For our honeymoon, my wife and I picked Villas Hermosas over going to Fiji because we heard the service was amazing, we were totally psyched for surfing lessons, and we didn't want to waste an entire day flying... We had an absolute blast! Brad and Tara treat you like king/queens and family at the same time. They make themselves available 24/7 and drop everything they are doing to help you. If you want to order pizza, but don’t speak Spanish, they will recommend the best place to you and call in the order themselves. They setup all of our excursions and gave us detailed directions to each place around the peninsula (scenic tour versus normal route). INCREDIBLE SERVICE!
The family is super helpful and nice, and even make whatever you want for breakfast each morning – including excellent omelettes and fresh exotic fruits. Tara was so kind to give us one of the family villas (which was huge and very up to date) for the honeymoon price since we were on our honeymoon, but the honeymoon villa was already booked.
The grounds are very clean and the staff is always sweeping, raking and keeping it looking beautiful. They are all extremely nice and welcoming as well. Now I don’t think the cleaning ladies were supposed to do this, but they even did our dishes on a few occasions. We felt so bad and told them that they didn’t have to do all of that.
It was cool to see iguanas, howler monkeys (which sound like huge gorillas!), frogs, and baby crabs everywhere.... It was awesome having a beach pretty much to ourselves. But the beach was pretty rocky in parts. Brad explained that during the green season (US Summer), it rains so much that the rivers dump large amounts of rocks and debris into the ocean, which ends up on the beach. Apparently during the peak season (~January/February) the beaches are beautiful/sandy. Either way, VH had the BEST view from the resort on the whole stretch of beach. I know this because we walked the entire Hermosas/Santa Teresa Beach the first night.
It was sad to see families/couples leave throughout the week, but then a day later you’d have new friends to meet. It was like one big, happy family!
Things you must do:
1. Zipline Tour and Waterfall jumping in Montezuma. What a rush!
2. Brad setup surfing lessons for us just a 5-minute walk north of the resort.
3. Brad’s 3-hr ATV Tour on the beach and through several towns in the peninsula was a blast!
4. RainSong Animal Sanctuary ($5 donation)... Ever had baby monkeys climb on your head? And you get to meet Tarzan the one-armed adorable monkey!
5. Curu for kayaking and a howling monkey nature tour – a deer even walked up to our car at one point (apparently they love popcorn!)
6. We had a private 5-star chef cook us a 4-course meal that was absolutely incredible! I highly recommend this if you are on your honeymoon.
7. They supplied us with free snorkeling gear for the tidal pools that form during low tide. Brad/Tara have a tidal chart setup so you can always see when the best time would be each day to snorkel, surf, swim, or just walk the beach.
Best Restaurants (all open-air so you can enjoy the view):
1. The Papaya Lounge & Restaurant (Mal Pais) - Best overhead view of the beach/sunset, awesome food!
2. Ambrosia (Santa Teresa) – Best/biggest burger I have EVER eaten!
3. FloraBlanca (Santa Teresa) - Excellent Filet Mignon and local Sea Bass
4. Dayka (on Brad's ATV tour) - Awesome overhead view of the jungle, it's authentic Costa Rican food, they have a pool, and the fries are yummy!
5. El Sano Banano (Montezuma) - Just two words: Coffee & Bailey's!
6. Cafe Organico (Montezuma) - All organic ice cream, including Dragonfruit ice cream that you have to try!
Notes to know about Costa Rica before going:
1. You have to be cool about ants and bugs. Just about every store, restaurant, or building had bugs walking around. They aren’t in your food or anything, but it is just normal around there. You will probably have several bug bites by the end of the trip, but this is typical going to any country that is not very well developed. I hate ants but they surprisingly didn't bother me much. It was a blast regardless!
2. Santa Teresa/Mal Pais are technically “tourist” towns with several restaurants that charge in both Colones and US Dollars. For this reason, you don’t need to trade in your currency, as USD are very well accepted everywhere. Many of the waiters and waitresses also speak English.
3. The plumbing isn’t the best… You will just have to get used to putting all toilet paper in the trashcan next to the toilet, instead of in it. It is like that throughout the country. At least the VH staff cleans out all of the trashcans every morning!
4. *Take the commuter flight from San Jose to Tambor! This will save you about 5 hours of driving from San Jose to VH. You can book this small airplane flight for ~$90 through either Sansa or Nature Air (*Sansa tends to cancel flights when it rains however).
5. Driving on the roads is an adventure. Most of the roads are not paved and have huge hills. A 10-minute rain can turn into a huge mudslide. Driving at night is also scary since there are no reflectors in the small towns, no lines on the roads, and several bridges don't have railing...
I highly recommend getting a manual 4-wheel drive vehicle from Budget.com. ***But make sure you reserve one on the US website and NOT the Costa Rican website. We got ours for only $123 for 7 days versus people we met that spent 5 times as much on the CR website. Others also spent up to $1000 on an ATV for the week. ATV's are nice until you have to drive far or drive in the rain.
6. The mixed drinks are excellent... The beer has a looong way to go.
7. Football fans: One of Tom Brady’s houses is about a mile or two north of the resort. It’s a huge gray mansion off of the beach.
*If you have any questions about Villas Hermosas or the area feel free to send me a message. This was my first time out of the US and now I think I'm spoiled after going to Villas Hermosas. The only question is, when can we go back?!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The distinctive beachfront hotel, Villas Hermosas, is located in Playa Hermosa of Mal Pais on the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica. Please come and share with them their playful surf, thriving jungle, empty beaches, tropical gardens, and inviting swimming pool, while enjoying all the comforts of home! With only four villas, they offer a uniquely intimate experience. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Villas Hermosas Hotel Santa Teresa
- Hermosas Hotel Santa Teresa
- Villas Hermosas Costa Rica/Santa Teresa