Mal Pais / Santa Teresa

From the moment you arrive in the Mal País/Santa Teresa area, you’ll know that you’ve discovered a very special place known for its rugged jungle beauty, unforgettable sunsets, and especially its epic surf. The area has also become known as a hot spot for amazing cuisine in Costa Rica, since many excellent chefs have moved here from different parts of the world. The Mal País area has beautiful beaches that you can often find almost deserted, many beautiful waterfall hikes, and secret surf spots where you can have great waves all to yourself.


General Info


Legendary surf breaks and broad stretches of rugged coastline have made Mal País and Santa Teresa one of the country’s most coveted surfing destinations. A large number of North Americans, Israelis and Argentineans have settled here, mingling with the Costa Rican culture and giving the town a cosmopolitan flair.

Mal País has become an all-encompassing term for both Mal Pais and its sister village, Santa Teresa. In fact, they are so closely linked that the two are rapidly becoming one, although Santa Teresa remains the more developed of the two. Both beach towns are parallel to the shore, which stretches along a single rocky road.  The area offers little in terms of local transportation, but luckily, most attractions are within walking distance. Because taxis are rare and the road is dusty, many visitors opt for getting around town on rented bicycles or all-terrain vehicles.

A selection of international cuisine lends Santa Teresa and Mal País its esteemed culinary reputation

Santa Teresa Mal Pais Beach Costa Rica

It is possible to indulge in typical Costa Rican, Israeli, and Japanese food all in the same day. A myriad of dishes reflect how North American, European, Middle Eastern, and Central American cultures have converged to create a unique vibe. Most of the popular restaurants and bars are located in the Santa Teresa section of town.

Facilities such as banks, gas stations, post office, and Internet and medical facilities like a pharmacy and a clinic are available in Mal País.

Domestic airlines make the half-hour flight from San Jose to Tambor.

Ground trip is around a 1 ½ hour drive to Paquera, Puntarenas, where you will board a ferry to Tambor, and then an hour-long drive will take you to Mal País and Santa Teresa.


Eco Adventure


Nature reserves and wildlife refuges such as Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve protect wildlife in the area. The reserve is packed with verdant trails, and is home to white-faced and howler monkeys, anteaters, Baird tapirs, raccoons, and various birds, including the bare-throated tiger heron. Over 39 species of bats also inhabit the reserve. One short trail and one incredibly long path to the beach will be sure to challenge even the most-experienced hikers.

The Curu Wildlife Refuge, one of Costa Rica’s most amazing wildlife refuges, is situated just 15 minutes west of the Paquera ferry and about one hour and 15 minutes east of the Mal País/Santa Teresa intersection. The park features 17 peaceful trails crossing over a variety of ecosystems, including mangrove swamps and tropical wet and dry forest.

Santa Teresa Mal Pais Green Frog


Things to do


Surfing for both experienced and beginner surfers from near and far come to enjoy the variety of waves in beaches such as Mal País, El Carmen, Santa Teresa, Hermosa and Manzanillo. A variety of talented surf schools offer private and group lessons.

Canopy Tour, Kite Surfing, ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) Adventures, Bird and Wildlife Watching, Horseback Riding, Yoga, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling are some of the activities you can enjoy.


Let us be your guide to this amazing destination.

Contact us now and enjoy a memorable vacation in an eco-friendly way!


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