We fell in love with the small bohemian town of Montezuma, located on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.
- We stayed at the family owned Hotel La Cascada during our stay in Montezuma. They offered laundry services, a ride, and surfing lessons. Our last night in Montezuma the family organized a bonfire on the beach and a private barbecue dinner for us.
- Montezuma’s holistic lifestyle makes this small town a popular location for yoga retreats and classes.
Butterfly Brewing Company
- Before leaving for Costa Rica, we found a brewery near our hotel. Unsure of the exact location, we began climbing up a steep, dirt road in search of Butterfly Brewing Company. After climbing hill after hill, a sign for Mariposario Montezuma Gardens and Butterfly Brewing Company appeared.
- The long hike was worth the view from the bar in Clandestina Restaurant overlooking the rain forest. We ordered a flight of the 3 available beers: Luna Azul, Summerweizen, and Earthquake IPA. There is a small menu of appetizers, salads, and fish. We recommend the tacos ticos and empanadas.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: We recommend visiting Butterfly Brewing during the day. Walking back at night our iPhone flashlights were the only sources of light at times between sparsely placed streetlights.
- Walking from Montezuma Beach to Playa Grande of Montezuma for surfing lessons we crossed 3 very different beaches from white sand to colorful pebbles to black volcanic sand.
- Every morning a local artist used to build a balanced rock garden along the beaches of Piedra Colorada, Montezuma. Although the artist no longer lives in the area, locals continue the tradition.
- A fallen sign for a Free Waterfall marks the beginning of the trail to Montezuma Waterfall, one of the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. Montezuma Falls consists of 3 separate waterfalls. The first waterfall is the tallest and reached by hiking up the river. The path to the second and third waterfalls begins by climbing an extremely steep bank with the assistance of tree roots near the first waterfall.
- We heard the ear shattering bark of this Mantled Howler Monkey before we spotted it in the tree above us. These monkeys can be heard up to 3 miles away.
- Many small hermit crabs can be seen wandering along the sand. Costa Rica is home to over 800 species of hermit crabs, but only about 15% live on land.
- This White Throated Magpie Jay flew in to enjoy nearby diners’ French fries at Restaurante Montezuma.
- During the rainy season, land crabs make the journey to the coast to lay their eggs. The crabs travel in a straight line regardless of obstacles obstructing their paths. Many crabs become trapped in kitchens, bathrooms, and homes, or killed crossing roads.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: We learned quickly 20 minutes was the common response when inquiring how long something will take; a wait, a drive, a hike, etc. We began the walk to surfing lessons under the false impression it will take 20 minutes to reach our destination. The trek took 2 hours.
- We walked 3 miles across beaches and jungle paths to Young Vision Surf School at Playa Grande of Montezuma for our first surfing lesson. Separated into groups of 3-5, we practiced paddling and standing up on surf boards drawn in the sand before paddling out into the waves. Rash guards, surf boards, a post surfing snack of papaya and mango, cold showers, and drinking water were provided. Note: We both stood up our first time on a surfboard!
- The Sea Turtle Preservation Base Camp accepts volunteers for 2 week periods to assist with protecting nests, educating the public, patrolling, and cleaning the beach.
- The Nicolas Wessberg National Reserve is named after the founder of Costa Rica’s National Park System, Olof Wessberg.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: A soda is a small cafe or restaurant that serves traditional dishes. Almost every soda serves a rice and beans dish called Casado, translating to marriage.
- Sweaty, tired, and hungry our G Adventures group of 16 arrived in Montezuma. Sitting down at Soda La Naranja our group filled the small cafe. The waitress and cook quickly began taking and preparing orders. Soon, another “waitress” began helping. We later learned, the woman we assumed was a second waitress was actually a local taxi driver. She saw our group arrive while she was eating lunch. Knowing the staff of 2 would be overwhelmed, she immediately started helping by taking orders and waiting tables. After she finished cleaning away our empty dishes, she ate the rest of her lunch, and walked back to her cab.
- Bruno’s Pizza has varieties of pizza that can be purchased by the slice and enjoyed in the colorful dining room or on the upstairs balcony.
- Our last lunch in Montezuma was at Chelo Pizzeria. The delicious thin crust pizzas were accompanied by bread and a spicy dipping sauce.
- Our favorite place for breakfast in Montezuma, Soda Monte Sol, opened at 7:00am. We returned every day after tasting the dense, banana pancakes. There are many breakfast options of fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and toast.
- Located at the edge of town is the hotel and restaurant, Cocolores. After walking down the dark path, an ocean side terrace comes into view softly illuminated by hanging lanterns. The menu consists of Mexican, Thai, Greek, and Italian cuisine. The ambiance, craft beer, and great vibes may have contributed, but the curry at Cocolores was one of our favorite meals in Costa Rica. All beers: Nazanja, a reddish ale, Osuza, a new Belgium, and Illozena, a brown ale, are brewed locally on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula at La Selva Cerveza Artsenanal.
- As our time in Montezuma came to an end, a new adventure as future husband and wife began.
* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.