Montezuma Costa Rica
Time slows down when you are in a place like Montezuma. Bordered by waterfalls on the north and south, you find an international community that knows how to enjoy life. Numerous unique beaches are framed by jungle-covered cliffs, with a lively beachside village at the center of it all. When you arrive in Montezuma you will find excellent restaurants, eclectic shops and a variety of nightlife awaiting your enjoyment.
When you stay in Montezuma the choice of activities and adventures is vast: you can hike to the Montezuma Waterfalls, surf at isolated beaches, do a canopy tour, a boat trip to Isla Tortuga, a hike through Cabo Blanco National Reserve, snorkeling and diving the area reefs, ATV rentals, horseback riding, or sunbathing and swimming on the numerous unique beaches. Our staff will help with information and booking of most of the activities. For being such a small town, there sure is a lot to do here in Montezuma!
One of the major reasons Montezuma attracts many thousands of tourists each year is to see the famous Casacadas Montezuma, or Montezuma Waterfalls. Rio Montezuma empties into the ocean just north of Amor del Mar hotel, which is about a 10-minute walk from Luna Llena. From the mouth of the river it’s about a 20-minute hike up the river bank to the first waterfall, which is almost 30 meters high. Even on the hottest of days it’s always pleasant and cool up at the waterfall with a slight mist on the breeze all day long. Not only is it a great photo opportunity, but you can swim across the pool and stand behind the waterfall and watch it fall in front of you. A delightful and free way to spend your day here in Montezuma, the Montezuma waterfall is a must-see during your stay with us at Luna Llena Hotel.
Montezuma’s waterfalls are actually 3-in-1, with two more waterfalls just above the first. We recommend hiking up to the higher waterfalls only when it is not raining, as flash floods can occur when it is raining and one misstep can lead you sliding back down over that 30-meter drop. When it’s not raining, it is safe to hike up to the second and third waterfalls where you will find beautiful swimming pools. The third waterfall even has a rope swing! Bring some snacks and your camera and it’s a great way to spend the day.
Whether it’s your dream to stand up on a board for the first time as you feel the adrenaline rush of a wave pushing you from behind, or whether you’re already a pro, you’ll find great waves to surf here in Montezuma.
Montezuma is blessed with amazing surfing beaches up and down its southeast facing coastline. There are a variety of waves for all levels of surfers at Playa Grande, a 30-minute walk to the North, Los Cedros, Rio Lajas and Los Reyes to the South.
At Luna Llena we work with Young Vision Surf School to offer surf lessons and board rentals. Young Vision is the only surf school in the area with International Surf Association (ISA) certified instructors, who are also certified Open Water Beach Rescue Lifeguards. They are bilingual local Costa Ricans with years of surfing and teaching experience. They offer lessons and training to all levels of surfers with daily lessons in Montezuma and sunset surf safari trips to Santa Teresa. They have an unprecedented number of excellent reviews written by clients from all around the world. They will get you up and riding waves on your first lesson, teach you invaluable tips on ocean safety, and inspire you with a wealth of knowledge about this jungle paradise and the surrounding area.
Contact us to arrange your surf adventure for you.
A trip to Costa Rica is not complete without doing a zip-line tour through the jungle. Sun Trails’ two-hour zip-line tour includes nine cables and eleven platforms. You have the opportunity to see monkeys, birds and other wildlife and stop for a swim at the third and top-most waterfall of the Rio Montezuma where there is a gorgeous swimming pool and a rope swing. The Montezuma Canopy Tour is an exciting and exhilarating way to spend a morning or afternoon enjoying Montezuma’s infamous river and waterfalls from above and below the tree canopy line. Trained guides will teach you to use the equipment, keep you safe and provide you with drinking water and fresh fruit for a snack.
If you love to swim, snorkel and catch some sun on a beautiful boat ride you should do a full-day snorkeling excursion to Isla Tortuga. A 50-minute boat ride provides you with views of the beaches up and down the Eastern side of the Nicoya Penisula. Isla Tortuga is one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
Some of the fish you will see under water are King Angelfish, Porcupine fish, Morays, Needlefish and Spotted Eagle Rays. After snorkeling, you’ll spend the afternoon on Isla Tortuga’s white sand beach where you can sunbathe and swim in the crystal blue calm waters. Some days there’s live calypso music being played on the beach for you to dance to if the mood strikes, and there is a volleyball net if you want to toss around the ball. A picknick lunch is included in the tour. You can also rent a kayak and explore the island’s hidden beaches, or just take a nap under a coconut tree. After relaxing for a few hours, it’s back out to the reef for another snorkeling session for those who still have the energy. You return to Montezuma sun-kissed and spent around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Cabo Blanco National Park
Cabo Blanco National Park is located approximately nine kilometers to the South of Luna Llena Hotel, just past Cabuya on the map. The park comprises the Southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and means “White Cape.” It was named for a large rock just off the coast of the cape where many seabirds, especially the Brown Booby, tend to congregate, turning the rock white with their droppings.
Cabo Blanco was the first National Park to be established in Costa Rica in 1963 by Nicholas Wessberg and Karen Morgensen, a Danish couple who settled in Montezuma in the early 1960s. Disturbed by the fact that many original-growth trees of the Southern Nicoya Peninsula were being felled to make way for cattle pastures, Nicholas and Karen recognized that the area of Cabo Blanco was still largely untouched, with abundant wildlife and enormous native trees still thriving. In an effort to save what was left of Cabo Blanco’s primeval forests, Nicholas and Karen purchased 1270 hectares (3,150 acres) of land area. Currently the park also includes 1789 hectares (4420 acres) of marine area, as well, where fishing is prohibited and plenty of marine life still thrives.
Wildlife is most likely to be seen during an early morning hike through the reserve. Some animals you may see include howler, spider and white-faced monkeys, sloths, iguanas, raccoons, agoutis, armadillos, anteaters, peccaries and deer. You can hike on your own, or hire a guide who will show you hidden streams where the locals swear the water is pure enough to drink. These streams form hidden swimming pools where your guide will take you to cool off, as most of the hiking in Cabo Blanco is quite hot and without breezes. If you really put in the effort, you can hike for two hours and be rewarded by spending the day at Cabo Blanco’s beach where you’re likely to be the only humans, as it does take a lot of effort to arrive there.
Cabo Blanco can be reached by bus from Montezuma, or you can rent a bicycle and ride the nine kilometers down, but you’ll have to leave the bike at the park’s entrance since no vehicles are allowed inside the park. It’s a $12 entrance fee for foreigners to enter and the park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays to minimize human impact on the land.
The romantic image of riding a horse on the beach in Costa Rica can be part of your Montezuma adventure during your stay at Luna Llena. Or you can take a jungle horseback tour through secret jungle paths to a hidden waterfall. Either way, it’s an adventure you’ll not soon forget.
The beach horseback riding tour starts at the entrance of Luna Llena Hotel and follows the beach North along the coast. The tour takes you through jungle trails, mountains, beaches and ends at Cocalito , one of the few waterfalls in the world that falls directly into the ocean. There you take a rest, have a snack and then gallop your way back across the white-sand beaches of Playa Grande back to Montezuma. It’s a great way to see Cocalito without having to hike for three hours, which is about how long it takes to arrive there by foot.
The jungle horseback riding tour starts on the horses’ farm just a few kilometers away from Luna Llena. Guests are picked up by car at the entrance of our hotel and taken to the farm where you get to see where the horses reside and are cared for. The tour goes through hidden jungle trails where the shade of the trees can provide a needed break from the hot afternoon sun. You’ll see wild animals and your guide will take you to La Florida , a beautiful series of waterfalls and pools between Cobano and Tambor that are a challenge to find on your own. These waterfalls are usually not very populated, so your tour group will likely be the only people there. Stop and take a cooling swim if you like, have a snack before heading back to the farm by horse and return to Luna Llena by car.
Both tours offer bilingual guides and horses that can accommodate beginning riders. We at Luna Llena only work with reputable companies that take excellent care of their horses, feed them well and never over-work them.
Many of the residents of Montezuma enjoy natural living, so practicing yoga is a popular pastime. It’s a great way to relax, gain flexibility and get in tune with nature during your stay at Luna Llena.
Hotel Los Mangos has a highly recommended yoga instructor who gives classes Monday through Friday at 8:30am and 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally there is yoga offered at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort at 8:30am
A great way to explore the peninsula on your own is to rent an ATV (Quad) and take off into the hills to see amazing views, hidden beaches and wildlife. You can visit neighboring towns of Cabuya, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa all on your own schedule. You have the freedom to get around without waiting for buses or taxis and you get to see the back roads of Costa Rica. Rentals are generally 12 hours and we book with a reliable agency who keeps the quads in good condition.
There are a number of excellent massage therapists in Montezuma offering all types of massage. We can arrange for them to come to your room or balcony at the hotel for treatments. After a long travelling day, it is the perfect way to de-stress and rejuvenate yourself while enjoying the sounds of the jungle and the ocean from your own room.
We have snorkel equipment available for rent right here in the hotel. You can walk to nearby beaches like Las Manchas and explore underwater all on your own. The waters around Montezuma are blessed with an amazing variety of tropical fish and sea life.
The cemetery island of Cabuya is a magical place to hike to. It is located just off the shore of the lovely town of Cabuya, and accessible by foot at low tide. Many of the area’s residents have been laid to rest here in a cemetery decorated with creative personal monuments. You feel as if you are standing in the middle of the ocean, looking back at the picturesque beaches up and down the coastline. After walking back across the rocks to main-land, you can buy fresh fish from the local fisherman coming in from their day.
On the main Montezuma beach, just 100 meters from town you will find the ASVO Sea Turtle Hatchery. The volunteers who work here take care of turtle eggs until they are hatched and release the babies into the ocean. Many days if you pass by just before sunset, you can witness the release of the new born baby sea turtles and their first journey into their home in the ocean.