Best Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Where to Stay Near Santa Teresa Beach

Best Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica

After staying in Santa Teresa for more than a month and spending time in each of the areas on this list, I feel confident in recommending the best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica.

Hotels in Santa Teresa range from luxurious villas with stellar ocean views to lively trendy hostels, so there is something to fit every budget and taste. In this guide on where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica, I’ve outlined the 5 main areas to consider when booking your Santa Teresa hotel. 

Since the town of Santa Teresa Costa Rica is spread out along the coast, it’s important to understand your priorities when visiting Santa Teresa in order to pick the best area to stay in Costa Rica Santa Teresa. Each area offers something different. 

The namesake, Santa Teresa beach is great for a younger crowd looking for cool villas and sociable hostels. Of course, you can also find a plethora of trendy cafes here, too (avocado toast anyone?).

Another sought-after area is Playa Carmen, where the best surf conditions can be found for beginner and intermediate surfers. Here you can find a more laid-back atmosphere where apartments with kitchenettes are popular. The cafe offering is a tad more diverse here, too.

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Banana Beach, with its central location, allows access to both the Santa Teresa Beach community and the Playa Carmen area. A great option if you want a bit of both worlds on your Costa Rica holiday (this is where I stayed). For Santa Teresa accommodation that is more remote, try Mal Pais or Playa Hermosa.

This complete guide on the best hotels in Santa Teresa will give you the lowdown on where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica including what to expect from each neighbourhood, pros and cons, and a few Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels I’d recommend booking. Plus, I’ve included a handy map of all the recommended best hotels Santa Teresa Costa Rica has to offer.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica Essentials

Planning a trip to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica? Don’t leave home without single-trip travel insurance and a rental car reservation. The most epic Santa Teresa hotels are spread out along the Santa Teresa beaches and coastline and the best way to get around is by car or ATV.

BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE
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*I had a single-trip policy for Costa Rica

COSTA RICA CAR RENTAL
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*Best way to get around Costa Rica

About Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels

The coastline of Santa Theresa Costa Rica is renowned for its long stretches of unbroken white sand beaches, lush jungle and epic surf. It’s become a popular destination for international tourists, and in recent years has attracted younger backpackers and digital nomads looking for a tropical paradise.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica was relatively undeveloped until the early 2000s when the first luxury villas and yoga retreats started popping up. Santa Teresa is made up of a few different beach areas, the most popular being Playa Santa Teresa Costa Rica, Playa Carmen, Banana Beach and Mal Pais.

These days, there’s a wide range of Santa Teresa hotel options to choose from as well as plenty of bars, trendy restaurants and activities to keep you busy like ATV tours, horseback riding and day tours to nearby towns like Montezuma or Tortuga Island.

But, the most popular activity in Santa Teresa is surfing. Surfing in Santa Teresa Costa Rica is some of the best in the country with waves for all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers depending on the time of year.

Or, simply hunker down at one of Santa Teresa’s picturesque beaches and enjoy the sunshine.

Despite its recent growth in popularity, Santa Teresa retains a relaxed yet lively vibe compared to other well-known Costa Rican destinations such as Jaco, Manuel Antonio and Tamarindo.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica Map

Where is Santa Teresa in Costa Rica? Santa Teresa is a beach town located on the Nicoya Peninsula in the Province of Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The town spans approximately 10km of pristine coastline from Mal Pais in the south to Playa Hermosa in the north.

It’s about a 5-hour journey from San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, to reach the Santa Teresa Costa Rica town. The best hotels Santa Teresa Costa Rica offers will be scattered along the coast.

This map of Santa Teresa Costa Rica gives you a good idea of how spread out the town is, taking 30 minutes by car or ATV to reach Playa Hermosa from Mal Pais.

How Many Nights Do You Need in Santa Teresa Costa Rica?

So, how long to stay in Santa Teresa? Ideally, you should plan to stay in Santa Teresa for at least 3-4 nights so you have enough time to enjoy everything Santa Teresa has to offer including relaxing on the beach, surfing at the many amazing breaks and taking a day trip or two (highly recommend Tortuga Island!).

If you don’t mind the long journeys by car or shuttle between destinations in Costa Rica (we are talking 3-4+ hours), you can get away with 2 nights, but I wholeheartedly discourage this.

Best hotels Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Map of Hotels in Santa Teresa
Costa Rica

Generally speaking, you can find more lively hostels and villas in North Santa Teresa near Santa Teresa Beach, with quieter apartments in South Santa Teresa at Playa Carmen. Playa Hermosa offers villas and homes for longer stays, while Mal Pais offers yoga retreats and surf hotels.

But, no matter where you decide to stay along the coastline, there will be the best hotel Santa Teresa Costa Rica option available to you at varying budgets and preferences.

Click on this map of Santa Teresa Costa Rica resorts and hotels to find your perfect match!

Map of Best hotels Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Where to Stay in Santa Teresa
Costa Rica

When deciding on your Santa Teresa Costa Rica accommodation, it is important to note the town is split by a single main road running parallel to the shoreline. The road is not directly on the coast leaving room for a few beachfront properties.

The coastline has remained relatively unpopulated due to local restrictions on shorefront development, which means the beaches maintain their untouched quality. Most Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotel options will be located inland from the main road.

The main road is home to lively restaurants, cafes and bars with most of the amenities located here too, like grocery stores and shopping. Given this, it’s always a good idea to stay a 2-5 minute walk away from the main drag to avoid noise at night. If you are just in Santa Teresa to have a good time and plan to be up to the wee hours of the morning, this shouldn’t a problem for you.

Generally speaking, Santa Teresa doesn’t have a lot of activities on offer like the adventure towns of La Fortuna or Monteverde, but where Santa Teresa Costa Rica shines, in general, is its fabulous beaches and surf breaks.

Where to Stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica:
Quick Guide

Santa Teresa Beach | Lively, Nightlife, Trendy Cafes + Surfing
Banana Beach | Central Location, Surfing, Beachfront Hangs
Playa Carmen | Surfing, Coworking, Nice Beach, Diverse Eats
Playa Mal Pais | Quiet, Yoga + Advanced Surfing
Playa Hermosa | Remote, Beautiful Beach + Higher End Villas

1. Santa Teresa Beach (North Santa Teresa)

Best hotels Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Santa Teresa beach (‘Playa Santa Teresa‘ in Spanish) is the most popular beach in Santa Teresa. It’s here where you’ll find the best restaurants, trendy cafes, nightlife and the town’s single nightclub (Disco Bar La Brosy) as well as a number of stylish hotel Santa Teresa Costa Rica options to suit all budgets.

Besides the expansive beach where you can party all night around a sociable bonfire, you can find a concentration of clothing and jewelry shops, hip surf shops and galleries along its main drag. The highest concentration of activity and amenities can be found between Selina North and El Patio along the main road of C. Cobano.

The Vibe

The vibe in Santa Teresa Beach is young, fresh and vibrant with an international crowd. The town has a real modern-bohemian feel to it with effortlessly cool digital nomads, hipster yogis, Instagrammers and new-age health enthusiasts making up the majority of the tourist population.

Staying in Santa Teresa Beach is Best For:

  • Those who want to be in the centre of the action
  • Easy access to trendy restaurants + cafes
  • Surfers of all levels
  • Those who want to stay in a trendy boutique hotel or hostel

Santa Teresa Beach at a Glance:

Pros
  • Easy access to the beach + cafes
  • Vibrant atmosphere with a young and international crowd
  • Close to Santa Teresa’s only nightclub
  • Great for beginner and intermediate surfing
Cons
  • Can be noisy at night due to the bars and clubs
  • Can be dusty in late dry season (January-March)

Best Luxury Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Santa Teresa Beach

Hotel Nantipa – Top Pick!

Best For | Yogis, Sun Soakers
Distance from Beach | Beachfront

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Hotel Nantipa via Booking.com

Hotel Nantipa is a beautiful beachfront boutique hotel located in the heart of Santa Teresa at Santa Teresa Beach. Hotel Nantipa is one of the few beachfront hotels in all of Santa Teresa.

Amenities at Hotel Nantipa include an infinity pool, yoga studio, and restaurant. The rooms are decorated in a modern, minimalist style and come with private balconies surrounded by carefully landscaped flora to preserve privacy and stunning ocean views.

Nantipa offers 19 guest bungalows and suites and two 3-bedroom beachfront villas scattered in a 2.3 hectare (5.7 acres) property with 155 meters of unique beachfront glory. Nantipa is my top recommendation for beachfront luxury hotels Santa Teresa Costa Rica.

Other Recommended Luxury Hotels in Santa Teresa Beach:

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Mandala Hotel via Booking.com

Mandala Hotel

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
NATURA Loft Garden via Booking.com

NATURA Loft Garden

Best Mid-Range Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Santa Teresa Beach

Somos – Top Pick!

Best For | Nightlifers, Surfers, Instagrammers
Distance from Beach | 3-minute walk

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Somos via Booking.com

House of Somos is a trendy boutique guesthouse located in the middle of the action in Santa Teresa Beach area along the main drag.

Amenities at Somos include a large palm-lined pool, a trendy restaurant and a surf shop. The rooms are decorated in laid-back modern style and come with private kitchens for cooking your own meals or making your first cuppa of the day.

Somos offers private king-sized rooms for two all the way up to junior suites that can accommodate 5 people. Choose a suite with a balcony or terrace to get the best bang for your buck.

Other Recommended Mid-Range Hotels in Santa Teresa Beach:

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Believe Surf + Yoga Lodge via Booking.com

Believe Surf + Yoga Lodge

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Casa Cecilia Beachfront via Booking.com

Casa Cecilia Beachfront

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Ohana Villas via Booking.com

Ohana Villas

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Villas Kanamar via Booking.com

Villas Kanamar

Best Economy Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Santa Teresa Beach

Selina North – Top Pick!

Best For | Young digital nomads looking to party
Distance to Beach | 3-minute walk

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Selina Santa Teresa North via Booking.com

The popular Selina chain of boutique hostels has two locations on offer in the town of Santa Teresa – one in North Santa Teresa and one in South Santa Teresa. Each offers a different environment.

Selina North offers a lively atmosphere for young digital nomads or backpackers to take a break and party the night (and day) away. Hang by the shared pool or take a surf lesson with some new-found friends.

Amenities at Selina North Santa Teresa include a large swimming pool, small cafe, billiards room, and shared kitchen space. The rooms are spacious, modern and clean with comfy beds. Room types span from double rooms with private ensuites to dorm beds with shared bathroom facilities.

If you are looking for high-focus coworking, opt for Selina South where the environment is more mellow.

Other Recommended Economy Hotels in Santa Teresa Beach:

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Canaima Chill House via Booking.com

Canaima Chill House

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Santa Teresa Surf Vista Villas via Booking.com

Santa Teresa Surf Vista Villas

Best Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hostels: Santa Teresa Beach

Salty Enthusiasts Share House – Top Pick!

Best For | Groups of Friends, Solo Female Travelers
Distance to Beach | 5-minute walk

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Salty Enthusiasts Share House via Booking.com

Salty Enthusiasts is a hostel located just off the main drag inland in Santa Teresa Beach. Salty Enthusiasts Share House is on the edge of the action so it maintains a mellower vibe but still has proximity to the concentration of trendy cafes within walking distance.

The rooms are decorated with low-key surfer decor and offer double rooms with shared bathrooms to full apartments with private ensuites and terraces that accommodate up to 6 people. Salty Enthusiasts also offers a 6-bed female dormitory.

Salty Enthusiasts Share House also comes equipped with a large outdoor shared kitchen. This is my choice for the top Playa Santa Teresa Costa Rica hostel.

Other Recommended Hostels in Santa Teresa Beach:

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Point Break Santa Teresa via Booking.com

Point Break Santa Teresa

best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Zeneidas Surf Garden via Booking.com

Zeneidas Surf Garden

2. Playa Carmen (South Santa Teresa)

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Playa Carmen is the second most popular beach area in Santa Teresa and is known for having the best surf conditions on the Nicoya Peninsula. Here you can find a more diverse assortment of restaurants from streetside tacos, to upscale Italian and everything in between, spread along the main road.

The majority of Playa Carmen Costa Rica accommodation will be located inland across the street from the beach, within a 10-minute walk (very little in terms of beachfront development here). Small hotels, apartments with kitchens, and guesthouses are what to expect. Do be aware, that most roads leading off of the main drag will not be paved and can get dusty in the dry season.

If you’re a surfer, Carmen Beach is the place to be. The waves here are consistent and relatively easy to ride making it the perfect spot for beginner and intermediate surfers. If you’ve come to Santa Teresa to surf, I’d recommend staying in South Playa Carmen by all of the surf hotels and camps (like LaPoint Surf Camp) to meet like-minded people.

If you’re not a surfer, Playa Carmen is the best beach to relax on, in my humble opinion. Bring your own towel or beach chair since the majority of Playa Carmen is lined by jungle.

The Vibe

The vibe in Playa Carmen is more relaxed than in Santa Teresa Beach with a mix of tourists and locals. You’ll find bohemian road trippers with their vans parked along the palm tree’d shoreline, intermediate surfers, and fit yogis. Playa Carmen also has some amazing coffee (The Roastery, I am looking at you!).

Staying in Playa Carmen is Best For:

  • A more laidback vibe
  • Relaxing on the expansive beach
  • Those seeking consistent surf breaks
  • Quieter hotels, guesthouse or apartment options
  • Wide variety of restaurants and cafes

Playa Carmen at a Glance:

Pros
  • Good surf conditions for beginner and intermediate surfers
  • Relaxed atmosphere with a mix of tourists and locals
  • Accommodation options to suit all budgets
Cons
  • Not as much nightlife
  • Limited beachfront properties or restaurants (except near Banana Beach)
  • Quite separated from North Santa Teresa (Playa Santa Teresa) area
  • Not a lot of access points to the beach
  • Can be quite dusty in dry season

Best Luxury Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Playa Carmen

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
The Green House via Booking.com

The Green House – Adults Only

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Vista Del Alma Boutique via Booking.com

Vista Del Alma – Adults Only

Best Mid-range Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Playa Carmen

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Selina Santa Teresa South via Booking.com

Selina South – Top Pick!

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Horizon Hotel & Yoga Center via Booking.com

Horizon Hotel & Yoga Center

Best Economy Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Playa Carmen

About Hotel Santa Teresa – Top Pick!

Best For | Surfers, Couples
Distance from Beach | 2-minute walk

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Hotel Santa Teresa via Booking.com

Hotel Santa Teresa is located at the south end of Playa Carmen and offers laidback, yet modern rooms around a shared pool. Situated on the beach side of the main road, a quick 2-minute walk down the adjacent beach access trail will have you in the waves in no time.

Hotel Santa Teresa is also within close walking distance of the ever-popular The Bakery and The Roastery. Both provide a great meal and coffee to start the day.

Amenities at Hotel Santa Teresa include a large outdoor pool, sun terraces for catching rays and a seasonal snack bar. If it’s your first time surfing, lessons can be arranged by the friendly reception.

Room types include king-sized rooms for 2 or double queen rooms for up to 4 people. All rooms come with a small balcony. Opt for a room on the second or third floor.

Other Recommended Economy Hotels in Playa Carmen:

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Hotel Buenos Aires via Booking.com

Hotel Buenos Aires

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Santeria Lodge via Booking.com

Santeria Lodge

Best Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hostels: Playa Carmen

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
La Posada Hostel via Booking.com

La Posada Hostel

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
El Gato Rojas Surf Hostel via Booking.com

El Gato Rojas Surf Hostel

3. Banana Beach (Central Santa Teresa)

best hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Banana Beach is a small beach located smack-dab in the middle of the two main areas of Santa Teresa Beach and Playa Carmen. Not often thought of as its own entity, Banana Beach actually offers the best of both worlds. The highlight here is access to beachfront day clubs like Banana Beach Restaurant and Hotel Tropico Latino which offer laidback hammocks and cocktails.

On top of that, Banana Beach Santa Teresa also offers a few supermarkets for stocking up on groceries and a small concentration of restaurants and cafes from a casual Arepas spot to bustling middle eastern and the best vegetarian restaurant in the entirety of Santa Teresa – Drift.

The Santa Teresa hotel Costa Rica options available in Banana Beach are somewhat transitional from the lively Santa Teresa Beach options to the more laidback Playa Carmen options. You can find both here.

Banana Beach Costa Rica is a sub-section of the greater Playa Carmen, so you will have access to great surfing conditions for beginner to intermediate surfers.

Banana Beach is where I stayed for a month along my Costa Rica itinerary and I have zero regrets. I loved that I had access to other communities but wasn’t forced to leave due to a lack of amenities. I spent most days lazing on the beach in front of Hotel Tropico Latino or getting my sweat on at ACTIVO fitness.

The Vibe

The vibe at Banana Beach is laid-back with pockets of action. You can find new trendy friends at Banana Beach restaurant or, right next door, have a classy cocktail and watch the waves with your significant other. Both are possible. Banana Beach attracts a millennial-type of crowd who want access to both sides of Santa Teresa without having to be in the thick of it.

Staying in Banana Beach is Best For:

  • Central location between Santa Teresa Beach and Playa Carmen
  • Access to beach day clubs
  • Access to supermarkets
  • Proximity to consistent surfing conditions at Playa Carmen

Banana Beach at a Glance:

Pros
  • Central location
  • Relaxed atmosphere with pockets of action
  • Popular with surfers, avid beach goers and millennial crowd
Cons
  • Still a fair walk to Santa Teresa Beach community
  • Can be noisy at night especially closer to the main road
  • Banana Beach hotel options are more limited due to small area

Best Luxury Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Banana Beach

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Fuego Lodge via Booking.com

Fuego Lodge

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Mint Santa Teresa via Booking.com

Mint – Adults Only

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Banana Beach Bungalows via Booking.com

Banana Beach Bungalows

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Peace Lofts via Booking.com

Peace Lofts

Best Mid-range Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Banana Beach

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Hotel Tropico Latino via Booking.com

Hotel Tropico Latino

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Dreamcatcher Hotel via Booking.com

Dreamcatcher Hotel

Best Economy Hotels in Santa Teresa Costa Rica: Banana Beach

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Casa Del Sol via Booking.com

Casa Del Sol

Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Beach Cabinas via Booking.com

Beach Cabinas

4. Mal Pais (Far South)

Playa Mal Pais a top where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica option

Mal Pais Costa Rica is a teeny-tiny beach town south of the main Santa Teresa area. Located along a dirt road, you can spot bohemian cafes and yoga retreats scattered throughout the dense jungle. This is where you stay if you want to spend your time in a hammock with a good book.

While I wouldn’t necessarily say Playa MalPais is the greatest beach along the Nicoya Peninsula (a bit rocky for my taste), the Mal Pais area has some really beautiful hidden gems like Playa Cueva, mostly frequented by locals.

MalPais Costa Rica can offer some really amazing surf for more advanced, hardcore surfers. While the swell here can be epic, it’s also plagued by rocks and reef, so not advisable for casual surfers. You are better off opting to stay in the South Playa Carmen area where intermediate surfers thrive.

Along the mostly desolate dirt road from Playa Carmen to Mal Pais, you can find the trendy eco-conscious Nula Plant-Based Kitchen with craft cocktails and vegan eats served at low outdoor seating with twinkle lights overhead. Highly rated Tierra Mar offers home-cooked local Costa Rican fare at a modest price.

Beyond a few token restaurants spread far apart, staying in Mal Pais is only advised for travellers that have daily access to a rental car or ATV for frequent travel back and forth to Santa Teresa town.

The Vibe

The vibe in Mal Pais can be considered laidback, bohemian and frankly quite quiet. Attracting more long-term guests including older millennials, you can expect a mix of tourists here. From deeply tanned hippie yogis, and long-haired surfers to Cali-style families (imagine kids’ names like Tree and Flower – you get the idea).

Staying in Mal Pais is Best For:

  • Avid Yogis
  • Hardcore surfers
  • Long-term stays
  • those who have access to a rental car or ATV

Mal Pais at a Glance:

Pros
  • Challenging but epic surf conditions
  • World-class yoga retreats
  • Reconnecting with nature
Cons
  • Dirt road brings up a lot of dust in dry season
  • Very few restaurants and cafes
  • No nightlife (can be a pro)

Best Luxury Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Mal Pais

Gigi Brown luxury Santa Teresa hotel
Gigi Brown Beachfront via Booking.com

Gigi Brown Beachfront

Casa Chameleon Santa Teresa hotel
Casa Chameleon via Booking.com

Casa Chameleon – Adults Only

Best Mid-Range Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Mal Pais

Calma Apartments – Top Pick!

Best For | Couples, Small Families, Older Digital Nomads
Distance from Beach | 10-minute walk

Calma Apartments is a great airbnb Santa Teresa Costa Rica option with pool and cabin
Calma Apartments via Booking.com

Bordering South Playa Carmen and the road to Mal Pais, Calma Apartments is a perfect in-between. The gated property is a 10-minute walk to Playa Carmen beach and restaurants, and the friendly owner can provide you with bicycles if you don’t want to rent an ATV.

Besides access to the shared swimming pool, guests can enjoy private kitchens with a stovetop and coffee maker within their apartment-style rooms, a desk with a chair for any laptop work, and a cozy pullout sofa for reading your book. The orthopedic mattresses are sure to please.

If you are looking for a quaint and peaceful Airbnb Santa Teresa Costa Rica option, this is the one for you.

Other Recommended Mid-Range Mal Pais Hotels:

Vista de Olas Santa Teresa hotel
View from Hotel Vista del Olas via Booking.com

Hotel Vista de Olas

Indigo Yoga resort Santa Teresa hotel
Indigo Yoga Surf Resort via Booking.com

Indigo Yoga Surf Resort

Best Economy Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Mal Pais

Shark Town Santa Teresa hotel
Shark Town Mal Pais via Booking.com

Shark Town

Vista Naranja Santa Teresa hotel
Vista Naranja Ocean View via Booking.com

Vista Naranja Ocean View House

Best Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hostels: Mal Pais

Bajo el Arbol Santa Teresa hotel
Bajo el Arbol B&B via Booking.com

Bajo el Arbol B&B

Cuatro Vientos Lodge Santa Teresa hotel
Cuatro Vientos Lodge & Apartments via Booking.com

Cuatro Vientos Lodge

5. Playa Hermosa (Far North)

Playa Hermosa Beach a top place for Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels

Playa Hermosa Costa Rica is a small hamlet located a 10-minute drive from the northern tip of Santa Teresa Beach. What Playa Hermosa has in spades is an absolutely breathtaking and expansive white sand beach. Most of the activity in Playa Hermosa Santa Teresa (if you can call it activity), is located along a single road running perpendicular to the namesake Playa Hermosa.

NOTE | There are several Playa Hermosas located throughout Costa Rica, so don’t get them confused!

Hotels in Santa Teresa Playa Hermosa can be found scattered throughout the hillside above the main road and towards the beach. You can find higher-end villas and homes here to suit a more luxurious crowd.

While Playa Hermosa offers some great surf in the right conditions, with a break for both beginners and advanced surfers, it’s often inconsistent. The nice thing about surfing at Playa Hermosa though is the uncrowded surf lineups.

Other than a few restaurants in town, Playa Hermosa doesn’t offer much in terms of amenities. So, access to a rental car or ATV is a must. Do note that the road leading from Santa Teresa to Playa Hermosa can be considered a bit rough (and super dusty in the dry season), so make sure your vehicle has high clearance.

The Vibe

You can expect to find a lot of upscale vacation homes and villas in Playa Hermosa, deemed the ‘Hollywood’ of Santa Teresa. Playa Hermosa attracts a more affluent traveller.

Staying in Playa Hermosa is Best For:

  • Stunning beach
  • Seclusion
  • Higher end villas
  • Longer term stays

Playa Hermosa at a Glance:

Pros
  • Uncrowded surf lineups
  • Sandy beach for sports or relaxing
  • Luxury accommodation options
Cons
  • 10-minute drive from Santa Teresa
  • Limited budget-friendly accommodation
  • Limited amenities
  • Car (with high clearance) or ATV required

Best Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels: Playa Hermosa

Sky House Santa Teresa – Adults Only – Top Pick!

Best For | Couples, Ocean Views
Distance to Beach | 5-minute drive

Sky House Santa Teresa Costa Rica resorts
Sky House Santa Teresa via Booking.com

Looking for an epic stay in Playa Hermosa? Sky House is for you. With stunning ocean views from your king-sized suite on top of the hills, you can laze the day away by the beautiful private infinity pool and take in the sights of the coastline.

The home is styled in modern greek design, with white-washed walls and top-of-the-line amenities. Fall into a plush king-sized bed after a day of activities, or read a book in your incredibly comfortable loungers. This is the creme-de-la-creme of the best places to stay in Costa Rica Santa Teresa.

Other Recommended Hotels in Playa Hermosa:

Villas Argan Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Villas Argan via Booking.com

Villas Argan

Lua Villas Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Lua Villas via Booking.com

Lua Villas

Best Things to Do in Santa Teresa
Costa Rica

Most travellers come to Santa Teresa to enjoy an idyllic beach. Whether that is surfing its epic breaks or lazing on the sandy shores, when it comes to things to do in Santa Teresa, you can expect some salt, sand and sun to be involved.

Beyond the beach, you can try your hand at yoga, swim in the Mal Pais tidal pools, partake in a relaxing horseback riding adventure or take a few day trips – like Tortuga Island, Montezuma Waterfall or Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.

Best Restaurants in Santa Teresa
Costa Rica

Breakfast spread at Nula within 10 minutes of Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels
Breakfast at Nula Plant-Based Kitchen

Santa Teresa Costa Rica is a foodie mecca. Most of the restaurants in Santa Teresa can be found between Santa Teresa Beach, Banana Beach and Playa Carmen areas. From trendy Ani’s Bowls or The Bakery (a Santa Teresa institution) to upscale Italian at Angelina to well-curated Asian at Katana, there is something for everyone.

If you absolutely need a cup of joe in the morning like me, make sure to check out The Roastery, the best coffee in Santa Teresa.

For those of the vegan or vegetarian persuasion, a visit to Drift or Nula Kitchen will not disappoint or try the vegan Arepas at Good Munchies, I can highly recommend it. And for a lively atmosphere, opt for Somos or have your pick of cuisines at Eat Street, a food court-style establishment.

Is Santa Teresa Costa Rica Worth Visiting?

Most Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels have close proximity to eclectic surf shops

Yes, Santa Teresa Costa Rica is definitely worth visiting! Although it takes a little longer to get to, its great surf breaks, stunning beaches and laid-back yet lively atmosphere make up for it tenfold. There are also plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets.

So if you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the beach (with a day trip or two), then Santa Teresa is the perfect destination along your Costa Rica itinerary.

The Best Time to Visit Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Santa Teresa has two distinct seasons, the dry season (November to April) and the wet season (May to October).

Wet (or Green) Season

During the wet season, you can expect daily showers which often last an hour or two in the late afternoon. The upside of visiting during this time is that the skies are often clearer and there are fewer crowds. Plus, you won’t get the dusty conditions from the roads during this time, albeit maybe a little mud.

The wet season is also the best time to surf if you are an intermediate or advanced surfer. With larger and punchier waves with a whopping 90% consistency.

walk sunset at Banana Beach within a 5 minute walk from the best hotels in Santa Teresa
Golden House at Banana Beach Santa Teresa

Dry Season

The dry season is the best time to visit Santa Teresa for most travellers, which runs from December to April. The weather is sunny and dry with very little rain. With a high of 27°C (80°F) during the day and a low of a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night, you can pack light. The downside of the dry season in Santa Teresa is the dusty conditions.

Also, while surfing in the wet season is more consistent with larger and punchier breaks, surfing in the dry season is more beginner friendly with smaller (still 6-10ft!) waves. And you still get an astounding 70% consistency.

The Sweet Spot

While on tour to Tortuga Island, my knowledgable local guide mentioned that visiting Santa Teresa in November is the sweet spot. The rains from the wet season have subsided but you still get to enjoy the lush green rainforest before it dries out. Plus, hotels in Santa Teresa have lower rates and you can experience fewer crowds.

How to get to Santa Teresa Costa Rica

By Airplane

Because of its remote location, the quickest way to get to Santa Teresa is by flying into San Jose International Airport (SJO) or Liberia International Airport (LIR) and taking a 45-minute domestic flight to Tambor Airport (TMU). From here, either arrange a private transfer with your hotel or grab a taxi and make the 1-hour drive to Santa Teresa.

By Rental Car

If you plan to visit other destinations in Costa Rica like La Fortuna, Monteverde or Nosara, I recommend renting a car. I use Discover Cars to reserve all of my rental cars worldwide. What I like about Discover Cars is that they compare local and international companies to get you the best rate. Plus they offer $7USD/day full-coverage insurance.

people on ATVs heading to their Santa Teresa hotel
ATV is a popular mode of Transportation in Santa Teresa Costa Rica

By Shuttle

Alternatively, you can arrange for a shared or private shuttle from other destinations in Costa Rica using Book Away. Sit back and enjoy the ride in an air-conditioned van.

By Public Bus

If you are looking for the most economical way to get to Santa Teresa, opt for the public bus. While the trip can take upwards of 11-12 hours and multiple bus and ferry transfers, you will definitely save some money.

Final Thoughts on Best Santa Teresa Costa Rica Hotels

If you’re looking for the best Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotels, look no further! This guide is jam-packed with juicy information on the ideal hotels in Santa Teresa, plus a decent lowdown on what to expect from the best areas to stay in Santa Teresa.

When it comes to where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica, I recommend Banana Beach, since that’s where I stayed and I can highly recommend it. It gives you the best of both worlds: the liveliness of Santa Teresa Beach, and the laid-back vibe of Playa Carmen.

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