In the '70s, Central America began to attract U.S surfers, looking for exotic waves close to home. Costa Rica was a major draw, where it was possible to be surfing an endless, peeling pointbreak, within an hour's drive of the airport and a choice of two very different coastlines. Political stability, high degree of education and an absence of civil war, so popular in neighbouring countries, has earned it the reputation of being a 'Latin Switzerland'. Compared to its population, Costa Rica has an incredible number of surfing expats and travellers, representing 10% of all tourists, which translates to 100,000 surfers. Areas such as Guanacaste, became a victim of its own success, so new waves were sought around the Nicoya Gulf, opening up places like Mal Pais. Despite the shocking access roads requiring 4WD in the wet season, this wild area became a surf-school heaven, trading on idyllic tropical scenery, incredible national park wildlife and mellow beachbreaks.