Mesmerised by the beauty of Montezuma
Located in the south of Costa Rica, Montezuma is a coastal beach town and an ex-hippie hangout.
Full of character, cool shops and little market stalls in the evening, Montezuma is a lovely place to while away the hours.
Two highlights from my time in Montezuma were; seeing the fireflies light up in the darkness every night, something I've never seen before.
And the Turtle Conservation (AVRO) on the beach - depending on the time of year obviously - you can see them hatch! We went at around 4.30 pm and it lasts around an hour, the turtles usually hatch overnight and the stronger babies make their way to the top but the weaker ones stay low down in the sand. Part of the conservation project is to routinely dig and find the babies that didn't make it to the top naturally. They gather them in a box - we were lucky because there were around 80 turtles when we went - and then take them down towards the sea, rake a "ramp" in the sand and let them find their way to the sea around sunset. It was amazing to see nature take its course and to watch the little turtles find their natural habitat and where they will continue to live to adulthood. The project is funded through donations and and carried out by volunteer workers, so although there's no cost to go and see them, it's always nice to support the cause!
One thing to note about Montezuma is that although it is coastal and you expect white sand Costa Rican beaches, they're somewhat disappointing... To walk from the main town to the "best beach within walking distance" is a tricky walk along rocky beaches which are full of litter (surprising as the rest of the country is clean and constantly undergoing projects and preservation of the natural beauty.) After about 40 minutes you reach Playa Grande which is nice enough but nothing special.
If beaches is what you're searching for then take a day trip to Isla Tortuga which is as you'd imagine - white sands and (fingers crossed) blue skies with beautiful blue ocean surrounding the island with a backdrop of dry rainforest. The particular trip we chose to take was geared towards snorkelling, so we had two stops where we jumped off the boat and saw some lovely fish, sharks and coral. This is a whole day trip, including a speed boat for 45mins there, the snorkel stops, lunch, two hours free time on the beach and then the same boat journey back.
Montezuma Waterfalls is another tricky hike/climb but not a long one, it takes 20 minutes and then you're at the gushing falls which you can swim in and if you're brave (or stupid) enough you can jump off. The locals climb up the waterfall itself barefoot and kamikaze themselves off from the top which is painful to watch and every time you're convinced it's their last jump! However they're the experts I guess...
Other things to do in Montezuma include shopping - there are lots of souvenirs, clothes and handmade jewellery and crafts. Walking along the beach there's a nice resort on the beach called Ylang Ylang which is open to the public for drinks or food. Beautiful views out to the sea and good cocktails, even better at happy hour! Also it's always nice to catch a sunset as it lights up the horizon and turns the sky and sea beautiful colours before disappearing!