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Malpaís among top ‘places to love in 2021,’ New York Times says

January 11, 2021

The New York Times named Malpaís, Puntarenas, as one of its 52 “Places to Love in 2021.”

“We asked readers to tell us about the spots that have delighted, inspired and comforted them in a dark year,” the U.S.-based publication said. Of the more than 2,000 suggestions The New York Times received, editors picked 52 “to remind us that the world still awaits.”

Kara Hoholik, who works for a marketing agency and lives in Michigan, wrote this about Malpaís, the little village at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula:

I studied abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2005. Every weekend, we’d go explore the country. One of those trips was to Malpaís, a beach on the Pacific Coast. It took so long to get there — a bus to a ferry to a taxi — I remember wondering, “Is this going to be worth it?”

It was so beautiful. At night, everything closed, and it was really dark. I remember being on the beach, looking up, and really seeing the stars. I saw a satellite for the first time. I felt small and big at the same time, like I was connected to everything. When you travel, you’re able to become a different version of yourself. In Malpaís, we slept on hammocks on the beach for a dollar. I felt so free. I’m from New Jersey, where there were always lights and people around. This time in Costa Rica felt like an introduction to me stepping into myself and finding my independence.

Among the other destinations featured by The New York Times are the Camindo de Santiago (Spain), Gates of the Arctic National Park (Alaska), Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah), and Hokkaido (Japan).

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