It was one of the nicest sunrises I had seen. Hues of pink shone across the waves and pink fluffy clouds floated gently in the sky. Being so close to the waters edge, listening to the gently lapping of the waves each night as I drifted off to sleep, I felt incredibly lucky. I had found my Costa Rican paradise.
Rewind three days before and it had been a completely different story.
I had arrived to the smell of marijuana and reggae music loudly playing in a small hostel filled with surfers, dudettes and American girls with bronzed skin and blonde hair, all looking at me as though I didn’t belong there. It had reminded me of my Geo Paradise entrance when I had equally felt out of place.
Needless to say that after two nights in a dark room with just a fan and a cockroach for company, fate had intervened and whilst enquiring about bus times at a restaurant along the lane, I had met an English playwright who suggested I check out where she was staying.
Situated right on the water’s edge was Hotel Lucy, with a wood interior, hammocks and a balcony which looked over the sea. This was where I needed to be, and I checked in, having found my home for the next three nights.
Montezuma is a funky little town on the Nicoya Peninsula with a bohemian vibe. Whether you prefer the beach, cycling along dirt roads or exploring waterfalls, this area is definitely for the arty or surfer types, and attracts those wanting an alternative lifestyle.
Yoga and health are prominent here especially in the weekly farmer’s market, held each Saturday morning, where you’ll find organic food as well as handicrafts and even live music. The area is also popular with surfers with Playa Grande the most popular surfing beach. Tour companies can organise surf lessons, as well as horseback riding and of course yoga.
There’s just a handful of cafes and restaurants and one supermarket with a continuous line of travellers and expats all queuing for everything you can buy here. Everything is within walking distance and the town has a cosy feel at night with Chico’s Bar being the centre of the nightlife.
Just ten minutes walk away are waterfalls to explore and there’s even a canopy tour you can take where you zip through the river valley. Apparently capuchin monkeys (reminding me of ‘cappuccino’) can be spotted in the forests, but upon my rocky climb to the waterfall, there were none to be seen.
Montezuma is the place to get re-inspired and rejuvenate and slow down a few paces. It’s the place to watch vultures as they sit on the rocks on the sea, see hermit crabs as they crawl along the beach at dusk and spot the iguana which often paid a morning visit upon the beachfront floor at Hotel Lucy.
If only they hadn’t stamped me for just 10 days on my passport. I could stay here for a month…
Getting to Montezuma
I took the boat from Puntarenas which is a port town that I was advised to not stay in (apparently it can be vey sketchy at night). The boat took 80 minutes and was a calm ride, passing islands along the way. The ride only costs £2 ($3.15) and you buy the ticket from the main restaurant opposite the ferry dock.
If you don’t want to go through Puntarenas, you can take the shuttle service from mainland Costa Rica and the beach town of Jaco for a more expensive price. Shuttles also run from Montezuma to Manuel Antonio, Dominical, and San Jose, with daily services to Liberia, Tamarindo, Samara, Nosara, Flamingo, El Coco, Arenal and Monteverde and the Nicaraguan border. Zuma tours can give you info on the shuttle services.
Once you reach the Nicoya Peninsular, you have to go back to the mainland as there is no way of travelling north overland and around.
Staying in Montezuma
There are all different types of accommodation here, from upscale resorts to the more modest budget. It’s better to pre-book as the town can get booked up unless you’re travelling in low season. I for one, preferred the quiet and calm of Hotel Lucy (for £20 a night) but there’s always the hippie hostel vibe of Hostel Pura Vida for those who like the sound of reggae.
Have you been to Montezuma?