Santa Teresa Luxury Villas

Puntarenas, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Book from Book from £273 per night

A quintet of architectural villas (for 2-8) on a hillside in Santa Teresa, where tropical jungle blends into world-class surfing beaches

Fringed by vibrant jungle on one side and pristine surfing beaches on the other, Santa Teresa is a laid-back paradise with an edge-of-the-world vibe. It lies in one of the Earth's five Blue Zones - areas where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else. And it's easy to see why. The slow pace of life and the friendly hippie-surfer locals will catapult you into holiday mode from the moment you bounce into town along the one unpaved road.

What better place, then, to erect these luxurious retreats for recharging the soul? The five villas sit immersed in the jungle on a private, secluded hillside - from which the sea views are astounding. Each is different in size and layout - there are three split-level houses for six or more, a pool villa for four, and a romantic treehouse for two - but all share the same indoor-outdoor design and modern decor, with gorgeous artwork and installations at every turn. You're very close to the beaches, shops and restaurants of Santa Teresa, but you'd never know it; the villas feel utterly peaceful, private and secluded. Have a massage in your living room, practice yoga on your balcony, or ask your private chef to rustle up a snack, then hit the beach to ride the waves. The pura vida (pure life) indeed.

Highs

  • The breathtaking sunsets and sea views from Villas Ebony and Ivory - you might even spot dolphins offshore if you're lucky
  • Meandering through town trying to pick from the multitude of excellent cafes and restaurants (over 100)
  • Riding the long breaking waves - private surfing instructors can be arranged
  • Seeing whales and turtles on the ferry/boat ride into town, as well as monkeys, exotic birds and iguanas from the villas
  • Cooking and dining outside to the sounds of the jungle - private chefs are available at all villas

Lows

  • The access road can be difficult to navigate during rainy season - renting an ATV or 4x4 is recommended if you're visiting in these months
  • The walk up the hill is pretty challenging - not good for those with limited mobility
  • Villa Ivory (the treehouse) doesn't have a pool
  • Villa Guanacaste is located below the other properties so doesn't have a sea view

Best time to go

From December to April, Santa Teresa is booming, with sunshine and blue skies all day, every day. From May to November, there are regular heavy downpours and the unpaved roads turn muddy, plus some businesses close, but the jungle is in full bloom, the surf is phenomenal, and you pretty much have the beaches to yourself.

Our top tips

  • Bring your binoculars to enjoy wildlife viewing from the balconies.
  • By far the most fun way to get around is to rent an ATV - it's what all the locals drive.
  • Good walking shoes are useful if you are planning to stroll down to the town from your villa.
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    Romantic
    Spa
    • Boutique Villas
    • 5 villas (for 2-8)
    • Self-catering (private chef on request)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    Room:

    Rooms

    We stayed in stunning Villa Ebony (sleeps 6-8): a split-level house, with flowing indoor-outdoor spaces and soaring double-height ceilings. There are three bedrooms - all doubles - and the living room has a sofabed so eight guests can stay in total. From almost every inch of the house, you can enjoy expansive ocean views. Outside, there's a shady wraparound balcony with an infinity pool beneath it.

    Equally impressive is Villa Harmony (sleeps 6-8): a huge open-plan living space whose wraparound windows and big raised deck gaze out over leafy jungle views to the sea. There's a Fibonacci-shaped pool (to remind you about omnipresent connections to nature), a very spacious kitchen (the best of the lot), and three bedrooms, one of which has twin beds for kids.

    The newest addition is Villa Ivy (sleeps 6), a slightly smaller three-bedroom house with a similar wraparound terrace overhanging the jungle and looking out to a strip of ocean. Note that its pool is much smaller - just a plunge pool, really - and one of the bedrooms is open-plan with the living space. We liked the semi-outdoor bathrooms shielded by circular canebreaks.

    Further down the slope lies Villa Guanacaste (sleeps 4-6), a pool villa with two bedrooms. It's all on one level, making it more child-friendly. Due to its location, it lacks the spectacular views of the other properties, but it is closer to town, with easy access to the beach, shops and restaurants.

    Villa Ivory is a luxurious treehouse with a romantic open living space. With all-glass walls, it enjoys breathtaking views over the tree canopy on all sides - the bed looks straight out towards the coast. There's an alfresco kitchen and a wraparound balcony with hammocks and loungers, though be aware there is no pool. A perfect honeymoon choice.

    All properties have large, comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs, rain showers, beautiful artwork and tropical bathrooms.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • DVD player
    • Fan
    • Hairdryer
    • Playstation (on request)
    • Safe box
    • Satellite TV
    • Swimming pool
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    All villas have kitchens for self-catering, plus outdoor cooking areas too - great fun! You can stock up on supplies at the small local supermarket, Super Ronnie, on the main road just five minutes from the property. The owners can also arrange for a private chef to come to the villa if you fancy being treated.

    For eating out, Santa Teresa has a wealth of options. We particularly loved The Bakery for mango smoothies, paninis and avocado toast, as well as Pronto for Italian street food served with a smile. Make sure you also sample freshly caught seafood and sushi - it's world-class.

    Features include:

    • Barbecue
    • Chef on request
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Food blender
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Microwave
    • Oven
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Toaster
    • Self-catering (private chef on request)
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Santa Teresa is all about wellness, so a private yoga lesson or spa treatment on your balcony is a must. An in-house stylist can also be arranged for pedicures, manicures, haircuts and makeovers.
    • Get picked up for a surf lesson by a laid-back local who will take you to the best spots to catch the waves. Playa Hermosa and Playa Carmen have calmer waters making them good beaches for beginners; Santa Teresa tends to have bigger, more powerful waves, so is best for more experienced surfers.
    • Hurtle through the treetops like a superhero at the Mal Pais Canopy Tour.
    • Visit the dramatic Montezuma Waterfalls and enjoy swimming in the natural jacuzzi pools.
    • Gallop along the immense beaches on a sunset horseback riding adventure.
    • Go scuba diving with a local guide - sharks, moray eels, lobsters, stingrays, crabs and schools of colourful fish are regular sightings.
    • Visit the Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve, the oldest of its kind in Costa Rica, to see birds, animals and impressive flora. Only 40 visitors per day are allowed to enter the reserve so you'll pretty much have the place to yourselves!

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cycling

    Kids

    In general, Costa Rica is paradise for adventurous, nature-loving children who will love ziplining, nature walks and all the watersports on offer. The Santa Teresa Luxury Villas can all sleep families, and if you're coming on a multi-family trip you could take 2 or 3 together.

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Villa Guanacaste has two double bedrooms, a private pool and is set on one level so is the best property for a family with younger children - the other properties have a lot of open stairs. Villas Ebony and Harmony can sleep eight and have a private pool, so would suit bigger families.

    Families Should Know:

    Villas Ebony and Ivory have lots of steps and are surrounded by steep slopes - not great for younger children.

    Distances:

    • Airport: 45-minute drive
    • Hospital: 30-minute drive
    • Supermarket: Five-minute walk
    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    The Santa Teresa Luxury Villas are in Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya Peninsula. They're on the west coast of Costa Rica, a 30-minute flight from the capital city San José.

    By Air:
    Tambor (30km away) is your closest airport, but if you're coming from abroad you'll fly into San Jose (160km away) or Liberia (210km away). Most guests then take an internal flight to Tambor, which takes around 30 minutes.

    By Car:
    It’s useful to have a car or ATV here so that you can drive around to local sights, but you can rent one once you arrive. Think twice before doing the drive from San José: it takes six hours, via the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera (arrive 45 minutes to an hour before the ferry leaves to buy your ticket and get in line), and the last stretch is pretty rough. If you really want to drive it, see our car rental recommendations - we'd recommend getting a 4x4. There's private parking at all villas.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

    Airports:

    • Tambor 30.0 km TMU
    • San Jose 160.0 km SJC

    Other:

    • Beach 1.0 km
    • Shops 0.3 km
    • Restaurant 0.3 km

    Rates for Santa Teresa Luxury Villas

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