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My family had a wonderful time in Santa Teresa. Costa Riki (email hidden) to stay and Francesca and Riki were great hosts.
We spent three weeks in Santa Teresa. While there, we spent a lot of time at the beach, rode ATVs, rode horse and ate lots of good food. Francesca helped us schedule most of our activities including surf lessons with Del Soul, dinner at Alma, ATV rentals at Pacifica Extreme and our trip to Tortuga Island.
Costa Riki is in a prime location. It is close to lots of restaurants, the market and the beach. Our apartment was clean and comfortable. We especially enjoyed the large patio on the second floor in the mornings with some coffee and a good book.
Santa Teresa is far from the big resorts of Tamarindo. The town revolves around surfing. The restaurants are small and quaint; no chains. The night life is enough to keep you entertained, but winds down in time to rest up for early morning waves. The main street is still unpaved. While this is a touristy area, it still feels very rustic and off the beaten path.
New Years was a very busy time in Santa Teresa. If traveling during the holidays, stock up on cash and avoid the crossroads.
If you're a surfer, I can't (email hidden)e waves are consistent. We were there in January for the smaller swells. Some days boasted 3 to 4 foot waves while others days we saw six to eight feet. The paddle to the line-up is really short and there are miles of breaks to choose from.
A few more tips:
I was able to make just fine on my very weak Spanish. Don't let the language barrier scare you. Most of the locals speak a little English.
Some places took credit cards and some didn't. So it is good to have some cash on hand. Everywhere took both US dollars and CR colones. No need to show up with local currency.
We loved our time in Costa Rica and hope to go back someday. I give Costa Riki my highest recommendation. We had an amazing time.
I didn't get to go but a friend of mine took my place and he says: "Clean and comfortable, with a fantastic location. Internet was not very stable."