Montezuma, Costa Rica

Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma

Ferry "Drum"
Fishermen sail a small boat in front of the ferry "Tambor"
Ferry View
Passengers from the "Tambor" ferry see another one sailing in the Gulf of Nicoya.
Bather crosses the water curtain of the Montezuma waterfall,
Tiger heron
Tiger Egret watches fish on the waterfront of the Nicolas Wessberg Absolute National Reserve.
warm tones
A young bather photographs the sunset, on a rocky stretch of the Montezuma coast.
Synchronized Diving
Pelicans dive into the sea off Malpaís, west of Montezuma.
The Jungle of Montezuma
Aerial view of the Montezuma jungle and the Pacific Ocean coastline.
A reservation. absolute
Irregular trail of the Nicolas Wessberg Absolute Reserve.
Curious Capuchin
Capuchin monkey examines hikers crossing its territory.
jump from the top
Young bathers practice jumping from the upper level of the Montezuma waterfall.
twilight surfers
Surfers leave the low sea of ​​Playa Malpais.
drop in water
The Montezuma waterfall, the main river alternative to the beaches off the town.
colored stone
Aerial view of Playa Colorada, furrowed by a stream.
Golden Montezuma
Montezuma Cove golden at sunset.
It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.

It's a whole traveling adulthood.

In nearly two decades of our terrestrial wandering, much of the Tica nation has modernized without a backward step. We left the rucksack pure and hard that made us reach everywhere.

In Montezuma, except that the road from the port of Paquera is now paved, little or nothing has changed.

We landed on the pier in a rented car, no longer on the bus overflowing with sweaty and motivated teenagers. We cover the 40 km separating the port of Montezuma in less than the expected time and at sunset.

We couldn't explain for sure why we didn't remember the scenarios surrounding the road.

The most certain is, to date, the “Drum” – the ferry that still connects the city of Puntarenas to Paquera – arrived later or was late.

Montezuma and Malpaís, best beaches in Costa Rica, Ferry "Tambor", Puntarenas

Fishermen sail a small boat in front of the ferry “Tambor”

Flirting Montezuma through Undulating Meadows, Golden by Sunset

And, in agreement, the bus has already made the trip at night. We wouldn't be surprised if the windows were too dark, preventing us from enjoying the landscape. It certainly wouldn't be the first.

What we do know is that the last rays of the sun, almost parallel to the surface of the Nicoya Peninsula, grazed the pastures. Livestock farmers and they painted us with an almost magical charm, full, as we saw them, with verdant ridges, dotted with shade trees and white cebu cows.

We also know that, in that grassy wonder, we rejected the Calle Pura Vida shortcut, which instead bumped into the semi-urban junction of Gollo Cobano.

From there, we descend towards the coast along a secondary road as precarious and bumpy as those of twenty years ago.

We settled in the vacation villa of Rose Marie and Glen, a couple from the USA with whom, in our spare time from our always intense photographic discovery, we socialized.

Even before we confirm it, the duo praises Montezuma's Zen credits again. They also tell us about neighboring places that we should take advantage of to discover.

That's what we do.

Rediscovering the Tropical Shelter of Montezuma

More mobile than in 2003, we point to the west coast of the Nicoya Peninsula.

We enter Playa Malpaís and its vast sand, quite different from those of Montezuma, and there we admire the delight shared by the expatriate surfing community.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, surfers

Surfers leave the low sea of ​​Playa Malpais.

Surfing waves is something that Montezuma cannot offer. This gap only makes it quieter.

Tired of the wet days in Monteverde, at the top of the mountain range that separates the Caribbean side of Costa Rica from the Pacific, we divided the inaugural day at the beach between a beach break and occasional and providential photos.

We didn't return home until dusk. Finally, we gave in to the anxiety of reunion.

we cross the town of Montezuma that we found on chemical paper from what we kept in memory.

Young bathers rehearse jumping from the upper level of the Montezuma waterfall, last photo

A young bather photographs the sunset, on a rocky stretch of the Montezuma coast.

From the top of a cliff crowned by a white-blue-red flag of Costa Rica, we peeked at the nearest cove, the first in a blessed sequence that we remembered having trodden to exhaustion.

Soon, it gets dark, culminating in a lush twilight torn by the soaring overhead of successive squads of pelicans.

Malcountry, Montezuma, Costa Rica

Pelicans dive into the sea off Malpaís, west of Montezuma.

The following dawn reveals a new sunny and dry day, characteristic of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Without further detours, we return to the delicious rediscovery of Montezuma.

Montezuma Waterfall. The River Alternative to Stunning Beaches

At the entrance of the pueblo, there is a fork where the right lane turns off towards the famous Cabo Blanco.

We remembered that a mere few hundred meters along this unpaved road, a trail led to a large waterfall, a rush from the river that gives the village its name.

We followed its bed, full of ups and downs, slippery passages and others so precarious that they were equipped with support ropes.

A mile later, we hear the refreshing sound of the jump, following the long rainy season in Central America, still bulky. There too, life had stopped in time.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches

The Montezuma waterfall, the main river alternative to the beaches off the town.

Despite the late hour, the surrounding jungle amphitheater was full of young people devoted to the pleasures of Nature, including the sensory stimuli of some of its herb, consumed in large quantities in those parts, which explains that, as a satire, Montezuma continue to be known as Montefuma.

In this treat, boys court girls. Girls court boys. As has always been the case and, as such, in 2003, the first ones do everything they can to impress them and the audience in general.

In these nearly two decades, accidents have accumulated. Not so, any authority dared to prohibit the acrobatics.

Cataract, Montezuma, Costa Rica

Bather crosses the water curtain of the Montezuma waterfall,

Somersaults and some Banal, Risky Stunts of Life

in a good way look, a message on an aged board beautified by sun and rain pretends to fulfill its role. Straight ahead, dives follow, some more acrobatic than others.

With our bath taken, we agreed to register them. In the first pass through Montezuma, we had watched and photographed on slide the dive of the dives, starring a fearless young man who had launched himself headlong, almost from the top of the 24 meters in height.

We have to confess that, despite the risk of tragedy, we had hope that the moment would be repeated.

Instead, smaller jumps followed, some of them insulting in the face of this historic culmination, of young men diving in and holding their noses. And one or two with some included somersault but executed from a few meters high.

That's how the morning passed when, out of nowhere, a thin, white teenager with curly hair, who was limited to appreciating the achievements of the rest, decides to impress the girls he had been talking to and outdo them all.

More than that. Jesus, that's how the native of Montezuma was called, he had already agreed that we were recording the acrobatics and he decided to go on forever.

Come to us and tell us with a wink: “I'm going to do a special jump, just for you. Prepare to fire.”

From there, it goes around the waterfall and ascends it almost halfway. He cleans a small slab of rock with his hands. Go back down.

It gains balance, projects itself from that base against the wall of the waterfall and, with renewed momentum, jumps into the depths of the lake.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, waterfall

Young bathers practice jumping from the upper level of the Montezuma waterfall.

Then he comes to check on how he did.

“Nice number wasn't it?? You have to send me this, OK?” and give us your phone number.

Montezuma's Wild and Lush Beaches

Feats like yours don't just happen. Later in the afternoon, we were already walking along the Montezuma coves when we saw Jesus again.

He trained in jumps and similar acrobatics in a fortified rock that the low tide had left uncovered.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, capuchin monkey

Capuchin monkey examines hikers crossing its territory.

We crossed the entire beach of Montezuma.

On the way to the next, we are distracted by a bunch of capuchin monkeys entertained by one of their frequent and shrill clashes.

Next is the tiny bay of Piedra Colorada, crossed by a cold stream that, as we remembered, furrowed the black sand.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, Playa Pedra Colorada

Aerial view of Playa Colorada, furrowed by a stream.

This cove was once frequented by one Jake, a local artist who, morning after morning, used to leave a stone sculpture in balance there.

Your habit has spawned a tradition. The reason why we found an entire sector of the beach full of these sculptures.

Young families of foreigners picnic in the shade of coconut trees, where the stream meets the sand. From time to time, they dive into the calm sea of ​​the cove and alternate between freshwater and saltwater bathing.

Playa de la Piedra Colorada overlooks one of Costa Rica's countless protected natural strongholds, accessible by a path at first steep and in which a silence and a sacred chlorophyll atmosphere prevails.

Montezuma and Malpaís, Costa Rica's best beaches, Nicolas Wessberg reserve trail

Irregular trail of the Nicolas Wessberg Absolute Reserve.

The Protected Coastal Jungle of the Wessberg Reserve

At the entrance, a sign identifies you as Green Sueño and to the place of estate once inhabited by the couple Nicolas Wessberg and Karen Morgensen, honored in 1994 with the creation of the Wessberg Absolute National Reserve.

Nicolas, or Olaf, as his family treated him, and his wife were staunch supporters of Costa Rica's ecosystems. Nicolas perished, in fact, a victim of this posture.

In the 60s, the couple visited the neighboring area of ​​Cabo Blanco.

He came across a vast area of ​​newly cut forest.

They decided to recover it and turn it into a nature reserve, for which Nicolas sought to convince the Costa Rican government and gather international funds to facilitate such a mission.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, aerial view of Montezuma

Aerial view of the Montezuma jungle and the Pacific Ocean coastline.

It turned out to be successful.

Soon, the couple became interested in protecting another unique Costa Rican wilderness, Corcovado.

In 1975, Nicolas went there with the aim of writing a report that would help ensure the same protection he had obtained for Cabo Blanco.

However, he could not keep the promise he had made to his wife that he would return for her birthday.

The most accepted version of his tragedy is that he was killed by a local guide at the behest of natives of the region who wanted to enrich themselves with the natural resources of the area and feared that it would be declared a national park.

In the Wessberg Absolute National Reserve, in photographic pursuit of a lone pelican, we spent half an hour focusing on a less elusive tiger heron.

Montezuma and Malpaís, Costa Rica's best beaches, Tiger Egret

Tiger Egret watches fish on the waterfront of the Nicolas Wessberg Absolute National Reserve.

To the sound of some grandiose classical music, the resident of a lost cabin helped us to evoke the ecological spirits of Olaf and Karen.

The melodies that entertained him contributed to make us feel even more strengthened the green and alternative spirituality of the elusive Montezuma.

Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, Ocaso

Montezuma Cove golden at sunset.

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