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Mal Pais

Includes Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen, Tambor, and Montezuma

View from Vista de Olas Bungalows

Inside Scoop

Mal Pais is actually three small towns stretched along the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. From north to south they are called Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen, and Mal Pais. The road is not paved for the last 10 kilometers, but at least the dirt is scraped smooth at the beginning of each dry season. The light brown beaches with green hills behind them bring tourists that prefer nature over nightlife. There are a few late night fiestas and it is growing at a suprising pace, so hopefully the iguanas and monkeys won't be moving out anytime soon. For more info on Mal Pais, check out : www.malpais.net and www.malpaisbeach.com.

To find information about Montezuma, go to www.montezumabeach.com

Sunset ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya

Getting There

To drive there over land it would take a good 7 to 8 hours, not all of it on a paved road. To shorten the trip to five hours from the San Jose Airport, you can take the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera, which is a scenic journey in itself. The quickest way is to get cheap flights from San Jose to Tambor on either Sansa or Nature Air, and then arrange a taxi for the final 45 minute ride. (Remember these airlines don't take boards over 7 feet) From Paquera, drive about 20 miles to Cobano, where you’ll follow signs for seven miles to Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. For travel from Liberia airport, our friends at Del Mar Surf Camp shared this easy to follow Google Map.

For busses, there is one that leaves the Coca Cola Bus Terminal in San Jose at 6:00 a.m. and arrives in Mal Pais by 2 p.m. There is also one bus that leaves at 6:00 a.m. from Mal Pais to arrive in San Jose by 2 p.m.

Here is the ferry timetable (effective 2014)

Ferry to the Southern Region:
(Tambor, Montezuma, Malpais, Santa Teresa)
 Puntarenas to Paquera Paquera to Puntarenas

 

valid Nov 2014 until ???

7:00
11:00
15:00
20:00

5:00
9:00
13:00
17:00

 

(Regular schedule:)

5:00
9:00
11:00
14:00
17:00
20:30

5:30
9:00
11:00
14:00
17:00
20:00

Get there at least an hour before the ferry leaves to ensure a place. TB 3 fits about 40 cars, TB 2 fits about 160 cars. When you get there, park in line. Then a guy comes around to each car and gives you a card. You use that card and go to the ticket counter to buy your ticket
(~$11 for car and $1.50 pp)

*** TB 3 will be undergoing repairs starting October 29th, leaving only one ferry running. Be sure to get in line early to secure a space!! ***

Dry season offshore winds all morning

Costa Rica Bulletins - Anuncios

Santa Teresa Surf Contest

Gran final del circuito local de surf 2014 presentada por Denga Surf Shop los dias Sabado 13 y Domingo 14 de Diciembre en la Lora Surf Spot. Inscripciones abiertas apartir del 1ero de Diciembre en Ticasurfbikinis Costa Rica. 6000 colones categorias: open, mujeres, junior, boys, minigromets mujeres y hombres, estrellitas, master y longboard. Ademàs contaremos con la animaciòn de Cesar Vargas Coto, musica en vivo, ventas de comida, y jueces certificados de la I.S.A Se estaràn obsequiando dos tablas custom made para dos ganadores del circuito patrocindadas por denga surf board todos invitadisimos a dos dias llenos de buen surf y ambiente familiar los esperamos.

Del Mar Surf Camp is hosting 2014 get fit camps with Four-Time World Champion, Five-Time Surfer Poll Winner & Certified Instructor - FRIEDA ZAMBA! The Sea Escape Surf Camp takes place in Playa Hermosa (north of Santa Teresa) at Casa Kalafken, a beachfront villa with six rooms, swimming pool, private chef and more. There are 7 day retreats planned for all summer. Find out more.

Check out the Santa Teresa Surf Association's Facebook page. CRsurf.com has helped sponsor two contests in 2012 and two more in 2013.

Anthony Fillingim, local surf pro from Santa Teresa, has a new highlight reel on YouTube filmed by A.Mason

Sunkissedbeachbum.com - A blog dedicated to girl surfers in Santa Teresa. Great photos, bikini reviews, and updates from the Southern Nicoya Peninsula.
IF you want to get in some yoga while in Santa Teresa, visit Wendy's Yoga. Yoga & Surf Retreats, health, and inspiration in Costa Rica

AREA SPECIALS:

* 40% discount on rooms at Rancho Itauna. ($60 with kitchen or $50 w/o) Valid until the end of October.

* GREEN SEASON SPECIAL at Atrapasuenos Resort in Santa Teresa.

3 nights for 2 people for $290, including breakfast and taxes and the opportunity to choose between:

- An ATV rental
- A surf lesson
- A massage
*From June 1st to August 31st.

Conditions apply - EMAIL us for details or to book your stay

One of Santa Teresa's right point breaks

Surf Spots

In Mal Pais, the beach break has a lot of rocks sticking out, especially at low tide, which makes it a little sketchy on some of the drops, but also a hollower wave. There are also a couple of left points at the south end of town. Playa Carmen is a long and wide stretch of open beach where most of the surfers go since it breaks a little bigger there than other spots. There is a powerful shorebreak and when the swell is big can break very far on the outside. It can handle well over double overhead surf, but will mostly closeout on the sets. Farther north in Santa Teresa and some smaller beaches has a series of rocky reefs that break left and break. The reefs need waves overhead or better to work.

Playa Carmen is at the center of Mal Pais, a block to the beach from Franks Place and a few new hotels. If you go straight out the bottom is sand, but at lower tides there are a few boils and rock outcroppings to the north and south so be careful. The wave is best from head high to three feet overhead. It does not usually barrel on the outside sets, just provides a big slopey wall for huge carves. It can break way on the outside so watch for sneaker sets. Best tide is mid going to high tide. Crowds are the worst right in front, but the drift will spread out the pack and you can get fun waves on the inside sections, too.

About a kilometer north of Playa Carmen is Santa Teresa, a stretch of beach mixed with sand and lava rock outcroppings that extend out 100 meters or more into the ocean. So at the right tide these ledges make for some heavy barreling rights and lefts. There is even a peak called Suck Rock because that is what it does. Ask the locals which tide works best or just sit on it and watch from a hammock at one of the many beachside villas. Crowds are light, but the locals will hit it if there is enough swell to make these peaks work. Best size is overhead to two feet overhead.

At the south end of Mal Pais there are a couple of left hand point breaks that only work when it is overhead or bigger. Midtide is the best time to check it. You will have to park on the road and walk to find the break. Just drive slowly and keep one eye peeled for a set. If it is big, the wave can break for 200 meters. 

Surf Camps

Name
Contact
Phone

Location

Certification

Email
506-2640-1001
(US - 805-443-5495)
Santa Teresa
Billabong Camp / CPR

Description: Packages can be customized to suit your needs, desires and level, but most include two surf lessons daily with surf camp experienced and CPR certified instructors. When they have guests that are advanced, they arrange your transportation to secret spots. Four private bungalows with orthopedic mattresses provide a welcome rest. A zen pool area and complete kitchen for guests to cook in make the camp a complete bonding experience.

~ Read our review

E-mail
2640-0541
Playa Hermosa
 
E-mail
407-416-5753
Santa Teresa
E-mail
2640-0031
Mal Pais
E-mail
970-379-9811
Santa Teresa
ADA handicap accessible
E-mail
415-465-2162
Playa Carmen
CPR
E-mail
321-392-3204
Mal Pais
Ocean lifeguard
E-mail
801.453.0297
Playa Carmen
E-mail
1.310.982.7880
Playa Carmen
n/a
E-mail
949-498-7862
Mal Pais
CPR - lifeguard training
E-mail
949-492-7263
Mal Pais
CPR, ocean rescue
E-mail
310-614-0159
Mal Pais
n/a
E-mail
8884-8444
Montezuma
n/a
E-mail
2640-0369
Santa Teresa
Certified Surf Instructor - ISA
E-mail
(506) 8836-5064
Santa Teresa
n/a
E-mail

n/a

Santa Teresa

Hotels

Name
Contact
Phone
Location
Price Range
Email
8359-8633 or US 631-440-6109
Santa Teresa
$75-125
Description: Come and relax in our fully equipped villas just a few steps away from the main strip in Playa Santa Teresa, full of restaurants, local markets and shops! Villas Solar provides a caretaker on the property for your convenience and security. In addition, each Villa comes equipped with a concierge guide to aid you in any needs from quad rentals to private chefs, surf lessons and more. Amenities include: A/C in Bedroom, Queen-size beds, Hot water, Full Kitchen, Wireless Internet, Laptop Sized Safe, and Private Patio.
Email
2640-0272

Santa Teresa

Description: The guesthouse, bar and restaurant is hidden deep in the rainforests in a tranquil setting of the Nicoya Peninsula. Enjoy a refreshing dip in our swimming pool, or take a 3 minute stroll to access some of the most unspoilt beaches in Costa Rica. Every room features quiet balconies with hammocks and private open air bathrooms. All bungalows have a small kitchenette, fridge, safe box and nice furnishings. There are also suites and apartments available for larger groups and families.
Email
2640-0420
Santa Teresa
Description: The hotel offers ten private villas plus eight very comfortable brand new pool view rooms, all with WIFI. The architecture of the units contains elements of Mediterranean style, with lots of lights, spaciousness and comfort. All villas and rooms have their own terrace with garden view, bathroom, hot water and safety box. Other exquisite elements are the teak chairs, the furniture and the deck of all units are made out of precious woods. They differentiate through theme colours, handcrafted aromatic candles, incense and essences, stimulating the senses. Each villa is fully equipped with living-dining room, kitchen, one or two bedrooms and corresponding implements.
Email
2640-0095
Santa Teresa
Description: Located on the beach in Santa Teresa,there are four spacious and very comfortable rooms which accommodate 2 - 4 people each. They all have private bathrooms with hot water, fan and refrigerator. Two of our rooms have a kitchen. We also arrange for you: canopy tours, fishing tours, horse tours, surf lessons and tours, kite surfing, yoga, massage, or Spanish lessons.
Email
506-2640-1001
(US - 805-443-5495)
Santa Teresa
Description: Individual bungalows all have A/C, ceiling fan, hot water, gorgeous , breezy verandas and pillow top mattress'. In each room,we also provide, a safe, rain can shower heads, beautiful furnishings, organic soap and aromatherapy candles. Other amenities include Costa Rican coffee service, daily house keeping, cool sparkling pool, security guard, open air rancho kitchen, internet access, communal direct TV, and access to phone. The outdoor rancho kitchen and communal area has a fully equipped kitchen.
Email
2640-0524
Santa Teresa
Description: The cabins and villas of our hotel are private wooden houses which are dispersed on different levels on the slope above Santa Teresa. There are one and two bedroom oceanview cabins and villas, all with hammock, AC, Hot water shower, Safe box, and WiFi conection. A tranquility pool formed in the shape of a triangle points towards the ocean and two more pools are dispersed on the premises.
Email
2640-0183
Mal Pais
Description: The hotel offers 5 secluded deluxe villas. They are separate standing buildings which are hidden amongst the tropical landscaping. All have extraordinary ocean views, air conditioning, secure parking and a luxurious private outdoor bathroom where you can shower under the stars. They are equipped with a romantic canopy king size bed with orthopedic matrass, minibar, room safe, and cozy nooks to relax. An open air poolside restaurant offers the best BBQ in Mal Pais. For dinner they offer a full variety of fresh seafood and quality meats: T-bone Steaks, Filet Mignon, Baby Back Ribs, Bratwurst and more.
Make a Reservation
2640-0694
Playa Carmen
$35-$110
Make a Reservation
2640-0080
Playa Carmen
$55-240
Make a Reservation
2640-0320
Santa Teresa
$68+
Make a Reservation
2640-0115
Santa Teresa
$80-$160
Make a Reservation
2640-0232
Santa Teresa
$300-$850
Make a Reservation
2643-0379
Playa Carmen
$65-$275
Make a Reservation
2640-0805
Santa Teresa
$12-$40
To recommend your favorite spot, just send us a note.

House Rentals and Villas
Email
US: 530-307-0190 CR: 8363-6733
Santa Teresa
Description: Four luxury units, each with panoramic ocean, surf, and mountain views. Located on a small private hilltop with no neighbors, only a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk up the hill from the white sands of Santa Teresa beach. Each villa has a large bathroom with hot water shower, a fully equipped kitchen, a/c, ceiling fans, wifi capability, breathtaking ocean views, and lots of privacy and space.
Email
US: 404-428-7776
Santa Teresa
$$$
Email
n/a
Santa Teresa

$160/nt or $1000/wk

Recommended Tours

Name
Contact
Phone
Fax
Eco Tours Montezuma
2642-0467
n/a
Free Willy Tours
n/a
2821-7357
857-4857
Turismo Curu
2641-0004
n/a

Surf Shops

Name
Contact
Phone
Rentals
Lessons
2640-0627
y
y
Denga Surf Shop
2640-0458
y
n
Eclipse Surf Shop
E-mail
2642-0489
y

y

Mal Pais Surf Shop
E-mail
2640-0173
y
y

Restaurants

Name
Location
Phone
Food Category
Price
Ambrosia
North Santa Teresa
2640-0918
International Cuisine - Casual
$10-20
Artemis Cafe
Playa Carmen Mall
26400579
Mediterranean Cafe & Bar / Live Music
$10-20
Brisas del Mar
Playa Carmen hills
2640-0941
International Cuisine, local fish
$20-30+
Beija Flor
Mal Pais
2640-1007
Seafood & Black Angus Beef, Organic
$20-30+
Casa Zen
Santa Teresa
2640-0523
Thai Cuisine
$10-20
El Pulpo
Santa Teresa
Italian Food and delicious Pizza
$10-20
The Fish Stop
Playa Carmen
Fish n Chips, Wings, Fries
<$10
Kika Restaurant
Santa Teresa
Argentinean Dishes / Live Music
$20
Mal Pais Surf Camp
Mal Pais
2640-0031
American, Seafood, Surf Videos, Pool Tables
$10-20
Mary's
Mal Pais, main intersection
2640-0153
International, Brick Oven Pizza, Fresh fish
<$20
Nectar
Florblanca Hotel, Santa Teresa
2640-0232
International Cuisine, Reservations recommended
$20-30+
Papaya Lounge
Moana Lodge, Mal Pais
2640-0230
Breakfast and Dinner, International Cuisine
$10-20
Pasta Basta
Playa Carmen
2640-0935
Italian Mediterranean Cuisine, Home made desserts
$10-20
Piedra Mar
Playa Carmen hills
2640-0069
Costa Rican food - casados, pescado
<$10
Pranamar
North Santa Teresa
2640-0852
International Cuisine
$20-30+
Product C
Playa Carmen Mall
2640-1026
Fresh Fish, Crab cakes, ceviche
<$10
Ranchos Itauna
Santa Teresa
2640-0095
Brazilian and International dishes, Mexican on Mon & Fri
$10-20
Ritmo Tropical
Mal Pais
2640-0174
Italian and Pizza
$10-20
Vista de Olas
Mal Pais hills
2640-0183
Fresh steaks, fish, and chicken BBQ, best sunsets
<$20
Zula Restaurant
Santa Teresa
2640-0614
Mediterranean Israeli food, healthy smooties
$5-15

Latest Report and Forecast

Mal Pais Surf Cam - Daily Costa Rica Surfing Video

 

LOCATION AREA WAVE HEIGHTS AND CONDITIONS BEST PLACE TO SURF THIS WEEKEND NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Santa Teresa

Mal Pais Surf Cam

5/22 - This morning at 7 am waves were knee to waist high with an occasionally chest high set. Light off shore wind and sunny clear skies. A bit more size than yesterday. Fun small waves.   Keep checking, after Easter our private 1 bedroom house will be available and in the upcoming months more options will be available.

 

Sunrise at Casa Cecilia in Santa Teresa


 


 

 

CR Surf Travel Co. is an independent agent of Dugan's Travels, which is certified by CLIA, IATAN, and Vacation.com. California Registered Seller 2054922-40 / Washington Registered Seller 602327942 / Fla. Seller of Travel Ref No. ST35992. Please refer to our travel policy page for all information on our travel services.

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