I leave La Fortuna and head to the Nicoya Peninsula on the west coast of Costa Rica. I take a bus to the ferry in Tambor. The ferry takes about an hour to cross the Gulf of Nicoya. At that point another hour bus ride gets me to Montezuma, a small little town on the southeast side of the Peninsula. I didn’t have much luck finding hostels online to pre-book so I have the bus drop me off in the center and I wander around to find a hostel. I check one but there are no lockers and the room seemed a bit dank so I move on. Just down the hill I see a sign for Pura Vida Hostel. They actually have private rooms for $10 (the price of the other hostel’s dorms), so I figure this can’t be beat.
The second day I’m in Montezuma I set out to see the famed Montezuma waterfall. On the way I meet Leah, a woman from New Orleans. She’s been in country for two months and she knows how to get there, so we end up hiking to the falls together.
The waterfall is amazing. I’m sure it’s nothing compared to Angel Falls or Iguazu Falls, but as far as all the cascades I’ve ever seen, this one is the best. The most picturesque for sure. It is the ideal that I have in my mind when I think of a jungle waterfall; Great height, great width, various rocks protruding from the cliff face to break up and redirect the flow in chaotic aquatic beauty. There is a nice sized lagoon that it pools into, great for swimming. I snap some photos. Then Leah and I swim out to the waterfall and perch ourselves on some rocks on the edge of the falls. We got an early start, so there is not a lot of people here yet, and there is no one in the lagoon at all. As I sit there the roar of the cascade, the misty spray of its collision with the lagoon, and the surrounding serene verdant jungle awes me and puts me at peace.
As I travel I have these “spots” - places that impact me somehow so deeply that I will carry them with me for the rest of my life and that I will always yearn to return to. Koh Rong Samloem, the little island off the coast of Cambodia, was one of those for me on the last trip. On this trip the lagoon in the crater of Cerro Chato is slowly becoming one. But the waterfall here in Montezuma is already on that list... One of my favorite spots in the world.
Leah knows of a little trail to climb up above the waterfall where there are a couple of mini cascades. We climb up there and it is even less populated. Yep, this is one of my “spots” for sure.
I spend the next couple days in Montezuma. Leah invites me to hike the Cabo Blanco National Park one day. It’s a 5km trail that ends at a hermit crab filled beach. Those little guys are swarming everywhere. Everywhere you look, something is moving. The beach is just teeming with life. You stare at the sand and it is just waving, undulating, breathing. It’s rather incredible and a bit psychedelic, to be honest.
Montezuma is a very relaxing little town, but I can’t get too comfortable, I have to keep moving. I hop a shuttle and head farther south and around the tip of the peninsula to Santa Teresa, a popular surf destination…