An Insiders Guide to Activities & Adventures
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is known for its pristine beaches, amazing beach rentals and a surplus of exciting activities to keep your vacation fun and exciting. Travelers to this amazing beach community can spend the morning enjoying a surf lesson with a certified instructor, the afternoon zipping through the trees on a canopy tour, and the evening watching the sunset while galloping down a secluded beach on horseback. Although there are plenty of activities for everyone in the family, sometimes the best adventures can’t be found in a scheduled tour package because they are ‘off the beaten path’.
Seasoned travelers know that often the best memories are made from taking the road less traveled.
Spend the Afternoon in Manzanillo
One way to spend the afternoon off-the-beaten-path is to take the trek up North to Manzanllo. Manzanillo, a sleepy little village just above Playa Hermosa in Santa Teresa, is the perfect destination day trip. Start your journey by renting a quad and following the main road past Playa Hermosa into a short stretch of rugged terrain that hugs the coastline. The mountainous jungle spills right over into the picture perfect untouched beaches and are ideal for scouting seashells or lounging in one of the numerous private tide pools. At the end of the road is an oceanfront local bar and restaurant, Atradecer Dorado (Golden Sunset), where you can enjoy an ice cold cerveza or refreshing fresh fruit smoothie while you watch the tide roll in. If you are traveling with your family and are ready to kick back and let the kids have some fun, head up the road to Dakya, where the young ones can splash in the pool while you enjoy your food and drinks.
Dig for Clams in Playa Hermosa
One of the most rewarding activities in Santa Teresa that the whole family will enjoy is digging for fresh clams in the soft sands at Playa Hermosa. Just north of Santa Teresa is a quiet little beach community called Playa Hermosa. If you show up at high-tide be sure to bring a big bucket, or even an extra large empty water bottle to the beach to collect a beautiful variety of jewel colored little neck clams for an easy do it yourself dinner.
The clams are best collected the day before you eat them, as they need to purge their shells of silt and sand in ocean water. The best way to get them to clean out the sand is place the clams in a bucket of ocean water over night then replace the water the next morning with a fresh batch.
Local Organic Famers Market
Once the clams are ready, you can pair them with some fresh greens and crusty bread made locally from the organic market held every Saturday at the Banana Beach access road. The market is also the perfect place to find a large variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, coffees, and honey as well as a selection of hand made clothing, jewelry and art.
The farmers market starts at 3pm every Saturday. It is recommended to show up early as some of the best items go first.
If you are looking for an adventure, one of the hidden gems of the Nicoya peninsula is the Cabuya Island Cemetery accessible by the furthest road South in Mal Pais. The road follows along a winding river and even passes through it a handful of times, so caution is advised when traveling it during the rainy season. Cabo Blanco National Wildlife Reserve is just to the South of the road and if you take it slow you may spot dinosaur size iguanas, basilisks, boa constrictors, or even a jungle cat! Once you make it to Cabuya head South and park along the coastline where you can view the cemetery island.
The cemetery is walkable at low tide. It is recommended to bring along some snorkeling gear or a paddleboard if you can. The water here is blocked by the island, and typically much calmer, so it is perfect for viewing a variety of tropical fish and coral.
If you are there during a low-tide sunset, you just might stumble upon a local funeral procession. This is quite a sight to see, as a parade of locals cross the reef to the island, carrying candles and torches.
Next time you visit Santa Teresa, given the huge variety of tours packages available, don’t forget to leave time to explore the non commercialized natural beauty of the area. Grab the family, some extra water and a little extra sun block and go see what Cost Rica is really made of by taking the detour and stepping aside from the pack.
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MANZINILLO & CLAMS http://puravidaculture.com/lifestyle-jungle/
ORGANIC MARKET http://www.pinterest.com/pin/309059593148060459/
CABUYA CEMETARY http://blog2.latitude10resort.com/a-visit-to-cayuba-near-montezuma-costa-rica/attachment/31850449/
CABUYA ISLAND http://www.revistautopia.com/Nicoya-Sur-o-la-ruta-de-la-diversidad.aspx