On Our Bucket List: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Travel Hot Spot

This Costa Rican surf town? We’ve bucket-listed it. And Latitude 10 Resort, an intimate eco-destination, is prime means to checking it off. Here, Hans Pfister – recognized world expert in sustainable hospitality, and the resort’s president and co-owner – chats about why.

Rue La La: Santa Teresa is a hot destination right now. What sets it apart? 

Hans Pfister: It’s still a bit of the “wild” Costa Rica. The access is somewhat difficult. But at the same time, many celebrities have bought houses here or come to vacation. So it is an interesting mix of off-the-beaten-path backpacker destination with Hollywood Jetset. Simple restaurants next to high-end hotels. The beach is the town’s most amazing feature. All lush and green, with no development or houses visible when you’re there.

RLL: What was the town like ten years ago? 

Hans: It’s very similar. Perhaps less high-end places and more backpackers then. More surfers still camping on the beach. But the roads are still bad now. The elecctricity still goes out all the time. It’s maintained its backward charm – its special vibe.

RLL: Can you share a little-known fact about the town? 

Hans: Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen live here a good part of the year. And there is a fairly big expat community of South Americans and Europeans living here, too. [Editor's note: The latter have turned Santa Teresa into a bustling hub for international cuisine. Hans recommends Koji, for what he calls "the best sushi in Costa Rica."]

RLL: From surf lessons to lively nightlife, Santa Teresa could keep us busy for days. (Actually, we’re not sure we’d ever leave.) Do you recommend anything in particular? 

Hans: Take a car along the coast to the north for incredible untouched beaches. Or day-trip up north for horseback riding along beaches and a sustainable farm. (We can arrange this all at the hotel.)

RLL: Speaking of the hotel, what makes Latitude 10 an eco-resort? 

Hans: Multiple things. The size makes a big difference, I’d say. We’re small – just five casitas (or “little bungalows”) that are all open-air. No need for A/C. Then, you can expect all-sustainable practices, as you would at the rest of the Cayuga properties in Costa Rica. Most importantly, though, is our commitment to a local staff and local ingredients for food. It’s truly a unique spot.

Ready to jet off now? Our Travel Hot Spot: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Boutique opens Tuesday, June 25, at 11AM.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

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June 25, 2013