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Mal Pais

mal-pais.jpgLiterally translated, Mal Pais means “bad lands.” After spending a week here, I have come to think that the name was made up just to keep people away. In my opinion, Mal Pais is one of the prettiest beaches on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Go visit this beach while you can. Its only a matter of time before it ends up just like the other overpopulated, surf beaches on the coast.


Mal Pais is located on the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula.

How to Get to Mal Pais

From San Jose you will have a full day of travel ahead of you. The trip will go from bus to ferry to bus. As with any transportation in Costa Rica, don’t expect buses to run on a tight schedule. The road to Mal Pais is unpaved and quickly becomes undrivable in rainy conditions, so plan accordingly.


Weather here is typical of beach cities. The days are super bright and hot. Even when overcast, your skin will feel the effect of the sun. So make sure to wear sunscreen here. Late afternoons bring light showers and the evenings are cool and comfortable.

What To Do

Surfing, surfing, and more surfing. This is the main reason people make their way to Mal Pais, and with good reason. There are excellent breaks almost all day long.

The town is small and not quite touristy yet, so there aren’t a lot of activities other than beach combing.

If you get up early enough and make your way to the beach, you’ll find tons of really cool tidal pools in the rock formations that litter the beach.

Where to Stay

Backpackers – Tranquillo Backpackers is the most popular place to stay for surfers and backpackers. The hostel offers a nice mix of party atmosphere and laid back people.