Central Pacific Coast: Places to Explore

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Photo: N K/Shutterstock

Malpaís and Santa Teresa

This remote fishing area was once frequented only by die-hard surfers in search of some of the country's largest waves and by naturalists en route to the nearby Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Preserve. But now hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers are springing up at an alarming rate, especially toward the Santa Teresa side. Still, the abundant forest, lovely beaches, and consistent surf make this a great place to spend some time.

Coming from Montezuma, the road hits an intersection, known locally as El Cruce, marked by hotel signs and a strip mall on the right. To the left is the rutted route to tranquil Malpaís, and to the right is the better road to Santa Teresa, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops. Playa Carmen, straight ahead, is the area's best place for surfing, though swimmers will want to be careful of rip currents there. Malpaís and Santa Teresa are so close that locals disagree on where one begins and the other ends. You could travel up the road parallel to the ocean that connects them and not realize you've moved from one town to the other.

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