Montezuma on the south-eastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula has long been an insider tip for (wannabe) hippies and European backpackers.
Many of these former long-term visitors have settled as expats in Montezuma and have continuously expanded the tourist infrastructure with small hotels, restaurants and pubs. On weekends during the high season, the place still becomes a party town, even though many of today’s tourists cultivate a vague hippie image only on holiday and earn the necessary money for the rest of the year in suit and tie.
Montezuma’s attraction are its beautiful beaches, although only partially suitable for bathing, which stretch for miles in the northeast of the town and are lined with dense vegetation and inhabited by a remarkable howler monkey colony. Montezuma’s most beautiful beach is Playa Grande, a good 2 km northeast of town. Along the beach line several rivers and streams flow into the sea.
Only a few kilometres to the south, behind Cabuya, one reaches the Reserva Absoluta Cabo Blanco, the oldest nature reserve of the country, whose trails end at the beautiful white sandy beach of the “White Cape”. Today’s Cabo Blanco National Park was founded in 1963 as a private initiative of the Swedish couple Nicolas Wessberg and Karen Morgenson, long before the first national park system was created in 1970. Nicolas Wessberg was murdered on the Osa Peninsula in 1975 when he led a campaign for the establishment of a national park there. During his early years, the area, which houses one of the few remaining tropical dry forests, was reserved for scientists and students only, and even today it is only accessible from Wednesday to Sunday (8-16h). The 4 km walk from the entrance to the southern tip takes about two hours in each direction. It is advisable to arrive early and take provisions, drinking water and bathing clothes with you.
Montezuma’s waterfalls are a popular destination for shorter walks into the hinterland, although some visitors have already paid with nasty injuries or even with their lives for climbing the cascades and then jumping into the depths. Behind the first one, with almost 80 metres the highest one follows a second one and finally a third one that can hardly be described as a waterfall, but whose basin is the best bathing place.
A popular excursion from Montezuma is to the Isla Tortuga, whose white sandy beach is one of the most beautiful in Costa Rica. In addition, its waters represent a good snorkeling area. Boat trips to the island including beach picnic and snorkeling equipment are offered in Montezuma, but the island can be overcrowded in high season.