Family Beach Trip – Playa Santa Teresa

playa santa teresa After getting the car all tuned up after our last adventure to Manuel Antonio and Dominical we decided to go on a future home scouting mission to Nicoya Peninsula, specifically Santa Teresa. I checked out hotels and B&Bs on travel adviser and settled on either Otra Lado or Hotel Manala due to their great reviews and small kitchen availability in the rooms. We checked out driving times on google maps and the ferry crossing times on this site, and set off around 7:45 in the morning to hit the 9:00 ferry. We should have left earlier! costa rica ferry Although we are an “early to bed, early to rise family”, we still had a few setbacks getting packed and ready with a toddler. We would have loved to have got on the road earlier, and filled up the tank with gas, but things happen! We drove from Atenas strait to Puntaranus and could not have cut it ANY closer! First, we weren’t 100% on where exactly the ferry landing was, we just kind of assumed and went for it. We drove to the end of the peninsula and luckily found it, but as we drove up the guard was closing the gate! We started pleading with him to let us and we think he noticed I was pregnant, and we had a kid in the back and he radioed the captain to see if he would let us on, he did! Thank you Jesus! It would have been a 2 hour wait had we missed it, SO glad we didn’t get gas. puntarenas to paquera The trip across the gulf was beautiful, and the ferry ride was really nice. The ferry was 4 levels, two levels for cars, and two levels for people.  The lower passenger deck had a huge room with lots of seating, tables, TVs, air conditioning, and a snack station and bar. The upper deck had more seating and was open air with great views. The whole ride was about 70minutes total and we enjoyed it from a few different areas. When we arrived in Paquera the drivers we’re sent to their vehicles and the other passengers lined up to walk off the ferry. We met up with Ricky, and started off on our hour and a half drive to Santa Teresa. ferry tambor First thing we saw upon arriving was a couple of cars of people pulled over on the side of the road checking out a family of howler monkeys. Finally! I was so happy to see some monkeys, we have been living here in Costa for over a month and I had yet to see any. Then on to the gas station since we were running on fumes! The drive to Santa Teresa was paved all the way to Cobano then a dirt/gravel road from there on. I had heard that Nicyoya Peninsula has some of the worst roads in Costa Rica, and now I know why. I’m just glad my water didn’t break on the bumpy ride! santa teresa main road We arrived in Santa Teresa, which is basically one long road that runs parallel to the beach with businesses mostly on the opposite side. There are lots of places to stay for all types of travelers as well as a great variety of restaurant choices. We spotted the Otro Lado and pulled in but unfortunately they we’re full, so they suggested we try Griss right down the road. We were so glad they did, Griss was perfect! Santa Teresa griss Griss consists of six luxury apartments in 3 houses. Each apartment is beautifully decorated with a tropical touch using bamboo and other natural elements throughout. We stayed in a lower level apartment with one a/c bedroom, kitchen, dining table, t.v., living room with two twin beds set up as couches, and a large front porch with hammock and swinging chair.  The windows all opened up wide allowing a nice breeze to come through and the landscaping was set up for maximum privacy with lots of large palm trees blocking anyone passing by. They also had a beautiful pool area with an infinity edge and a nice lounge area with plenty of seating and pillows. We had planned on staying a couple of nights but ended up staying a whole week because of how nice the setup was. Places to stay Santa Teresa Every day we would wake up and go to the beach for an early surf session for Ricky while Eli would dig in the sand and I would lounge in my beach chair under the umbrella.

Ricky was able to get some good waves on our trip and would usually hit it up two times a day. The walk to the beach was a trail about 200ft and we would usually see monkeys in the trees, iguanas in the brush, and chickens and roosters everywhere else! After our morning beach session we’d spend some time at the pool while Ricky got some work done before lunch and naptime. In the afternoons we’d run our errands to the grocery store, bank, work on the computer, and maybe hit the beach or pool again before deciding where to go for dinner. Places to stay costa rica In order to save a few bucks we went grocery shopping every few days for breakfast, lunch and snack food. I was pleasantly surprised to find many more natural and organic options than are available in Atenas. I assume it is because there is much more of a foreign demand for such items there. We tried a few restaurants and pretty much all of them were really good. We ate at Chicken Joes twice, the Burger Rancho, Zula, and Rocamar. Chicken Joes was perfect for a “quick” dinner and they did a great rotisserie chicken you could eat there or take to go. I also was a fan of their fish tacos and yuca fries. Zula was the Israli restaurant right next door that offered an excellent hummus and falafel plate and Burger Rancho did a decent calamari as well as burgers of course. santa teresa beach On our last night we decided to try Rocamar restaurant which was a great call. It is situated right on the beach with lots of lounge areas with pillows and tables all around. There is even a nice bed to recline on and enjoy a cocktail while watching the waves. We watched the sunset and had some excellent Thai style ceviche in coconut milk, YUM! santa teresa flower While we were there we got some great contacts for finding a house and we are looking forward to moving to the area as soon as Izzy is born. It sure was hard to leave such a beautiful place and I am so grateful that we got one last vacation in as a threesome before our family expands.

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