Before leaving the states, I did a quick search for places to go in Costa Rica. There are tons of little surf towns and tourist destinations all around the country. During my search I was drawn toward a little town called Santa Teresa. It seemed like there were a few hostels and lots of surf. So after Puerto Viejo, I decided to make the journey back across the country to the Pacific side and check out Santa Teresa.
The plan was to meet Jeremy, a friend and co-worker in San Jose, and bus to Santa Teresa. I told him where to be and about what time I would arrive. Unfortunately my bus was running a couple hours late. Since he could not get a hold of me, he did his best to find out what was going on. The locals misdirected him, and he ended up heading toward the coast without me. Once I arrived in San Jose, he was nowhere to be found. I was able to get internet and send him a message and found out that he was already about halfway to Santa Teresa. I decided to stay the night in San Jose, and meet up with him in the morning.
San Jose is not a very attractive place. Every building has a tall fence around it and barbwire on the top. There are endless stories of people getting robbed and the locals all said to be careful. I wanted to spend the least amount of time there as possible. So I spent the night at a hostel near the bus stations, and hopped on the 6 am bus to Santa Teresa. It was going to be about a 6 hour journey including a 1.5 hour ferry ride and a change of busses. I told Jeremy to hop on the same ferry and we would meet up for the remainder of the journey.
Surprisingly everything went very smoothly. Upon our arrival at Santa Teresa, we had no idea what to expect or even know where we were going to stay. I met a Spanish guy on the bus who said that he was going to a recommended hostel, so we decided to follow him. I find that if you are traveling and don’t have a place to stay, especially when traveling alone, you can meet other travelers and follow them to their hostel. You make friends and almost always find a place to stay.
Santa Teresa turned out to be both an interesting and awesome little beach/surf town. The main road stretches about 4 kilometers along the coast. The road is mostly paved, but has potholes large enough to engulf a VW Bug. Everything else is dirt, which causes a tremendous amount of dust. Everything within 100 meters of the road is covered by so much dust that it all looks dead. The most common means of transportation is either a quad or a small motorcycle. To deal with the dust, everyone has some form of mask. It kind of reminded me of Mad Max.
Santa Teresa has a couple yoga retreats and a few travelers passing through, but it is primarily a surf town. Everything from hotels to restaurants are geared toward tourist and surfers. There are surfboard rentals every 100 meters, surf lessons and surf shops everywhere. Almost every motorcycle or quad has at least one surfboard on it. On motorcycles, they sit on the board and have it either go perpendicular to the seat if it’s a shortboard or sticking out the back if it’s a longboard.
When arriving at a new surf spot it is always interesting finding the best place to surf, how the waves behave, and what the locals are like. The first morning I walked straight out of the hostel to the beach and saw some beautiful waves. There were few people out, so I figured it would be a good place to surf. Luckily I made the right decision and had the best session that I have had in a long time. Even though it was a beach break, the waves were lining up like a right point break at about head to a couple feet overhead with glassy, beautiful faces. All the surfers were spread out enough, so I was getting as many waves as I could handle. I already started to fall in love with this little surf town.
The next few days were spent surfing some fun waves. Nothing was as good as the first day, but still fun! During the heat of the day, there were only a few people on the beach. But as sunset approached everyone came out to enjoy the 85 degree water and watch the sunset. Like so many places in Costa Rica you have to be careful with your possessions. You don’t want to leave anything valuable unattended and if you are alone or with another person it probably isn’t the best idea to walk on the beach at night. Despite this, I found Santa Teresa a wonderful little town and can’t wait to go back!