Goodbye surfboards, hello hippie artisans, sparkling ocean and jungle waterfall adventures. Welcome to Montezuma, a hip, colorful little beach town on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in the provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste.
Like the majority of Costa Rica’s most picturesque beaches, Montezuma started off as a quiet fishing village that began attracting artists and hippies from around the world decades ago. Ask anyone old enough in town and they’ll share stories of days when scraggly, long-haired visitors and nomadic families pitched tents on the area’s magnificent white sand beaches and camped out there for months on end.
Nowadays, Montezuma continues to be an artist haven but also draws crowds of backpackers, yogis, eco-tourists, and couples.
While Montezuma’s tranquil, pool-like waters rarely offer great surfing conditions, the beaches here are apt for swimming, snorkeling and hiking.
What the Weather is Like in Montezuma
Like the rest of the country, Montezuma’s dry season usually extends from December to April, making these the most popular months to visit this sunshiny beach town. You may, of course, experience rain during these months, or a late or early start to the rainy season, but most of the time, the dry season is synonymous with long hours of continuous sunshine, non-stop sweating, and an average maximum temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 35 degrees Celsius.
The wet season in Montezuma starts in May and usually dies down towards the end of November, with the highest rainfall in September and October.
As in most tourist destinations all over Costa Rica, you can expect to enjoy green season discounts, uncrowded beaches, and a fair amount of sunshine during these months, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to visit the country, or Montezuma, just to avoid the rains!
Activities & Things to Do in Montezuma
With plenty of stunning, uncrowded beaches to choose from, hiking options, lush nature reserves and scores of activities for visitors of all ages, you will never get bored in Montezuma!
Montezuma’s waterfalls are one of this destination’s main highlights. A 45-minute hike along a jungle trail leads to the Montezuma Falls, an impressive set of three waterfalls that start with a gorgeous cascade that bubbles into a refreshing swimming hole. If you keep going, you’ll find the area’s most emblematic cascade, which offers the heart-stopping opportunity to dive from different altitudes up to a maximum of approximately 10 meters into fresh water. The last waterfall features a rope swing and a large swimming hole. Beware of currents, particularly during the rainy season and if you choose to jump, exercise caution. Accidents are common at these waterfalls and visitors have died here.
Sunbathers and beach lovers have some of the country’s most gorgeous, white sand, turquoise water beaches to choose from in the Montezuma area. Playa Montezuma lies right outside the town and is the most visited beach here. A 40-minute walk north of the town center through trails and beach will get you to Playa Grande, arguably the most stunning beach in this area, due to its vastness and the wide expanse of soft sand.
Don’t miss a visit to the Sano Banano restaurant, a classic Montezuma hangout right in the town center. With a fantastic, open-air restaurant and big screen, Sano Banano hosts movie nights and screens popular sporting events such as the Super Bowl. Sano Banano has been around since 1989 and is known for serving healthy food and its famous staple: the delicious mocha chiller.
Lots of day trips can be arranged from Montezuma, and as you will see, there is no shortage of tour operators in town. A popular day tour from this beach is the boat trip to the magnificent Isla Tortuga for diving or snorkeling. The tiny island, which is surrounded by a reef teeming with life, offers crystal clear waters and soft white sand. Tours usually include lunch and snorkeling gear.
A visit to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Costa Rica’s oldest protected area, can also be easily arranged from Montezuma. This reserve offers winding jungle trails and beautiful beaches and a day-long visit here is a must.
Visitors can also arrange a trip to the nearby Curú National Wildlife Refuge, a reserve that contains abundant wildlife, mangroves, hiking trails, and a lovely beach.
This hill-top “mariposario”, a butterfly garden and nursery that the whole family will enjoy includes a jungle brewery that produces six different craft beers and a solar-powered bed and breakfast. The gardens are located approximately one kilometer south of Montezuma.
A Laid-Back, Bohemian Beach Town
Take a deep breath in Montezuma and you’re bound to inhale some “Pura Vida” in herb form. Perhaps owing to its bohemian roots, long ago Montezuma acquired a reputation as a marijuana-friendly destination (more so than most other destinations in the country). After a few days here you’ll be sure to see and smell for yourself why this town earned the nickname “Montefuma.”
Despite the openness with which marijuana appears to be consumed around here, it remains an illegal drug in Costa Rica, and is often frowned upon by the locals.
While we do not have any itinerary templates that currently include Montezuma as a destination, we encourage you to let us know if this is a place where you’d like to visit during your travels through Costa Rica. Our custom itineraries design team can assist you in creating a unique, fun and logistically efficient trip that visits Montezuma!
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