Today was the day. We ate a nice breakfast with our hosts, loaded up the car, downloaded the maps.me app (thanks to the recommendation from my sister, Ashley) and headed out for Santa Teresa. We hadn’t done much research on Santa Teresa prior to going, but we knew that we were going “glamping” at one of the coolest looking hotels I’d seen (and, naturally, we were pretty amped about it.) The receptionist at the hotel had told us prior to our drive to avoid such-and-such route because you’d have to drive through rivers of unknown depth. But because Dave and I are not risk-averse, and also because I didn’t really have a reliable way to direct or reroute our trip, I just let our maps.me app lead the way with the fastest route. As our road trip began, we drove fairly quickly on main highways. About an hour in, the map suddenly had us take a hard right-hand turn onto a dirt road to which Dave looked at me and said, “are you sure?” Yep. I’m sure. Even though the road was unpaved, we did notice that it had been well maintained. There were no potholes or rocks on this road. We drove on. Another hour had passed when we drove through what looked like a large riverbed with a trickling stream in the center. We chuckled because this MUST have been what our receptionist had warned us against. Not so bad. Keep driving. All the while, we felt like we were getting farther and farther from humanity. We drove through fields and farms, saw all kinds of livestock and landscapes, and seldom even saw another person or vehicle. The road started to become more winding and then we looked ahead: the road ended at an actual river. We stopped, put the car in 4 wheel drive, and, giggling like kids, drove through. It really wasn’t so bad, but we’re not sure we would have made it through had the water been 1 foot higher (and Costa Rica was noticeably in a dry season). The road kept winding and during the remainder of our trip, we had to drive through 2 more rivers like this last one. We made our way over one more set of mountains and finally saw the coastline! We were feeling a hungry, nauseous, and fussy, so this sight was especially welcome.
We stopped at the first restaurant we saw, El Patio, and indulged in a smoothie bowl and avocado toast (right up my crunchy alley.) We sat down in the courtyard of the restaurant and watched locals come in and out with their surfboards. I thought, “If this is what Santa Teresa is all about, I like it already.” It was definitely the “pot of gold” that our long trek led us to. When we made it back out to our car, it wasn’t totally shocking to notice a severely flat tire on the front passenger side. We were thankful we had taken mental notes of where to find all the tools necessary to change the flat. At this point, we were all ready to find our hotel. Oakley was especially excited to see our new room, so off we went. We turned off the main road, drove up a dirt hill, past a sign that said, “you are now entering the chill zone,” and found our Glamping site, the Canaima chill house. Ruben checked us in. He was extremely welcoming and friendly and showed us to our room. We followed a stone path past the pool, common area, and luxurious 2-story cabana. We walked through blowing curtains on the private deck of our room and immediately noticed a hanging bed that Oakley bee-lined toward.
There was a bar countertop with bar chairs that looked into the kitchen and a large 3-fold back door that completely opened up to outside air. The interior had a large canopy bed and spacious kitchenette. The attached bathroom was separate from the main room by hanging bamboo and burlap curtains, and the open shower displayed a panorama of head-to-toe windows in which you could view the tropical landscape. Dave and I were in sheer amazement. This. place. was. glorious. And at 100$ per night?! It was definitely worth the long and unique trip to get there. (We found this one-of-a-kind hotel on GlampingHub.com. Here is the specific link.)
While in Santa Teresa we played at numerous beaches and tide pools, ate tons of yummy fruit, seafood, and smoothie bowls, saw a group of monkeys eating fruit off the tree at our hotel, lounged poolside, and went horseback riding on the beach. Dave and I almost never get to a destination and say “Let’s come back here” – for no reason other than our desire to always see a new place and experience a new culture. But this place was different. Santa Teresa is a beautiful, relaxing, healthy, hippie, yogi, surfing, beach town. It is touristy and “westernized” but in such a classy way that definitely lacked a trashy-touristy feel. The food was so good, and almost everything we ate was exclusively indigenous to the area. Oakley and Cali could not get enough of the fresh fruit, pipa (coconut water), and smoothies. It was also so fun to see all the locals riding 4-wheelers, with surfboard in-tow, along the main dirt road. We decided that we would certainly be back, but maybe next time we’d take the easier route to get there: flights into San Jose and a ferry ride across the water to the tip of the Nicoya peninsula.
On our last night in Santa Teresa, with no plans, as usual, we stumbled across a restaurant on the beach. At first glance, we thought it was a private residence as there were families and kids everywhere. We saw a trampoline, a wooden swing, and a hanging rope of drapes that the kids were playing on. But I then saw the bar and chalkboard menu. Yup. Happening. We found a seat, ordered margaritas and let Oakley wander and play. We had been noticing how family-friendly Santa Teresa was and how many kids and families were vacationing alongside of us, but this place took the cake. On Sunday afternoon, we found out, this place, Rocomar, becomes very crowded as they put on a fire show and light a giant bonfire on the beach. This particular day was Sunday. Dave and I couldn’t believe that we had just randomly wandered into this place on a Sunday. But then we quickly gave credit to the One who always provides for us and gives us more than we could ever dream or ask for- without us even asking- like the good, good Father that He is. What a great way this was for us to cap off our last day in Santa Teresa. We retired for the night back at the Canaima Chill House and went through a mental checklist to ready ourselves for the 3.5-hour road trip back up the peninsula- through the rivers- to our next and final destination: Dreams Las Mareas Resort.
*This post contains affiliate links, however, the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.