Malpais, Beaches And a Long Dusty Hike

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The tip of the Nicoya Peninsula isn’t big. Montezuma, where I am staying, is only 7 kilometres from Cóbano, the main hub. Cóbano is 15 kilometres from Malpais and its two main beaches, Malpais and Santa Teresa.

Makes sense to explore, right?

Right.

But transportation is a bit of an issue here, like it was in Omotepe. There are no paved roads. You can rent a quad but it’s expensive and frankly, I wouldn’t be able to drive it (okay, maybe I would but I ain’t trying). Bus service is erratic and they are not direct, you have to go first to Cóbano and then take another bus… and of course, the buses don’t connect. But this is not really an issue because most of the time, buses don’t show up, break down, and service stops around 3 p.m.

Yet, I wanted to explore Malpais and its beaches, on the other side of the Peninsula. So I took the 8:30 a.m. bus to Cóbano and started walking the 15 kilometres to Malpais. The dirt road was, well, extremely dusty and soon I was covered in a thin layer of dirt.

After walking 5 kilometres, a passing car gave me a ride to Malpais—lucky me. The driver was quite decent too and didn’t offer me any weed or cocaine. Don’t laugh. I have been offered drugs so many times here, it’s not even funny. Gee. People don’t know me at all. I run on chocolate, Coke Zero and bread.

My ride dropped me off at Playa Carmen, a long stretch of sand parallel to the main drag. It was still early and the only folks in the water were surfers, riding waves with more or less success.

From Playa Carmen, I walked all the way to Santa Teresa, another lovely beach, and then walk the road back.

I had briefly considered staying in Santa Teresa (or Playa Carmen) but I am glad I didn’t. The “town” is basically just a long road with businesses—hostels, sodas, souvenir shops—on both side. Montezuma is much smaller but it feels cozier, more intimate and more laid back.

As I was walking on the main road, I saw a fender bender on the road and the bus was stuck behind. My bus. My ride back to Cóbano.

Alright. May as well walk.

I followed the beach for about 4 kilometres to Malpais, then I saw a sign to Cabuya, the small town close to Cabo Blanco. Could I walk the 7 kilometres there?

I bought an iced 2-litre water bottle and started to hike on the dirt road. It wasn’t flat as I was hoping but up and down the hills. At least I wasn’t getting lost—all I had to do was to follow the road.

And I did, for 7 kilometres. The scenery was beautiful. I was alone, on that dirt road, contrasting with the lush forest and the fields.

By the time I reached Cabuya, I slowed down and flagged the first car I saw. No way I was walking another 11 kilometres to Montezuma. I ended up at the back of the pickup truck along with five other people (apparently, the bus from the reserve hadn’t showed up—what a surprise!).

I can feel my quads, my calves and my thighs. But it was worth it.

You can see the com­plete set of Costa Rica on Flickr.

Dirt Road From Cóbano

Dirt Road From Cóbano

Dirt Road From Cóbano

Dirt Road From Cóbano

Dirt Road From Cóbano

Dirt Road From Cóbano

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Malpais

Malpais

Malpais

Malpais

Malpais

Malpais

Cabuya

Cabuya

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

2 Comments

  1. Well that sounds like quite the trek – you poor thing! You are going to be even skinnier when you get home!! Feng will feel himself quite the lucky man! it does sound like an awesome adventure though.

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