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Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

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Suffolk, Virginia
posts: 155
reviews: 13
Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

Im planning a short vacation (4 days) with my boyfriend in May, but we are undecided about whether to stay at Santa Teresa or Montezuma, I understand both are quite close to each other.

We'll arrive in San Jose and take Interbus, so an issue for us is which of the two locations is easier/safer to walk around, or would a rental car be absolutely necessary? I'd rather not drive on vacation.

We would like to stay at a romantic/ affordable beachfront/centric hotel.


San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 42,481
1. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

Maybe Santa Tereza...less people...more secluded..


Montezuma, Costa...
posts: 538
reviews: 8
2. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

Santa Teresa is gorgeous, but very spread out. If you don't want to rent a car or rely on taxis the whole time, I'd recommend Montezuma - it's much more condensed and walking around is easier.

Both places have great beaches.

However if surfing is your thing then definitely Santa Teresa / Malpais

They are close on the map - but the actual travel time can be longer than you'd think (45 min in private transport - up to 2 hours by bus)

posts: 86
reviews: 2
3. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

We were in Montezuma last week and weren't impressed. The town has lost its Costa Rican flavor and caters more to foreign tourists. It is compact and doesn't require a car if you stay in town. We didn't stay in town, but the Amor de Mar Hotel looked nice. It's beach front with beautiful landscaped grounds. We used a taxi to go from Montezuma to Cabuya and the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. If you're interested, I'll send you the taxi driver's name and phone number. He was reliable, knowledgeable, reasonable, and his car was clean and well maintained. I can't say anything about Santa Teresa, but I've heard good things.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,508
reviews: 22
4. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

If you have 4 days and are planning on taking interbus I hope you realize its a 6 hour trip each way. Do you actually have 4 days in Montezuma/Santa Teresa or 2 days traveling and 2 days to enjoy it? If the 4 days include travel I'd suggest you reconsider and head for MA which is only 3 hours from SJO. Interbus shuttles depart San Jose at 8 AM for arrival at 6 PM.

We found Montezuma easy to walk around and you can rent ATVs for a day trip to Santa Teresa or Cabo Blanco.

Moncton, Canada
posts: 194
reviews: 4
5. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

We spent 4 days in Montezuma and really enjoyed it. We didn't have a car and managed well. We even walked UP the hill to Mariposario where we were staying a few times although I'd think most would prefer to grab a cab. Walking down no problem. As before mentioned Amor del Mar seemed to have a breat location if you prefered to be closer. We loved the Mariposario though.

We got a good rate on Natureair, flying fom SJ to Tambor, and it gave us much more time there. (Only a 1/2 hour flight and great views from the air) If you have the funds, I'd recommend it.

Found several good restaurants, did a trip to Cabo Blanco, and spent some quality beach time, mainly at Playa Grande.

I'd recommend it!

Suffolk, Virginia
posts: 155
reviews: 13
6. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

We've decided to go to Montezuma and our first choice for a hotel is El Jardin.. has anyone stayed there before? How about restaurant suggestions?

We do realize it's a long trip, but it's ok.. hopefully will be worth it, getting to have 2 full days of relaxation at the beach. We're not looking to do any tours or anything, just being together and chilling.

posts: 17
reviews: 4
7. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

Hi - we've travelled the nicoya peninsula extensively many, many times. Our suggestion would definitely be the Santa Teresa area hands down. The hotel you speak of in Montezuma has numerous bad reviews. (you're a trip advisor user.... did you check the reviews?) The montezuma area is fun for a night to shop and check out the bars, restaurants but that's about it. Beaches don't compare at all to those in the Santa Teresa area. They are flat, crowed, rocky, etc. For the same price - we'd highly suggest the Ritmo Tropical in Mal Pais. Awesome place with a handful of real nice casitas around the prettiest pool in CR. Restaurant is fabulous and a favorite in the area. The beaches you can't beat - and we've travelled all over the country. Just north of Santa Teresa is Playa Hermosa - equally stunning and even more secluded. Mal Pais is 'across the street' from Santa Teresa so don't let the name of the area fool you. I hate to let the secret out.... but I know you won't regret it if you get to both areas and do a comparison. Enjoy your trip - the country is fabulous! p.s. another great little spot is the Hotel Esencia in Santa Teresa - similar $, awesome people too!

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,508
reviews: 22
8. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

The other difference between Montezuma and MalPais/Santa Teresa is that Montezuma beaches face east and southeast toward the Costa Rica coast while Malpais faces the Pacific. In rainy season when you're visiting, there is a lot of wood that washes up on Montezuma beaches due to runoff from mainland creeks and rivers. I found the beaches in Santa Teresa more appealing because there was a lot less debris and plastic washed ashore.

Playa Guiones...
Destination Expert
for Nosara
posts: 1,712
reviews: 3
9. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

Better sunsets in Santa Teresa/Mal Pais. Longer beaches for walking.

10. Re: Montezuma or Santa Teresa?

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