2 Nights in Southern Nicoya Peninsula: Sunrise to Sunset

If you’re short on time, but have heard from friends and fellow travelers that you just have to experience nature in Southern Nicoya, here is a quick itinerary to work it into your vacation and get the best of both sides of the peninsula. In just three days and two nights, you’ll see the sun rise over the Nicoya Gulf and the sun set over the Pacific, with lots of extra in between.

Day 1: Arrive in Montezuma

  • Check-in – Plan to arrive in Montezuma in the early afternoon by bus, shuttle, or boat. This will give you time to check in to your hotel and grab a quick bite to eat before adventuring. A few great hotel options are Hotel Ylang Ylang, located on the beach, or Amor de Mar at the base of the falls. Other great options in town include Luna Llena and Hotel Aurora, or Casa Frangipani above town on the hill (easiest to stay here if you have transportation).
  • Waterfalls – Next, you’ll have time to go to the famous Montezuma Waterfalls. The hike is short, but can be tricky for those not familiar with the area. If you know you’ll want to do this, you can hire a private guide in advance, which is safer and recommended for less experienced hikers. Take some photos and a dip in the cool water, and head back before it starts getting dark.
  • Shop & Dine – Once you clean up, you can walk around town, explore the little the shops, and then have dinner at one of the delicious restaurants. Cocolores is our favorite, but there’s plenty to choose from including some with live entertainment such as Organico.


sunrise_cabuya_BirdLoversMorningDay 2: Sunrise to Sunset

  • Bird Watching or Nature Tour – If you love birds, book a Bird Lover’s Morning tour. It starts early, but it’s a great way to see the sunrise, get in a bird watching tour and have a late breakfast in the town closest to the southern point of the peninsula. If hiking is more your thing, you can watch the sunrise from your hotel or the beach, then take a guided tour to Cabo Blanco nature reserve.
  • Travel to the Pacific Side – After checking out of your hotel, take a shuttle to the Pacific Side of the peninsula via the town of Cobano, or if you’re in your own car you can get there via the town of Cabuya in the dry season.
  • Check-In & Dinner –  You’ll be pretty hungry and tired by this point, so check in to a hotel with a great restaurant. We like Moana Lodge, or Frank’s Place in Mal Pais. Enjoy dinner while you watch the sunset over the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Mal Pais

Day 3: Explore Mal Pais/Santa Teresa

On your last morning, you’ll have time to explore Mal Pais or Santa Teresa a little before checking out. Schedule an early Stand-Up Paddleboard or surf session the day before, or spend the morning taking a long scenic walk on the beach. After that, you’re ready to checkout and head back to San Jose for departure home, or go on to your next Costa Rica destination.



5 OTHER Reasons to Visit Montezuma (& Surroundings)

If you’ve done a little Google research or quick TripAdvisor search, I’m sure you know by now some of the top things to do in Montezuma and obvious reasons to visit. You’ve probably learned that Montezuma is in one of the 7 ‘blue zones’ of the world, has a beautiful waterfall, beachfront horseback riding and yoga galore. And of course Montezuma is an easy distance to the white sand beaches and snorkeling around Tortuga Island. However, aside from these more popular and well-known reasons to make it out to Montezuma, whether as a stopping point or for your full stay in Costa Rica, there are a few other perhaps lesser-known reasons why we think it’s worth the trip.

Every Bike Ride is a Mountain Ride – If you’re a two-wheel enthusiast looking to get out on the open road while on vacation, you’ll find riding in Montezuma plenty adventurous. Renting a bike for a day will not only ease traffic in the small town and please the environment but also give you a lovely view of areas around Montezuma with the thrill of a mountain bike ride. Head south on the road toward Cabuya and in just 1km you’ll find the beautiful hidden beach of Las Manchas (use extreme caution if swimming here, there are some pretty strong riptides and yes even for strong swimmers). Keep going and you’ll make it all the way to Cabuya with lots of little sights along the way and a few restaurants to grab some grub before heading back. Keep in mind you’ll be sharing the road with cars and the road is quite narrow in some spots, so use common bicycle sense: be predictable, use lights if riding at night, and WEAR A HELMET!

DSC_0454Unique Micro-Cultures are Everywhere– In addition to the rich health culture* that you’ll definitely notice upon entering the Montezuma area, there still exist strong traditional and local cultures of Costa Rica. A little more challenging to identify, they are here alive and well. Found more so in the outskirts of Delicias, Cobano and Cabuya, the agricultural traditions of Costa Rica can be found on small farms as well as in fishing villages that line the coast. The many smaller traditional cultures in the area are interwoven with diverse influences such as Italian food, yoga and fire dancing to create a surprisingly diverse area with a culture all of its own.

Tranquility of Nature Day & Night – Tucked away in most hotels away from town or on the hill above it is the best part of a tropical vacation: tranquility and nature. The sounds of nature are what surround you wherever you go: howler monkeys in the trees overhead, songs of exotic birds, and coati scurrying on the ground. And when the busyness of daytime settles, the evening offers an even more stimulating experience of nocturnal wildlife. Listen to the sounds on your own while walking around your hotel or to town (carry a flashlight in the evening, it can get pretty dark quickly), or take Montezuma’s only night tour “Nocturno” to have a guide help you get a closer look at the nocturnal creatures in the area.

A Sunrise Worth Waking Up For – You won’t see the sun set over the horizon here, but you will get to see an equally, if not more, beautiful sunrise. Not much can top a stroll on the beach in the quiet of the morning to see the sky turn golden as the sun rises over the Nicoya Gulf. You’ll have to get up pretty early for this one, but you can always go back to bed for a siesta during the heat of the day.

turtleTurtle ConservationASVO is a local turtle conservation program where, if your timing is right, you’ll be able to witness the hatching and release of baby sea turtles back to the ocean. Although turtle hatching is seasonal, you can stop by any time and there are bound to be volunteers ready and willing to answer any questions you might have. It’s a great way to find out more about conservation efforts and a fun educational opportunity not to be missed.