Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

With perfect waves, gorgeous, multi-colored sunsets and delightful international cuisine, Santa Teresa makes you ponder paradise.

Located within Malpaís, Playa Santa Teresa is located to one side, Playa Carmen in the middle, and the town of Malpaís to the south, all of them connected by a dirt road that lies parallel to the coast. In recent years, this area has been subjected to a lot of development to meet the needs of a growing number of visitors who flock here to ride some of the best breaks in the country.

You will find a vast array of hostels, eco-lodges and boutique hotels here for all tastes, a lively bar scene and some of the area’s best cuisine. The delightful Casa Zen serves Thai dishes that will leave you floored and you can find a lot of mouthwatering Israeli food, including falafel and hummus.

Yoga and spa treatments are widely available here, but most people come here to surf and there are plenty of lessons, surf camps, tours and board rentals to choose from. Santa Tere, as Ticos will call it, has a consistent break and can be surfed in all tides, as is the case with Playa Carmen. Beware of riding into the scattered rocks at Playa Santa Teresa!

Tours that can be arranged here include canopy tours, ATV tours, scuba diving and snorkeling trips to nearby locations, and horseback riding.

Malpaís is located right next door to Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, a national park filled with magical trails, a paradisiacal beach and a variety of wildlife.

Weather and Packing Checklist

A visit to Malpaís and Santa Tere is guaranteed to change your skin tone, hopefully not to any lobster red shades. Located in Costa Rica’s Northwest Pacific region, Malpaís enjoys one of the country’s driest climates. Daytime temperatures hover in the upper 80s and lower 90s, and drop at night to the upper 70s. Precipitation levels vary throughout the year in this region, but the period from November to August offers the sunniest skies.

Don’t forget to pack your surf gear and summer clothes, including flip flops, shorts, t-shirts, hats, swimsuits, a beach towel, rash guards, insect repellent and loads of sunblock and aloe vera gel for extra hydration of your soon-to-be sun exposed skin!

How to Get There

From San José:

By plane:     

Malpaís is approximately 22 km away from the closest airport in Tambor. You can take a taxi from there or ask your hotel if it can arrange pick-up. Sansa Airlines and Nature Air, two domestic airlines, offer daily, half-hour flight from San José to Tambor, for approximately $65 to $83 USD each way.

By car:

The quickest way to get to Malpaís and Santa Teresa from San José is on Autopista del Sol or the Interamerican Highway to Caldera. From there, drive to the port-city of Puntarenas and get on the ferry to Paquera. Drive for approximately one hour to Cóbano and then follow the road signs to Malpaís.

By bus:

Transportes Cóbano ( offers a daily, direct bus service from San José to Malpaís, departing from the Coca-Cola bus station in downtown San José. The trip lasts about six hours and one-way tickets cost around 7,000 Colones (approximately $14 USD).

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