A Week in Montezuma

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View from Luna Llena

Some of you might have noticed that Julia and I have been taking turns writing these posts. We thought it was a good way to give you our individual perspectives while changing up writing styles between posts. Then I got greedy. I decided that I wanted to write about Montezuma and pouted. Being the adult, Julia decided that it was a good idea to let me take Montezuma and tackle Monteverde and Manuel Antonio instead (you won’t want to miss these). So without further adieu, here is a quick recap of our time in Montezuma.

We were pretty exhausted from our sail into Tambor so on our first day all we did was check into our hostel (www.lunallena.com) and relax. Our hostel was a highlight and we wouldn’t have even known about it if not for a great recommendation from Scott (my friend who somehow put up with living with me for 4 years). Most of the hostel is open air, including the kitchen and a large balcony where everyone hangs out to watch the iguanas fall off the roof. Because Luna Llena is up on a hill in the jungle, we were able to avoid some of the heat down by the beaches. Not only that, but we frequently had monkey visitors.

Monkeys

Monkeys

The small white faced monkeys would often jump down from the trees onto the roof and race over our heads before finding another tree to scurry up. The atmosphere was super relaxed and we connected with the other guests almost immediately. By the end of the night, we were drinking guaro (don’t do this) and playing cards on the balcony.

Luna Llena Balcony

Luna Llena Balcony

Iguana we watched fall

Iguana we watched fall

The town of Montezuma is very small, in fact, it’s only about 3 streets. There are a couple small markets, a few restaurants, a bar, and a number of local vendors. There is a definite hippie feel to Montezuma. All the ticos have dreadlocks and sport Bob Marley tank tops. It was just what Julia and I were looking for. That said, what makes Montezuma great is what’s outside the town.

Montezuma has two main waterfalls that are within walking distance and we decided to explore them both. The first waterfall was only a 25 minute hike from the hostel. Although the waterfall was close, the hike was a little tricky and there were some pretty steep hills along the route. Once we reached the ~75 foot waterfall, we noticed a tico boy who was climbing the rocks right along the falls. He climbed about 3/4 of the way up and jumped off. Crazy (we later read that no tourist had survived a jump from the top). We followed a trail up and around the waterfall to the falls above. Right here is where I would post that picture, but we forgot the camera (sorry!). The next day we decided to walk to the other waterfall. We were told the second waterfall was about an hour and a half away, but the walk would be along the beach and easy. We were lied to. The waterfall was along a beach, but the hike was not easy. The sun was very hot and the walk was terrible (this may be a slight exaggeration). The saving grace was that the beaches we walked through were breathtaking. Playa Grande was particularly scenic and we were compelled to stop for a breather and for some body surfing. After our stop, we walked another hour and a half to the waterfall. This had to be a joke. The waterfall was maybe 15 feet and a trickle of water compared to the massive cascade from the day before. Pro tip: if you ever go to Montezuma, skip the far waterfall.

Second Waterfall

Second Waterfall

Over the next few days we spent some time at various beaches including a second trip to Playa Grande. The beaches were great. They are definitely rockier than some other parts of Costa Rica, but incredibly beautiful. We were even lucky enough to catch some baby turtles on the way out to the ocean for their first time.

I like turtles

I like turtles

There are some things in Costa Rica that are a little different than home. First, the dogs. Dogs here are more like cats at home. Dogs have owners, but they are almost never fenced in or kept inside. During the day, it seems like they often just pick someone that looks interesting and follow them around. For example, one day we decided to walk to Cabuya, a small town about 8 kilometers away. Before we left Montezuma, a small dog, who we named Lady Baxter, decided we looked like fun people. This dog walked with us the entire way to Cabuya. When we stopped at beaches, the dog would just dig itself a little hole in the sand and sit until we decided it was time to leave. I have been around dogs for years and I’m not sure I would trust any of our dogs to behave in such a manner. The dog made the entire 16 km round trip with us and only left when we were back in Montezuma. A day later we saw Lady Baxter walking around with another group of people (that tramp!).

Lady Baxter

Lady Baxter

The second thing that’s a little different is the way ATM’s work don’t work. Usually, in Costa Rica, the ATM machines either don’t have money or are out of service. The one in Montezuma decided Swiss bank cards were delicious, so delicious that it wouldn’t return them. Then it went out of service. The machine was out of service for several days and as it got closer to the end of our stay in Montezuma, we needed cash to pay for our hostel. There were no other ATM’s in Montezuma. We used the last of our coins to pay for a bus ticket to Cobano, a small town we had passed on the way that was rumored to have a working ATM. Once we got there, several people got off the bus and immediately walked to the ATM. We were not alone on our excursion. When an ATM IS working, there is a line. Always. Next time you stop at your ATM and there is no one in front of you, take a moment and appreciate it. I took it for granted for far too long.

I’m not sure this post accurately describes Montezuma. I think it’s difficult to put into writing what Montezuma is about. It is less about pictures and more about people. All I can say now is that Montezuma was one of my favorite places I have been to. I highly recommend going. Stay tuned for Julia’s writeups for Monteverde and Manuel Antonio, you won’t want to miss them.

…also, 30 cent papayas are pretty awesome.

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