Hiking to waterfalls
When you are in Montezuma, you can either go left towards Playa Grande or right towards the waterfalls. I suggest you do both!
To the waterfalls, walk across the small beach and follow the dirt road past Pension Lucy and you will come to a small bridge to cross, where you immediately take a left. There is a man there selling fresh grilled lobsters, shrimp, bananas, and fish - definately treat yourself on the way back. I had a lobster that cost US$3!
Follow the trail up to the waterfall, it is about 15 minutes and can get tricky at times - wear water shoes. You can swim and hang out at the waterfall, or you can continue to climb up to another more difficult spot to reach and walk around to the top of the falls. I almost made it up there and had to turn back (got a bit scary), I was sore for 2 days!!
I did not reach but have heard about other waterfalls that spill into the ocean which are located past Playa Grande. I heard that it is about a 2 hour hike - I didn´t make it due to the sun setting and tide coming in, do keep them in mind. But the falls are right near or on the beach, so if you head that way you should come upon them.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Hike the beaches, Playa Grande and beyond
Going down to the main gate to the beach on the lefthand side (north east) of the town, facing the ocean, are kilometres of beach.
Playa Grande is about a 45 minute-1 hour walk along the beach from the town. You occasionally have to go into trails in the forest (don't go over the rocks as they can be dangerous, slippery and you wouldnt want to be caught in there if tide moves in quickly) so bring lots of water, footwear and be prepared for a few hills. Playa Grande has some waves but is good for swimming (dont go out too far) and is fairly deserted. If you continue on further, there are many other nice places to bathe and relax. There are no services on the beach so if you want to make a day of it, take enough snacks and water.
This is a popular tour offered from Montezuma and much cheaper than similar tours that leave from San Jose, Puntarenas and Jaco. Every travel agency in town offers a similar tour but we went with Cocozuma tours and were very impressed.
For $35, you get a full day tour which includes roundtrip boat transportation to the island, use of snorkelling gear (and can opt to do a morning and/or afternoon snorkel) and a delicious fresh bbq chicken/fish lunch on the beach. I recommend going on a week day when the beach is less crowded and more tranquil (the public area is not very big); the snorkelling is ok- the tropical fish are nice- but there is no colorful coral to see.
We went at the end of August which was peak whale season and were able to see three giant humpback whales on our way to the island. Check out my travelogue for more pics of the island!
Cabo Blanco nature reserve
A visit to Cabo Blanco makes for a great day trip from Montezuma. The reserve is made up of tropical lowland forest, and is home to abundant wildlife. Trails lead through the jungle to a lovely beach. The heat is oppressive in the forest, so bring plenty of water. And, if you dont want to be a buffet for the swarms of bugs, stock up on insect repellent.
- Hiking and Walking
- Jungle and Rain Forest
We did a great tour through the Bakery Cafe: the owner's Swiss wife has several houses up in their ranch outside of town. You can choose between a beach ride or a mixed mountain ride that, in 4 hours, allows you to view the scenery, ride out to an isolated series of waterfalls (with a deep pool into which you can safely jump the 10 feet) as well as some of the beaches. $25 and it was just us and our guide Carlos.
Hike to the waterfalls
Not too far out of town, the waterfalls are a chill place to hang out for an afternoon. There are 3 pools to swim in, 2 of them above the first are a bit more difficult to reach, so ask someone where the path is. Theres 2 paths, but one is much easier. There were some real daring guys there jumping off the falls around 75 feet up, amazing to watch. At the upper pools theres also a rope swing.
- Hiking and Walking
Swim in the waterfall
A 15-20 minute hike up from the entrance to the waterfall (walk west of town until you get to the bridge and then head inland- or follow the river upwards).
On a rainy day or following a rainy day, it is probably not too safe to hike up as the water can get strong and the trails can be muddy and washed out.
Follow the red arrows (found on trees and rocks) which mark out the best way to climb up. Once you cross the river onto the right side, look for the trail slightly above the river- this is a lot easier and safer than navigated through the rocks that line the river shore.
Don't jump off any of the waterfalls- it is very dangerous and many people have died. Be careful when swimming in the water as the current can be strong. Many people (along the rocks) swam up behind the waterfall, got up and jumped the 2 feet into the water and through the falls. Seemed safe and fun enough. The water is soooo refreshing!
The swimmin' hole
About half an hour from the town, up the river is an awesome waterfall that cascades into a refreshing natural pool. It's worth the hike to get here, splash around, and eat a picnic lunch on the rocks, shaded by the towering trees all around. There's no anything there, so bring food and water, and hit up the bathroom before you leave.
Catch a sunset on Montezuma Beach
When the sun starts to come down, make sure you have navigated your way back through the rocky beach or the sandy steep trails in the forest and are only a few minutes from the town.. but take a half hour to sit on the beach, listen to the sounds of the ocean and watch the sun go down. Pink at night, sailor's delight (for tomorrow of course)!
Take a hike out of town to the waterfall. It's about a ten minute hike through a river bed. The water is really nice to dive into after the hot hike. When we were at the fall there was a local boy who could scamper up the side of the waterfall really fast to where the jumping ledges were. He was jumping from about 35 feet.
I purchased the all day snorkel trip via CocoZuma in Montezuma. Departure is at 0830 from the beach. About 20 people on the small boat seemed a challenge but it was more seaworthy that at first appearance. Its about 60 minutes to the Island which is a tropical paradise with fine white sane, acqamarine water, and excellent snorkelling.
brought my own gear but the equipment provided looked in good condition. We did the first dive on a small island imediately north of tortuga. You can swim around it in 10 minutes. The volcanic nature of the island provided hundreds of nooks and crannies to peer into. Large fish were easily located and they were not too shy of divers. Spotted several coal snake eels, morays, and a few lobster.
After the first dive we went on shore for a great barbeque lunch. Lots of melon and pineapple to wash away the salt water.
The second dive was to a different island. The tide was running out and the surf was up but it brought huge amounts of bigger fish close to the island. Schools of blue pattotfish and at least three kinds of puffers.
A full hour at least was provided at each dive site and that was measured from the time the last diver got it. I brought my own gear and was off first so i got almost 90 minutes per dive.
Excellent day. We got back to Montezuma about 1700.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- National/State Park
Tour to Tortuga Island
I almost put this on the "tourist trap" tips, but it wasn't all bad. The snorkling was good for that area. i mean, it's no carribean. I had a friend who scuba'd and didn't think it was worth it. It was mostly just nice to get on the water, meet some other folks and see another view.
There is not much to on the island. A game of volleyball was struck up. we poked around a bit, etc.
Cabuya Island Fishing & Snorkeling Tour
You quickly learn that the main tour pushed all over Montezuma is the Tortuga Island tour. It's a fun tour but it is a pretty standard tour.... lots of lolling around the island time waiting for the boat to leave, snorkeling with 50 people in the water etc. In search of something a little different and more authentic we went on a fishing and snorkeling tour of Cabuya Island with a local diver/fisherman - Jeffry. He's a local from Cabuya who is trying to build his own business - Solo Bueno Tours. It was such a fun and interesting day! Jeffry made every effort to provide a fun and interesting tour for my wife and our kids. From teaching us out to cast our hand lines, to collecting and preparing delicious fresh oysters for us! OK so we didn't catch fish but of course Jeffry did which he provided to us cleaned and ready for cooking. We finally felt like we were seeing the real Costa Rica! For $35 per person plus fresh fish for dinner, it's was great value.
- Adventure Travel
I booked a 2 tank dive through CocoZuma Traveller in Montezuma. I went by the same boat that takes the snorkellers to Tortuga Island. Just before we got to Tortuga, I was met by the other boat with the divers. I believe the scuba operator is based in Tambor. The two tank dive was $140 which is much more than I had paid elsewhere in CR.
Equipment was good and the dive master quite informative and professional. Reentry to the boat was very easy with the ladder they used.
The dives were nothing too spectacular. We actually saw more fish while snorkelling but did see several eels and lobster.
After the two dives, they dropped me off on the island where I rejoined my group who had already eaten. The tour operator had kept a barbeque lunch for me, all wrapped in foil and still nicely hot.
Its about an hour by boat from montezuma to tortuga.
- Diving and Snorkeling
Horseback Riding Along the Beach
My first time horseback riding was in here in Montezuma, Costa Rica. The Montezuma area has several long patches of beach for horses to romp, and let me tell you, the horses take off! The tour guides ensure you get a thrill by racing by your horse on their own, sending yours into a full gallop. They give the horses an hour or so break at a stop at a waterfall near that ends in the ocean and you can take a swim and enjoy a fresh fruit lunch. Overall the ride lasts around three hours and is well worth the money and time. Always bargain and shop around for the different tour operators. Usuall you will be accompanied by a party of about 12 other people. My travelmate Karessa said that the horseback riding was the highlite of her trip to Costa Rica, now that speaks volumes!
- Horse Riding