Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: 5 Things First Time Travelers Need to Know

This past spring, I spent a week in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. There’s no denying the beauty of Costa Rica, but even a trip to the greatest destination can be ruined if you don’t prepare correctly!  Make sure you do your research on what to pack and what to expect when you get there.  Here are some things you need to know if you are traveling to Santa Teresa for the first time.

  1. Cash is king.  You’ll mostly likely use cash for 95% of all of your transactions while staying in Santa Teresa.  If you are flying into the San Jose airport, take advantage of the ATMs at the airport and pull out the cash you think you’ll need on the trip.  There are two ATMs in Santa Teresa.  I had heard and read reports about the ATMs running out of cash, but didn’t experience that while I was there.  Important note – the grocery store (Super Rony) does take cards, so purchases made there are easy!

2. Dress code is casual AF.  Leave the stilettos at home–not only would they be completely impossible to wear around Santa Teresa, but you’d stick out like a sore thumb.  Remember, this is a surfer’s and yogi’s paradise.  Think lots of athleisure wear, jean shorts, and either sneakers or flip flops.

3. It’s DUSTY.  I knew that Santa Teresa’s main road was unpaved, but nothing really prepared me for the level of dust I encountered.  Any time you leave your hotel or walk along the main road, you’ll get covered in dust from the knees down.  I brought a pair of light closed toe espadrilles as walking shoes, and the one time I wore them they quickly turned beige.  Your best bet is flip flops, ideally ones that can get washed off.  I also found myself showering after most trips into town, just to say feeling clean!  I’d avoid lighter colored shoes, or any that stain easily as well as avoiding maxi length skirts or overly long pants that might drag.

4. Don’t stress about bugs.  If you know me, mosquitoes are drawn to me no matter where I travel.  As such, I was stressed that my trip was going to be ruined by getting eaten alive.  I shouldn’t have worried.  I left Costa Rica relatively bite free (probably less than 5 bites which is miraculous for me!).  I still packed Ben’s 100 DEET% Insect Repellant, and was pretty proactive about applying it — but bugs in general were much less prevalent than I was worried about.

5. If it’s not rainy season, don’t worry about the rain.  One of the top tips I saw when I was researching for my trip was the need for a lightweight but waterproof rain jacket.  I stressed and ordered one on Amazon to make sure I had one for my trip.  I didn’t see a drop of rain the entire week I was there, so unless you’re heading to Santa Teresa during the rainy season, feel free to skip the rain jacket!

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