Mal País Travel Guide

  • View of San Jose from the air
    View of San Jose from the air
    by dustmon
  • Our Bay
    Our Bay
    by dustmon
  • Capuchin with one arm
    Capuchin with one arm
    by dustmon

Mal País Things to Do

  • Surf's Up!

    I am not a surfer but plenty who come to Mal Pais love it---you can watch them from Playa Carmen or parts further north in Playa Hermosa and you can rent boards and get lessons at plenty of places around town.

  • rent an ATV

    Definitely rent an ATV while in the area----the only way to get around and also for day trips to Cabuya and Montezuma---we rented from Quad Rental in Playa Carmen close to the crossroads----$130 for 2 days (48 hrs) plus taxes and credit card charges---also good for going to restaurants at night without walking the dusty roads.....wear goggles at...

  • Secret Beach/Swiss Beach

    Known by both names Secret Beach (Playa Secreto) and Swiss Beach, located past the fishing bay up the road past Sunset Lodge (closed)---get to the gate and park then walk to the beach from there....great place to get naked if you want---very private and gorgeous with palm trees and great views...

  • Sunset Lodge past fishing village

    This is an old hotel location that is literally falling apart---walk around the fishing village til you see the gate for the Sunset Lodge---go around the gate and walk around this weird decrepit hotel from 10 years ago---could be haunted but it does give a haunting view of Secret Beach, reached by the road going past the locked gate but only ATV or...

  • zip line--Canopy del Pacifico

    These guys provide a great outdoor experience zipping through the tops of the trees safely in a harness seeing the jungle from the bird's eye view---lovely area right on the edge of the Cabo Blanco National Refuge. They have tours at 9am, 11am, and 3pm cost is $40 per personclose to the end of the road from the crossroads

  • Watch for animals---Howler Monkeys

    We were lucky enough to have a great place right on Mal Pais beach and often enough, Howlers would come through the tops of our trees----a really cool experience. There were a couple of times we saw them hanging out in trees right next to the road, so anyone can see these magnificent animals when visiting the area...8am and 4 pm were good times to...


Mal País Hotels

Mal País Restaurants

  • Typical Soda

    Camaleon has the regular plates with chicken or beef , rice and beans and plantains as well as a few other dishes. Clode to Casa de Soleil north of the crossroads.

  • Barbeque chicken and beef

    An OK place in Mal Pais for grilled chicken or beef---close to the road and can be noisy----prices around $10 a plate for chicken....

  • sushi and more

    A small place in the Playa Carmen shops area but big on flavor! Sushi and sashimi (my fave) are fresh from the ocean and the staff is delightful. Sometimes crowded at lunch... sashimi tuna

  • local lunch spot in Mal Pais

    Open from 7am til 2am, Artemis serves breakfast all day if you want, but also has DJs at night, is fully wifi, has great coffee, and more. Located right at the Crossroads shops and close to all the action of Playa Carmen....dinner served til 11pm. breakfast and coffee

  • Farm to Table--Mary's

    We got pizza to go and also had a great dinner at the restaurant---veggie pizza (mushrooms, spinach, peppers, and more with extra cheese to go), and another night we had fish and chicken tacos---incredible flavor and presentation.....pool tables for entertainment while you wait and good music--(Bjork while we were there) great desserts too!Down the...

  • A/C and fresh baked goods!

    The Bakery is very close to the Crossroads and is a great place for lunch--it has air conditioning and great frozen ice tea plus sandwiches, soups, pasta and more at little tables amongst the surfers, web and oceanwise. Good coffee and fresh sweet baked goods as well as breads and baggettes. We also got some organic ground coffee here, too for...


Mal País Nightlife

  • Not too late

    This is a pretty cool place i recommend you check out...the bar is actually a grass hut about 50 yards from the ocean.....have something going on almost everynight but classes during the day....volleyball court.....they have pretty cool shows at night dancing etc...drinks are reasonable...a beer is about 1 us and a rum and...

  • Latin grooves

    Appearantly there is nightlife in Mal Pais, but not during summer, as hotels are maybe a quarter full, and most off them then aren't coming to party.SO I am sorry but no usefull info on this tip from me.

  • Mal País Hotels

    9 Hotels in Mal País

Mal País Transportation

  • Nature Air to Mal Pais

    We took Nature Air from the capitol San Jose to the coastal city of Tambor which has a small airfield, to get to our house in Mal Pais, another 45 minute taxi ride from Tambor. Nature Air has a website where we booked our flight, and even though they changed the times a couple of times, all in all it was an easy, good experience. The planes are...

  • Kevin at Montezuma Adventure

    I hired Kevin via the Alamo Rental storefront in Mal Pais, and was very pleased---he picked us up at 6:30 am tight on time for the trip to Tambor for our flight to San Jose. $50 for the trip in a nice van---real nice guy and recommended.

  • these boots were made for walking

    The best way to get around Mal Pais is just to walk, nothing is far, but if it is a bit further along the road, hitching will work fine too.And if really tarveling to other places, a bus or cab is the way to get around.And if you want to come here with your own transportation, make sure it is a 4WD, otherwise you could get into lot's of trouble.


Mal País Shopping

  • Surfers Beware

    Do not rent boards here. I was totally taken advantage of when returning 3 surfboards last week. They added on charges at every turn when I brought the boards back.All the boards were fine, yet one had about a 1/2" chip in it. They wanted $50.00 US to repair it. When I questioned why so much, he said it would now be $80.00.They then charged me...

  • local crafts on Playa Carmen

    Andres has a table at the end of the road that ends at Playa Carmen where he sells handmade bead necklaces and the like---he gladly posed with our VT flag next to his wares----- beaded goods bargain definitely

  • Playa Carmen surf school/shop

    A little shop in the Playa Carmen shops area related to the school for surfing lessons from Ambar Surf School----- surfing gifts retail


Mal País Warnings and Dangers

  • Irritating bugs

    Well you are in the tropics, and there is malaria present. I didn't take any medication for it, but that was my own choice, I just tried to avoid the little buggers, and I succeeded.But reppellent is a good thing to bring, even though the mozzies here aren't as bad as in other parts in Central America.

  • dangerous current's

    The ocean at Mal Pais, can be dangerous when the waves get big, especially during summer.SO be carefull when swimming, and at days it is better to just swim in the hotel pool, cause there are no lifeguards on duty here.

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Mal País What to Pack

  • puravida21's Profile Photo

    Deet or Die

    by puravida21 Written Sep 9, 2004

    Luggage and bags: Nothing will treat you better than a good quality hiking back pack

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Flip flops are a must...bring a pair of shoes or hiking boots if your gonna wonder off to the jungle

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: disinfectant spray, band aids, sun block....its gets HOT

    Photo Equipment: if you want to be taking surf pics i highly recommend a tripod...i failed to bring one and you can tell by my pics....if you have a 300mm lense take it....dooo it!!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: tent....lantern(it gets dark early) sleeping bag much to warm..cook stove...if you are gonna be camping that is...a towel if you want although you dry off very quickly.....frisbie...hackysack..SURF BOARD!!!

    Miscellaneous: PAPER AND A PEN

    my pic of a vulture

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Mal País Off The Beaten Path

  • ATV trip to Cabuya--Cabuya Tree

    There is a fig tree in Cabuya over 500 years old according to locals. There is one main road and it goes right by this immense tree----definitely worth a trip and a stop to feel the oldness of this magnificent tree.

  • ATV trip to Cabuya-Rainsong Sanctuary

    We rented an ATV for 2 days ($130) and wanted to visit Cabuya on the other side of the peninsula. We figured out the right road to take and off we went----Mainly we wanted to visit the Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary, which we had seen a Youtube video about...Mary keeps animals that are hurt or orphaned until they can be re-released into the jungle...

  • Surf Lessons and Surf Board Rentals

    There is a small surf shop in the middle of Santa Teresa’s on the corner just down from the grocery store called Sh_t Hole Surf Shop. It si a little hard to find but when you do, just drop in it is a nice place that rents surfboards and gives surf lessons. There is a good looking American kid inside that lives in Santa Teresa and he knows all the...


Mal País Sports & Outdoors

  • Surfing

    Surfing...where do i no master by any means...although it does everything for me...laid back and enjoying the natural world...if your in mal pais or anywhere you got to try it!! There are quite a few places in mal pais to rent boards but only 4 that i can think of that sell them...Andy and Erin at the main surf shop as you walk down to...

  • Great surfing

    This was my first time trying to surf so I don't really know how good the waves were, but in the evening there were a lot of really good surfers out. There are many surf shops for such a small town to rent boards. We rented at the shop on the road down to the beach.


    For surfing and bodyboarding, Mal Pais is a great place, with waves year round, but the big ones coming during summer. There are a few spots btween the Mal Pais, playa st Teresa stretch of beach.We boarded in Mal Pais a left reef, which is shallow, hollow and fast, so be sure you can ride this kinda wave, and the beach break in front of Frank's...


Mal País Favorites

  • mocca's Profile Photo

    sun sand and sea

    by mocca Written Feb 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: When you are in Mal Pais, you can't but notice the beauty of it's surroundings.
    When getting there during the summer, it is deserted, not much to do but relax, and that is something many can use.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel

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