SANTA TERESA: Where to stay, eat, beach and workout

By Michael Chapman

WHERE TO: STAY

Santa Teresa has everything from super budget to super luxe, spanning hotels, villas and hostels. We love an Airbnb, and tried out loads during our time here. Have a look around depending on your budget, and if you’re lucky enough to be exploring Santa Teresa for a week or more, I’d recommend spending most of your time in a spot that’s walking-distance from the beach (and cafes, restaurants, shops etc), but throw in at least a couple of nights of bliss up in the jungle.

Here's just a few of our 'Stay' ideas in Santa Teresa…

 

Best for: Budget

Selina North or Selina South - we personally haven't stayed here, but Selina's have a great reputation around the world for solo travellers. These Selina's offer surfboard rental, yoga lessons and co-working space. 

Villa Cacao - available on Airbnb, these villas share a pool and are just off the main beach road. Choose from smaller studio apartments, or a more spacious 2 bedroom villa with a terrace.

 

Best for: Mid-range

Kana-Mar Two - Just a couple minutes walk from the beach, this 2 bedroom villa is in a quiet location, and has it’s own pool. 

Casa Wakiki - A quiet one bedroom jungle house, a 5 minute drive from the main part of the beach.

 

Best for: Luxury

Nantipa - beautiful beachfront bungalows and suites, with it’s own restaurant and bar literally on the sand, and our favourite spot for a sundowner.

North Creek Estate - our Salt Escapes villa! Lanui is the larger beachfront villa, and Taman is the smaller villa tucked behind Lanui.

 

Best for: The Experience

Casa La Nina - we spent 2 nights here up in the jungle, and it was spectacular. falling asleep to the sounds of the cicadas, and waking up to howler monkeys playing in the trees behind the pool.

 

WHERE TO: EAT

We'll never get over the food here, and how good we felt after 6 weeks of eating up all the goodness! Here's some of our faves you can’t miss. 

  • Katana - a fave spot in town. Just so good - don't miss the fish bao.
  • Ani's Bowls - the very best bowls, we spent most mornings here after a surf for a smoothie bowl (try the dark bowl), OR head here for lunch and get the fish taco bowl.
  • Nantipa (Manzu restaurant) - best for a sunset marg.
  • Eat Street - fun, casual, street-food style place for breakfast and lunch bowls. Good WiFi and a couple of hammocks.
  • El Facon - grill, good if you like meat and a good tap beer. Usually has live music in the evenings.
  • Rocamar - casual beachfront spot, nice tacos.
  • The Bakery - very popular in town, good sandwiches, salads and baked stuff.
  • Vermu - cute little cafe situated at the side of the road, but one of our favourites for breakfast.
  • Cafe Cafca - good breakfast and great coffee.

 

Development in Santa Teresa is really going nuts at the moment, and a lot of new places to eat are popping up... let us know if you’d add anything else to this list! 

 

WHERE TO: BEACH

  • Playa Santa Teresa - for chill vibes and great surf (don't forget, there's strong currents here so it's not ideal for swimming if you're not an experienced ocean swimmer). At 5pm it feels like the whole town comes down to the beach to watch the sunset with a beer. It’s magic.
  • Playa Hermosa - for smaller waves to learn to surf.
  • Playa Carmen - The busier end of the beach, not our favourite spot but very close to lots of cafes and shops. 
  • Playa Mal Pais - quieter than Santa Teresa and fun for exploring.

The smaller beaches on the way to/from Montezuma waterfall are also worth a stop. Really beautiful and easier to swim here.

 

WHERE TO: WORKOUT

Activo

Offers small group classes run by Owner Ori. Functional training classes are inspired by CrossFit and gymnastics, and are super challenging and fun. Lots of AMRAPs and EMOMs with some really great equipment and we loved training here. Whenever we go back, we’ll be here!

Lifeguards Gym

An outdoor gym in the jungle, with all money directed to the lifeguard programme, so it’s pretty old and rusty but at least it goes to a good cause. Can’t say the people that work here were the most friendly bunch, but pop your headphones in and embrace the rust, and you’ll have a good workout. 

Yoga & Pilates

If this is more your jam, you’re in the right place. There are heaps of options for yoga and pilates classes, and you can take a class everywhere from within the hotels and hostels, to the Lifeguards Gym and dedicated yoga centres. We didn't try them out, as we bring our own instructor on Salt Escapes, but do share below if you’ve tried and tested any!