Mal Pais

Travel Guide Central America Costa Rica Mal Pais



Solnedgang, Malpais

Solnedgang, Malpais

© JenKJS

Mal Pais is a popular coastal town in the Puntarenas Province in Costa Rica, located along the Pacific coast.



Getting There

From San José, the most convenient drive into the area is via the Puntarenas-Paquera ferry. Once in Paquera, follow the signs on the roads that take you through Playa Tambor and Cóbano. A 4x4 is strongly recommended, as this route includes sections of dirt road through the mountains.

The drive from the north (Liberia, Tamarindo, Nicoya, etc.) is quickest along Route 21, which is mostly (but not completely) paved heading all the way down to Paquera. From there, follow the above directions. During the dry season, the entire drive will take approximately four hours from Liberia airport, but plan to factor in a couple hours more during the rainy period. Alternately there is a coastal route from the north, but this is not recommended as the road is all dirt and there are several rivers to ford.

A small airport in Tambor, less than an hour east of Mal País, services flights to and from San José. Buses and taxis can take you from there to the coast.




  • Bungalows Super Vista, ☎ +506 8873-8303. The only bungalows that are directly on the beach. US$100-120.
  • Sandy Lane Estate, Santa Teresa (on the beach), ☎ +506 310 7740750. A luxury beachfront estate with 4 bedrooms & baths right on the white sand beach. Environmentally friendly and carbon neutral.
  • Luz de Vida Resort. Santa Teresa, beach front bungalows and hotel rooms, enjoy any kind of sport: beach volleyball, pool table, tennis table and the best surf breaks of Santa Teresa in front of the hotel.
  • Frank's Place Hotel, Playa Carmen (Right before the crossroads at the entrance), ☎ +506 2640-0096. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Established in 1992 and located at 150 metres from the surfing beach of Playa Carmen. Different types of rooms, A/C, cable TV. fridge, safe box deposit, courtesy breakfast, private bathrrom with hot water. There is a large pool area, on-site restaurant, WiFi and free internet, parking and a tour desk. US$45-145.
  • Tranquilo Backpackers, Mal País, e-mail: Dorms are US$11 per night. Doubles with private bathroom are $35 per night. Loft room with up to 6 beds $78 per group per night or $13 per person. Private bathroom included. US$11 dorm.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


It's easy to find internet access, and although you can still can find a lot of internet cafes, wifi is growing fast in the country. The further away you get from San Jose, the slower and more expensive it becomes when you are using an internet cafe. Wifi is generally free of charge at most places though and apart from off the beaten track parks, jungles and mountains, the connection generally is ok. Some internet cafés also offer international calls via either phone or IP using services like Skype.


See also: International Telephone Calls

  • The country calling code to Costa Rica is 506.
  • To make an international call from Costa Rica, the code is 00.

There are plenty of phone booths around and you will get the best rate using a pre-paid international card (can often be purchased in internet cafés and other small stores). There is usually a connection fee making short calls extra expensive. International calls are fairly expensive. The cheapest way to make them is over the internet using a service such as Skype at an Internet café. But making short calls using the domestic calling cards (you can make international calls using these but the denominations of the calling cards are quite small so your call will be short!) or the international calling cards available within Costa Rica (all from the government phone monopoly ICE) is the next best deal.

Those travelling with a mobile phone and willing to pay the roaming costs should ensure it supports 1,800 MHz GSM network. Note that the GSM phone systems in the United States and Canada use different frequencies and that travelers from there will need a "world" handset, such as a tri-band or quad-band phone, if you want to use your existing cell phone. If you want to use a local Costa Rica number, you can rent cell phone service, and of course anyone can buy a cell phone. If you have an unlocked cell phone (either one from home or bought in Costa Rica - all cell phones sold in Costa Rica must be unlocked), prepaid (prepago) SIM cards can provide a local number and service can be purchased throughout the country by anyone with a passport from any country. Try using companies like Grupo ICE under the Kölbi brand, TuYo Movil, Movistar and Claro.


Correos de Costa Rica (website in Spanish only) is the national postal services of Costa Rica. You can find post offices (correos) in almost any city and town and they are generally open from 7:30am to 5:30pm or 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am to noon on Saturdays. There are not that many mailboxes, so it's best to ask your hotel or go directly to the post offices. Services tend to be slow but generally reliable and on the whole cheap regarding letters and postcards. It costs about US$0.20 to the USA and Canada (taking about 1 week to 10 days), US$0.25 to Europe (about 2 weeks) and US$0.30 to Asia and Australia (3 weeks or even more). All in all, if you can try and arrange your mail from the capital San José as it's generally quicker from there. Small packages are also no problem, though take them to the post offices unpacked for inspection first! Otherwise, arrange things through private international courier services like UPS, FedEx, DHL or TNT.


Accommodation in Mal Pais

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This is version 5. Last edited at 14:48 on Jan 24, 18 by Utrecht. No articles link to this page.

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