Unwind and Celebrate: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica – The Ultimate Relaxation Destination

After some serious searching, I’ve found the ultimate spot to chill and soak in authentic vibes: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. If you’ve been on the same quest, here’s what I discovered during my recent trip.

I chose Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, for its genuine community, delectable cuisine, and abundant opportunities for relaxation. This trip marked four special occasions: my husband’s retirement, my transition to entrepreneurship, the New Year, and our anniversary. I had postponed celebrating my milestone since I fully committed to entrepreneurship in October of 2023. However, deferring the trip allowed me to focus solely on my business throughout the year, making it a well-planned and enjoyable break when it finally came time.

Traveling to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, from New Jersey

We flew directly from Newark International Airport (EWR) to San Jose International Airport (SJO). Upon arrival at SJO, we took a domestic flight on Green Airways to Santa Teresa. The flight from SJO to Santa Teresa was 20 minutes, but read on and learn from our mistakes.

The domestic flight terminal is conveniently located just a short walk from the international arrival terminal. If you have multiple bags, assistants are available outside the international terminal to help transport them to the Domestic flights Terminal. When booking our flights, we overestimated the time needed to clear customs at the International airport, resulting in a three-hour wait for our domestic flight. In hindsight, we would recommend allowing about an hour in between flights.

It’s worth noting that the domestic terminal does not permit early check-in, so we spent several hours in the small terminal with limited seating before passing through security to the boarding terminal. Snacks are only available from a few vending machines, priced at $10.00 for two fruit bars and $6.00 for two bottled waters. While there is a cafe inside the terminal, the prices are equally high, so it’s advisable to plan accordingly.

Another critical point to consider is that the baggage weight limit for a domestic flight is significantly lower than that of a commercial flight. We had to pay approximately $70 for the excess weight on each leg of the journey.

Where we stayed in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

When we travel, we usually choose Airbnb for its complete living spaces. However, we could consider many resorts in the area, including beachfront ones, for our next trip. If the resorts have studios or apartments available, that would be our preference over just regular rooms. Despite the resorts’ luxurious amenities, we favor Airbnb for its spacious accommodations. Our rental was situated in the heart of Santa Teresa, just a three-minute walk from the beach.

Our Taste of the Local Culture

Staying at an Airbnb allows me to soak up the local vibe, which is my style. I love tasting the culture by hitting the neighborhood grocery store. But let’s be real: I will never again complain about the cost of living in the US after experiencing the crazy prices for imported food in Costa Rica.

  • Here is a short list of breakfast items:
    • Greek Yogurt $19 for 33 Ounces
    • Almond Milk $4.50 for 32 Ounces
    • Bob’s Redmill Granola/Mueseli $12.00 33 Ounces
    • Fresh Fruit, any available Variety, $5.00

I ended up spending a hefty $40 on just a few items! I didn’t realize the currency conversion then and mindlessly grabbed my usual groceries. Switching to locally produced foods can save you a lot. For instance, instead of buying Almond Milk for my coffee, I could have opted for regular milk at just $2.30, and a local cereal would have cost about a third of the price of Bob’s Red Mill. Before heading to the grocery store, ensure you’re familiar with the conversions and open to choosing alternative items.

The Food Scene in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

We thoroughly explored the restaurant scene, which lived up to all the hype. Every meal we had was fantastic. Here are the spots we checked out. I’ve included the links to Google Maps so you can easily save them.

Good Munchies Latin Kitchen – This place was a short walk from our Airbnb, so we got food to go here often. The menu often features a variety of Latin American favorites such as empanadas, arepas, tacos, and more. Good Munchies Latin Kitchen could be a great choice if you’re looking for a tasty Latin American dining experience.

Banana Beach Restaurant – This is known for its beachfront location and offers a relaxed atmosphere with a scenic ocean view. The restaurant serves various dishes, including fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional Costa Rican cuisine. Visitors can enjoy a meal while enjoying the beautiful surroundings and the beachfront ambiance. This is a great place to take in the sunset with a fabulous vibe.

Drift Bar & Restaurant – This unique eatery and bar includes an art gallery. It’s on the main road and just steps from our Airbnb. We went there on a whim for lunch, and after meeting the owner, we ended up there that same night for our New Year’s Eve dinner.

Shambala Beach Restaurant – This restaurant is part of Hotel Tropico, so we almost missed it (not on Google Maps). We enjoyed an excellent meal and a spectacular sunset beach view on our last evening in Santa Teresa.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Santa Teresa. Everything we read about it did not disappoint, from the food scene to the gorgeous beach! But, there are things we would do differently if we returned.

Here is our short list:

  • If we fly domestically to Santa Teresa, we will be sure to pack light since domestic airlines have weight limitations about 15 lbs lower than commercial airlines. Also, we won’t make any additional stops in other cities requiring different clothing to travel with lighter luggage than before.
  • We’ll shift promptly to eat more domestically to avoid the exorbitant cost of food.
  • I would pack a lightweight bag to carry my stuff to the beach. Our Airbnb host didn’t provide one at all.

I hope this information helps you decide and prepare for your trip to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

About Angela Acosta & the Atelier

Based in New Jersey, Angela Acosta specializes in personal branding and portrait photography for women business owners and professionals in New York and the tri-state area. She expertly channels brand narratives through tailored images, offering insights on wardrobe and styling to ensure authenticity. With a deep commitment to capturing the essence of each client, Angela transforms branding with impactful photographs that resonate and inspire. Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.