About Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Santa Teresa Costa Rica is a Robinson Crusoe’s dream tucked away on the edge of the rainforest in the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on the west coast of Costa Rica. There are long sweeping beaches with consistent surf and lush tropical rainforests that line the shoreline for miles. Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are situated on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica on the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula.

This magical province extends for approximately 6 km. Not too long ago, Santa Teresa Costa Rica was a small fishing village but has seen quite a bit of growth in the last few years and is quickly becoming the new trendy hot spot with the occasional celebrity, rock star or super model being spotted chillin’ like everyone else. Small beach bars and restaurants dot the coastline and trickle into the rainforest offering excellent local hospitality. Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are by all accounts one of the hidden jewels of the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica…

Santa Teresa Costa Rica known Internationally

Santa Teresa Costa Rica has an international “flavor”. Surfers and non-surfers venturing to this area who were just passing through, have fallen in love with Santa Teresa and never left. In the last few years there has been an insurgence of yoga and wellness minded people and businesses that have built their presence in the area. All of these cosmopolitan newcomers add their spices and styles to the local flavor, so that now there is an amazing choice of international restaurants and the mixture of international and local vibe is one of a kind.

With gorgeous white sand beaches, warm water and waves suited for all levels from the novice to pro , it’s no wonder that the word has finally gotten out about this magical place! This town caters to campers as well as elite travelers.

Of course the waves and gorgeous beaches are a huge attraction here, but the area also offers so much more. From renting quads and exploring the jungle, fishing, hiking, snorkeling, zip line canopy tours, amazing waterfalls, yoga, massage, or visiting the beautiful reserve, Cabo Blanco. The cool bars and variety of delicious cuisine augment an already truly special destination.


Mal Pais: A Lost paradise with an air of celebrity
From: Nature Landings Oct 2007

Mal Pais: A Lost paradise with an air of celebrity From: Nature Landings Oct 2007

Mal Pais, a name that in English means “Bad Country” seems ironic or perhaps symbolic to some people, because in reality no one knows for sure why this beautiful beach region was named as such. But coming down the mountain path that approaches the town, your eyes first spot an ocean so blue it could be the sky, you know you are on the road to romance, for this place certainly produces sudden love affairs. So intense is the attraction that celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Mel Gibson, Mathew McConaughney, Jared Leto and the Olsen twins now own property that, up until a couple of years ago, was the exclusive secret of adventurers and surf lovers. Nestled in the southern most point of the Nicoya Peninsula, Mal Pias barely shows up on the map, and no travel agent ever included it until recently in any travel itineraries.

Today, due to its ideal surf conditions, its multicultural vibe and postcard perfect beaches, it has become the region of the greatest development on the peninsula.

Twenty (this article is from 2007, so now over 30 years ago)  years ago, the situation was quite different. Back then, Mal Pais, Hermosa, and Santa Teresa Costa Rica – the three beaches that make of the region of Mal Pais – could be accessed by boat and horse only. With the inauguration of the ferry from Puntarenas, these extensive, fine sand and blue-waved beaches thrusting out from the tropical dry forests soon charmed what seems to be half of the people on the planet. Young surfers, travelers searching for exclusive hotels, incognito celebrities, yoga enthusiasts and nature lovers have all been drawn to these shores. A cross between a sleepy town and an international hub, Mal Pais has the particular charm of a place where visitors may still feel like pioneers exploring the wilderness.

“I came, like many, searching for paradise”, said Gabriela, a designer from Uruguay. She arrived five years ago, and the decided to stay! “The sense of freedom that exists here captured me: nature inspires me to create, and I am always surrounded by incredible vistas. Everybody knows each other and greets each other; which creates a good vibe for tourists.” The town itself has sprung up alongside one singular stretch of road that unites Mal Pais with Santa Teresa. Along the 15 kilometers (9 miles) are surf related businesses, hotels, bars, and restaurants. On the way from one to the other, encounters with cars and bicycles, people walking and chickens crossing the road are common. Conversations can be heard in a million and one dialects that make up the melodic sound produced by the towns populace.

The secret of the beauty of the region has gotten out: Forbes Magazine declared it one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Publications such as Vogue and Conde Nast praise its boutique hotels. Celebrities are beginning to look toward this side of the world as a must-visit travel destination. These days, its possible to bump into Leonardo DiCaprio at the local supermarket, see Kate Moss sitting at a bar, hang with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and even catch a glimpse of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen sunbathing on the beach ( she happens to be building her summer house in the area). The list of Hollywood celebrities, artists ,models, photographers and less recognizable musicians who visit these beaches year after year is almost endless. Why? The relaxed ambiance in Mal Pais is enhanced by its unpopulated beaches, away from the paparazzi and very close to paradise.

Recent Traveler's Reviews

A True Sanctuary

We are perfect for first time surfers! Our surf instructors will start you off with the very basics of learning about surfing and surfing safety. We will make sure you have a healthy respect for the ocean. You will soon understand why surfing becomes a life style as you enjoy an experience of a lifetime.

by Bearpaw , May 2020

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Perfect Surf Getaway

“Had the best time at the Blue Surf Sanctuary. Lovely part of town, with the sea and amazing food options nearby. Couldn’t fault it really….”

by max g , feb 2020


228 reviews

#9 of 29 hotels in Santa Teresa

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Santa Teresa Surf Coaching

Maybe you have surfed a few times on your own or taken a lesson or two. You feel pretty confident out in the line-up, but want to learn more to take your surfing to the next level.  If this sounds like you, it’s easy to say you are ready for Santa Teresa Surf Coaching. Here at Blue Surf Sanctuary, our definition of Surf Coaching is defined as hiring a local, knowledgeable surf coach to patiently help you learn all the skills you need to be more effective and better enjoy your time in the water.  

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Blue Surf Sanctuary is a boutique surf hotel located near world famous surf spots at Mal Pais and Santa Teresa Costa Rica. We have 4 wonderfully equipped Bungalows and a beautiful open air kitchen located a very short walk from the beach. Our front desk is open and staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our surf resort not only offers Costa Rica surf vacation packages, we also offer the ultimate beach retreat with local spa services, massage, and yoga! Let us build your perfect surf trip.

Many of our guests come to Costa Rica for the awesome surf. Santa Teresa / Mal Pais has become a world famous surf location. Not only is the surf great, the beach is consistently voted tops in all of Central and South America. It really is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You will love the vibe. We can help you build the perfect Costa Rica surf vacation!

Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica on the Nicoya Peninsula. The two small surf towns share a 6km stretch of beach and road. There are many restaurants, surf shops, and groceries. We are located near one of the best surf breaks in the country, Suck Rock.

Do you want an active Costa Rica vacation or retreat? Improve your surfing with our surf instructors, Relax, Yoga, repeat daily! Awesome surf and yoga in paradise is a great way to spend your Costa Rica vacation. Restore your balance in paradise. Experience nature and find yourself in beautiful Costa Rica. Your inner Pura Vida is waiting for you!