Costa RicaCosta Rica

Day 5: A Mal Pais Massage and Canopy Tour

Destination: Mal Pais

Nearly full moonWe started the morning off right with a professional and relaxing, one-hour deep tissue massage. A licensed masseuse brought the massage parlor to our suite's porch. We unwound and listened to the ocean lap against the beach far below. Life was good.

After packing our bags and washing the dirty dishes in the sink, our trio drove ten minutes west into Mal Pais, translated as "bad country." The town is an extension of Santa Teresa, but much quieter and more spread out. While gorgeous, the beach was less swimmable because of large rocks and striking volcanic formations. The receptionist recommended that we return to Playa Carmen for surfing, beachcombing and playing in the water.

We hurriedly changed clothes and rushed off to our 3:00 p.m. zip-line tour. Having screamed along cables from platform to platform near Arenal Volcano, I was hesitant to arrange another canopy tour. After all, with so much to do around here why repeat a tour I'd already done? My friends convinced me to go anyway, and I discovered that zip-lining by the beach is a much different experience than inland.

The tour was on a 65 acre farm at the entrance to the rich and diverse Cabo Banco Absolute Nature Reserve. Our highest cable was 246 feet off the ground, where it is not uncommon to see monkeys bounding about in the trees. The views from the nine platforms set high up in the massive tropical rainforest were spectacular.

At times, we could see as far as the ocean to one side and endless jungle to the other. Watching the look of exhilaration on Tim and Jess' faces was priceless as they whizzed through the canopy. The eight cables added up to be one mile long, including a 984 foot ride overlooking the Pacific and a thrilling 1371 foot stint through the trees. Toward the end, Tim attempted a back flip. I nearly had a heart attack as he attempted the last line upside down.

Later that night we returned to Santa Teresa and listened to live music at a sushi bar near Playa Carmen. Solo-performers took turns playing American covers with a guitar and harmonica. The air tasted salty, and the music sounded sweet underneath the nearly full moon. We went to bed early so as not to be tired for our early day at Curu Wildlife Refuge and Turtle Island (Isla Tortuga).

Day 5: A Mal Pais Massage and Canopy Tour in Pictures