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Mal Pais, Costa Rica

Mal Pais / Santa Theresa

One will discover that the untouched beauty of Mal Pais/Santa Teresa balances the harmony between culture and nature exemplified by its growing popularity. Families, couples, adventurers, celebrities, and surfers alike are all drawn to this distinctive destination.

Mal Pais and Santa Teresa  sort of blend together as one. There is only one main road that runs along the coast.

This idyllic spot is one in a million with its combination of white sand beaches  fringed  by miles with palm trees and continuous waves with breakers coming from right and left year – round. At lower tide you can relax in numerous tidal pools, snorkel and swim in calm waters.

It is easy to see why these beaches were named the “Top Ten Most Pristine Beaches in the World” by Forbes magazine. It has earned the prestigious “Bandera Azul” (Blue Flag) ranking which is awarded to clean, ecologically friendly areas by the government.



All these activities you can book upon making your reservation with us or at your arrival at the hotel

Beaches (from south to north)

PLAYA SUECA (good for kids) Just at the entrance of Cabo Blanco on the Mal Pais side, there is a beach sign on your right, which leads you to a little beach called Playa Sueca which at low tide (no waves) is great for swimming and snorkeling. It is called the Swedish beach, because many years ago two ladies from Sweden bought the beach and fulfilled their dream of living like Robinson Crusoe. They moved away but the name still remained. Plunge into the water on your right where the big rock is. Sometimes you are lucky and you will have the entire beach to your own. Let your transportation on the small parking lot but do not let anything valuable inside to avoid the visit of thieves.

PLAYA MAL PAIS is really nice to make some long walks and naps. It is a really rocky beach, so it is not the best for a swim. The point break of Mar Azul is a left one. It is only recommended for expert surfer.

NATURAL POOLS IN MAL PAIS (good for kids) 1 miles south from The Place, you will find 2 natural swimming pools accessible at low tide that are perfect to relax with children

PLAYA CARMEN is one of the favorite surf spots in Mal Pais, just 250 meters in walking distance from the hotel. This beach break is perfect for beginners and intermediary surfers. It is also a nice beach to swim but be careful with the waves.

PLAYA SANTA TERESA like playa Carmen it is a good surf spot but for expert surfers only.

PLAYA HERMOSA which means beautiful in Spanish, is one of the nicest beaches in the area and also a really nice surf spot for beginners and intermediary surfers. It is 4 miles from The Place.

PLAYA MANZANILLO ( good for kids) because of its U shape, it has almost no waves. It is a perfect beach to go with kids.

PLAYA LOS CEDROS near Cabuya is a left point break. When there are no waves on our side of the end of the peninsula, you will find nice waves there.

RIO LAJA near Cabuya close from playa los cedros, this point break is a right one.


Mal Pais, Santa Teresa is world famous surf destination. Every year we have some international and national competitions. So if you want to learn surfing or improve your technics, it is the perfect place to do it. The surf is better in the morning and it is not too hot. The best for beginners would be to surf at low tide.

If you need a board, a surf lesson or even a kite surf lesson, ask at our front desk and we will be happy to organize it for you. Our surf instructor is teaching here since 10 years and speaks French, English and Spanish. The 2 hours lesson includes 20 minutes theory on the beach (for beginners) followed by 1 hour 40 minutes practice. The lessons are given regarding the tide schedule.

If you need more information about the different surf conditions and beaches, you can contact or surf instructor, which would explain you where to go according to your surf abilities.

Stand up paddle boarding

A fun way to cruse the shores with a guide or take a lesson.


Fishing is another activity worth doing in Mal Pais. Even if you're not a Pro you usually catch a fish. The most common fish one can expect to catch are mahi-mahi, yellow-fin tuna, rooster fish,  mackerel and rainbow runners. Depending on the season, you will see dolphins, whales, manta rays and turtles.

The tours are early in the morning or late afternoons.

Horse Tour

The 2 hours trip starts from Mal Pais going up to the hills. From there you will see beautiful landscapes and ocean views. The tour finishes on the beach. The horses are in good shape and can be used by beginners or more experimented riders. The tour usually starts at 9AM and 3 PM. Wear some long pants and running shoes.

Canopy tours

For sure you heard about it in Costa Rica. Just next to the harbor in Mal Pais or close by the village of Montezuma. There, the trained staff will give you a small training on the bottom before. After that, you will have one or two short runs before u go on the long ride. It is a great feeling sweeping over the tree tops.

The Montezuma canopy has the advantage of stopping at the waterfalls during the trip. You will arrive directly to the second waterfall and enjoy a swim.

Snorkelling and Diving in Isla Tortuga

This tour starts in Montezuma at 9 AM. The boat trip to get to isla Tortuga takes 45 minutes. You will enjoy the view on the coast and you will maybe see some animals like dophins, manta raie etc.

Once close from Isla Tortuga you will go on 2 different spots to do the snorkeling or the diving. Tones of tropical fishes are always there and even sometimes some nurse sharks (do not stress, they eat plants). After 2 hours you will go on the Island for a lunch (chicken or fish, vegetables and some potatoes, fruits, soft drinks and beers).You will also met Philomena, the domesticated wild pig.  Then,  enjoy a nap, some kayak or volleyball. You will also find a souvenir shop. Around 4 PM you will be back in Montezuma.

For the diving, you will need your license or at least the license number. Price depends on how many dives you want to do, so ask more information at the front desk.

Quad rentals

Is the most fun and easy way to get a round.  It will give you the opportunity to plunge into adventure and stop where ever you want! To rent a quad you will need your passport,  driver’s license and a credit card. The quad will be delivered to hotel.


If you need some relaxing massage, muscular massage, deep tissue or more specific massages, we will be glad to call our massage therapist. She will do it or in your bungalow or in the rancho.

Butterfly Garden in Montezuma

5 minutes car drive from the center of Montezuma is the butterfly garden. If you want to learn the different steps to become a butterfly , how they live and see the differences between them; it is the perfect place to go.

Yacht Tour

Follow the coast from the fishermen harbor in Mal Pais to playa Hermosa in an 8 person yacht. During a couple of hours, relax watching the animals and the beautiful landscapes. You can choose to share the boat with other person or rent it just for you, your family and friends. Ask for the prices at the front desk.

National Park Curu

50 min.from Mal Pais heading back to the ferry. Curu is another ecological gem offering excellent bird and wildlife watching opportunities. It has a good network of trails, sand beaches fringed by palm trees, rocky headlands, and tide pools. This park offers daily admission or visitors can stay the night in a cabin and wake up in the jungle.

Cabo Blanco Nature Preserve

The Cabo Blanco Nature Preserve touches mal Pais to the south. Even though the official entrance is in Cabuya, on the other side of the end of the peninsula. Once in the park, you will have 2 options: the 45 minutes loop trail and the 1 hour 45 minutes one way trail to a beautiful beach. At the beach you will find shower and drinkable spring water.

In that luxurious vegetation; you will have the opportunity to see howler monkeys and white face monkeys, coatis, raccoons, birds, deer and much more.

The park is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Open from 8AM to 4PM. Running shoes or equivalent are recommended.

Montezuma Waterfalls

To get there, you will leave from the parking lot close from the center of Montezuma, and follow the trail, cross a small river and get to the 1st waterfall where you can already swim. From there another small trail reach the second and the third waterfall. Wear water shoes or running shoes.

Cabuya  Island

In front of the village of Cabuya, is an island with an old cemetery. You can reach it a low tide only. The view to the coast is beautiful.


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