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“Very pleasant stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Blue Surf Sanctuary

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Blue Surf Sanctuary
Santa Teresa~ Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Price
15% off room rate
Ranked #4 of 31 Santa Teresa B&B and Inns
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Very pleasant stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We were looking for a nice play to stay near the beach...and in addition, we asked for air-conditioning and wifi. Blue Surf offers all of that. There are 4 individual bungalows on the property, all relatively new. Ours is a second-floor very large airy room with high ceilings and a balcony overlooking the small swimming pool. The bathroom is off the bedroom to the rear; it is fully tiled, with stone sink basin, modern hardware, toilet and large walk-in shower with rainforest showerhead. Hot & cold running water. Very attractive woodwork and white stucco walls throughout.

The staff is lovely - friendly, accommodating and generally very helpful. The surf instructors are excellent. Daily room service. No food handling possibilities in the rooms, but there is a large common area with complete kitchen, refrigerator with bins for the individual units, and a large table and benches for eating or chatting.

The cons? one is our own fault - we thought we were getting beachfront, and the property is not even beach view. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, I believe, but it's a good 3-minute walk away. The other was major for us: there are no tables or chairs in the units, which makes it difficult to work from them, although the wifi extends throughout the property, so we worked in the common area sans a/c. There is also no really comfortable place at all to sit and read.

In fairness, the current owners (in the US) have not owned the property for long, and are attempting to correct problems as they are identified. Just ask ahead to make sure your needs can be met...

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa,ON
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012 via mobile

This is the place to stay when you visit Costa Rica. The rooms were super clean, and spacious. We felt like it was our place forever. The staff were always there to help us plan our daily adventures and recommended a few good restaurants for dinner. The beach was perfect to learn how to surf specially if its your first time. Will definitely be going back next time for a minimum of 10 days.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tofino, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

The whole gang at Blue Surf made our stay a real treat. Besides being the nicest people in Santa Teresa, Torro, Crystal, Mingo, Mariella, Kelly and Aaron (and others!) made every effort to help make this vacation go as seamlessly as possible. Even after we left and were staying at a beach house closer to Mal Pais (I had a few friends join so it made more sense to stay in a bigger place) Crystal went out of her way to help us all with travel arrangements, or any other thing we might need help with regardless of whether we were staying at Blue Surf. The property, while next to the road, is a lovely little paradise with well-kept yard, pool and communal kitchen and a 1 minute walk down the trail to what seemed like the best surf spot on the beach. Awesome awesome awesome - highly recommended.

Room Tip: All the bungalows seem lovely, ours, Pacifico overlooks the outdoor kitchen which was sometimes a li...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco, California, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

I have been to the area many times, and tried a few other spots. The Blue Surf Sanctuary is always very welcoming and a great place to escape it all. It doesnt hurt that the beach and one of my favorite surf breaks is a few steps away ;)

This last trip, as I was returning from surfing, I ran across a new nest of baby sea turtles hatching. You dont see that everyday.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boulder, Colorado
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

Stayed at Blue Surf during the Green Season and were the only guests during our short stay. The staff at Blue Surf were always available and helpful and the rooms were very nicely appointed. While located "in-town", definitely liked being a bit away from everthing. Great surfing on the local beach and would definitely put it at the top of the list when returning to the Nicoya Peninsula.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2012

We were planning a Costa Rican vacation with another couple that would include our grown children (17-25) and our oldest son is a surfer and had made several trips to the Mal Pais area, raving about the laid back, natural vibe. We stumbled on Blue Surf Sanctuary and what a blessing. We booked all four bungalows for a full week.

Rather than go on and on repeating all of the wonderful reviews, let me just mention my personal high points.

Location - remote - imagine a Survivor episode, but you have hot water, clean sheets, a/c and good food. Granted, we were there in June, but there were times in the late afternoon when there was not another human being visible on the beach right at the hotel. We drove up the road a ways to Hermosa Beach and didn't see another person for over a mile up the beach. In the mornings or when the tide was right, there might be 20 surfers out on the water, the occasional horseback riders and folks strolling the beach. Now, on the road into town there is always activity.

Clean, simple rooms with comfortable beds and plenty of pillows. Huge showers with rain heads. Air conditioning in the rooms - I'm all for roughing it and acclimating to the conditions, but it is really nice to fall asleep in a cool room and it also allows your clothes to dry out.

Spacious balconies on each bungalow. I somehow found the time to read three books while hiding on our balcony, surrounded by palms and tropical flowering plants I can't even name, occasionally distracted by the swarms of butterflies and hummingbirds and the occasional iguana or squirrel, the distant call of howler monkeys, sipping on a fruity rum drink - just magical.

If you've ever sat on a Pacific beach and just watched the surf and been lost in the horizon, then I don't need to describe it. If you haven't, then, well you just have to do it.

The open air kitchen/dining area - maybe the heart of BSS. There is a huge table and a couch and chairs and a lot of counter space. There is internet access. This is where we congregated and shared stories of our adventures and played card games and laughed, a lot. It was like we moved our home to paradise. In a week we probably cooked three evening meals and maybe the same number of lunches and breakfasts. There are plenty of decent places to eat, but sometimes it’s just fun to cook, particularly the big Rooster fish that we caught on a trip set up by BSS. From morning to evening there is a host hanging out at the table to help with just about everything and the hosts ...

When you read the reviews, everyone raves about the staff and you think, "C'mon, don't overdo it". But these folks are just the best - Facu, Julieta, Sean and dear Sofi. Friendly, helpful, intelligent, engaging, attractive, funny, competent - we left some real friends back in Santa Teresa. There is always a night watchman that I expect stays awake all night (but I can't swear to that as I was sawing logs).

I know this stretch of coast is on most surfers’ bucket list, but I don't surf. I can say that it was a thrill finally getting to watch my son shred (is that the word?) chest to head waves, scary watching him take his younger brother through the impact zone (he's more of a rookie) and great fun watching two of our friends' kids taking lessons on the smaller stuff.

Blue Surf Sanctuary is probably not for you if:

- you want to go into town and shop for designer clothes and jewelry.

- you are uncomfortable driving on gravel roads

- you want to emerge from your beach side room, properly quaffed in full designer beach attire to find Pepe the beach boy setting up your chair and umbrella and ready to scamper off to get you mineral water and zero calorie snacks and set up your many/pedy (nothing wrong with this, it’s just not BSS)

- you can't wash a dirty plate

- you can't handle a full day of travel (it is remote)

- you need someone to watch the children while you go into town for dinner and dancing

- you are looking to hook up unless the twenty-something trustafarian with dreadlocks is your type (boy or girl).

If you are looking for a beautiful place with friendly people, to escape and unwind and commune with nature and still enjoy the basic creature comforts and be looked after by folks that genuinely care, then Blue Surf Sanctuary is for you.
Murphy in Texas

Room Tip: All great. "Hermosa" is at the far end.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

I travelled by myself to Costa Rica for a much needed break from my corporate life. Many people I met were surprised that a woman would travel solo but this was, hands down, the best vacation I have ever been on (and I've been all over the world). Much of this was due to the amazing staff at Blue Surf. I'll admit I was a little nervous conducting all the business via e-mail and sending my money off into cyber-oblivion via PayPal - but everything went perfectly. The staff arranged for a pick-up at Tambor (even though my flight was nearly 45 minutes late, the car was still there to get me). **Piece of advice - don't fly Nature Air. I made the mistake of thinking I could save a few dollars by using this airline on the way into Tambor. It actually ended up costing me more because you have to get a cab from San Jose to Pavas Airport, which is about 30 minutes away or $30. They then charged me extra because my bag was over a certain weight. Totally not worth the headache. Fly Sansa both ways - the plane is bigger and feels safer.**

I was warmly greeted by the staff at Blue Surf. The property consists of 4 bungalows and I believe each one sleeps 2-3 people. There's a safe to keep your valuables and I particularly loved the huge, tiled shower complete with a clothesline to hang your suit apres surf. There's an outdoor (covered) kitchen that guests are free to use to make meals as well as a small pool. The place is wonderfully decorated and kept immaculately clean (which is hard to do in Costa Rica). You're surrounded by amazing wildlife - iguanas (don't worry, they're very shy), frogs, hummingbirds, squirrels and (if you're lucky to spot one), Howler monkeys.

I paid for a package deal which included 10 surf lessons, 2 yoga lessons, fruit/coffee before the surf lessons, and a full breakfast at the hotel down the street. My surf instructor, Chito, was amazing. I seriously thought I'd spend the majority of my time getting tossed off the board - but, by the second or third day, I was riding the waves. I was lucky enough to go at the start of the low season (early May) so all of my lessons were one-on-one. Honestly, if you can plan it, go during this time. All of the tourists had left and we often had the beach to ourselves. The restaurants were also super quiet and I spent much of my time chatting with bar/restaurant owners and finding out the secret to saying "f*** it" to the daily grind of corporate America. I wasn't there to party so if this is your thing, you'll probably be disappointed to go during the low season. The weather was perfect, with an occasional, short rain storm.

Since I'm all about giving a balanced perspective, I will provide you with the downsides. But, they're so minor in light of all the other amazing things about Blue Surf. First, the hotel is close to the main road so you will hear the occasional motorcycle or ATV screaming by. At night, this noise is very minimal but it is a little distracting if you're trying to relax by the pool - well, you should be out surfing most of the day anyway. Second, Blue Surf is located a little bit farther away from most of the good restaurants/bars/shops. I would highly recommend renting a scooter or an ATV. Scooters are cheaper at $30 a day - I think the ATVs are more like $45-60. I attempted to borrow one of the hotel's bicycles one day and pretty much exhausted myself trying to pedal over the rocks in the heat of the day. Save all that energy for surfing!

Overall, don't stay anywhere else. Seriously. You can stay at the posh hotel down the street (FlorBlanca) and be surrounded by Americans who think they're "roughing it" because they can watch an iguana while eating breakfast (FlorBlanca is where you'll have your breakfasts anyway - Blue Surf provides a voucher). Or you can stay at Blue Surf and meet fabulous people from all over the world while staying in a darling little boutique surf hotel and enjoying first-rate service. I'm already trying to figure out how quickly I can go back.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blue Surf Sanctuary

Address: Santa Teresa~ Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 31 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Teresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blue Surf Sanctuary is a small boutique hotel & upscale surf school located in magical Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, 100 yards from the sand!Gorgeous bungalows with daily housekeeping, A/C, pool and fully equipped kitchen. We pride ourselves on our stellar customer service, our use of organic soaps and consciousness about our beautiful oceanWe offer both accommodations only, surf packages or surf lessons to outside clients! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Surf Sanctuary Hotel Santa Teresa
Blue Surf Sanctuary Costa Rica/Santa Teresa

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