It is quite popular to get to Montezuma by boat from Jaco. This is handy in case you wanted to get to the Guanacasta from the Southern coast. You need to book this in advance, and you can do that in Jaco or Manuel Antonio, or possibly pay the boat drivers. Basically a speed boat picks you up by the beach and takes you for a choppy, approx 2 hour ride in the sea across to Montezuma beach. The ride isn't the most comfortable, but you may get to see some dolphins in play like we did
The easiest method of getting to Montezuma from San Jose is via the direct bus from Coco Cola station. Unlike the most of the other buses, you can't pre-buy your tickets. Get there at least 30 minutes prior to departure for a good seat. Buy the ticket from the driver. The fare of CRC includes the boat crossing to Nacoya but make sure you keep your ticket stub to use on the boat. When you get to Puntarenas you have to leave the bus for the crossing. Some of the ferries have air conditioned rooms and a decent snack bar. Rejoin the bus on the Paquerra side for the trip to Cobano. Again, you will need your ticket stub. The road is, contrary to other reports, quite good all the way to Cobano. In Cabano you transfer to a smaller bus. You don't need any ticket stub for the last portion- the system seems to work on trust. The trip from Cabano to Montezuma is short and just as well as its dusty and bumpy.
I definetly drove trhough the wrong way that is trough East-peninsula Nicoya and it took me more then 5 hours to get from Tamarindo to Montezuma.(sta cruz, Nicoya, Lepanto, Pavones, Playa Naranjo, Paquera , Curu, Cobano-Montezuma)The thing is that I wanted to take the shortest way but unfourtunately the only paved way in really good condition is from Tambor to Cobano and again unpaved to Montezuma.
Unpaved from Lepanto up to Paquera.
Somebody recomended me going through Puente La Amistad de Taiwan and then down to Puntarenas and took the ferry to Playa Naranjo/Paquera. And now it looks the best option altough longer in distance, is much more comfortable.
Allow time to take the ferry! depending on the departure hours and the time of the year has different capacities and is quite busy when 'josefinos' (people from the capital travel to the beach)
You can also get to/leave Montezuma by a water launch that goes to and from Jaco which is right across the water from Montezuma. The launches are much quicker but MUCH more expensive. If you are in a rush, want to limit your travelling time, or just want to get out of Montezuma in a different way, take the launch. It costs about $30 or less if you have a group of people and can then often rent the whole launch for about $60 and then share the fare between you.
Most travel agencies in town will offer this transfer which has departures in the early morning and afternoon. The ride takes one hour.
If you need to get to San Jose fast, you can do so in 3 hours (through a travel agency) by taking a water launch to the mainland and then a 2 hour shuttle to the capital- this will go for about $50 US. Very expensive but could be worth it if you are short on time or patience.
Cocozuma can arrange water taxis at 6:30 am daily to Herradura beach near Jaco for $30, water taxi/shuttle combos onward to San Jose or Manuel Antonio for $50.
You can take regular buses to Puntarenas from Nicoya, Jaco, Quepos or San Jose. They run regularly throughout the day and fares are usually under 2000 colones- fairly comfortable but no air conditioning. The bus that goes between Paquera and Montezuma will leave from the ferry terminal but is often VERY crowded and hot on a long, bumpy ride. Might not be the best bet if you have a large backpack and have to stand the entire way. Also make sure you tell the driver that you are going to Montezuma and ask him to let you know when to get off!
Empresarios Unidos offers "direct" service between San Jose and Montezuma/Mal Pais/Santa Teresa.
It leaves the Coca Cola terminal in San Jose daily at 7:30 am and 3:30 pm. The fare is 5000 colones which is a bit pricey ($10 US) though the bus is airconditioned, comfortable and if ferries are working, you will have the same bus the whole way through (and can keep bags on). The ride can be LONG from 5-7 hours depending on if you make it to ferry on time or not and how many passengers you stop to pick up on the way.
You still take the ferry in Puntarenas and will have to get off the bus during that time; bus fare does not include your ferry fare (though only 710 colones). Once you arrive in Cobano, those continuing on to Montezuma will have to get off and get on a much smaller shuttle that can mann the tiny, wrecked roads to the tiny town. The main bus will continue onto Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.
Roads are bad between Paquera and Cobano so expect a SLOW bumpy ride.
Buses leave Montezuma (again the shuttle will take you up to Cobano) at 4:30am and 2:30pm Monday-Saturday on the main road in front of Chicos. If the bus is on time, you SHOULD catch the 6:30 ferry but if you miss it (which we did) the next ferry is not until 8:30- plan for that possibility (e.g. dont count on catching a flight or another bus based on a regular itinerary). Sundays the bus leaves at 8:30 am.
There is no office in San Jose or Montezuma so just pay the driver when you get on.
Whether you are coming from San Jose, the mainland or elsewhere on the Nicoya peninsula, your best bet to get to Montezuma is to go back through Puntarenas and take the ferry. (though Samara looks VERY close to Santa Teresa, Mal Pais and Montezuma, the roads are almost non existent, there is no public transportation)
The ferry runs several times a day if all is well (we encountered it when only one ferry was running all the routes and thus a ferry only came every 4 hours!) and costs 710 colones for an adult, several thousand for a car. It runs about every 2 hours between 6 am and 6 pm and the ride will take about 1.5 hours in total. On a nice day, you get great views of the peninsula, islands, beaches and the pacific. Lay on the boat and enjoy the sun and grab an ice cream.
A passenger launch also runs the same trip throughout the day. It is less comfortable but a little quicker (no cars) and only costs 350 colones. A good option if the car ferries are not running!
You can also fly to Playa Tambor from San Jose for about 50.00 USD.
This is a great option that saves alot of time, but you have to make sure someone is waiting for you at the other end or that you can take a cab into Montezuma. The Playa Tambor airport has a very small private runway that was built at the same time as the Barcelo Playa Tambor Hotel, to suite it's visitors.
It has very little traffic otherwise.
So you want to go straight to Montezuma??
You will catch a BUS or go by car if you have one - from Saj Jose to Puntarenas.
Here you will head straight to the ferry stop and park in a line-up of cars //or leave the bud and go for a beer until the ferry shows up.
The ferry ride lasts about 1.3 hrs and takes you over to Paquera (the southern of the two stops)
and from here you can drive to Montezuma or take another bus.
You can walk everywhere in Montezuma.
Even the places that sound far are really not, or may be too much of a hassle reach by vehicle. the road are not that great so you will be drivinng 2km/hr so I'd advise to walk.
My friends took a flight to Montezuma from San Jose. I decided to take Interbus to Puntarenas and the ferry from there. It was a lovely ferry ride and i got to see more country-side. Granted, I wasn't in a rush. Take the one to Paquera not Naranjo.
To get to Montezuma by land, take the 1 hour ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera and the 1.5 hour bus (taxi available for more $$) to Cobano and lastly, the 30 minute bus to Montezuma.
Alternatively there is a 1 hour shuttle boat to Jaco - the difference? About US$26! The buses and ferrys are cheap, but they take a while. The boat is quick but costs $30 one way!