Malpais, located in the province of Puntarenas, is a coastal town that started as a small village inhabited by farmers and fishermen.
The town got its name (badlands in English) due to the local rivers; which made it very difficult to live here as they dry during the summer season.
Such situation is much different nowadays, as Malpais has turned into a booming beach town, which has been put on the global map by international celebrities who have acquired land and other properties in here.
Although development is a constant in Malpais with many hotels and restaurants opening all the time; this town is still nothing like other popular coastal communities in the country such as Manuel Antonio and Jaco Beach.
Getting to Malpais
If you are coming from San Jose, the capital of the country, you need to take the new Highway 27 (also known as the Caldera Highway), and follow the directions for the coastal city of Puntarenas.
Once in there you need to take the ferry to Paquera, and once you have disembarked, it will take you around 90 minutes to make it to Malpais.
You can also pick a bus to this town at the Coca Cola Market, located in downtown San Jose. There are 3 daily departures, and the fare includes the ticket for the ferry.
We recommend you to take a book or an audio player as the trip is a bit long at almost 5 hours.
Alternatively, you can also take a bus to Montezuma at the same bus station in San Jose and get off in the town of Cobano, and from there you need to board another bus.
Note: there are two daily buses from there to Malpais, but that can vary depending on the bus company’s disposition and the demand.o if you miss the bus to your final destination, you can always pick a taxi (ask for their price beforehand).
So if you miss the bus to your final destination, you can always pick a taxi (ask for their price beforehand).
There are no straight flights to Malpais, but there are charter flights to Tambor Beach, and from there you can pick up a cab (or asked to be picked over there by your hotel).
What to Do in Malpais
Malpais is usually the bucket term for several beaches located in the area, including Carmen Beach, Manzanillo Beach, Santa Teresa, Hermosa Beach, and of course, Malpais, so exploring these should be at the top your schedule while in here.
As with other popular tourist destinations, there are many adventure activities which you can do here, including Horseback Riding, ATV Tours, Snorkeling, Canopying, Sports Fishing and Scuba Diving.
Visiting the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is another excellent idea as it is very near from Malpais. This is home to more than 140 species of
This is home to more than 140 species of trees, And such large variety is the product of the reserve being situated in the middle of the wet and dry forests.
And also an import number of mammal species, including animals such as the White-Nosed Coati, Coyotes, Margays, White-Tailed Deer, White-Face and Howler Monkeys.
When it comes to nightlife, the one in Malpais revolves around a couple of foreign-oriented bars and La Lora, the most popular place amongst locals, where you’ll always find some Merengue or Salsa music, which is perfect for some dancing time.
Some people also decide to make the trip to the neighbor town of Montezuma, where the nightlife is more or less the same.
Important Numbers and Websites:
- Municipalidad: http://www.municobano.go.cr/
- Buses: 2642-0740
- Cobano’s Clinic: 2642-0208