The Beach Estates

Santa Teresa, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica Book from

A pair of spacious, minimalist houses (each sleeping 8) on a superb surfing beach in the quiet southern reaches of the Nicoya Peninsula
It’s a short walk down a sandy path to the long white beach, where surfers ride the perpetual waves: it’s never flat here. Yet the serene beaches of Malpais and Santa Teresa are only now being discovered by discerning travellers or celebrities in search of a private retreat. The Beach Estates offers total seclusion, in a pair of splendidly modern houses with every possible luxury laid on. All you have to do is arrive.

Inside, the enormous open-plan spaces have tall floor-to-ceiling louvre doors, which peel back to reveal a spectacular view of the sea crashing onto the shore. The wide sitting areas and long dining tables are all sleek lines and neutral stripes, polished concrete and dark wood. The kitchens are impeccably equipped, with chic lime green china and every imaginable device. Accommodation in each house - available to rent separately or together - is in 4 double rooms with vast bathrooms, and there are wide terraces with loungers outside. Add private infinity pools, a sunset and your private chef cooking freshly caught lobster: heaven.

Highs

  • The view from both houses is spectacular: watch the ocean from bed through vast open doors
  • There's bags of style: very chic, very modern, yet welcoming
  • Luxury is on tap: friendly manager Ugo de Castro can arrange everything from private chefs and yoga teachers to surfing and fishing
  • You get all the services of a top-end boutique hotel, but with total privacy, your own pool and direct access to a secluded stretch of beach
  • There's masses of space: each house has 4 rooms that comfortably sleep 8, so they're ideal for a party or family gathering

Lows

  • The houses are huge: a couple might feel they rattle around in all this space. Though why not?
  • The design is bold and stark - not everybody's cup of tea
  • No TVs, but you wouldn't want to take your eyes off the view (and there are stereo systems with iPod docks)
  • You’ll need to hire a car to make the most of the area

Best time to go

During the dry season (November to April) you won’t see a cloud for 6 months, though the area can get very busy from December to April. The weather is still warm and sunny in July and August, though note that June is often cloudy and it can rain (usually at night) from May onwards. Temperatures typically reach 28-39C during the day. The seriously rainy season falls in October, when it can rain for 22 days without stopping!

Our top tips

Ask Ugo to arrange for you to go out with a local fisherman to catch snapper, yellow-fin tuna and huahoo (a really big fish). This is best in the early morning, as you’ll see whales among other sea wildlife. Anyone can do it: the fisherman takes you to just the right spot, and will even fillet the fish for you, ready to barbecue on the terrace back at your house.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Villas
  • 2 houses for 8
  • Self-catering (+ chef on request)
  • Over 2s preferred
  • 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
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Beachwood

Rooms

The 2 4-bedroom houses - Sandy Lane and Beachwood - are both cleverly designed to continue the feeling of space you experience out on the waves. The scale is enormous: the open-plan sitting/dining rooms and kitchens flow in one huge uninterrupted cavern of pale grey concrete floors and sandy yellow walls, brightened with grey-green striped fabric (which doesn’t get damp, so you can lounge around in beachwear). Surrounding each house is a private terrace with an infinity pool, a dining area, daybeds and loungers; beyond, a gate leads directly to the beach.

Sandy Lane has 2 bedrooms downstairs, which lead off the main room (though they feel very private) and share a long bathroom with an immense shower. There’s a kingsize bed in one and twin beds in the other; both are light and bright, with white bed linen and woven wicker furniture. Upstairs, the master bedroom is truly spectacular. It occupies the entire upper floor, with a kingsize bed, a large sitting area, and the same floor-to-ceiling louvre doors to bring in views of the surf. The bathroom is, predictably, huge, with a massive shower and a separate toilet area. Outside, there’s a separate suite with a kingsize bed, its own bathroom and wide doors that open directly onto the infinity pool - ideal for friends or grandparents.

We have yet to see Beachwood next door, which has been built since our last visit and sits slightly closer to the ocean, but it’s similar to Sandy Lane in terms of style and features. Its lofty single-storey layout encompasses 2 master bedrooms with kingsize beds and custom-designed sliding doors opening onto the beachfront infinity pool, plus 2 garden-facing bedrooms (one with a queensize bed, the other with twin beds which can be combined to form a kingsize double). All have full ensuite bathrooms.

Both houses are minimalist, modern and very comfortable, with big wardrobes, mosquito nets, thick white towels and stereo systems with iPod docks. All beds have air-conditioning units above them, but you probably won’t need them as so much air flows through. Note that there are no hairdryers or bathrobes, and you’ll need to bring your own toiletries: only soap is provided.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Fan
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Ipod dock
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

Both houses are well set-up for self-catering, with everything you could possibly need to cook in the stylish open-plan kitchens. In Sandy Lane, chocolate-brown polished counters are brightened with contemporary green ceramics and glasses; in Beachwood, warm-hued wooden units sit next to exposed stone walls and stools made from tree trunks. There’s a gas cooker with a big oven in each, plus a microwave, a toaster, a blender, a coffee machine, a huge fridge and plenty of pots, pans and utensils.

There’s a grocery store just across the street for supplies. Ugo, your manager, can also arrange for local fishermen to come to the houses with their catch, so that you can select grey snappers and lobsters for dinner (delicious cooked on the barbecues outside, which come complete with a sink area to make food preparation easy). There’s a market every Saturday afternoon at the Crossroads (where the main road you arrived on meets the beach road running from Santa Teresa to Malpais), and there are 4 supermarkets nearby, as well as a bank with an ATM.

Most people go out for dinner, though. Florblanca is just 800m away, serving excellent food, and there are a couple of gourmet restaurants nearby. Or, for a more local flavour, eat delicious Costa Rican food at Piedra Mar in Malpais - a shack right on the oceanfront. Also recommended in Malpais is Mary’s, a good local restaurant run by Costa Ricans, which serves a great dinner.

Most luxuriously, Ugo can arrange a private chef for the week, so that you won’t have to worry about cooking at all. One of his specialities is tuna tartare (more details on request).

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Children meals
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating: Beachwood kitchen
Activity:

Activities

  • Manager Ugo can organise every activity for you - from whale-watching to rafting; he’ll call in once a day to check up on what you need so there’s no need to shop around for tour operators

  • Step from the open-plan sitting room directly into your small, chlorine-free infinity pool (each house has its own) - the water is unheated, so deliciously cool

  • At low tide it’s safe for children to swim from the long, shallow beach. There are normally no rip tides, but watch out when the tide changes, just in case

  • Santa Teresa is a world-class surf resort (there are waves every day, year-round), so you should definitely try it out while you’re here. Ugo can arrange surfing lessons; the surf school will supply boards. Surf is particularly good between 8-11am and in the evening (though if you're keen you might want to avoid the rainy month of October)

  • Across the road from The Beach Estates is a contemporary art gallery, which offers art classes for kids

  • Take a canopy tour through rainforest (otherwise known as zip-wiring) in Malpais. It's great fun for adrenaline-seekers, and children can do it too

  • Ugo can organise private yoga sessions, or expert massages in the privacy of your house

  • Go horse-riding. It's perfect for novices or the less experienced, as local guides will collect you and take you to lovely forest landscapes near Manzanillo (a national reserve)

  • The pretty village of Montezuma is a fun place to go for the day: there are lots of souvenir shops for gifts, and a good selection of restaurants for dinner (Playa de los Artistas is recommended). From Montezuma you can hike to lovely waterfalls, with a pool at the bottom where you can swim. It's better in the dry season when the water is clear

  • Visit the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. It can be reached from Malpais if you have a 4x4 vehicle and you’ll see monkeys, anteaters, coatis and deer. You can hike to a couple of beautiful beaches, too

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Rafting
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga
  • Zip-wiring

Kids

Children will adore The Beach Estates - the surroundings are wild and magical, and the pools and beach will provide endless entertainment. The houses are both very spacious and nothing feels too precious, but they're not really suitable for kids under 2 (you'd have to provide your own cot, and there's no stairgate in Sandy Lane). We rate them for a large family or group gathering, and the amount of space gives teenagers privacy too.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Both houses sleep up to 8 in 4 double bedrooms. Sandy Lane has one twin room and 3 double rooms, including a separate suite in the garden. Single-storey Beachwood has 3 double rooms, and one room which can be made up as a twin or a double. No extra beds are available and no cot is provided, but you could bring your own.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Children's meals:

The sleek kitchens are fully equipped; you can book a private chef if you don't want to cook, and there are 4 supermarkets plus a grocery store nearby. You can walk to many recommended restaurants. Children will love the fact that you can request visits from local fishermen with their catch of the day, including live lobster.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Chlorine-free unheated infinity pools
  • Gardens to play in that lead to the beach
  • Bikes to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The contemporary art gallery across the road runs art classes for children
  • Ask Ugo about booking fishing trips, surfing lessons and yoga
  • Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve makes a good day trip
  • Canopy tours and zip-lining in the rainforest are great family fun

Families Should Know:

Keep small children to the ground floor only in Sandy Lane, as the upper-floor windows only have slender safety wires. Also, swimming at the beach can be dangerous when the tide is turning - ask Ugo for a tide table. The pools aren't fenced.

Distances:

  • Airport 30 minutes (local airport, a 25-minute flight from San José)
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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