20 Things To Know About Santa Teresa Costa Rica Nightlife

Santa Teresa has a decent amount of nightlife, but it’s mostly about big beach bonfires or live music at calm bars like La Lora. But in Santa Teresa, there is always something going on almost every night of the week; you just have to ask the right people. 

If you’re new to Santa Teresa, it may seem as though there’s nothing to do when the sun goes down here. I recently concluded a trip to Jacó—Costa Rica’s party central—and was overwhelmed by the lively beach clubs there, especially Le Loft or Orange Pub.

In Santa Teresa, things are a little laidback and not energetic. The easiest way to tell where the party is is to ask your hostel staff, or just take a peek at the road. You’ll probably see hoards of people all walking in one direction, and chances are that’s where the party is. 

But that’s not good enough. In this article, you will learn all you need to know about enjoying the night at Santa Teresa. I’ll walk you through the best clubs currently in town, the best spots to enjoy live music and salsa dancing, and even some safety precautions for moving around at night. 

Key Takeaways

  • Santa Teresa isn’t the best nightlife destination in Costa Rica. But if you find yourself in town and want to do something energetic when the sun goes down, there are just a few places to go. 
  • Fun things you can do at night in Santa Teresa include live music at the disco La Lora, partying hard on the beach at Banana Beach, and a and a sunset cocktail party at Playa Carmen or Selina
  • Remember safety precautions when moving around at night. Petty theft is common in Santa Teresa. It’s also unsafe to walk alone around the beach at night. 

To have the best nightlife experience, I firmly believe that the following essential information can put you in the right direction:. 

1. Santa Teresa isn’t mainly a nightlife destination.

Don’t get me wrong. You’ll find numerous excellent restaurants, cute shops, and lively nightlife spots offering something fun to do every night of the week.

But the first thing you need to know about Santa Teresa’s nightlife is that it isn’t as energetic as a few other towns in Costa Rica. 

For example, if you’ve visited places like Tamarindo or Jaco, you’d figure that the fun and challenging night parties never end. So, it would help to lower your expectations a bit once you’re in Santa Teresa. 

The locals give the body language, “You can party anywhere in the world, but it would be great if you came here to appreciate nature, enjoy the vibes, and relax on the beach.”

2. You have to walk around to find out the best nightlight spot for that day.

In Santa Teresa, there’s usually something happening every night. 

The nightlife isn’t lacking; it’s just spread out over a few kilometers, with some places tucked away from the main roads.

You may have to walk around to find the best spot where the show goes down for that night. 

Pro Tip:

  • If you want to find out where the party is, just ask the staff at your hostel or look around.

Look out for flyers and ask locals for tips. During peak season, you might catch fire shows, street performers, drummers, and dancers at hotels or restaurants

If you’ve heard people say there wasn’t much going on at night in Santa Teresa, it could be because they visited during the quieter season.

3. There’s not much variety.

Another thing to know is that there’s not much variety of things to do in Santa Teresa when it gets dark. 

The typical recommendations from locals do not usually go beyond beach bonfire parties, live music, and an excellent happy hour.

Even the bars or establishments that offer this entertainment are few. In most review sites, you only hear about Kika, La Lora, Banana Beach, and Hotel Vista Las Olas, among a few others. Of course, there are others, but they are not as popular as the main ones. 

So, the variety isn’t wide enough to capture different people’s preferences on where they choose to go or what they choose to do. This is unlike places like Jaco, where there is an avalanche of nightclubs, craft beer, beach bars, lounges, casinos, and many more. 

So again, lower your expectations a little. 

4. Bars are saturated around Largo dos Guimares.

If you’re asking what part of Santa Teresa has the best nightlife, it’s hard to tell because each night comes with different things at different spots. 

However, the bar scene’s focal point resides around Largo dos Guimares and the descending slopes towards downtown.

However, it’s better to steer clear of dimly lit alleys and instead opt for well-lit commercial areas and bustling shops for safety reasons.

Santa Teresa stands as a peaceful spot, yet its nightlife doesn’t match the liveliness of other districts. 

The maze-like alleys and petite streets make solo night outings look like a bad idea. 

5. Where is the Jungle Party in Santa Teresa?

Jungle raves, also known as jungle parties in Santa Teresa, are outdoor dance events held in natural settings such as forests or beaches. 

When visitors come to ST, this party theme is one of the things many of them look forward to. 

In Santa Teresa, Banana Beach usually has live music during sunset. They’re also hosting a surfing contest on Monday nights. 

Pro Tip:

  • On Instagram, I recently came across @junglepriductions.cr. They seem to be putting together fabulous jungle rave parties in Santa Teresa.

Another nice Instagram account, tasty_cr, shares about fun things happening in Tamarindo. Chiquita’s is a great place to have fun.

In these Jungle rave parties, you’ll be dancing to electronic music amidst the beauty of nature, with vibrant lights and a fun atmosphere. 

People come together to enjoy music, dance, and connect.

6. Head to La Lora Amarilla for live music. 

Just a short walk from Kika, La Lora Amarilla’s disco bar is open late and offers the best dive bar experience in town. 

It’s located in Puntarenas Province, San Isidro, Santa Teresa, 60111, Costa Rica. It’s a local dance hall. It gets hot on Saturday nights with live Costa Rican bands playing salsa and merengue music.

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, you can enjoy reggae, trance, live music, and DJs in this indoor music scene. 

It is the location to continue the celebration if you are not yet prepared to end the evening.

7. Clubs in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

There are several clubs in Santa Teresa where you can enjoy yourself.

  • Playa Carmen: Playa Carmen Beach is home to the upscale restaurant known as Playa Carmen. It serves French food and throws big parties with loud music on weekends. DJs from around the world play electronic music, and people dance under the palm trees until early morning.
  • The Drift Bar is located nearby. It’s a vegetarian restaurant and bar that makes excellent cocktails with fresh fruits. It’s in a casual, relaxed location next to an art gallery.
  • Banana Beach: On the same beach, there’s Banana Beach, another popular spot. While watching the surfers, you can drink craft beers or cocktails. They frequently hold bikini contests or surf competitions.
  • Ranchos Itauna is a Brazilian-style restaurant and lounge popular for watching sunsets and partying. They have famous full-moon parties and electronic music nights by the beach.
  • Tipsy is a fancy wine bar where the cultured crowd hangs out. On Thursday nights, when they have live music, it’s busiest.
  • People who love rock and reggae head to Kika on Thursday nights. It’s wild and fun for everyone, and everyone dances to the music.

8. A full moon party also happens in Santa Teresa.

The glorified Full Moon party doesn’t just happen in Jaco alone. You may be lucky to receive flyers about these theme parties as you walk down Santa Teresa’s streets. 

You could go there to enjoy music and adventure. It usually happens in the jungle, with awesome beats of house and techno-house music pumping up the excitement!

You can keep your eyes peeled here for tickets to shows like this around Santa Teresa. 

9. Is Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, safe at night?

Santa Teresa is generally a safe town. Just remember some essential safety tips, especially if you move at night. 

  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Stay away from the beach after dark if you’re by yourself (this goes for all of Costa Rica). 
  • Keep an eye on your belongings! It’s a good idea to use a bag that’s hard for pickpockets to get into.

The theft of small items is the most common crime, so don’t leave your valuables unattended, especially on Banana Beach.

A bar in another beach town in Guanacaste stole one of my friends’ phones.

And it’s better not to bring expensive jewelry or electronics to nighttime activities unless you really need them.

10. Salsa dancing in Santa Teresa is challenging to find.

If you’re interested in an evening of salsa dancing in Santa Teresa, it may be challenging to find one. You’d just have to follow the crowd and the vibe because most bars or restaurants switch music throughout the night.

However, some of these bars are not meant for social dancing but for partying.

The good news is that if you manage to stay in any Selina hostels, they usually offer classes every week on either Wednesday or Thursday.

You should try to contact them and double-check. These classes are open to everyone, and sometimes people stick around to dance afterward. However, the turnout for dancing can vary depending on which location you go to.

Traveling to Salsa 54 in San Jose can be worthwhile if you have the time and are truly committed to the activity. They offer music for salsa dancing (only on Friday and Saturday nights; otherwise, it’s empty), but mostly in a family environment. 

Other places you can check out for this activity include:

Basically, looking on Facebook and Instagram, especially for schools, is your best bet.

11. There’s a lot more to the famous Banana Beach.

Banana is always a fantastic place to visit. It’s located at Villa Bonita Drive, Santa Teresa, 60111, Costa Rica. Whether you’re stopping by for a chill day, catching the sunset, or enjoying dinner, it’s fantastic. You can relax on hammocks, swings, or lounge chairs right by the beach. 

The food and drinks are top-notch, and they often have a live DJ and surf show. Plus, they offer two drinks for $12 during the week, which is pretty strong. The coconut calamari and corn chips with guacamole are must-tries.

It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, with a DJ on both evenings and a fantastic bonfire show one night. 

They even rent surfboards, all soft-top ones, at least on the first day. It’s definitely worth checking out for a fantastic nightlife experience. 

12. Beach bonfires are popular in Santa Teresa.

Beach bonfires are a popular gathering in this town. However, it’s easier to find when you focus on clubs that have beachfronts. For example, you can keep your eyes peeled on Banana Beach. 

However, before and during the infamous pandemic, bonfires became illegal on the beach, and the rules were enforced. Too many baby turtles were frying before they could reach the ocean, prompting the enforcement of these rules.

But with more environmental measures in place, certain beachfront bars still host bonfire parties, and it won’t be hard to find them because the town itself is a beach town. 

13. Playa Carmen is the best place for a sunset cocktail party experience.

Playa Carmen is just a short walk from the busy southern end of town. 

It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing and catching breathtaking sunsets in Santa Teresa. 

Due to its central location, the beach can become crowded, but it is spacious and has a lovely jungle palm backdrop.

If you find a bar at the beach in this area, the cocktail will be fire, I can assure you!

14. Safety at night in Santa Teresa

At night, it gets really dark by the beach because there aren’t many places to stay or eat nearby, so not many people are around. It’s not a good idea to hang out there alone.

But during our visit, we always felt safe. The city is busy, and there’s just one main road, so you won’t end up in shady places. 

Also, the police are frequently in busy areas to make sure everything’s okay.

The main concern is minor theft, so make sure to keep your valuables with you, whether you’re riding your ATV or relaxing on the beach.

15. Your Instagram comes in handy for nightlife updates around town.

If you’re looking for updates on nightlife in town, your Instagram account is a valuable resource.

For events and activities, Instagram is the go-to place for finding out what’s happening around town. 

Whether it’s a sound healing session, cacao ceremony, surf competition, or jungle party, you’ll often find these updates faster on Instagram than on any local business website. 

Pro Tip:

  • For the most recent updates, I found the following accounts helpful: @nautilussantateresa, @bananabeach1, and @zunya.

16. Touristy activities suitable for night 

Apart from the bars, beach bonfires, and restaurants’ night music, you can consider other touristy activities suitable for the night. 

For example, the Olingo Surf and Nature Experiences are beautiful experiences. 

The tour has an outstanding morning hike through the Curu Refuge. The guide’s knowledge of the local plants, trees, and animals is unbelievable. 

You may even spot a crocodile, an armadillo, two types of monkeys, deer, many different birds, reptiles, and butterflies. 

However, the tour also includes a night hike. 

17. Night bars, happy hour

Drinks in Santa Teresa can be expensive, but there’s a trick: happy hour! 

Lots of places in Santa Teresa have happy hour specials. 

Selina Norte is one of my favorite places for happy hour. They also have a nice outdoor seating area.

18. The issue of prostitution during nightlife

Prostitution makes certain fun places unsafe during the nighttime. This makes it hard to find a good spot. 

To me, a good night out means lively spots with restaurants, bars, and maybe night markets, all in a safe area. 

This is also why many visitors have negative reviews of Tamarindo. There are more excellent places in Costa Rica with less prostitution. Tamarindo and Jaco are more developed, attracting more prostitutes.

No hard feelings, but you just deserve to know what to expect in some of these local clubs. 

19. It is tough to find a taxi late at night.

In Santa Teresa/Playa Carmen, there are bars and nightlife, but you have to know where to go during the day before it gets dark. 

It’s tough to find a taxi late at night, so it’s not safe to walk around. Plan. 

Ask locals about the best party nights when you arrive. You can even check the forum for suggestions.

I’ve shared some nightlife spots in past articles, but sometimes events get canceled at the last minute because of technical issues, so be prepared for changes.

20. For the best cocktails at sunset, visit Selina. 

You may be surprised by the number of people who head straight to Selina’s after sunset for a cocktail happy hour and the relaxed vibe by the pool.

Selina’s is a well-known chain of hostels. It’s not just in a great spot, but they’ve really got the look and feel right. It’s an excellent place to hang out and make new friends.

Oh, and here’s a tip: If you need good WiFi in Santa Teresa, this is the spot to be. Digital nomads, take note.

Wrapping Up

Is Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, a place for big parties? Not entirely. 

But you can enjoy chill beach parties and bonfires.

Overall, I’d recommend Banana Beach in a heartbeat for anything nightlife-related in Santa Teresa. 

It’s fantastic with its beachside location, comfy couches and chairs, and live music by DJs or bands every evening until sunset. And their cocktails? Delicious!

I wish you a fun night out in town.

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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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