Montezuma, Costa Rica
Every Saturday morning Montezuma celebrates with a small organic farmer’s market, where local musicians will gather for and impromptu jam session, and organic foods, crafts and flowers are sold. The rest of the week Montezuma is a continuous casual outdoor party with a parade of beautiful and eccentric locals, tourists, Rastafarians, artists, and expat hippies whose colorful personalities and attitudes perfectly complement the stunning beauty that is Montezuma. Accommodations in Montezuma will fit any budget, but it’s such a popular and enjoyable locale, that during the high season visitors are well advised to book in advance.
Cradled by high cliffs overgrown with lush tropical greenery, small streams flow down continuously from above, forming scenic waterfalls and natural pools for swimming. Monkeys chatter in the background as their human counterparts spot them from below. Playa Grande is a few steps from Montezuma’s center, for those tiring of people watching and wanting to step out and catch some sun. Secluded coves and tide pools are everywhere, allowing for some exploration, and tropical privacy.
Local tour operators offer a good range of packages to nearby activities and attractions, should the immediate surroundings not be enough. Visitors can snorkel in the crystal waters of Tortuga Island and enjoy a barbecue afterward, or have a canopy tour over a valley’s waterfall nearby, or perhaps go scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, or meander the local scenery by horseback.
Speedboats can be rented to travel to the mainland, where often the local marine life can be spotted along the way. Dolphins, whales, and mantas travel through the area on their way past the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve just nine kilometers from Montezuma.
Because Montezuma is located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, many visitors think it belongs to the province of Guanacaste, but this part of the peninsula actually forms part of Puntarenas province.
Like all of Costa Rica’s Northwest Pacific Region, Montezuma enjoys one of Costa Rica’s driest, most glorious climates. With fairly steady temperatures, daytime highs reach up to the low 90s, while nighttime lows drop to the upper 70s. The worst of the wet season is experienced here from September to early November, while December to August generally sees the best weather.
Montezuma has well-known healing arts and yoga communities and is known by filmmakers and artists from across the world for the annual Costa Rica International Film Festival in May.
Like most of the Nicoya Peninsula, the area we now know as Montezuma was under the control of the Chorotega tribe in the pre-Columbian era. Following the Spanish Conquest in 1519-20, the surviving members of the tribe moved into the southern part of the Peninsula to escape the Spanish rule.
The Festival de Arte Chunches de Mar held in January brings together musicians, artists, and craftspeople who create, perform, and camp on the beach for a month.
Summary: Bohemian beach town; exceptional surfing; spectacular scenery and hiking.
Landscape: Beaches, Rainforest
Attractions: Cabo Blanco Reserve, Waterfalls
Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Hiking, Snorkeling, Surfing, Swimming
Caters to: Budget Travelers, Couples/Honeymooners, Surfers, Wildlife Enthusiasts
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