Mal Pais Magik On The Nicoya Peninsula

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Wave Trotters Surf Hostel

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, November 30, 2007

On Thursday we took the 6:00am local bus to Punta Arenas dock to catch a ferry to the Southern Peninsula of Nicoya. We We were heading to Mal Pais then on to Montezuma which we had heard were the best two laid back, beautiful beaches in Costa Rica on the Pacific Ocean. We lined up for ferry tickets to Paquera which is the coastal feeder town. In the line up was many surfers from all over the world as well as beach bums and a large company had obviously shouted their entire staff on a trip to the beach paradise because a large crew of drinking men were also on board. We managed to but a ticket for an onward bus out to Mal Pais and stowed our packs on the bus whilst on the ferry. This freed us up for beers and vodka on the boat. We met three women on the boat. Mareeka and Carolina from Holland and Cybil, a surfer from Sweden.

Finally we all got the bus to Mal Pais checked into Casa Del Mar on the beach, a simple beach house with dorm rooms owned by a crew of friendly hardcore surfer guys who also owned a kombi in really bad shape. They came to pick us up from the bus station in it and we decided to walk instead. We chose this house over the backpackers as it looked to be a massive party house. We all swam in the ocean which had a similar temperature to th water at Tugan at home and sat and watched the sun set over the Pacific. There was alot of awesome beach debris just ripe for the pickings to create into some elaborate sculpture if we had more time. We are not beach sitters and will get bored after one hour of reading a book on the sand. The village of Malpais is based around a long stretch of road parallel to the surf beach and the waves always seems to be pumping here, all along the points and open beaches. There is mass building work happening here and the town is rapidly growing as more tourists arrive. The town still has it's charm at the moment however we doubt that it will remain as untouched as it is. The streets are lined with funky little restaurants, hotels, surboard, bike and ATV (all terrain vehicle) hire and repair shops. Bicycles, motorbikes and ATV's are the main modes of transport here.

We ate dinner last night at Casa Zen, the place we wanted to stay in but there was no vacancy. The Zenis on the beach, has buddhas in the garden and a gorgeous octagon shaped house where you can eat good thai food and watch movies whilst smoking and lying on large pillows. We had a good dinner of noodles and rice dishes with the girls from the ferry then watched a fantastic movie about the Chinese Royals, medicine and fighting scenes (unsure of the name). Because we hadn't seen a film or tv in a while, our senses were heightened and we really enjoyed the cinematography and soundtrack.

Today we checked into Wave Trotters Surf Hostel further North and had a whole new beach to explore. The hostel was funky, clean, had a doberman dog with an amputated leg, a fireman's pole from ceiling to floor, good vibes, good tunes and was owned by a friendly, healthy Italian guy named Julio. Venues seem to close around here when the surf is good. Most places we stay seem to have a dog, cat or two hanging around in a hammock or rocking chair. We rented bikes for $8 the day and set off to explore the coastline along a gorgeous, unpaved beach road where the forest meets the sea for many miles. Our bikes were beach cruisers with baskets and no gears, we should have got the montain bikes because the road was difficult, covered in rocks and hilly at times. We even did some river crossings on them and now are nursing sore arses. My monkeys rode in the basket on the front. Malpais is what Byron Bay would have been like many years ago before the roads went in. We really enjoyed our ride and saw some secret houses tucked away obviously very private and reserved for the very rich and famous. We also saw crews of hippies and surfers camped on the beach in rustic spots enjoying the simple life. We rode for 4 hours taking in the roads all the way through Hermosa and onto Manzanilla Beach where a gorgeous woman named Sharon made us banana smoothies with bee pollen and honey additives at a tiny beach side bar she owns with her husband. We also rode to Cabo Blanco Wildlife reserve but couldn't access the park from the Malpais side. We saw a green vine snake and heard the howler monkeys all the way. We passed a crazy little beach bar that played electronica.

We arrived back to town exhausted and swam until sunset then couldn't find the bike shop in the dark so had to ride around for ages until we found the little house from the morning...... classic. We ate at a place called the Burger Ranch. We had a local grilled fish, salad and potato all presented in a glamorous fashion with the little extras like olives and sundried tomatoes. Turns out the owner is a really good chef. The chef brought us out some unknown alcoholic shot to finish our meals with. Great meal and good value at about US7 a meal. We returned to a party in the hostel (Friday Nite) but crashed out straight away.
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