Santa Teresa & Mal Pais - Hotels & Surf Info

  Spread The Word

Located near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen and Mal Pais have been attracting international surfers to Costa Rica for years. Originally drawn by the waves, surfers fell in love with this place and now you'll find a wide array of hotels and restaurants. This does not mean Santa Teresa is over-run with tourism.  Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are still laid back enough to have kept their charm.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica

The entire Santa Teresa area offers a great selection of hotels and restaurants.  There is truly something here for everyone.

To get to Santa Teresa from San Jose you have two choices.  Fly into Tambor on a Sansa or Nature Air flight, or get a rental car and drive from San Jose to Puntarenas and take the ferry over to Paquera. From Paquera you will drive to Tambor. Once you are in Tambor, you will drive to Cobano and then on to Santa Teresa or Mal Pais.

The road ends when you come to Playa Carmen. Turning left puts you in Mal Pais, turning right to Santa Teresa.

Santa Teresa Hotels & Mal Pais Hotels


You will find hotels that suit any budget in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais. From $15 a night to $600 a night. It is one of the things that is so cool about this area. It attracts a wide and interesting range of people. It's no secret that celebrities come down to Santa Teresa.

A few suggestions for places to stay:

The Funky Monkey Lodge (506) 2640-0272. There are several accommodation styles with prices from $15 for single travelers sharing a room up to $165 for their large bungalows which can accommodate up to 8 people (price is for the bungalow, so people traveling in groups can save) .

Hotel Villa Hermosas (506) 2640-0630 In the expensive price range with rates from $195 to $395.

The Casa Marbella (506) 2640-0749. Three types of room to choose from; Standard, Suites, Luxury Condos. Prices range from $60 $250. Note: Prices as of 2012.

Santa Teresa / Mal Pais Restaurants


From fish tacos and burger and pizza joints to restaurants worthy of 5 stars, your dining choices are plenty. Amazing chefs from all over the world have set up shop here. You will find great dining at a fraction of what it would be in Europe or the US.

Santa Teresa Surf / Mal Pais Surf Spots

There are a number of world-class surfspots in the Malpais and Santa Teresa area.  Having a rental car will open up many more beaches to you. Playa Carmen which is the beach that divides Mal Pais and Santa Teresa is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for beginners to learn how to surf. It is a sandy beach break and the currents and rip tides are not as strong here as in many other surf beaches in Costa Rica. The other Mal Pais surf breaks are not for beginners. Punta Barrigona and Los Suecos are both great left point breaks that do need a good swell to work well.

In Santa Teresa the beach is mostly beautiful white sand. The surf breaks are out about 100 meters where lava rock ledges create good barreling rights and lefts. The tide has to be right, so ask a local. Suck Rock is the most well know surf spot in Santa Teresa. Like Mal Pais, the swell needs to be overhead to work well.

Be sure to check out the video of Santa Teresa on our page: Top 10 Costa Rica Surf Spots

Surfhow Book Store

Surf Articles