I've lost track of the number of times I have returned to Mal Pais and enjoyed staying at Casa Zen. 8? 9?
This place continues to deliver great atmosphere and value. As I write this I sit in the rancho, which is a separate building adjacent from the hotel built for dining and hanging out. Its low season, and the place is quite tranquil.
The menu has evolved a bit but continues to offer a very well prepared blend of costa rican and thai fare. The food remains excellent and a cut above what you find for similar pricing in the area. Kelly's attentiveness to the preparations and the longevity of the staff are a big part of that.
The open air shared kitchen remains available and the close proximity of well stocked local markets -- in addition to a regular saturday farmer's market held next to the beach 100 meters away -- make it easy to keep costs of an extended stay down, but pick carefully from the markets, as imported goods are heavily marked up, while local produce and goods are cheaper.
The surf, as ever, ranges from good to epic. The locals aren't hostile, and there are plenty of peaks to accommodate people. Tides are crucial here, as they shift from 8 to 10 ft per day. While you can learn to surf here, it isn't really a beginner's break when the waves are firing. And when it goes off seriously, there are reefs and points within a few km north and south to hit if the beachbreaks close out. Evening glass-offs are common even on days when afternoon winds blow it out. Dawn patrol remains the best option if you're hunting for hollow tubes and empty lineups.
Lastly, this is one of the cleaner and well cared for places you'll find in the area at this price point. The grounds are well landscaped and everything is cleaned daily.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are rather remote beach towns, and that is what makes them so special! Thankfully, even though we are a little off the beaten path, there are still quite a few services available to visitors. This is a excellent area to relax practicing of Yoga and Surf.On the first floor, we have six private rooms, ideal for single travelers, couples or pairs of friends. The rooms have either a double bed or two single beds. We also have two larger private rooms on the first floor, each with beds for three people. Scroll down for photos and prices for our private rooms. Upstairs you will find the apartment plus three additional rooms with varying capacities, featuring exterior doors as well as interior doors connecting to the apartment. An abundance of shared bathrooms are also located on the first floor (there are many to choose from and they are always clean!).We also have two well-equipped communal kitchens, including our signature chef’s kitchen, complete with a professional quality stove, microwave, blenders, and a giant stainless steel refrigerator. We offer a amazing Yoga deck with every day class. Our helpful, bilingual staff is always ready to help plan other tours and activities in the area, including surf lessons, canopy tours, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), visits to nearby waterfalls, fishing, sailing, snorkeling, horseback riding, ATV rentals and more. We can also assist you with restaurant recommendations, reservations and travel planning, so your trip can be totally relaxing and worry-free! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Zen Hotel Santa Teresa
- Casa Zen Guest House & Yoga Center Costa Rica/Santa Teresa