Santa Teresa, a booming travel destination in Costa Rica, is billed as a surfer’s paradise. Providing consistent and outstanding swells year round, Santa Teresa is a perfect place to kickback and unwind. The sleepy beach hamlet of Mal Pais, a small tranquil neighborhood, nestled at the southwestern cusp of the Nicoya Peninsula, opposite Montezuma. It is situated 4 miles (6.5 km) north of Cabo Blanco National Park. Earlier it was a fishing community and a farming village and day by day it slowly turned into a idyllic holiday spot over the years. Mal Pais is everything to the left and Santa Teresa is everything to the right. Santa Teresa was just getting electricity when Montezuma was already a famous destination. If Mal Pais is said as one of the top surf destinations in Costa Rica, it actually means the surf beaches of Santa Teresa and Playa Carmen. Santa Teresa beaches as sandy, soft and has consistent surf break while Mal Pais has long stretches of sand and large patches of rocks.

playa-carmen-costa-ricaOn Playa Carmen Mal Pais merges with the booming beach town of Santa Teresa with a variety of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops as well as surf spots. In Santa Teresa you will find different places to enjoy International cuisine, daily yoga classes, year round surf and a generally cool vibe. Relatively few services with regard to tours are offered by Santa Teresa and Mal Pais.



In Santa Teresa there are different lodging options including low-key surf hostels, luxurious hotels as well as hotels and vacation rentals for all budgets.

Mal Pais is not as heavily developed as the Santa Teresa. There are fewer hotels although there are many luxurious rental villas in the hills overlooking the area. And in recent years many excellent hotels and luxury houses have been built in the area.




surfingSome of the renowned surf spots of the country are hosted by the beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. There are a variety of world-class surf breaks with perfect surf conditions throughout the year. Playa El Carmen is the main surf beach on the border between Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. Though it is popular with long-boarders, but there are also a few hot short-boarders pulling tail slides, aerials and 360s. At Playa Carmen, rip tides and beach breaks are less powerful than in other surf spots on the Pacific side of the country and it is suitable for the new surfers. Some surf spots in Mal Pais are El Carmen, Punta Barrigona, Sunset Reef and some of the Santa Teresa surf spots are Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa and Manzanillo.

Trip to Cabo Blanco National Park:

When you are in Mal Pais or Santa Teresa, you can go for a trip to the Cabo Blanco National Park. With its rich bio-diversity, this park is perfect for enjoying plenty of activities such as hiking, wild life and bird watching, swimming and many more. This park has two pretty beaches-Playa Cabo Blanco and Playa Balsitas which are ideal for swimming, watching pelicans and surfing.

Nature Tours:

In Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, there are many more choices for beach lovers, sport enthusiasts and eco-tourists. You can go for watching some amazing waterfalls. From Mal Pais within 30 minutes drive, you can reach Montezuma that is known for its scenic beaches, but above all for its gorgeous waterfalls, rivers and pools in the jungle. Bird watchers can go for bird watching tours with the help of specialized guides and spot a variety of bird species.

Boat Tours and Fishing:

In the small fishing port of Mal Pais, you can hire a suitable boat and with the help of an experienced guide, you can go to some of the best fishing spots. Without fishing, you can also go for a boat tour. This type of trip will let you see the beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa from a different viewpoint.

Other Activities:

You can also go for ocean kayaking and an exciting new sport ‘stand-up-paddle-boarding’ offered in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. In Santa Teresa and Mal Pais you can also enjoy doing yoga with the amazing backdrop of the beach and jungle and natural track caused by the calming sounds of the ocean. You can also enjoy horseback riding through the countryside, in the back-lands of Cabo Blanco, or along the beach. Canopy tour in the tropical forest adjacent the Cabo Blanco National Park can also make you enjoy thrilling adventure.

Neighboring Towns:


It is small beach village known for its bohemian attitude and artistic residents. Surrounded by jungle covered hills, with small rivers forming waterfalls, Montezuma is a perfect destination for the beach lover and eco-tourists.


It is a very magical and isolated town on the peninsula. It has the only entrance to Cabo Blanco national park. It is a perfect place to wind down and settle into the local pace of life.