This is a great spot to visit if you wanna have a great time. There are nice hotels and restaurants all around the beach, as convenience places like supermarkets, etc...
My girlfriend and I went in winter and it was nice, but definitively it would be nicer to visit during summer.
Now, this is a perfect place to surf, but perhaps not the best beach to swim around. I mean, it's nice to swim here, but the beach's special activity is definitively the surf. So if you wanna surf in Costa Rica, this is the right place.
The road: If you come from San José, it's better to take the highway 27 (Caldera), which will lead you to Puntarenas. You dont have to divert anywhere, except like 10 minutes after Caldera, in order to go to Puntarenas downtown, but the road signs are clearly marked. Then, take the ferry to Paquera which lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once in Paquera, taje the main road that will take you to Tambor and then Cóbano; you don't have to divert either. 1 km after Cóbano, turn left and the road will take you directly to Malpaís and Santa Teresa. Right now (Oct 2012) it is winter and the road is in great condition. It is dirt but still is very good. A sedan type of car will pass with no problem, but a 4x4 would be much better. I passed through in motorcycle and it was great and fast. You will last 1,5h from Paquera to Santa Teresa.
I hope this info helps you. Enjoy your trip!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.