When we visited Santa Teresa in March 2020, we rented a quad-bike to explore the environment. We enjoyed it so much that we want to share with you the route that we took and the stops we made along the way.
So, it was actually to celebrate Marco's 33st birthday that we rented a quad-bike and to tour around the hidden beaches and other interesting sights that this region has to offer. We started the day off at around 9:30AM from our hostel in down town Santa Teresa. A local had explained us a bit which route to take and where to stop: we were ready for the adventure!
In the image below, you can check out the road we followed. From Santa Teresa, we took the road south towards Mal País. Once in Mal País, you take a left to get on the 'Mal País to Cabuya Road'. It is a very enjoyable stretch of road to ride with the quad-bike, since it's unpaved and it winds up and down hill through the green landscape.
Biggest Strangler Fig Tree of Costa Rica
At a certain point, you'll see a huge tree on the side of the road. Supposedly this is the biggest Strangler Fig Tree of Costa Rica. It stand 40 metres tall and it has a diameter of 21,5 meters. You can get down the quad-bike to check out the inside of this impressive example. We were lucky enough to spot a few small bats that had found a perfect spot on the tree trunk to rest during daytime.
Strangler Fig Trees basically wrap their roots around a host tree. They often seeds in the canopy of their host and it's roots slowly grow downwards, until they touch the forest floor, covering the host tree from sunlight and 'strangling' it in the process. In the end, the host tree dies, leaving the Strangler Fig tree behind with a hollow space. on the inside. Sometimes it's even possible to climb all the way up inside this the Strangler Fig Tree. In Monteverde, Costa Rica, you can find a few trees just like that! It's worthwhile to give it a try.
Walk to the cemetery of Cabuya on an island
Next stop was Isla Cabuya. During low tide, it's possible to walk from the shore all the way to this island. The rock formations in front of the island, have photogenic shapes and we encountered some interesting birds (like a Tiger Heron). On the island, there is a small cemetery with tombs located on the island. We really enjoyed the view on the South side of the island. It is a quick stop and a unique sight to pay a quick visit to. The hike is fairly easy (about 400 metres to reach the island).
Further along the way, we stopped by some hidden beaches, enjoyed the scenery and took in the gentle sea breeze. We recommend to go to Playa Cuevas for snorkelling and to visit Playa Los Cerdos for some very photogenic stretches. This was really the biggest advantage of renting a quad-bike: we came to Santa Teresa by bus, so we didn't have our own vehicle to go around with. The quad-bike gave us the freedom to explore the surroundings without booking an additional tour. We could just basically go wherever we wanted to go and explore some more remote places and beaches that we wouldn't have been able to reach by foot or by public transport.
Another highlight of our quad-adventure was our visit to the Montezuma waterfall. So, we parked our quad-bike at the entry of the waterfall (you'll spot it along the way on the left hand side of the road) and we started hiking. In the beginning, the hike is not too challenging. Following the path, you'll get to the first of the three waterfalls where some local 'locos' :-) might be jumping down, and it's big leap! Walking a bit further along the path, you'll get to a point where it's getting all a lot steeper. Sometimes you'll have to help yourself, clinging on to the ropes that were put up to provide some support. Finally, you'll get to a precious water hole with a smaller waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim and where you can be amazed by the locals jumping down the steep rocks of the second waterfall... It's a great way to spend the afternoon. Next up, to rest a bit after the hike down, we strolled around Montezuma Town, with it's artists selling their handcraft the and we had a late lunch.
It was already almost sunset time, so we decided to 'hurry' back towards Santa Teresa town to watch the sunset from Playa Hermosa, just north of Santa Teresa.
Honestly, normally we search for more budget friendly activities to do during our holidays (yes we normally do holidays on that 'backpackers budget')... but we must admit that it has been a wonderful day and that we enjoyed it to the fullest. Renting the quad-bike gave us the opportunity to go basically anywhere we wanted to go and it's just such a great feeling to 'open the gas handle' and to cross around on the dirt road around 'Santa Tere'.
For several reasons we would recommend you to rent your quad-bike with another company than ViWolf (located in down town Santa Teresa). Although we really enjoyed our day of quad-biking around, our experiences with this company are bad.
It's not worth it to book a tour with a guide to go around the area. It's so much fun to explore the area by yourself, because you can stop everywhere you want and stay as long as you want in every place. The guided tours will take you exactly to the places where we went as well: they are all open to the public. Take some snacks, drinks, swim shorts and a good mood: that's all you need to enjoy your day to the fullest!