It must have been a mistake. Malpais, on the southern tip of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula, is a surfer's dream town and the site of a few celebrity dream homes, a place of exquisite tropical beauty that boasts enough recreational opportunities to keep a man busy for years. Whoever named the town, translated as "badland," must have confused Malpais for a different place.
Find your own little slice of heaven in this promised land during an Escape to Vista de Olas Hotel & Spa, offering a four-night ($600) or six-night ($745) stay for two in a Deluxe Villa, which is outfitted with air conditioning, an open-sky bathroom, and a private porch that affords spectacular ocean views.
And about those recreational activities: Your package comes with an ATV tour to a nearby butterfly farm and waterfall, as well as your choice of a horseback ride or surf lesson. Add to that a welcome happy hour, a welcome bottle of wine, and a barbecue dinner--plus daily breakfast--and you've got the makings for an anything-but-bad time.
Each of five yellow villas is tucked away on a hillside in the jungle, affording guests extra privacy. They're appointed with queen-size canopy beds and tile floors, with mosaic accents throughout, and each offers open-sky showers, perfect for a romantic evening under the stars.
Once a strip of sleepy fishing villages, Malpais and the neighboring towns of Santa Teresa and Playa Carmen, among others, have recently flourished as surf towns, garnering international attention for their killer breaks and lush jungles, which are abuzz with wildlife. And while they're fairly remote and unsullied by the throngs, there are still several good restaurants and even more open-till-dawn bars to satisfy partiers. One of those restaurants is The Wave Grill, the on-site eatery at Vista de Olas. On one night of your trip, you'll get a smorgasbord of delicious barbecue, from T-bone steaks and bacon-wrapped filet mignon, to baby back ribs and fresh-caught fish, all served with local fruits and veggies.
But most come to Malpais not for the food and revelry, but for the adventure. There's no lack of sprawling, white-sand beaches here, and surfers have taken note. Off the beach, there are dozens of other endeavors that are ripe for the undertaking, like zipline canopy tours, boat rentals, fishing trips, sailing, yoga, horseback riding, and ATV tours, all of which Vista de Olas can arrange for you. And don't worry: After a full day of exploring, you can always schedule a massage back at your villa.
What's in a name? Apparently not much in Costa Rica, as someone got away with perpetrating the greatest naming-convention hoax since Iceland turned out to be balmy and beautiful. In Malpais, the only bad thing is that you can't stay forever. But don't try telling that to the German surfer who hasn't left since arriving here on vacation in 1998.
Limit 1 voucher per reservation; vouchers cannot be combined to extend stay
o Valid for travel 11/1/12-8/31/13
o Reservations required and subject to availability
o Not valid on group or existing reservations
o Cancellation/re-scheduling policy applies; voucher subject to forfeiture
o Blackout dates are 11/24-30, 12/24-1/6/13, 3/22-4/7/2013
o Based upon double occupancy
o Airfare not included
o Taxes and fees are not included and will be collected by the property
o Nights must be used consecutively
o All deal components must be redeemed during one stay