Best of what Montezuma, Costa Rica has to offer

Montezuma, Costa Rica

When I visited Costa Rica back in November of 2021, I absolutely fell in love with Montezuma. It is a little paradise hidden away far from crowded cities like San Jose. Situated in the Pacific coast, Montezuma is not the easiest place to reach if you are coming from San Jose.

How to get to Montezuma?

Due to pandemic situation the number of direct buses from San Jose to Montezuma was reduced to one per day. The shared mini van required a minimum of 4 passengers to travel. So that is not an option for me as I was traveling solo. The bus ride from San Jose to Montezuma is a long (but comfortable) 6 hour journey that involved a ferry transfer at Punta Arenas.

The only bus operator at the time of my writing was Transportes Cobano. I took the bus from San Jose (new terminal 7-10 ). It left very early at 6 am and gets to Montezuma around noon. The bus ticket costs USD 13 one way.

Montezuma, Costa Rica
Montezuma, Costa Rica

When the bus arrived in Punta Arenas we all got off from the bus and switched to a car ferry. We would spend the next hour in the ferry sailing the calm waters of Gulf of Nicoya with some incredible views around us. On our way we observed some dolphins and seagulls chasing our ferry. We also passed a few karsts like hills floating in the middle of the water with birds circling around probably looking for food.

I grabbed a cup of Americano from the cafeteria, found a seat, lay down my backpack and tried to take it all in as the ferry traversed through the narrow gaps of Gulf of Nicoya.

Upon arriving in Montezuma around noon I can already sense the difference in temperature. When I left San Jose earlier that morning it was about 15 c and in Montezuma it climbed up to almost 30 c. I supposed it was time for t-shirt and shorts.

Due to some issues with my reservation at the hostel, the hostel owner was kind enough to switch me to another guest house which turned out to be surprisingly better than my original intended stay.

I stayed at a nice beach guest house named Hotel Lucy that was located right on the beach. With an unfettered view of the ocean, I could relax in a hammock by the sea and watch the day go by. Montezuma is a small sleepy fishing village with a couple of super markets, surf shops and a few restaurants.

Little that I knew, Montezuma is also famous for surfing. On the weekends Montezuma hosts a farmers market where the local farmers arriving from surrounding villages set up shops to sell their organic produce.

Next few days, I would spend lazying around Montezuma connecting spiritually with the sea, rocks and lush green forest. Since most of the coastline is rocky, one can find many tide pools along the coast. Critters, urchins and barnacles hide there and come out when the water recedes. It was interesting to watch them.

Romelia Nature Reserve

One of the highlights of my trip was walking along the coast to Romelia Nature reserve. Located a few miles north of Montezuma, Romelia is an unspoiled wildlife refugee which provides a sense of tranquility and delight to visitors.

Created by Albert Ingalls and Gitza Gatti who came by boat and fell in love with the biodiversity of the area purchased the land with the idea to conserve the land for future generations.

I started my walk from my guest house and headed north crossing the town center and a few beaches along the way. Staying on course I kept walking along the shores passing a mix of landscapes ranging from rocky cliffs, sand beaches, fallen tree branches and lush vegetation.

Some beaches were easy to walk as the sand sift between my toes while the sand gets pushed over by the waves. While a few others have pebbles which can be a good foot massage but not comfortable walking for a long time.

After two hours of slow walking, I finally reached Playa Cocalito where I find some surfers trying their luck with the waves. The beach here is perfect as the water temperature is warm like bath water and it is shallow in depth. In a way it reminded me of the famous Elafonisi beach in Crete, Greece. Since it was farther from the center of Montezuma, not many people venture out this far so you can find yourself owning the section of the beach.

Sea Turtles Conservation

Time passes slow here in Playa Cocalito. Spending an hour swimming in the beach doesn’t seem enough. But I had to leave just so I have enough time to get back. Also I wanted to witness the event where they release the baby Sea Turtles back into the water. Montezuma is one of the prime locations along the Pacific coast where the Sea Turtles lay their eggs.

The volunteers who work for the Sea Turtle conservation program at Montezuma beach patrol the beach to recover these eggs – before poachers find them – and save them in special nests in protected areas to help nurture them in their young days.

Spending a week in Montezuma helped me understand the true meaning of “Pura vida”.