Traveling to Santa Teresa/Mal Pais Instructions
• Airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica and transport to Mal Pais is not included in any packages.
• Note: When you leave Costa Rica to return home there is an airport Departure Tax of $28 for all foreign passengers departing on international flights.
• Travel to Shaka Beach Retreat Playa Hermosa in Mal Pais (not to be confused with Playa Hermosa, Jaco) is a relatively easy process.
• TRAVEL MODES
• There are four ways to travel from San Jose to Shaka Beach Retreat, Flying by puddle jumper, Shuttle bus, local bus, and rent a car. If you are feeling adventuresome and would like to see more of the country I would recommend using ground transportation. Listed below are full detailed guides.
A. (By puddle jumper airplane approx $100 each way):
There are 2 airlines that fly from San Jose to Tambor, Sansa and Nature Air. Reservations can be made either online, or by phone at www.flysansa.com Toll Free USA 1-877-767-2672 and www.natureair.com Toll Free USA / Canada 1-800-235-9272. Make sure to check for current flight schedules since they change flight times depending on the seasons. Once you arrive in the airport, follow the signs to Immigration, once through, continue to baggage claim. Exit through Customs and out onto the street. There will be lots of guys asking if you need a taxi, if you are going to catch a puddle jumper flight, say NO and exit the building, make a left on the curb and walk down the half circle driveway to the street. Make a left at the street and walk a half block till you see the Sansa and Nature Airlines parking lot. Walk through the lot and into the regional airport terminal.
** Both Sansa and Nature Air let you bring around 25 lbs of luggage. If your luggage is more than that, you will pay a dollar per pound over. If you are traveling with LARGE surfboards or many bags, they may not let you fly so be sure to check their website before booking your flights. The puddle jumpers to Tambor are about a 25 minute flight. Views on these flights are absolutely amazing on clear days. Once at Tambor airport (which consists of a runway, chain link fence, 1 bench, and small parking lot), grab one of the taxis waiting in the parking lot, the normal cost is $55 which will bring you directly to Shaka Surf Camp Playa Hermosa. This ride takes around 50 minutes.
B. (Shuttle Bus by Montezuma Expeditions):
The shuttle bus departs from San Jose and Mal Pais daily. You can book it by calling (506) 2440-8078, www.montezumaexpeditions.com. The shuttle bus will pick you up at the airport or your hotel. The price is $55/per person each way. There are also many private shuttle companies. The shuttle ride is an approximate 6-hour drive through Costa Rica ‘s picturesque countryside, including a 90-minute ferry ride on the Golfo de Nicoya.
C. (The local bus): This is the cheapest $12 and very pleasant with AC. If you are going to bus it to Santa Teresa, tell the taxi driver to take you to the San Carlos Bus Terminal. There are 2 buses per day that depart for Mal Pais around 6 am and 2 pm. These times are constantly changing so it is very important to check current departure times and arrive at least an hour early. Any travel agent, taxi driver or front desk if you stay the night at a hotel should know the number and be able to make the call for you or you can call yourself @506 2642-019. Once there, find the bus labeled Mal Pais, Cobano. Usually you stand in line and buy your ticket as you board the bus. If you arrive early there may be a ticketing area near by, but I have never used it. NEVER EVER leave your stuff on the street or unattended. The Bus seats fill up fast and its first come; first serve so get in line for the bus when it arrives. Larger bags are stored below which they give you a claim ticket for. The bus ride to the ferry takes about 2 ½ hours stopping once half way, for a 15min snack and bathroom break. Everyone must exit the bus and board the ferry on foot. All vehicles board separately with the driver only. When you exit the bus you will be given a re-board ticket and a one way ferry ticket. Sometimes they require you to buy your own ferry ticket, if this is the case follow everyone from the bus to the ticket counter, purchase a passenger ticket (costs about $1) and then follow everyone on to the ferry. The ferry ride is a nice relaxing ride with amazing views of the Nicoya Peninsula . The ferry ride is about a 1 ½ hour ride and is equipped with bathrooms, an air-conditioned room and outdoor deck with snack shop/bar. The ferry will let you off in Paquera where you will re-board your bus. The remainder of the bus ride is about 1 ½ hour ride where you will get off at Franks Place in Mal Pais. Across the street from Franks Place there is a bank (open 1-7pm Mon-Sat), restaurants, shops, car rentals, and internet cafes. Its about 10 minutes north to Shaka Surf Camp in Hermosa. If necessary a taxi can be easily found here for about $12 to Playa Hermosa.
D. (Car rental): If you are renting a car there are several rental agencies inside the airport after you exit customs. Here you can do your paper work and then they will shuttle you straight to your car. Once you get all the paperwork filled out, ask for a map showing how to get to Santa Teresa using the ferry in Puntarenas. They speak English so you should have no problems.
• Once in your rental car, you need to find the easiest way to get from your rental car company to CI-1 heading west.
• Once on CI-1, you will drive around an hour before seeing signs for Esparza. This is the town before the turn off to Puntarenas. After you pass Esparza, 20-30 minutes later you should reach Puntarenas. Go through the town till the end and ask for the ferry docks “Donde esta el Ferry”.
• Once at the ferry docks, you want to ask around for the ferry to Paquera. There are several ferries a day so you should make it within a couple hours or less. There are guys that will approach you and help you get the tickets, they work on tips and can be trusted. Once you get onto the ferry, lock the car doors and hang out on the deck till you get to Paquera. You are responsible for loading and offloading your car, so once you get offloaded, follow the other cars into Paquera and look for signs to Tambor, Cobano or Santa Teresa.
• You will be heading South down through Tambor and looking for the right turn off to Cobano. Once you arrive in Cobano, there is a 4-way main intersection with Banco Nacional on the left corner, continue straight ahead and the road will turn to dirt after a minute or so.
• You will be on dirt roads the rest of the way, just a mile or two outside of Cobano, there will be a left turn with a sign that says Mal Pais & Santa Teresa, take that left and stay on the dirt road till you see the ocean.
• Once you see the ocean, you will start heading down hill till you come to another 4-way stop locally named “Frank’s Place”, no relation. This is the intersection that separates Mal Pais (left) and Santa Teresa (right). Turn right and begin traveling along the beach road north.
• You will pass many landmarks like Super Ronny’s (on right), Beach Break (B-B) hotel (on right), La Lora Amarillo (on left), Flora Blanca (on left).
• You will travel on this road, crossing 2 bridges for around 10 minutes before you come to the Playa Hermosa bridge river crossing. Continue across the bridge, immediately after the bridge you will see Hermosa Valley School and soccer field on the left, follow the road about 100 meters to the T in the road. Take the left, (the right goes up a steep hill) pass the first road on the left, and then pull into the first driveway on the left, look for the SHAKA symbol…………WELCOME!!