Bright sun, gleaming sands, crystal-clear waters make the perfect backdrop for the boho beach town of Santa Teresa. This place is paradise with a great international community that reflects on it's restaurants. Pura Vida (pure life) is the true mantra and lifestyle of this shabby yet charming town. I can see why so many flock here and never leave. The town of Santa Teresa on the Pacific side of Costa Rica has stolen a piece of my heart in an odd and humbling way. There is something about this surf town clustered around a dusty semi-paved road that feels right. Perhaps it is the simplistic way of life, and it’s low key, unpretentiousness. There are no flashy cars or designer duds. There is that feeling anonymity.
I love the international vibe of the people who have settled there – Argentinians, Italians, Israelis, French and Canadians who seem to be following and living their art and passion. There is down right good food, stunning yoga decks, a great farmer’s market, and always a wave to catch somewhere. There are it’s imperfections, plenty of them, which make it that much more authentic and likable. It is a real town. It’s not a bubble; its vibe and counter culture is very much like Burning Man and other places that have moved me.
The small towns that lie next to each other - Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, and Hermosa - all harmoniously play off one another. Whatever you are in the mood for you can find within minutes. The rustic charm and craggy rock pools of Mal Pais, the relative bustle of Santa Teresa with its shops and restaurants, or the quiet, tranquil beauty of Hermosa.
Santa Teresa’s Shortlist On Where To Eat
The Farmer’s Market on Saturday afternoon for fresh veggies, dream catchers, gluten-free crackers and a fun hippie beach vibe. Product C for the freshest fish in town and awesome lunch. You have to try the fish tacos and ceviche; it’s made with love. Green World Store for fresh fruits and vegetables, including locally grown and organic produce. Also available is a good variety of natural pantry staples such as coffees, honey, nuts, and jams.
As you walk through town, you’ll come across plenty of restaurants. As a gluten intolerant traveller, Santa Teresa offered a variety of places that offered naturally gluten-free options, as well as gluten-free specific places. Chicken Joes for some life changing Peruvian ceviche and the most amazing and flavorful rotisserie style chicken you'll ever have. (I didn’t try the chicken as I don’t eat meat aside from fish.) Koji‘s for incredible sushi and a bit of a scene. If you’re lucky, while you are there the power will go out in town, and you can eat your entire meal by candlelight. Brisas del Mar for a beautiful sunset dinner. Zwart Cafe for delicious fresh food, great people watching, an up close look at Canadian artist Margriet Zwart's studio. You’ll feel like picking up a paint brush releasing your creative energies.
For the gluten-free traveller in Santa Teresa… Olam for fresh, organic salads and juices. If you’re here for breakfast, try the gluten-free pancakes. Marianne, the French bakery, for coconut macaroons. Kasava for gluten-free bread and bagels. Chop It - Holy Cow Burger for delicious burgers, hand-cut fries, salads and smoothies all made with integrity. They also offer a variety of gluten-free options.
What To Do + Where To Stay
There is plenty to do in Santa Teresa like The Healing Cuisine for a cleanse or cooking class with Joanne focused on eating habits that promote health and sustainability for our planet. Stay at the super chill Otro Lado Lodge to stay and/or to do some beautiful spiritual yoga with on a beautiful deck and then have lunch afterwards. Or rent Milarepa for a quiet vibe with friends.Florblanca Pilates for finding balance and harmony. Pranamar for yoga just steps off the sand. Surf everywhere from Playa Carmen to Santa Teresa to Hermosa. Rent a bike from 360 Surf Shop and ride down to Hermosa for solitude on your very own secluded slice of paradise. Or ride to the end of Mal Pais for a long swim in the calm waters and buy fresh fish when it comes off the fishing boats in the late afternoon. Head to Kika for live music Tuesday and Thursday nights and Rocamar for a lovely sunset vibe on Sundays.
Where To Shop
Ladies, you have to buy one of the locally made surf bikini’s Tica Surf they look amazing and actually manage to stay on as you get tumbled through the ocean. Onda Verde for an eclectic cute collection of clothes, bags, jewellery hand-made locally. Camisado Vintage for vintage. This amazing little vintage shop carries the best in vintage beachwear and is owned and operated by our long time friend and Canadian ex-pat Staysail Shed. Bean & Bejuco where you will only find products with the highest quality ingredients from hand soaps, Burts Bees beauty care, Coconut & Argan Oils and raw snacks. Organic, eco-conscious, ethical… these are just a few words used to describe the various items stocked on the shelves.
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