Costa Rica: Hidden Gem Santa Teresa
by Gypsy Love
Costa Rica Vamos!
Stepping out of the airport I had that feeling of excitement and wonder that I get when beginning a new adventure that little planning goes into. Its just me and the flow of the Universe creating unforgettable experiences. I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica on January 13th and my first mission was to arrive safely in Santa Teresa where my friends were already waiting for me. I took a taxi, you’ll find many reliable drivers outside the airport, to Puntarenas which was about an hour and costs $80-$100 US. The ferry from Puntarenas left at 5:00pm I made it just in time, bought my ticket $3.00 US, and boarded what was more like a massive ship. The sun was setting across the Gulf of Nicoya on my journey to Paqueras.
Once I arrived in Paqueras I took a van to Santa Teresa with 6 other backpackers, 3 Canadians, 1 Argentinian, and 2 Americans. We split the ride and it was $10 each. There are plenty of taxis waiting for passengers here as well as buses, vans, and I wouldn’t pay anymore than $60 for transport if you’re traveling alone. It was night by this time so difficult to see the small villages that we passed through on the way. Its a bumpy dirt road to warn anyone who gets motion sickness. We arrived at the supermarket on the main street where the others got off and the driver drove me directly to my hostel “Wave Trotter”. I was so full of excitement that when I arrived I wasn’t able to comprehend anything. Maggie who was working at the time showed me my room where I dropped my bags ad began scouring the hostel for Virgina’s crazy head of hair. Virginia is the Italian girl who I lived with in Australia, spent a month in the Philippines with and it had been 7 months since I seen her last. I will get to all of that later.
I went to the back of the hostel where I could here Virginia’s voice and jumped into her arms. I met her sister, husband, the owners and designers of the hostel, and their two children. There was one more Italian girl named Sesi who was a friend from Italy here for the surf. At last it was the 6 Italians and I about to embark on an incredible 2 week adventure.
The Hostel From A Dream
I woke up the next morning to this deep howling sound from the monkeys that hung out in the trees close by. The hostel was a dream giving off a tropical vibe immersed in nature. There are four dorm rooms accessed by an amazing staircase from the main level. The rooms upstairs each had these french style doors that opened up onto a back deck area that overlooked the backyard. There is a big, clean, communal living room and kitchen. Down the hall there are two bathrooms one male and one female that both consist of two toilets and two showers. The kitchen doors open out to the backyard and onto a big deck where there are tables for eating and hammocks for hanging out. The doors to the hostel are locked by 10pm however one entrance in the back has a touch code on the door which you will be given upon your arrival and walk through. The backyard has this huge beautiful tree that had a tela ribbon attached to it. Be sure to wear your shoes as the tree drops small wooden spikes. There were two more buildings in the backyard one of them has more dorms and the other is a house where the owners live. Everything is very clean, organized, and the hostel is in a perfect location. Located on a side street about a 2 min walk to the main and 5 more minutes on a path arriving right on the beach. Check out my favorite video that perfectly portrays, from the owners, the energy and love this hostel boasts!
Of course we headed to the beach first thing in the morning and by 9am you can already feel the force of the sun. There were locals catching the bus and riding bikes on their way to work, surfers with their surf boards, wet suits half on, tanned skinned and sun-kissed faces everywhere. Playa Santa Teresa is a fabulous beach that stretches on for miles and is easy accessible to Playa Carmen beach. Playa Hermosa beach is a bit of a farther venture and can be reached by walking that takes about an hour. If you enjoy running along the beach and catching a beautiful sunrise or sunset this is your place. There are many yoga studios to drop in on, costs $10 per class, or if you prefer to pamper yourself in a spa for the day you can find many highly rated day spas. Santa Teresa offers it all. What you’ll need? A bikini, surf board, and some american dollars. There are plenty of places that rent out surf boards and offer lessons however I would recommend renting a surf board from the hostel, befriending a surf go-er, and hitting the beach with them. You’re going to make friends and have a hell of a lot of fun. Remember to smear on the sunscreen, the suns rays are intense especially during the afternoon.
Everyone Loves A Foodie
There are so many different people living here from all around the world which makes Santa Teresa a small community filled with much diversity. FOOD! I love food and the options are endless from Italian pasta, Argentinian acados, burger houses, and one of the best sushi restaurant’s called Koji’s. I can guarantee you will never have a bad meal! Everything is very similar to US pricing so keep that in mind when planning your budget. Gigi and I would buy some groceries from the local market and make breakfast and lunch at the hostel. In the evening we would dine out with the whole Italian group however another plus is delivery which is very common among most restaurants!
Living With The Locals
My experience in Santa Teresa was incredibly unique. I was lucky to meet Gigi’s sister Giulette and husband Giovanni, who have lived here for almost ten years, and therefor it created an atmosphere that we were simply locals living here as well. You could really feel that solid friendly connection between them and the rest of their friends in the community. The best part to getting to know locals is all the perks that come with! One afternoon Giulette’s friend came to the hostel and gave us Tela lessons for free! Tela is an incredible full body workout acrobatically dangling from a ribbon flowing into different positions and movements. Another day we met some other local guys who offered us surf lessons for free and our neighbors who gave us a discount on the quads we rented for the day to Montezuma! Give love and you shall receive!
Santa Teresa definitely makes it on my list of places I would visit again. It also serves as an amazing starting point to explore the west coast of Costa Rica. Why not start your adventure off in a tropical paradise filled with sun-kissed faces, palm trees, pristine beaches, and magical sunsets!