Montezuma and the Nicoya Peninsula

That’s right – I’m back from my five week adventure spanning east coast USA, a backpack tour of Costa Rica and brief hop into Panama! My new job (which I am completely 100% dreading and realising how unprepared I am after jollying off for over a month) starts next week, so I have precisely seven days to try and blog about as much of what I did and saw for you as I can….so I better get cracking!

My first stop after arriving in Costa Rica was a small hippie beach town called Montezuma. Montezuma is on the Nicoya Peninsula, the little bit that sticks out on the Pacific side of the country.

Getting to Montezuma from San José or Alajuela (the town next to the airport, which isn’t actually in the capitol San José) is actually a very simple process using local buses. I paid around $15 altogether, which included a bus to Puntarenus where we transferred to a ferry across the bay, then another bus to Cobano and finally another bus to Montezuma. Sounds like a pain, but it was all very clear, easy, and on time! It does take a while (around 8 hours) but for the money you save in comparison to taking a shared shuttle service is definitely worth it. Plus, you get these pretty wonderful views from the ferry crossing.

Crossing the Gulf of Nicoya

Crossing the Gulf of Nicoya


Montezuma is pretty tiny, but packed full of hostel and hotel options. I stayed at Downtown Montezuma Hostel, located right in the heart of everything in the town, super convenient and super cute! $10 a night for a dorm bed, and you can reserve through the Facebook page. The hostel is run by Israeli Elena, who plays chilled out music all day creating a great atmosphere in the hostel. While the rooms are basic, hot at night, and the showers very, very cold, I had an absolute blast staying here. You can watch locals and backpackers passing by from the comfort of the hammock…

So what is there to do in Montezuma? Firstly, the beach! After two weeks of city hopping and being saturated by museums in America, I couldn’t wait to be relaxing on a beach, and where better to do so?!

Montezuma, Costa Rica

This is the main beach and you can see the town in the middle of the frame. Walk out of town along the beach for around 40 minutes and you’ll hit Playa Grande, another beautiful spot.


Another fun activity is to take a hike to the Montezuma waterfalls. You clamber over rocks and up muddy banks, and you will be rewarded by the beautiful falls and pool at the end.

Montezuma waterfalls

Montezuma waterfalls

Montezuma falls

Montezuma waterfalls

I even had a close encounter with a hungry iguana!

Montezuma is also a great location to use as a base for exploring other towns and beaches at the bottom of the peninsula. Firstly, there’s Cabo Blanco National Park which I unfortunately did not manage to visit. I did however explore Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa. Along with a fellow backpacker from the hostel, I rented an ATV (quad bike) which we drove over to Santa Teresa. The drive took us on roads through thick rainforest, over bumpy roads where the ATV’s small size and light weight allowed us to overtake even the most powerful looking 4x4s!

Playa Hermosa was recommended by Elena at the hostel, as her favourite beach, and we were not disappointed! Very beautiful with the jungle coming right down onto the sand.

Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa

In between exploring the beaches and jungle, we stopped for a pretty great lunch at Zwart Café in Santa Teresa, a laid back, yoga-ite joint filled with American surfer chicks taking a break from the waves.

From the very start of my trip, Montezuma cemented itself as a strong contender for my favourite place in Costa Rica due to the natural beauty of the scenery, the people I met and the atmosphere of the town. Add it to your Costa Rica travel list if you’re ever planning a trip!


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