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Surf city, Costa Rica

Seeking to make waves? Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, is where the surfing cognoscenti venture, says travel editor Stanley Moss
photographed by the author

 




Surf’s up There are many ways of getting to the beach


Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.

 

Twenty-five years ago, Santa Teresa was a tiny, sleepy fishing village on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It’s set on an unspoiled peninsula, where the jungle cascades down to the sea, the shoreline populated by exotic screaming birds, tree sloths, monkeys and ambivalent iguanas. The city is a laid-back destination with one rough, occasionally unpaved main drag and what some consider the finest surfing beaches in the world.

Enthusiasts have flocked to Santa Teresa from all over, founding schools, setting up stores and restaurants, with many levels of lodging from the rudimentary to the elegant, all tucked into the lush vegetation which faces pristine sands. The community is composed largely of immigrants or tourists to whom the locals (called ‘ticos’) offer a tolerant, low-key hospitality. Eccentric characters abound, refugees from the fast lane. Big-city prices seem to be the norm.

To get there you need to charter a helicopter, take a ferry or grab a puddle-jumper from the capital city of San Jose, a lovely half-hour flight recollecting overhead shots from the Jurassic Park movies. You drop into the tiny Tambor airstrip and in about a half-hour you’re barrelling down Main Street, often jostling a variety of conveyances headed for the warm ocean. There are a multitude of ways to carry a surfboard to the beach.

Santa Teresa is all about the waves and the crazies, who won’t be bothered with the hustle-bustle of technology world. The peculiar surf æsthetic is ever-present: baggies, tattoos, a scruffy style where cool is the norm and the prevailing attitude is definitely ‘No worries, man.’ •

 






 

 

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