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Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?

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Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?


My wife and I are planning a trip to either Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido for 2 weeks in late June and we're trying to piece together as much info as possible so we can compare the two places. Having never travelled to Mexico or Costa Rica before we're pretty much starting from scratch.

It seems that the day to day costs in Santa Teresa will be higher than PE according to info gained reading as many of the posts on here as I can. If anyone has info on costs of restaurants in either place it would be greatly appreciated! We generally like to eat budget/mid range with the occasional expensive night thrown in.

Also if anyone has been to ST in June/July and can let us know what it is like there in the we season? Doesn't get really muddy and is it hard to drive around on muddy roads. I'm guessing the weather in PE will be slightly better at this time of year?

My overall impressions so far are that ST is more of a secluded paradise with better beaches for swimming/ surfing but ghat you pay a bit more for everything there. I'm thinking PE sounds a bit more rustic and a bit cheaper with more people but perhaps not as nice beaches, but easier to get around.

We are looking to stay in a villa in a quiet part of town, walking distance to shops/restaurants/beach...

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?

ST/MP does not have good beaches for swimming. It's a surfer's paradise. The beaches are gorgeous and go on forever so if you like beachwalking you would love the area. There is a paved road in and one parallel to the beach towns but many of the roads in the area are unpaved. In late June last summer we rented an ATV to check out backroads and repeatedly had to ford rivers so limit your exploring if you don't have a high ground clearance vehicle or an ATV. There are national parks nearby to explore and check out wildlife and if you drive over to Montezuma you can check out snorkeling at Isla Tortuga. We had no problem finding inexpensive places to eat but we weren't looking for upscale spots either. Generally anyplace that attracts surfers has a number of more affordable options, you just have to look out for them.

One difference might be that with a little more rainfall, ST will be greener and more lush in June/July than PE which has a dryer climate.

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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for Mal Pais, Santa Teresa
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2. Re: Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?

We used to spend a lot of time in PE many years ago....and then found Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. Would not go back to Mexico ....

There are many choices for accommodations for every pocket book. Yes, the area has recently become a surfer hot spot, but back even 6 years ago, only a handful of surfers frequented it. Recently the area has been put on the surfing tour and has become popular with surfers because of budget accommodation in relation to many of the other surfer spots in Costa Rica.

Near by beaches are swim-able....Playa Manzanillo...very safe and has a natural reef that protects the area to swim without worry about getting run over by a surfer or swept by undertows.

Check out this site for loads of info on the area:


If you are renting a vehicle, I suggest you go for a 4x4 for clearance more than the traction...the potholes can be deep! The suspension alone will be a pleasure over a low clearance car.

You will get rain, but most often in the afternoon for a while, or overnight.

There are many more activities in the Mal Pais/Santa Teresa area to check out and it is certainly not as commercial as PE! If you don't want to be bothered by the beach vendors in Mexico, go to Costa Rica...you will have to find someone to buy trinkets from! It is very peaceful and laid back!

Let me know if I could be of more help!

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for Jaco, Bocas Town
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3. Re: Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?

I wouldn't go near Mexico right now. That is just me and my comfort level. Depending on where you live and what type of information you have access too you may be fine with a trip to Mexico.

Anyway, ST area is wonderful. You can't go wrong. I have only been there in June and July. There is rain but the road don't get bad. It actually helps keep the dust down, and you can see the pot holes (they are filled with rainwater) before you hit them with your vehicle. From what friends have told me that live there, September can be really bad with muddy roads, and other times of the year you need gogles and bandanas to keep the dust out of your mouth and eyes. So I like June/July time of year in ST.

Prices are not the highest or the lowest. It helps to get a place that has a little kitchenette or includes breakfast. It is a bit harder to find a soda in ST but they are there and you can find them. It is a beautiful area. You can be on an amazing beach and be the only one there this time of year. There are few places left you can do this in the world.

Edited: 27 May 2011, 20:22
San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?

The 3 prior post...are 100% correct and I do share the opinions...

Mother Nature gave ST and MP with many bleesings...is so great the whole area...een nice if is wet...

Some of the roads around get muddy...not big deal...if you like to drive...just common sense!


5. Re: Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Puerto Escondido?

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