself with shiny jewelry, even if you know it’s worthless. Don’t flash wads of cash, and don’t leave your things in a car, ever. Never-ever-ever-ever. Even if it’s locked. It won’t be when you get back. Check in to your accommodations, and make arrangements for your bags if they don’t have you room ready yet. Then go to the beach and listen to the sound of the surf.

Horizon Pacific Management & Rentals logoHorizon Pacific Management & Rentals is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Horizon Pacific offers vacation rentals, property management, long-term rentals, as well as a complete concierge service. Providing you with a local contact during your stay, Horizon Pacific is a company you can trust, with the experience you need.

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