Last Tuesday it was announced that the school would be closed on Thursday and Friday for a holiday. Immediately, teachers and admins started making plans for beach trips. A four-day weekend is a rare treat! I knew I had to make the most of it. So I polled my students for ideas. Most of them agreed that I should go to Montezuma
, a small beach town on the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula.
I was worried that I might have a difficult time finding a place to stay. Hotels were sure to be busy during the holiday weekend. In fact, this was enough to discourage other teachers. They caved to the fear and stayed home. But I decided to take a chance. One way or another, I felt certain I'd find a place to sleep.
My next challenge was simply to get there. I'd heard many different opinions on which buses to take. The trip involves taking a bus to Puntarenas, then a ferry to Paquera, then a bus to Montezuma. It's possible to take cheap local buses, but I chose to spend 10 bucks on the "direct" bus leaving at 7:30 in the morning, which simplified the trip and was a little more comfortable. "Direct" is a bit misleading, though, because the driver still stopped to pick up passengers along the way, and it just took us to Cobano (the only real town in the southern peninsula), where we got off and finished the 6-hour trip in a smaller bus.
Upon arrival, the hotel-hunt began. I started at La Aurora
, which was recommended by my guide book. I'd emailed them before I left and they said they were booked at the time, but didn't know when people might leave. I was lucky. They had an affordable ($20/night) room available. I checked it out and it was really nice. What sold me, though, was the hammock lounge upstairs.
With that taken care of, I grabbed a few beers and hit the beach. Even the area closest to town was beautiful, and I enjoyed sitting around people-watching for awhile.
Then a lovely young lady in a little red bikini walked over to me. Let's call her Liz. She was looking for her three friends, who might've gone to the waterfall. I hadn't seen them. She asked if I'd like to go with her to look for them. How could I refuse? I grabbed my towel and we began the hike. Along the way, we met an old hippy sitting by the river who looked exactly like a guru out of a movie. He told us which way to go and advised us to take off our flip-flops. But who hikes barefoot? Naturally, moments later, I slipped on a rock and my sandals ripped apart. Bruised and barefooted, I continued up toward the waterfall. We met some others along the way, including a nice German girl, and some college guys from the US. The trek was completely worth the effort, as we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the waterfall. And I enjoyed the company and conversation from my newfound friend. Eventually, we were the only two remaining at the falls, and we decided we should head back before it got dark.
On the way back, we finally found her three friends. They chose to continue up to the falls, while the Liz and I decided to have dinner together. She suggested that we get our food to go so that we could eat at the beach. Excellent idea. Unfortunately, it was dark by this time, so we struggled to find a place that was safe. But eventually we located the perfect spot where we sat, enjoying our "pescado cosados" and listening to the sounds of the surf. It was an amazing way to spend my first day in Montezuma.
Sadly, Liz and her friends had to leave the next morning. So I was left to explore the rest of the area on my own for the next few days.
Montezuma is a series of small beaches, connected by a path through the jungle. Each one seemed more beautiful than the previous. And there are hidden treasures, like the rock garden that's part of a nature reserve. I think I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
All of the pictures are here.
Labels: costa rica