Santa Teresa

Howler Magazine - - Contents - By Jenn Parker

Surf Spot

Suck Rock has been known to hold dou­ble over­head to triple over­head waves on a higher tide.

Playa Santa Teresa is lo­cated on the south­ern cusp of the Ni­coya Penin­sula, an area in­ter­na­tion­ally revered as a Blue Zone (one of five places in the world where a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple are liv­ing ex­traor­di­nar­ily long lives in great health and hap­pi­ness).

This thriv­ing bo­hemian beach town is blessed with at least half a dozen com­mon knowl­edge surf breaks that cater to dif­fer­ent surf­ing abil­i­ties, wave pref­er­ences and swell size. Aside from be­ing a trop­i­cal wave gar­den, Santa Teresa is also a haven for yo­gis, na­ture lovers, free-spir­ited good vi­bra­tion-seek­ing trav­el­ers and lo­cals alike.

How to get there

There are sev­eral vi­able op­tions to get to Santa Teresa. It is a 4.5-hour drive from Liberia down a mix of paved and dirt roads but it is scenic and rel­a­tively easy. There are plenty of places to stop along the way to grab a cof­fee or an em­panada, fill the tank or just stretch your legs. From San José, the best ap­proach is to drive to Puntare­nas and take the ferry across the Gulf of Ni­coya to Pa­quera, then drive the re­main­ing 90 min­utes to Santa Teresa. Tak­ing the ferry across is quite an en­joy­able and beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. If driv­ing isn't your thing, Sansa flies from mul­ti­ple des­ti­na­tions through­out Costa Rica, in­clud­ing Liberia and San José, to the small air­port in Tam­bor, which is less than an hour away via taxi or private shut­tle.

Where to surf

The best an­swer starts with a pre­lim­i­nary ques­tion: What is your ex­pe­ri­ence level? It's im­por­tant to be re­al­is­tic about your true surf­ing abil­i­ties to en­sure you have a safe and en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence in the sea. There are breaks in Santa Teresa that are not be­gin­ner­friendly. Try­ing to surf there when in­ex­pe­ri­enced can re­sult in frus­tra­tion and worse, in­clud­ing in­jury to your­self or oth­ers.

Playa Santa Teresa has mul­ti­ple peaks up and down the beach, but three breaks in par­tic­u­lar at­tract most of the lo­cals and vis­it­ing surfers: Suck Rock,

Casa Ce­cilia, and La Lora Amar­illa. Suck Rock and La Lora Amar­illa are bet­ter suited for more ex­pe­ri­enced surfers, as the waves can be fast, hol­low and heavy. On a big swell, Suck Rock has been known to hold dou­ble over­head to triple over­head waves on a higher tide. Casa Ce­cilia, on the other hand, has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a novice-friendly wave when the tide is low and there isn't too much swell in the wa­ter.

Playa Car­men is si­t­u­ated be­tween Santa Teresa and Mal País. The rip cur­rents are typ­i­cally less strong here and when there isn't a big swell, this beach break is a great place to learn and im­prove your surf­ing. The surf is typ­i­cally best in the lower to mid-tide range.

Lo­cal com­pa­nies

Santa Teresa is no longer the sleepy off-the-beaten path des­ti­na­tion it once was. Since the early 2000s, it has blos­somed into a boom­ing beach town. There are ac­com­mo­da­tions and din­ing op­tions for ev­ery bud­get, pref­er­ence and taste, as well as mul­ti­ple surf schools, surf shops, small su­per­mar­kets, bou­tique stores and bars. Santa Teresa is also a hot spot for surf and yoga re­treats, in­clud­ing one of the best on the Ni­coya Penin­sula, Va­jra Sol Surf and Yoga Re­treat. Lat­i­tude 10, Flor­blanca, and Makanas Beach­front Bun­ga­lows are three highly rec­om­mended ac­com­mo­da­tion choices. Nalu Surf School and Blue Sanctuary Surf are two of the top schools, of­fer­ing lessons, camps, and guid­ing for surfers at all lev­els, from to­tal be­gin­ners to ad­vanced.

Mike Mausteller rid­ing Santa Teresa's hack­able, wrap­pable over­head waves. A toi­let in the la­trine, where pris­on­ers were taken as early as 3 a.m. to re­lieve them­selves be­fore eat­ing break­fast in their cells and march­ing off to work.

Mike Mausteller tucks in, hugs the wall and holds the line.

There's noth­ing like the an­tic­i­pa­tion of your next wave, es­pe­cially when the waves look like this.

Se­cret spot in Santa Teresa area

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