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Mal País


The quest for simple paradise ends at a tiny fishing village on the edge of the world. Its name is Mal País. Yes, if you translate the name of the town you get “bad land,” but that refers to the rocky coastline. And it’s thanks to the village’s moniker that this spot has been kept so secret and sacred.

Mal País is located on the southeastern tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Starting from the Pacific coast, the tiny pueblo stretches only over about six kilometers east to west. Mal País sits between the Cabo Blanco National Park and a quiet surfer Mecca called Santa Teresa. The people of Mal País embody the friendliness of the Pura Vida (Pure Life) anthem. And it’s the perfect destination to experience nature in her purest form: expect to see horses galloping down the beach, monkeys hiding in the trees and a myriad of maritime species living amongst the shore’s rocky enclaves.

A stay at the Swiss-owned Hotel Surf The Place is the perfect complement to the area’s easy going vibe. The property features a modern villa, five breezy bungalows, a small pool and quiet main house surrounded by tropical gardens. Each of the estate’s structures are scattered over a sloping hill. The intimate houses exude a feeling of cozy privacy. Guests can hear the gentle crash of the waves against the rocky shore located only about 150 meters away. Each cottage also has a hot-water bathroom and safe as well as an overhead fan and views of the Pacific Ocean.

If you’re with a group, stay at the property’s villa. It’s a modern air-conditioned house set apart from the rest of the property. The Place also offers three smaller guest rooms located in the main house. This structure houses a quiet bar complete with relaxed cushioned seating and a few tables. In the morning, the open-air space transforms into a leisurely breakfast area. The tables are rarely over-crowded and guests linger as long as they like over eggs, gallo pinto (rice and beans with a kick) and rich Costa Rican coffee.

And when you’re done, there’s a number of activities on offer in Mal País—no need to rush, though. The folks at The Place can arrange horseback outings, kayak rentals, hiking excursions, yoga classes and massage services. Then there’s also lounging by the property’s small pool and walking along the rocky shore. Remember you’ve found the end of the earth: A little piece of paradise, so you can do as little or as much as you like.

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