Costa RicaCosta Rica

Day 4: Beachcombing Santa Teresa

Destination: Santa Teresa

The entire Santa Teresa/Mal Pais area is famous not only for its incredible surfing, but also as a coveted deep-sea fishing destination. Here, ocean currents converge to create water amazingly rich in nutrients. This, combined with profound ocean depths, creates an attractive environment for big game fish.

Driving from Cobano, a crossroads town five miles inland, the road dead ends at a stop sign. Here visitors can take a right to the bars and the lively surfer-social life of Santa Teresa. Or, take a left to the quieter, rocky beaches of Mal Pais. Last night, we'd turned right toward Santa Teresa, traveled up an incredibly steep hill, and found our luxurious residence for the next two days.

The owners of Casa Marbella were young and personable, and their infant daughter gave the hotel a family-friendly feel. I immediately felt at home and welcome. Our suite was more like a large house, with a master bedroom opening up onto a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. We'd arrived last night at sunset, and the vista truly took our breath away.

This morning we slept in, swallowed up by our hotel's orthopedic beds. I headed down to the infinity pool, which disappeared into the Pacific Ocean and looked out on Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa, and Mal Pais. The pool was warm and luxurious, filled with recycled rainwater and surrounded by comfy lounge chairs. We didn't want to leave, but decided it would be best to check out the beach.

After drinking two cups of coffee at a local cafe, I was wired. The three of us trotted along the bright white beach of Playa Carmen combing for seashells, interesting rocks, and my favorite seeds Ojo del Buey (bull's eye), which I affectionately call "hamburger seeds." We watched a man collecting young coconuts effortlessly shimmy up a tree and shake them down into the sand with big booms. Because of Playa Carmen's even and somewhat gentle waves, both beginner and expert surfers were performing left and right.

About an hour later, Jess and I had filled two large cups with seaside treasure. "You're only allowed to bring 1% of Costa Rica home with you," Tim jokingly informed us. We would have to part with it back at the car. We couldn't tear ourselves away from the hotel that night. Instead of checking out Santa Teresa's nightlife, we opted to lounge in our porch side hammock and go for a dip in the pool. We watched the sun set. I wished that time would stop and I'd never have to leave.

Day 4: Beachcombing Santa Teresa in Pictures