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Idyllically offbeat, Montezuma is popular with budget-minded backpackers and counterculture travelers (including a band of less-than-friendly faux Rastafarians scrounging a living by juggling and selling hash pipes and funky jewelry). Business owners are prone to shut up shop on a whim—sometimes for days at a time, or longer.
The fantastic beaches east of Montezuma are backed by forest-festooned cliffs from which streams tumble down to the sands. Monkeys frolic in the forests. Beware riptides! The Nicolas Weissenburg Absolute Reserve was created in 1998 to protect the shoreline and forested hills to the east of Montezuma. It’s strictly off-limits, however.
La Catarata Montezuma, a waterfall and swimming hole two kilometers southwest of town (the trail leads upstream from the Restaurante La Cascada), is dangerous. Do not climb or jump from the top of the fall. Several lives have been lost this way.
The Montezuma Butterfly Garden (tel. 506/2642-1317, www.montezumagardens.com, 8 A.M.–4 P.M. daily, $8), west of the village, 0.5 kilometer above the Montezuma Waterfall Canopy del Pacífico tour, has a netted garden and breeds morphos and other butterflies species.
Entertainment and Events
Although hard to imagine, this tiny hamlet now hosts the Montezuma International Film Festival (www.montezumafilmfestival.com), created in 2007, each November.
El Sano Banano restaurant shows movies nightly at 7 P.M. (free with dinner or $6 minimum order).
Exotic in extremis, the Anamaya Resort (www.anamayaresort.com) hosts fire-dancing and special cabarets ($35 including dinner).
Sun Trails Montezuma (tel. 506/2642-0808, www.montezumatraveladventures.com) offers all manner of activities, from ATV tours and horseback riding to its Montezuma Waterfall Canopy Tour, which offers tours by zip line between the treetops at 8 A.M., 10 A.M., 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. daily ($35).
Montezuma Expeditions (tel. 506/2642-0919, www.montezumaexpeditions.com) similarly offers a wide range of tours and activities, as do Zuma Tours (tel. 506/2642-0024, www.zumatours.net) and Cabo Blanco Travel (tel. 506/2642-0556, www.caboblancotravelers.com), which specializes in trips to Isla Tortuga ($40 pp low season, $45 pp high season) and Cabo Blanco ($30).
The hills hereabouts are great for mountain biking with Tico Bike Tours (tel. 506/8737-5111, www.ticobiketours.com); and for horse-riding at Finca Los Caballos (tel. 506/2642-0124, www.naturelodge.net, from $20 pp per hour), which has mountain and beach rides.
Montezuma Yoga (tel. 506/2642-0076, www.montezumayoga.com) at Hotel Los Mangos offers yoga classes at 9:30 A.M. (Sun.–Fri., $12). Anamaya Resort (www.anamayaresort.com) also hosts yoga and Zumba classes.
Montezuma Surf School (tel. 506/2642-0390, mtzsurf [at] gmail [dot] com) offers lessons and gear rental, as does Proyecto Montezuma (tel. 506/8314-0690, www.proyectomontezuma.org), which also teaches EFL to the local community.
Getting to Montezuma
Buses (tel. 506/2221-7479 or 2642-0740) depart from Avenida 3, Calles 16/18 in San José at 6 A.M. and 2 P.M. daily; minibuses meet the bus in Cóbano. Return buses depart Montezuma at 6 A.M. and 2:30 P.M. (buses from Cóbano depart for San José 30 minutes later). Local buses (tel. 506/2642-0219) for Montezuma depart Paquera at 6 A.M., 8 A.M., 10 A.M., noon, 2 P.M., 5 P.M., and 7 P.M. daily.
The bus for Paquera departs Montezuma at 3:45 A.M., 6 A.M., 10 A.M., noon, 2 P.M., and 4 P.M. and departs from Cóbano (from outside the Hotel Caoba) 15 minutes later.
Interbus (tel. 506/2283-5573, www.interbusonline.com) operates minibus shuttles from San José ($40), as does Montezuma Expeditions’ Tur Bus Shuttle (tel. 506/2642-0919).
Most of the recreational tour companies offer water-taxis. For example, Cabo Blanco Travel (tel. 506/2642-0556, www.caboblancotravelers.com) has a water-taxi to Jacó ($35 pp). A taxi to Montezuma from Tambor airport costs about $25.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition