Southern Nicoya Peninsula

Shaka is located on the west coast on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. There are a number of small towns in the area, as well as a range of surf breaks.


Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

The Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve was the first national park to be established in Costa Rica. In 1963, thanks to the dedication of a Swedish couple Karen Mogensen and Nicholas 'Olaf' Wessberg, land that had previously been farmed was left to return to its natural state for this pioneer project. Now 1250 hectares of forest and many kilometers of dramatic coastline are home to hundreds of animal and plant species (including the white-faced and howler monkeys and the long-tailed coati). Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Nicoya Peninsula.



This small village is the gateway to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve (see above). Offshore you'll see Cemetery Island, and local fisherman in 'panga' boats, also known as a 'long boats' or 'island boats'. On Sundays the River Lajas (pronounced 'la-has') resembles a swimming pool as people enjoy the cool crystal clear water. There are also a few good reef breaks for more experienced surfers.



Situated inland, in the heart of the peninsula, is the town of Cobano. This community has developed into a bustling town with a wide range of conveniences. You'll find high speed internet, a police station, government offices, a bank, doctors, lawyers, grocery stores, and boutiques to name a few. All roads out of Cobano lead to a beach town.


Mal País

This tranquil and modest seaside village is best known for its rocky coastline and unspoiled nature. Here you'll find tide pools, a fishing port, and beach restaurants. You can also take a tour through the treetops on the Mal País zip-lining canopy tour. While recent years have brought development to the nearby town of Santa Teresa, Mal País has retained its quiet and tranquil atmosphere.

In Spanish the double 'L' is pronounced like a 'y' .
Try these - 'manzaniyo' (Manzanillo), 'tortiya' (tortilla), 'quesidiya' (quesadilla).



In Manzanillo you will find some of the quietest and calmest beaches - when the big winter swells hit the exposed coast of Playa Hermosa some surfers seek smaller waves in the sheltered breaks formed amongst the reefs. Beautiful sunsets can be enjoyed at the local beach bar and restaurant 'Atardecer' (meaning sunset). Watch as local fishing boats return to the beach at sunset just in time to deliver fresh seafood to the local restaurants.



Montezuma has been a favorite destination of many for years due to its bohemian flavor and picturesque location. The center of town is alive with shops, bars and restaurants, internet cafes, and a bookstore. Beautiful beaches, tide pools, and secluded coves provide a perfect place to explore. Many people enjoy hiking to the scenic waterfalls and swimming in the natural pools. Several local tour operators can set up activities such as a speed boat ride to Jaco (pronounced 'Haco'), diving, kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding.


This tiny town is a commercial center serving local farming communities and nearby beach villages. The ferry from Puntarenas loads and unloads passengers and vehicles several times a day from the Paquera terminal.

Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa is home to Shaka. It is regarded as one of the best learn-to-surf beaches on the peninsula. It is mainly a quiet residential community, and is home to the only bilingual private school in the area.


Santa Teresa

This popular beach town has become well known for its world class surf, delicious food, and amazing sunsets. You'll find an interesting mix of funky stores, surf shops, cafes, abundant night life, 'tico' (meaning local Costa Rican) restaurants, and international cuisine. There are accommodation options to suit any budget from luxury beach-front resorts to backpacker hostels.



Known for its large sweeping dark-sand bay, this town boasts a marina for fishing tours and scenic boat rides, a golf course, and world class hotels. Tambor is home to the only airport in the area, bringing visitors to the peninsula several times a day. The valley that borders it is surrounded by lush hills of green forest that are part of the biological corridor of Costa Rica, with the Curú Wildlife Reserve to the north, and the Islas Tortugas just offshore.