Montezuma, Costa Rica
Thoughts, observations, and waterfall jumping in the Nicoyan Peninsula.
This town is rumored to be popular with tourists/travelers, but I can't imagine any backpacker who has spent time in budget-friendly Guatemala would stay more than two or three nights here—the cost of daily substance is very high by comparison (thanks, in part, to a lack of economical housing and food options). Now in the final days of his trip, my brother should be eating tasty, memorable restaurant meals, instead of the supermarket-bought bread and cheese I've been opting for recently. I try not to complain too much about the prices, but the comments still leak out from time to time.
The micro-climate around Montezuma seems to pleasantly favor sun during the day, and rain at night. The sight of a dark beach, illuminated by flashes of clouds full of lightning, is an awesome sight to behold. Nestled next to Costa Rica's first nature preserve, there's thick jungle surrounding the town, offering up plenty of encounters with the regional wildlife—Howler Monkeys, good; Costa Rican Death Spiders, bad.
Internet access has been absolutely atrocious everywhere outside of San José, and I've completely given up trying to check e-mail or post any material to Travelvice. At least a full week will have passed before I can do a massive update from the capital (somewhere around the 23rd). My apologies, but these things will happen from time to time.
Risk and Reward
I smile as I finally get around to reading the guidebook summary on Montezuma. In a blurb describing the activities around the town, the guide remarks: "Do not jump off the falls; a number of travelers have been killed attempting this." Hummm, perhaps I should have read that before I jumped off the wall of stone and water half a dozen times this afternoon.
A casual 20-minute walk outside of town brings you to a footpath that, after another 10-minutes of walking past and through some babbling rapids, leads to a trio of refreshing waterfalls.
I would estimate that a good 80% of the people who travel to this attraction only visit the first of the three falls (which are stacked above each other, cascading into deep, greenish-blue pools of water before dumping into the next), probably because the trek to the top two falls requires a bit of creative jungle climbing and path discovery. Glenn was determined, and I followed shortly after he scouted ahead and figured out how to make the ascent.
I don't have the footwear to go tromping around the rough and muddy terrain of Costa Rican jungles and rivers, so I simply opted to take off my traction-less sandals and walk barefooted. Luckily, sharp rocks, exposed roots, and all sorts of other nasties didn't cause too much lasting harm.
Well worth the effort, the uppermost pool of water sported an entertaining rope-swing, and so many snails clinging to the rocks that we were able to pluck them off and have a little snail-fight. Folks in town told us that we could fling ourselves off the second waterfall and into its pool, some 45-feet below, with relative safety. Jealous onlookers at the base of the first waterfall shaded their eyes against the sun and watched us frolic above them. I came close to mooning the group of 'em, just for fun.
Sadly, the rechargeable batteries that I had loaded into my camera just before we left were apparently dead, although I'm sure I charged them up. So there aren't any photos from the great waterfall adventure.
Several hours later, after nodding off for a bit in a comfy chair in front of the beach, I looked over at Glenn and said, "Jumping off of waterfalls and falling asleep at the beach—not a bad way to spend a Thursday afternoon, huh? …Sure beats typing away in climate-controlled office. There's no way I could ever go back to two-week vacations, once a year… not after this." And I honestly hope I never do.