Malpais, Costa Rica
Mal Pais is located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, which juts far into the Pacific Ocean on Costa Rica’s Northern Pacific coast.
Strolling down this pristine beach, admire breathtaking sunsets as you take pictures of the poster perfect coastline; volcanic rock formations contrast with smooth gentle sloping broad sandy shores. Rich in wildlife, howler monkeys are a constant presence swinging from branch to branch in the canopies overhead.
Malpais has retained a quiet and tranquil atmosphere with large areas undeveloped and unspoiled, thus becoming the center of attention for those trying to make it their home as the real estate trends here clearly reflect the sudden demand.
Nightlife in Malpais is wonderful for enjoying quiet, romantic evenings gazing at the stars as the sound of the waves puts you in sync with the pulsing nature of tropical jungle haven. However, if you are looking for action, Santa Teresa, right next door, is teeming with a different kind of wilderness; every night of the week there is something going on where dancing on the beach until early hours of the morning, is also a possibility.
Locals and residents from around the world give the area a real international feel, proving to be a very eclectic and friendly environment unlike any other beach on the Nicoya Peninsula.
At the southern tip of Malpais is a small fishing port which serves as a base for boat tours around the tip of the peninsula. Fishermen will be guaranteed a good catch on nearly any day, and sight seers will not be disappointed if they visit the waters of the maritime sanctuary of Cabo Blanco. If you didn’t have time to take one of many small charter boats and try your own hand at fishing,you can actually buy fresh fish directly from the local fishermen!
A few nautical miles out away from the shore, the ocean bottom drops to over one thousand meters deep; large schools of brilliant and majestic fish that dwell in the open ocean are often close to the shore along with soft coral systems, and mollusks that abound in the rich maritime shallow waters, providing a spectacular environment for scenic boating, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling with visibility during the dry season of depths up to 100 feet
Depending on the time of year, visiting the Malpais area may bring you encounters with a wide array of sharks, tuna, manta rays, dolphins, jacks, barracuda, turtles, and even migrating whales traveling past the Malpais bay. The convergence of major marine currents coupled with the tropical climate and plankton blooms during the heavy rains supports a nutrient rich environment that is a lifeline in the migration routes of many species.
Although, Malpais does not always have surfable waves, Santa Teresa, is a well known surfing hotspot with various breaks along the 5km stretch of sandy pristine beach. Malpais is an ideal place to experience solitude within striking, unspoiled shore life; many people prefer to lodge on the more private side of Malpais while spending most of their day in neighboring Santa Teresa.
How to get to Mal Pais:
From San Jose: The quickest route to Malpais from San Jose is on the Autopista del Sol to Caldera where you drive on to Puntarenas and get on the ferry to the town of Paquera. Drive for about an hour to the town of Cobano and from there, follow the signs to Malpais and Santa Teresa.
The town got its name from the fact that all the rivers and streams that flow into the beach in the area dry up in the summer season, making it a “bad land” to try to live in.
The area has recently become famous due to several celebrities buying land and building dream houses, Mel Gibson, Gisele Bündchen and many others.
Malpaís is near several, including the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve, the country’s very first protected area. At these parks, travelers can hike through dry tropical forests, search for tropical creatures, and even explore underground caves. Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve can make an excellent day trip. Check with locals before heading to the Reserve. Usually a visit requires entering the town of Montezuma.
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is referred to as absolute natural reserve because when the park was originally created, people were not allowed to enter it, leaving it in an absolute natural state.
Summary: Legendary surfing; beachfront forest; brilliant sunsets and remote location.
Landscape: Beaches, Rainforest
Attractions: Cabo Blanco Reserve, Curu Wildlife Refuge, Wildlife
Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Kite Surfing, Snorkeling, Surfing
Caters to: Budget Travelers, Independent Travelers, Surfers, Wildlife Enthusiasts
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