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Mal Pais is a town that began as a fishing and cattle-farming village, but has now become popular among surfers and adventure travelers around the world. Recently, Forbes Magazine voted the beaches of Malpais and neighboring Santa Teresa as "One of the ten most beautiful in the world."

Mal Pais now is known for its incredible beauty: white sand coves, breathless sunsets over the ocean, rocky outcroppings, steep jungle-covered hills and forests teeming with animals, birds, and insects.

The area has recently become famous also due to several celebrities buying land and building dream houses, Mel Gibson, Gisele Bündchen and Bobbie Phillips.

The area is still remote and undeveloped. The pot-holed, dirt roads become very muddy in the rainy season and dusty, like powder, in the dry season. The area is very spread out so transportation is a must. Most locals get around on four wheelers and motorcycles. The majority of these have surf racks on them and it would be an odd day to travel the area without seeing someone with a surfboard heading to the nearby breaks.

While Mal Pais is still a remote fishing village, it also is known for modern day luxuries. Many excellent hotels and luxury houses have been built in recent years, and there are many delicious restaurants, with cuisine from around the world.

The nearby Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve can make a great day trip from Mal Pais. There is a direct route to the park across the tip of the peninsula. This road, unfortunately, it is often in disrepair. Better to check with locals before heading to the Reserve via this short cut, especially in the rainy season. The other route would require a trip around the other side through Montezuma and Cabuya, to enter the park from the other side.