Mal Pais and Santa Teresa – Surf on dude!
I had read and heard from several fellow travellers that a proper surfers paradise was located about an hours drive from Montezuma. More correctly along the coast on the south western tip of the Nicoya peninsula. The beaches in Mal Pais are the home of relentless waves that had the same intensity all day long. It was time for a few days of intensive surfing and i was definently not going to be the last guy in the water!
We arrived for lunch at Playa Carmen, one of the first places you come to when you’re driving from Montezuma. It’s also the place that Lonely Planet use as a reference guide for distances to the various hotels in the area. While the others had lunch I ran around looking for a decent place to stay. It turns out that the average accomodation prices are quite steep, and although there are plenty of options in the mid to high end range the budget range was seriously lacking diversity. I managed to find a place right on the main street that has an excellent location, spacious rooms and decent prices! Arenas Blancas Cabinas is probably the best budget bet in town as the ones that were a few dollars cheaper really looked a lot cheaper and had generally crappy rooms.
Compared to most beaches and beachside towns I’ve seen in Costa Rica this was the first long stretch that barely had any properties on it except for one restaurant. It was refreshing and with nothing but beaches and palm trees in view and waves competing to get first into shore this was just awesome. We quickly got our stuff dropped of at the room and headed down to Corderoy to the Horizon, which is a kick ass surfshop on the way down to the beach. They were the first shop that didn’t require any deposits and rented me the best and fastest board I had in Costa Rica. It was also fun to test out a few different boards as I had the opportunity to surf both longboard, mini mals and a fishtail that Felix got for himself.
The waves when we were there were a bit unforgiving as they were quite big and came in close sets. This made it damn hard to get out, but got us in good shape in no time! As Veronica had been advised to stay indoors due to an allergic reaction she had gotten it was Gil, Felix, Eli and me that hit the waves every day. We drove a bit up and down the beach in both directions, but found out that the waves were pretty much the same along the entire stretch of beach. The board rentals were about 7 dollars per day which was a steal compared to the rental prices in Australia.
To get the geography right Mal Pais is the area, while Santa Teresa is the town we stayed in. On top of that the exact name of the beach we surfed on was Playa Carmen..confusing? I know.. it took us some time to get it right too! The town itself is not much to brag about, a bunch of surf shops, some overprized hotels and a few restaurants. All of this is located along the road that you come in from Montezuma. As a digression the road we took from Montezuma is the most kick ass, jungle winding, indiana jones feeling roadtrip road I’ve ever driven on. It was awesome! In that hour we did three river crossing with our Rav 4 and it was still going strong!
If you’re going out to eat in Santa Teresa then you have to try out “It’s the shit”. Its actually a chicken barbeque restaurant that advertises they’re stuff as being the shit. And to be honest..it really was the shit! The barbequed chicken there is awesome and has to be tried if you are tirering from the beans and rice. I know we were…
We had an awesome time in Santa Teresa and I finally felt that my surfing was improving! We even got a picture of Gil standing on the board! Given the time in the water to time on the board ratio that Gil had it was a miracle that the picture even exists!!
If you’re going to Costa Rica to surf I really recommend going to Mal Pais, especially after the dissapointment that I found Tamarindo to be. Go to Mal Pais, period!