After Alessandra’s wedding in Guatemala, we decided to take advantage of our location and travel to a country I’ve been wanting to visit for quite a while: Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known as an ecotourism destination for its natural beauty from rainforests to beaches, and abundant wildlife. The hardest part of visiting was deciding where we wanted to go. We wanted to experience both the jungle and beach so we decided on Monteverde and Santa Teresa.
We found a cheap flight (about $100 one way) from Guatemala City to the capital of Costa Rica, San José on Volaris airlines.
Monteverde is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica known for its cloud forests. It’s situated up in the mountains, and about a 2.5 hour drive from the airport in San José. We rented a car, and made the twisty-turny drive to Chira Glamping. This was a bit of a splurge compared to other places to stay in Monteverde, but was 100% worth it. The cabins are situated overlooking the jungle. Each one has a hot tub on the deck, and a panoramic shower. I mean who doesn’t want to shower with a view?! There was also a gorgeous treetop restaurant and bar. The service was absolutely amazing here as well.
On our one full day in Monteverde, we took an excursion to El Tigre Waterfalls. The experiences they offer are perfect to take in all the destination has to offer in a few short hours. We hiked through the lush rainforest, crossed picturesque bridges and swam under the most beautiful waterfalls. We finished up our hike with a guided horseback ride and typical Costa Rican lunch.
After a couple of days in the jungle, we were ready for some beach time. The drive from Monteverde to Santa Teresa was about 5 hours, and it was not an easy drive. It’s doable, but be prepared for winding mountain and dirt roads. Plus, you will need to get on a ferry at one point. It’s super important that you have the ferry ticket booked a couple of days before. We didn’t and it set us back a bit. I’d recommend taking a small plane to Santa Teresa from San Jose if you don’t have plans to visit anywhere else before, but if not brave the drive. It may not be easy, but it’s totally worth it!
Santa Teresa is a remote beach town at the tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. The little town is full of surfers and yogis if you are into either of those things! If you’re more of a lounge on the beach with a drink in hand kind of babe (like me), it’s also perfect. The beaches are some of the most gorgeous I have ever seen in my life. The way that jungle meets mountains meets beach is absolutely breathtaking. On the main street along the beach you will find great shops, restaurants, and bars.
There seemed to be lots of cute boutique hotels on the beach, but there was also a great selection of Airbnbs for groups. We booked a villa on Airbnb up on a hill across from the beach with a stunning view.
We spent a lot of time hanging out at Banana Beach Resort. They had great drinks and snacks available all day so we lounged on the beach within walking distance or on their beach chairs which they didn’t seem to mind.
Every morning, we stopped to pick up breakfast at Eat Street, an outdoor food hall. The stands had delicious options from breakfast sandwiches, to a typical Costa Rican breakfast to smoothies and Acai bowls. There are lots of healthy options in Santa Teresa which was nice to cap off an indulgent vacay.
My favorite dining experience of the trip was a tiny beachfront restaurant, Rocamor, known for their fish tacos. I wouldn’t miss this one. The secret is to get there early to snag a table and watch the sunset while sipping on whatever their specialty margaritas of the day are. The fish tacos definitely live up to the hype.
A few locals told us that on the way to Santa Teresa we should stop in Montezuma. We weren’t exactly sure what there was to do there, but we were sure glad we stopped. When we arrived, we did a short hike. Then, we decided to venture to find a bite to eat, and stumbled upon the town. This place felt like it was a set in a novel. Locals were selling handmade art and food along the beach and the beach itself was tiny, but absolutely surreal. I had read about a restaurant called Playa De Los Artistas that hand writes their menu of fresh seafood each day. Unfortunately it was not open so we settled on Butterfly Brewing, but I’ll be back for it!
Costa Rica Travel Tips
- If you plan on driving in the country, make sure the car you rent is a four-wheel drive. You will be driving through lots of remote areas that don’t have paved roads, winding through small mountain towns and up steep hills. If you get motion sickness, you will definitely want to bring meds for this.
- You can use debit and credit cards in most places, but be sure to get a few colones out to use for tips and other various things.
- Bring a rain jacket! Because of the tropical rainforest climate, there are usually showers every day. That doesn’t mean you won’t get sun too, but it’s good to be prepared!