Blue Surf Sanctuary

Costa Rica: Golfo de Nicoya

High levels of comfort at this boutique accommodation with emphasis on relaxation, detox and surf.


Costa Rica Info

Here are a few tips to help you better plan for your trip to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica and the Blue Surf Sanctuary Hotel:


Do we need to rent a car or a four-wheeler (ATV)?

You don’t absolutely need a car while you are staying at the Blue Surf Sanctuary Hotel, but renting one will allow you to both see and do more in the Santa Teresa/Mal Pais area. We recommend Budget car rental for your car rental (click here to go visit their website). To rent a car, you must be over 25 and have a valid driver’s license, a passport and a credit card.

If you are interested in renting an ATV instead of a car while you are in Santa Teresa, please speak to one of our receptionists upon arrival and we can easily arrange this for you. An ATV rental costs $70 for 24-hours. If you decide to rent an ATV for 3 day or more, the cost is discounted to $60/day.

If I don’t have a car, how do I get from the local airport to the Blue Surf Sanctuary?

We can arrange a taxi at your request and he will pick you up at the Tambor Airport. You will pay the taxi driver directly and the cost is $55 (each way).


What Should I bring with me on my trip to Costa Rica?

Passport, cash, credit cards, driver’s license, camera, mosquito repellant, sunscreen (SPF60 or higher), a flashlight, swimsuit(s), flip-flops, a beach towel and a waterproof jacket (if you are coming May-Nov). Check out this What should I pack for Costa Rica Blog post.


What time is check-in/check-out of the Blue Surf Sanctuary Hotel?

Check-in is at 3pm. Check-out is at 11am.

 ** If you plan on leaving Santa Teresa later than 11am on your check-out day, please leave your room and place your luggage in our secure bodega by 11am so that we can start cleaning your room before new guests arrive to check-in at 3pm. Please feel free to continue to enjoy our hotel, the pool and grounds until you leave later that day.


Is there Internet access in the hotel?

Yes, we have WiFi access throughout our property, however sometimes it is goes off for a few hours at a time due to our remoteness.


Can I use my credit card at most of the restaurants and activities in town?

No, Santa Teresa is primarily a cash town. Few places accept credit cards. Some restaurants and the grocery stores do accept credit cards (Visa or MasterCard only), however most places do not. We recommend that you bring some cash with you and use the ATMs in town if you need more money throughout your stay.


Are there banks and ATMs in Santa Teresa?

There are two banks at the crossroads in Santa Teresa (at the beginning of town). They both have ATM machines but sometimes, they run out of money. It is a good idea to bring some cash with you, just in case.


Are American Dollars or Travelers Checks accepted?

Costa Ricans accept Colones and American dollars. Travelers Checks are not accepted.


Do I need to get any shots to travel to Costa Rica?

No shots are necessary to travel to Costa Rica.


What is the climate/Weather like in Santa Teresa Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a tropical country located between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator. It is tropical and warm-to-hot here all year round.

There are two seasons here on the coast of Costa Rica: the green season (May-Nov), and the dry season (Dec-April).  In the dry season, it does not rain in Santa Teresa. Every day is hot and sunny with blue skies overhead. In the green season, rain varies month-to-month with September and October being the two rainiest months throughout Costa Rica. Nights in the rainy season are also a little cooler than in the dry season.


Can you drink the water in Santa Teresa?

We do not recommend that you drink tap water while you are in Santa Teresa. Most of the water here comes from local wells. Brushing your teeth, washing your vegetables, etc. is fine but just to be safe and to ensure that you have a great vacation, we recommend that you buy bottled water while you are here.


What is the tipping etiquette in Costa Rica?

Most restaurants add a 10% tip to your bill. If you are unsure if it has already been added to your bill, it is always better to ask.


Do we need a converter for our electrical appliances?

Costa Rica runs off the same voltages as the USA. If you are coming from North America, you should be able to charge all of your electronic devices here without issues.



How safe is the Mal Pais / Santa Teresa area?

The Mal Pais / Santa Teresa area is safe. In fact, Costa Rica is the safest country in all of Central America. The people here are very friendly and as long as you use your common sense, you should be able to enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Petty theft is the most common crime found throughout Costa Rica. It is much less prevalent in the Santa Teresa area versus other more touristy areas of Costa Rica however, there are still some incidents of petty theft here every year. If you are careful with your belongings and you follow a few basic rules, you are unlikely to encounter any problems during your stay. We recommend that you never leave any of your belongings unattended. We also recommend that you never bring anything valuable to the beach and that you never leave any valuables in your rental car.

Our hotel, the Blue Surf Sanctuary, is located at the north end of town and it is away from most of the town’s traffic. It is a quieter part of town where most of the more upper-end accommodations are found. There is very little theft in this area however we still recommend that our guests use their in-room safes for their valuables.


Does the Blue Surf Sanctuary have night security? 

Yes, we have a wonderful night guard at the hotel. He is here every night from 7pm until 7am the next morning. There is also a fence bordering our property that is lined with dense, spiky plants.  We also have safes in all of our rooms and someone from our staff is on-site 24hrs a day.


Are we safe to roam around town at night? 

Yes, it is safe to roam around the town at night however, we don’t recommend that you walk in town after 10pm. If you are out after 10pm, we recommend that you take a taxi back to the Blue Surf Sanctuary Hotel.


Is there a lot of theft in Santa Teresa/Mal Pais?

  • As in most tourist destinations, there is some petty theft in this area. Be smart and you should have no problems!
  • Here are a few general safety rules that you should follow when you are in Santa Teresa.
  • These tips will help you to have a safe, happy and healthy vacation:
  • Do not leave any of your valuable unattended. Always take your valuables with you or leave them with a friend.
  • Do not leave any valuables in your rental car. If you are going out for lunch, for example, take your valuables with you into the restaurant.
  • Do not bring any valuables to the beach. If you do bring a camera, for example, do not leave it unattended. Our hotel is located only 50m from the beach. Bring your camera back to the hotel before you go surfing or swimming.
  • Do not go to the beach at night. If you are out late at night, take a taxi back to the hotel. Any restaurant or hotel can call you a taxi to come and pick you up.
  • Do not flaunt expensive electronic devices in front of locals. Remember that you are coming to vacation in a 3rd world country. The people here are very friendly and nice but there is also poverty here so remember that before you take out your new iPad on the beach to take a picture before hoping into the water for a swim.
  • Always store your valuables in your hotel room safe. Our hotel room safes are very safe and easy to use.
  • Do not solicit any drugs or engage in any illegal activities while you are here in Santa Teresa.


What do we do if we have a medical emergency while we are in Santa Teresa?

There are two emergency medical clinics about 15 minutes from our hotel at the Cruce in Santa Teresa. There is also an emergency medical clinic in Cobano, which is about 30 minutes away. All of these clinics are small and very basic clinic but they are able to handle any of your basic medical needs such as stitches, sutures, etc. For more major medical emergencies, San José is 5 hours away by car or only 40 minutes away by helicopter or airplane. Airlifts can be arranged out of Santa Teresa in the most severe of cases. San Jose has excellent state of the art hospitals and treatments by very well educated doctors. For peace of mind, we recommend that our guests purchase travel/health insurance in their home country before visiting Costa Rica.