[:en]Our stay in Santa Teresa was the result of a very unexpected adventure. We were staying in Playa Negro, about 5 hours north. In the hotel we stayed at we became acquainted with a brazilian family, two brothers, and the older brother’s wife and 2 year old. They were a wonderful family we met over coffee one morning, and they were taking a month long surf trip. After a couple of days of hanging out with them, Oscar and I got up early to research and try and figure out where to go from there. The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, though home to some of the countries prettiest beaches and top tourist destinations, is still nearly impossible to traverse without a car. Buses are tricky, often running only once or twice a day, and there are many places that are not reachable without a 4×4 wheel drive. After some fruitless searching for a beach slightly further south, Alejandro (the younger brother) came up to us and very simply said, “We decided to go to Santa Teresa today. Would you like to come?” And with that simple sentence, we found ourselves on an Adventure.
Though it was only a five seater, we managed to stuff everyone into the car, including our bags and their six surf boards. They kindly brought us along even though it mean they had to squish together and put Gabrielle on someones lap. That’s one of my favorite parts of traveling, meeting wonderful, generous people, and just being open to ending ups somewhere you never expected to be when you woke up that morning.
The drive was beautiful, if a bit bumpy. It took us about five hours to traverse the dirt roads, crossing two shallow rivers on the way. I will never forget the look on everyone’s face when Gustavo drove full speed into the river, everyone laughing and smiling with a mixture of adrenaline and mild concern. But we made it through. To top it all off, we made quite the entrance to Santa Teresa. When we were just a few kilometers away, we peeled off and started cross country driving on the beach as the sun was setting. It’s not everyday you get to rev up the gas in order to pull alongside a man atop a galloping horse to ask for directions.
Just as we were beginning to lose light, we finally came to Santa Teresa. The town itself has one main road that runs parallel to the beach where most of the hotels and restaurants are, with smaller side streets radiating out. The first day all we did was lay around the beach. After the somewhat disappointing golden dryness of the northern part of the peninsula, we felt we had finally found the mythical, lush Costa Rica I had dreamed about. An absolutely gorgeous little beach town, it has beautiful white sands bordered by this green jungle. The best part time was right before sunset, when everyone lined the beach to watch the sky transform with golden pinks and purples. As the temperature cools, the air condenses and creates this beautiful mist that clings to the trees and blurs the lines between sand and jungle.
We stayed almost a week there, basking in the sun and attempting to surf. We were lucky enough that our friends let us borrow their boards so we didn’t need to spend money on rentals. The waves there are much larger and rougher than our previous spots, so I didn’t get to surf very much. One day the tide was so high, it covered nearly all of the beach. The waves were especially rough, and the tide so strong I couldn’t even paddle out to the break, just kept getting washed back. On days when there isn’t such a hard swell, it is easier and beginners can surf in the white water, but generally Santa Teresa caters to more experienced surfers.
The town itself has a lot of very nice restaurants (and many gluten free specialty foods), however it is very pricey. Expect to pay big city US (or more) prices if you want to eat out. The majority of the time we cooked, sharing several meals with the Brazilians. Otherwise we found a couple of cheap restaurants that served casados (the typical dish) for 5-7 dollars. Though we only went out one night, the nightlife was pretty good, though drinks were also ridiculous. Our first night out, all 6 of us went to a restaurant/bar with live music. I ordered a drink and was horrified when the bill came, $7 for a rum and coke, but soon found that to be standard.  It is such a beautiful place, and I would definitely recommend spending several days there, but if you want to stay within budget, I recommend making sure you can cook and buying your booze at the supermarket.
When it was time to leave, we were a little sad. Aside from being such a beautiful spot, we had a wonderful time with Luciana, Gustavo, Alejandro and Gabi. We shared dinners, laughs, and days sitting at the beach. Since no one was fluent in the same language, We spoke spanguese, our own  mixture of spanish, english, and portuguese. This of course led to some pretty hilarious moments of confusion, but we got on pretty well. It just goes to show how beautiful human connection is, even when you can’t understand every word someone says, I felt much closer to them than many people I can understand perfectly. Also, after a week and a half together, my spanish improved quite a lot. Just goes to show you shouldn’t limit your interactions with people because you feel self conscious that you can’t fully communicate. Take the leap, and you just may wind up meeting some pretty amazing people and having some incredible adventures.

Lodging: Disfrutalo
Cost: 25 per person (between 5) for a private house with breakfast included and cappuccinos.
Kitchen: yes (private house)
Date: March 2015
Rating: 5/5
Review: The hotel was beautiful, very central, with a pool and a nice breakfast area, and our house was surrounded by luxurious palms. The owner (who also serves) is a somewhat prickly Italian man who can come off a bit rude, but otherwise it was great. They have the cheapest quad rentals if you want to see the beaches, $60 for 24 hrs, 20 dollars cheaper than we paid in Nicaragua (much cheaper country) for only 5 hours.

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