Nestled between surf-destination Santa Teresa to the north and the Cabo Blanco Nature Preserve to the south, Mal Pais is quaint, tranquil and gorgeous. Santa Teresa has seen a recent influx in restaurants and businesses, while Mal Pais itself, where your Casa Chameleon villa is located, remains as it has been for years. When you arrive at Casa Chameleon, you’ll notice that we’re among only a handful of hotels in Mal País. This helps you avoid the feel of being in a “tourist destination,” and it contributes to one overwhelming sensation: you are experiencing something rare, special, old world and true.
Mal País is an adults-only, half board retreat tucked away in the jungle of Costa Rica. It embodies privacy, and no two villas are the same. Access requires an adventurous 4×4 drive, but once you’re in Mal País you’ll find a quirky little beach town with just the right blend of locals, surfers, yoginis and barefoot wanderers. Located in one of the world’s seven Blue Zones, Mal Pais is recognized as one of the healthiest places in the world.
Your villa is your home away from home. Its vibe is inspired by the heart of a natural explorer looking for a one-of-a-kind experience. Each villa is seamlessly intergrated into the lush ecosystem that surrounds it – from its open architechture to its private pool. Once you leave your villa, adventure awaits. Culture and exploration are just steps away, and our staff could not be more excited to give you local tips and send you on a fully customized journey.
Explore the laid-back local culture in Mal País, or go just a bit further north to the more developed town of Santa Teresa. Both offer the best of the Nicoya Peninsula and the best of Costa Rica: rich, simple tastes combined with jovial, enthusiastic people. The best way to explore Mal Pais is to travel by quads, also called ATVs, which are common on the peninsula. Alternatively, we can arrange a rental car, taxi or private driver.
Allow us to arrange private transfers for you to and from the Tambor (TMU) or San Jose (SJO) Airports to ensure your vacation is hassle free. Fill out this Transfer Request Form with your flight details.
Mal País/Santa Teresa is a scenic 45-minute drive from the Tambor (TMU) Airport. You have the choice of picking up a previously arranged rental car at the airport (just let us know if you need rental car arrangements), taking a taxi, or reserving a private driver.
From the San Jose (SJO) Airport, you drive approximately 1.5 hours to the port town of Puntarenas and board the ferry for a 1.5 hour ride across the scenic Bay of Nicoya to Paquera. Once you arrive in Paquera, it’s a one hour drive to the hotel. You have the choice of picking up a previously arranged rental car (just let us know if you need rental car arrangements) or reserving a private driver for the ground transfers. To view the ferry schedule and reserve a space for your vehicle, please visit the Nicoya Peninsula website.
Our staff will be glad to assist you with your travel arrangements, whatever they may be.
Mal País is a small tranquil neighborhood, loosely spread out along five kilometers of road. Its southern limit abuts the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve on the very tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, while to the north it runs into Playa Carmen. Here, at the road intersection of “El Cruce”, the road from Cobano ends on the beach of Playa Carmen. Across from the intersection the busy beach town of Santa Teresa sprawls to the north, with a lively surfer scene, many hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. People often refer to the entire beach area as Mal País, so when you hear of Mal País being one of the top tourist destinations in Costa Rica, it actually means the beaches of Mal País, Santa Teresa, and Playa Carmen.
Mal País is a smaller, and much more tranquil neighborhood. While in recent years Santa Teresa has seen a boom in development, Mal País has retained its laid-back, small village atmosphere with large patches of unspoiled nature. The coast of Mal País is rocky in most parts, with some bizarre volcanic formations creating fascinating scenery. Old jungle forest grows down to the shore where rocky outcroppings alternate with pockets of beaches, some made up entirely of tiny seashells.