Geoff McCabe

Renting a Villa for Surfing in Mal Pais, Costa Rica

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Casa de Amor - 2BR/1BA Malpais Villa

Do you know the way to San Jose? Would you then like to go on a Surfin Safari? Right, now that we`ve got the obligatory `60s pop song references out of the way, all you have to do is have a look see at a map, find Costa Rica, then find San Jose and then Mal Pais. It used to be a quaint little fishing village, but has since been found out as surfer`s paradise and as such, a holiday hotspot for surfers and those who like to lounge about the beach and look at the surfers.

You get to Mal Pais from Puntarenas, then a ferry to Paquera and then on to Mal Pais beach. The best place to surf there is Mar Azul and the best time of year for catching the waves is between December and April, though there’s usually good wave action in the morning all year around. But there are also very popular surfing sports on the near by beaches of Santa Teresa and Playa Carmen.

Other attractions include boating, fishing, snorkelling, forest hiking and canopy touring (where you roll yourself along the treetops on cables) and horseback riding.

There`s a nature reserve called Cabo Blanco (white cape) just south of Mal Pais. This includes a rock island which is white because it`s covered entirely in seabird dung. We`re not saying it`s a must see, but Cabo Blanco is the oldest reserve of that type in Costa Rica.

The actual village of Mal Pais is not really geared for tourists and that`s probably the point. You do your shopping and so on in nearby villages. Mal Pais is where you stay to get away from it all. And surf.

One of the best ways to enjoy Mal Pais and come and go as you please is to rent a villa. You can find plenty of villas online, usually named Casa this or that or Hacienda this or that and the descriptions are always heavenly, as are the pictures. Casa Blanca, for example, which sleeps ten (three bedrooms, hmm, that must mean a bit of cosiness is involved), breathtaking views, a 20 meter infinity lap pool and a roof terrace. All yours for between $2,450 USD to $7000 USD per week. Even places described as “rustic” run from about $200 USD per night. The purposefully named Casa De Amor is geared towards honeymooners, with complete privacy, ocean views, the lot.

One beachfront rental, Punta Coco, looks like a classic Costa Rican holiday beach home, with multiple cabins with AC (5 bedrooms), and an outdoor kitchen/dining area, perfect for watching the Howler moneys. Prices range from $400 USD to $700 USD per night, but split that among, say 6-12 surfers and it`s not so bad a deal at all.

While there are probably good Costa Rican travel deals and package tours, it`s more adventurous and less scheduled if you just rent a villa and do your own thing. A good place to start searching for villas is on the internet, then when you find one you like the look of, check out the terms and conditions, the prices, the ease of getting there and of course the availability. If all goes well, a deposit is usually required and the balance must arrive a few weeks before you do. After that, it`s surf`s up.

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