This Costa Rican Honeymoon Destination Is the Next Tulum

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, is about to become the next honeymoon destination

Updated 06/07/17

@peaceloveshea via Instagram

If sandy beaches, surfing, lush jungle waterfalls, cold coconuts (pipas frias) and frosty piña coladas, and epic sunsets sound like your kind of honeymoon, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, might be your dream come true. The mellow, stretched-out beach town on the Central American country's Nicoya Peninsula is intimate, rustic, and extremely picturesque, which has invited comparisons to the leading trendy destination of the moment: Tulum. But this up-and-coming locale should come with a warning: There are critters. Lots of critters.

There will be cute geckos on your patio, howler monkeys in the trees, iguanas crossing your path and cicadas chirping a symphony each morning and night—maybe even a toad or crab in the pool. If you can deal—or you think your brave beau can help you can handle it—then by all means book it. The creatures that are all around only add to the wild magic of the place. They're part of what makes it real.

This is a place with zero high-rise buildings, no chain businesses and free of a single large hotel or resort—a few more reasons it's so attractive. In lieu of that you'll find intimate beachside properties like Florblanca, hands down the best place you could hope to spend your honeymoon. It's made up of stand-alone villas, each outfitted with a crocheted hammock seemingly hanging in the emerald jungle, fresh flowers, stunning outdoor tub and shower (don't worry, the monkeys don't have cameras, they might joke) and the silkiest sheets known to Costa Rica.

This is where you may struggle a little: You'll want to stay loved up in the super private confines of your dreamy jungle bungalow, but there's also a beautiful beach to laze on, stroll down, or swim in, not to mention a two-tier pool that's the most perfectly refreshing temperature when the sun is blazing. Both spots are ideal for sipping bubbly, a local beer or, even better, a freshly made piña colada—which in this case is so fresh, you'll spot the bartender scooping out coconuts and chopping the top off a pineapple—from Nectar, the sustainable resort's restaurant. The latter tastes especially good as the sun is going down in a sorbet-hued blaze over the sea. (The enduring sunsets there tend to be jaw-dropping.)

Other activities you may want to occupy your time with: hiking through the leafy green rainforest to massive waterfalls in Montezuma, taking joyrides on your ATV (bring a bandana and shades, because the dust that gets kicked up on the potholed roads is serious business), zip-lining in the canopies, riding the world-class point breaks nearby or learning to surf in the whitewash at Playa Hermosa, and horseback riding on black- and white-sand beaches at sunset. (For help booking guides and excursions, Ollie's Adventures in town can do it all, as can the helpful staff at Florblanca.)

As a whole, Santa Teresa is quite a wellness-oriented place, so in addition to many yoga shalas—Florblanca's is close enough to hear the surf crashing, while Pranamar's popular spot up the beach is the epitome of jungle perfection—there are many spots for healthy eating, too. Zwart Cafe and Olam are a good idea when you're feeling like indulging with a conscience, while the meat-centric Argentine-style eats at El Facón and Casa del Mar are for when you want to just plain indulge. Fishmongers should try Product C and the sushi and other treats from the sea at Nectar, or try going deep-sea fishing for yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi.

And what romantic getaway would be complete without a little couples' spa action? Santa Teresa doesn't disappoint in this area, either. Spa Bambú has a treatment room made for you and your S.O. where you can have the rubdowns of your lives or get a little interactive. The Costa Rican coffee and coconut scrubs are the perfect time to get a little handsy, once the therapists leave you to rinse them off in hot, steamy showers. Don't worry, the iguanas aren't paying attention.

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