San Jose to Montezuma - Interbus

Transportation from downtown San Jose and from SJO Airport San Jose to Montezuma Beach, we have Collective Shared Shuttles, Private Services and VIP Private Service.

Please find right below complete information. You will be able to make reservations and pay online right away by clicking on the "BOOK NOW" button or if you have questions and comments please send them all by clicking on the "INQUIRE" button.


Collective Shared Shuttle:

Shuttle Rate: $49 per person

Morning Departure: 8:45am

Afternoon Departure: 2:00pm (only available between Dec 15th & May 30th)

CONTACT US About Your transportation Needs from San Jose to Montezuma Book Now: San Jose to Montezuma, Collective Shuttle Bus Transportation

Service Description: (Shuttle San Jose to Montezuma Beach)

Shared Collective Shuttles have 2 departures per day, in the morning and in the afternoon from San Jose to Montezuma. This is a 5 hours drive from San Jose Airport area to Montezuma. 45 minutes before if the pick up is from San Jose Downtown (8am)


Private Service:

Private Service Rate: $250 for the service from 1 up to 6 passengers / 4.5 hrs drive

CONTACT US About Your transportation Needs from San Jose to Montezuma Book Now: San Jose to Montezuma, PRIVATE SERVICES - Transportation

Service Description: (Private Service San Jose to Montezuma)

This is a private service with your own driver and own vehicle door to door. At the time of your election our driver will go to the location of your preference to pick you up from there you will be assisted. If needed we will stop in a restaurant, supermarket or drugstore.

Rate for the service, not person. from 1 up to 6 passengers. Rates vary depending on your drop off location and if the service is operated between 6pm and 6am.


San Jose Airport to Puntarenas (first vehicle from the airport to the ferry deck)

Puntarenas to Paquera (passengers travel along on the ferry)

Paquera to Montezuma (second vehicle from The ferry deck to  your hotel or rental house)


Private VIP Service:

Private Service Rate: $340 for the service from 1 up to 6 passengers / 4 hrs drive

CONTACT US About Your transportation Needs from San Jose to Montezuma Book Now: San Jose to Montezuma, PRIVATE VIP Transportation

Service Description: (Private Service San Jose to Montezuma Beach)

This is a private service with your own driver and own vehicle door to door. At the time of your election our driver will go to the location of your preference to pick you up from there you will be assisted. If needed we will stop in a restaurant, supermarket or drugstore.

From San Jose to Puntarenas by land in one of the most scenery highways in Costa Rica. From Puntarenas to Paquera by ferry crossing the Nicoya Golf and passing by paradise islands until arrive to Paquera.

From Paquera to your destination/hotel by land form 1hr approximately.

Rate for the service, not person. from 1 up to 6 passengers. Rates vary depending on your drop off location and if the service is operated between 6pm and 6am.



F.A.Qs: Frequently Asked Questions: San Jose to Montezuma


Are there afternoon shuttle buses from San Jose to Montezuma?

Yes, there is and afternoon shuttle at 2pm from San Jose Airport area and at 1pm from the downtown area. In case you are not able to take this departure we offer you a private service any time of your election from San Jose to Montezuma.

How payment it is made?

Payment it is handle online in the secured website of PayPal. You can use any credit card: VISA, MASTER CARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS.

Are rates for round trip transportation?

No, the rates for collective shuttles from San Jose to Montezuma are per person/seat per way. The private service rates are per way from 1 up to 6 passengers.

Which route it is taken from San Jose to Montezuma?

Please see the route taken in the maps we have insert on this page. (the route San Jose, Puntarenas, Puntarenas Ferry to Paquera, Paquera, Tambor, Cobano and then Montezuma)

Is there are San Jose to Montezuma Ferry or a Taxi Boat?

The Ferry runs between the port of Puntarenas and Paquera, it takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes in order to cross the golf. This is the ferry that the collective shuttles and the private services takes in order to travel from San Jose to Montezuma. 

There is a Taxi Boat from Jaco to Montezuma, you need to leave from San Jose at 8am in order to arrive on time in Jaco to take the 10:45am Taxi Boat. The boat leave exactly from Herradura beach, north of Jaco, and arrive to Montezuma by 12:30pm.

Do we have to take the Ferry in order to get from San Jose to Montezuma?

Yes, it is necessary to take the Puntarenas Ferry to Paquera in order to get to Montezuma.

Is there a Flight from Airport San Jose to Montezuma?

Unfortunately Montezuma do not have an airport. The closest is Tambor Airport. you need to take a flight to Tambor and then take one of our private shuttle service from Tambor to Montezuma.

Is there a Public Bus San Jose to Montezuma?

There is a Public Bus available from downtown San Jose to Montezuma. This is the only public bus available and leave at 8am and at 2pm from the capital city downtown.

How to Get San Jose to Montezuma?

There are collective shuttles and private services available for your from San Jose to Montezuma. We are providing you with both options this page.

Is there a Shuttle San Jose Montezuma or only Private Services

Yes, there are shuttle bus services from San Jose to Montezuma. We are providing you with both options on this page.

How long it takes from San Jose to Montezuma?

This is a 5 to 6 hrs drive, but it really depends on the roads conditions, Nowadays there routes are in fairly good conditions. 1 1/2 on the ferry on the time.

Distance between San Jose and Montezuma?

157 kilometers / 97 miles by land + 1.5hrs on a ferry between Puntarenas and Paquera

Is possible to travel from San Jose to Montezuma with taking a ferry, by land only?

Yes, it is possible however it is not very common to take this route as it is way too long, around 7hrs of straight driving. 290 kilometers / 180 miles





Tours & Adventures in Montezuma


Horseback Riding All Day Cowboy Ride Horseback Riding All Day Cowboy Ride

Fishing Trips: Mal Pais

Guided Hike in Montezuma Cloud Forest Reserve Guided Hike in Montezuma Cloud Forest Reserve

Zip Line Canopy Tour Mal Pais and Santa Teresa Sunset

Curi-Cancha Refuge Cloud Forest Guided Hike Curi-Cancha Refuge Cloud Forest Guided Hike






Other Popular Routes from San Jose:

San Jose to Manuel Antonio

San Jose to Jaco

San Jose to Nicoya

San Jose to Puerto Viejo

San Jose to Tamarindo

San Jose Monteverde

San Jose to Santa Teresa

San Jose to Montezuma

San Jose to Papagayo




San Jose to Montezuma


Collective Shuttle

Private Services

Private VIP Services

Taxi Boat

Domestic Flights

Charter Flight

Helicopter Service

Public Bus



Montezuma is an immediately endearing beach town that demands you abandon the car to stroll, swim and, if you are willing to stroll even further, surf. The warm and wild ocean and that remnant, ever-audible jungle has helped this rocky nook cultivate an inviting, boho vibe. Typical tourist offerings such as canopy tours do a brisk trade here, but you’ll also bump up against Montezuma’s internationally inflected, artsy-rootsy beach culture in yoga classes, volunteer corps, veggie-friendly dining rooms and neo-Rasta’s hawking uplifting herbs. No wonder locals lovingly call this town ‘Montefuma.’ It’s not perfect. The lodging is particularly poor value, and the eateries can be that way too (though there are some absolute gems). But in this barefoot pueblo, which unfurls along several kilometers of rugged coastline, you’re never far from the rhythm and sound of the sea, and that is a beautiful thing.


Picture-perfect white-sand beaches are strung along the coast, separated by small rocky headlands, offering great beachcombing and ideal tide-pool contemplation. Unfortunately, there are strong riptides, so inquire locally before going for a swim.

The beaches in front of the town are nice enough, but the best beach is just north of Cocolores restaurant, where the sand is powdery and sheltered from big swells. This is your glorious sun-soaked crash pad, and the further northeast you walk the more solitude you’ll find. The water’s shade of teal is immediately nourishing, the temperature is perfect and fish are abundant.

During low tide, the best snorkeling is at Playa Las Manchas, 1km west of downtown.

Montezuma Waterfalls Waterfall (parking US$2) a 40-minute river hike leads to a waterfall with a delicious swimming hole. Further along the trail, a second set of falls offers a good clean 10m leap into deep water. (Reach the ‘diving platform’ from the trail: do not try to scale the slippery rocks!) Daring souls can test their Tarzan skills on the rope that swings over a third set. A lot of travelers enjoy these thrills but a few of them have died; do it at your own risk.

As you head south past Hotel La Cascada, there’s a parking area, then take the trail to the right just after the bridge.

Montezuma Gardens Gardens (Tel 8888-4200, 2642-1317;; adult/student/child US$8/6/4; h 8am4pm) About 1km south of town, alongside the waterfall trail, you can take a tour through this lush mariposario (butterfly garden) and nursery where the mysterious metamorphoses occur. You’ll learn about the life cycles and benefits of a dozen local species, of which you’ll see many colorful varieties. There’s also a B&B here (rooms US$57 to US$80).

Playa Grande BEACH About 7km north of town, Playa Grande is the best surf beach in the area. It’s a 3kmplus stretch of waves and sand, which doesn’t get too crowded, as it requires a 30-minute hike to get here. But what a hike it is, wandering along between the turquoise waters of the Pacific and the lush greenery of the Montezuma Biological Reserve.

Because of the town’s carefree boho feel, topless and (sometimes) nude sunbathing has become de rigueur on some beaches, especially Playa Grande. Be aware that many residents find this disrespectful so please be discreet.


Young Vision Surf School Surfing (Tel 8669-6835;; lessons from US$40) Manny and Alvaro get rave reviews for their knowledge, enthusiasm and patience with new surfers of all ages. Daily lessons include two hours of instruction, the use of a surfboard and rash guard, and fresh fruits.

Montezuma Yoga (Tel 8704-1632;; per person US$14; h classes 8:30am Mon-Fri, 6pm Fri Sun) Anusara-inspired instruction, which pairs Iyengar alignment principles with a Vinyasa flow, is available in a gorgeous studio kissed by ocean breezes, lit by paper lanterns and sheltered by a peaked tin roof. On the grounds of Hotel Los Mangos.

Decay Yoga (Tel 8833-5086;; per class US$12; h classes 8:30am & 4pm Mon-Sat) A studio smack in the middle of town, upstairs from Pizzeria L’Angolo Allegro, it offers morning and afternoon classes, as well as massage therapy and astrology readings.

Proyecto Montezuma volunteering (Tel 8314-0690; Proyecto Montezuma is an innovative volunteer program that gives to the community but also fosters cultural exchange pays fair wages to its employees and gives back for donating your time and energy. You choose the project in which you’d like to participate, such as teaching or trash removal (privileges that you will pay for). Or you can sign up for a sustainable adventure tour or surf lessons in and around Montezuma.

Sun Trails Canopy Tours (Tel 2642-0808; www.montezumatraveladventures. com; tours US$40; h 9am-3pm) after you’ve flown down nine zip lines, this 21⁄2-hour canopy tour winds up with a hike down – rather than up – to the waterfalls; bring your swimsuit. Book at the office in town.


La Escuela del Sol dance, language Course (Tel 8884-8444; Based at the Hotel El Tajalin, this electic educational vortex offers Spanish, surf, yoga, fire dance and scuba instruction. In other words, there is no excuse to leave Montezuma without a bilingual, underwater, surf warrior, dreadlocked hippie soul.


Tour operators around town rent everything from snorkeling gear to body boards and bikes. They can also arrange speedboat transfers to Jacó as well as private shuttle transfers.

The most popular tour is a boat trip to Isla Tortuga, which costs around US$50 and should include lunch, fruit, drinks and snorkeling gear. Although the island is certainly beautiful, travelers complain that the whole outing feels like a tourist circus, especially during high season when the entire island is full of boat tours.

Also popular are guided hikes in Cabo Blanco and horseback riding to Playa Cocalito.

Cabo Blanco Travelers Tour (Tel 2642-1439, 8835-0270; owner "Gerardo Cantinflas" leads nature hikes in Cabo Blanco, sharing the knowledge of local flora and fauna garnered from his Chorotega ancestors. He also does horseback-riding tours and rents a few bungalows.

Montezuma Eco Tours (Tel 2642-0467, 2642-1000;; h 8am-9pm) specializing in snorkel trips to Isla Tortuga, as well as horseback riding, sport fishing and canopy tours.

Festivals & Events

Costa Rica Film Festival ( now held in June, this fabulous festival attracts filmmakers from all over the region and the world. Screenings take place at El Sano Banano and Amor de Mar.


The high season gets crowded, though with so many hotels dotting such a small town you’re bound to find something even if you have to search for it. More importantly, Montezuma is a town distinguished by poor value lodging, so it does make sense to book a good room ahead of time. Note that some hotels have a three-night minimum during Christmas and Easter weeks.

Camping is technically illegal on the beaches, but there is a small, shaded campground with bathrooms (200m away) and cold-water showers only a 10-minute walk north of town on the beach. It’s got a communal ethos, and there’s no charge for space. Kick in for meals and all will be groovy.

There are a sprinkling of long-term rentals and boutique three-star hotels above Montezuma off the road to Cóbano, all of which are only suitable if you have wheels.

Luna Llena Hostel $ (Tel 2642-0390;; dm/s US$15 - $28, d with/without bathroom from US$55/38; p W ) On the northern edge of town on a hilltop overlooking the bay is this delightful budget option. There’s an inviting dorm and 12 varied, private rooms, all of them spotless, most with balconies and shared bathroom facilities. There are two fully equipped kitchens, a barbecue grill and a breezy communal lounge with rattan chair-swings and stunning ocean views. Wildlife abounds in this area (keep your food in the communal kitchen).

Luz en el Cielo Hostel, B&B $ (Tel 8811-3700, 2642-0030;; dm US$15-27, s/d/tr/q US$54/78/98/112; p W ) In the heart of the jungle but two minutes from town, this homey hostel and B&B is an inviting retreat. Crowded dorm rooms are super clean with sturdy wood furniture and lockers, while the new ‘luxury’ dorms are more spacious, with TVs, private balconies and en suite bathrooms. The treetop cabinas are also wonderful. Amazing breakfasts (included in rates), enticing hammocks and super-friendly staff.

Hotel Pargo Feliz Cabina $ (Tel 2642-0064; d US$30-45; W ) you can’t beat the location of these beachfront cabinas in the heart of Montezuma. Rooms are simple, clean and fan-cooled. The communal balcony and garden terrace have relaxing hammocks with sea views, and at night the surf will lull you to sleep.

Hotel Los Mangos Hotel $ (Tel 2642-0076;; d/q US$35/75, tr bungalows US$90; p a W s ) Scattered across mango-dotted gardens, this whimsical hotel has simple, bright, jewel toned rooms in the main building and attractive (though dark) octagonal bungalows that offer more privacy. Monkeys populate the mango trees and yoga classes are held in the gorgeous, ocean-view yoga pavilion.

Downtown Montezuma Hostel $ (Tel 2642-0284; dm US$10, d with/without bathroom US$30/24; W ) the new kid on the block is this funky little two-story hostel, run by the ever-accommodating and amiable Elena. She’s got four-person dorm rooms and some private doubles, all with cold-water bathrooms. Rates all include breakfast. There’s a communal kitchen and plenty of hammocks. The facilities are nothing special, but the place has a fun, friendly vibe that guarantees a good time.

Hotel Lucy Guesthouse $ (Tel 2642-0273; dm/d US$15/35; p W ) this beachside pensión is popular with shoestring travelers, thanks to the hammocks on shared terraces overlooking a rocky beach. Rooms are small and drab and service is lackluster, but the views from the upstairs veranda are terrific.

Luz de Mono lodge $$ (Tel 2642-0090;; standard/ ste incl breakfast US$75/90; pWs) A sweet stone lodge built into a lush inlet of remnant jungle, just a few steps from the beach. The upstairs ‘suites’ have high palm-beamed ceilings, wood furnishings and new tile throughout. The cheaper downstairs rooms are not all that, but they all have access to a lovely pool area (with kiddie pool), an open-air rancho and shady grounds with abundant wildlife.

Hotel La Cascada Hotel $$ (Tel 2642-0057;; d incl breakfast US$60, air-con US$10; p a W ) At the mouth of the river, en route to the waterfalls, this classic Montezuma hotel has 15 simple, sharp wooden rooms with flowy curtains and crisp white sheets. A huge 2nd-floor terrace faces the ocean and has hammocks perfect for swinging, snoozing or spying on the local troop of howlers.

Hotel El Jardín Cabina $$ (Tel 2642-0548;; d US$60 $80, casas US$95-$115; p a W s ) this hillside hotel has 15 stained-wood cabinas, some with stone bathrooms, wide balconies and ocean views. The grounds are landscaped with tropical flowers and lush palms. There’s even a humble spa, making it quite a nice little three-star resort.

El Sano Banano Boutique Hotel $$ (Tel 2642-0638; d US$86; paiWs) A well-run boutique hotel in the center of town. Although its many businesses take up an entire city block, it has just 12 prim and comfortable rooms. The attached restaurant has appetizing baked goods and an inviting terrace on the main drag. It’s also worth showing up in the evening when the restaurant shows nightly films in the garden out back.

Montezuma Pacifico Guesthouse $$ (Tel 2642-0204;; r US$45-65; p a W ) this small property is tucked away from the action (and the noise) but close to the beach. Rooms in this older atrium-style guesthouse won’t wow you, but the mosaic mix-match tile is cool. Plus, the owner is a charming gentleman.

Casacolores Bungalow $$ (Tel 2642-0283;; 1/2-bedroom casa US$68/113; p W s ) Seven bright houses (each painted and named for a color of the rainbow) are fully equipped with kitchens, and big porches with hammocks. They’re set amid blooming tropical gardens, with a stone-rimmed swimming pool onsite. The location is sort of a no-man’s land (a 20-minute uphill hike from town) but the price is right.

Nature Lodge $$ (Tel 2642-0124;; d incl breakfast u$97-165; p a W s ) About 3km north of Montezuma on the road to Cóbano, this 16-hectare ranch is adjacent to the Reserva Absoluta Nicolás Wessberg. The lodge has 12 simple but elegant rooms in a lovely hacienda, beautifully landscaped, with a pool deck blessed with ocean and woodland views. There’s also a spa offering a variety of wellness treatments.

Hotel Amor de Mar B&B$$$ (Tel 2642-0262;; d with/without ocean view US$135/102, villas from US$278; p W ) A lovable, German-owned B&B with 11 unique rooms, replete with exquisite touches like timber-framed mirrors, organic lanterns, and rocking chairs on a terrace laced with fishing netting and dotted with hundreds of potted plants. Then there’s the palm-dappled lawn that rolls out to the tide pools and the Pacific beyond. Hotel Amor de Mar also has two exquisite private beach villas.

Ylang-Ylang Beach Resort $$$$$ (Tel 2642-0636, in USA 888-795-8494;; standard/ste/bungalow incl breakfast & dinner US$237/288/322; a W s ) Walk 15 minutes north along the beach to this lush four-star property, complete with beautifully appointed rooms and bungalows, a palm-fringed swimming pool, yoga center, gourmet organic restaurant and spa. The decor is lovely and tropical, with tile floors, stenciled walls and colorful tapestries. All accommodations have outdoor terraces facing the glorious sea. You can’t actually drive here, though staff will pick you up in their custom beach cruisers from El Sano Banano.


Self-caterers should head to the Super Montezuma for fresh food.

Kalibó CAFE $ (Tel 2642-4545; mains US$3-8; h 6am-9pm) A tiny place with an open kitchen and half a dozen tables, across from the bus stop. This perfect breakfast stop does homemade pastries, fresh fruit smoothies and strong local coffee. It also serves salads and sandwiches and proper meals. Everything is fresh and delicious and made with love.

Orgánico $ (mains US$7-11; h 8am-9pm; v ) When they say ‘pure food made with love,’ they mean it – this healthy cafe turns out vegetarian and vegan dishes such as spicy Thai burgers, a sopa azteca (tortilla soup) with tofu, burritos, falafel, smoothies and other meat-free treats you can feel good about. But it does meat dishes, like spaghetti Bolognese, too. Whaddaya want? They’re Italian. There’s live music almost nightly, including an open mike on Monday nights.

Soda Monte Sol Costa Rican $ (Tel 8849-4962; mains US$5-14; h 7am-9pm) A cute hole-in-the-wall soda that does all the tipica dishes, tasty and affordable casados, pastas, burgers and a variety of juices and smoothies. All is served on pressed tablecloths in a humble dining room touched with grace. Great people-watching spot.

Playa de los Artistas international $$ (Tel 2642-0920;; mains US$9-13; h 5-9pm Mon Fri, noon-9pm Sat) Most romantic dinner ever. If you’re lucky, you’ll snag one of the tree trunk tables under the palms. The interior tables – covered by a bamboo roof but open to sea breezes – are also inviting. The international menu with heavy Mediterranean influences changes daily depending on locally available ingredients, though you can always count on fresh seafood roasted in the wood oven. The service is flawless, the cooking is innovative and delicious, and the setting is downright dreamy. Cash only (back to reality).

Puggo’s Middle Eastern $$ (Tel 2642-0308; mains US$9-20; h noon-11pm) A locally beloved restaurant decorated like a Bedouin tent that specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine, including falafel, hummus, kebabs and aromatic fish dressed in imported spices and herbs and roasted whole. Cap it off with a strong cup of Turkish coffee.

Bar Restaurante 
Moctezuma Mediterranean $$ (Tel 2642-0058; mains US$9-23; h 7:30am-11pm; W c ) the long menu has just about everything, especially when it comes to seafood. Look for steamed mussels, broiled octopus, fish carpaccio and grilled shrimp, not to mention basics like burgers and casados. You’re bound to find something you like, and you can’t beat the prime beachfront location.

Cocolores international $$ (Tel 2642-0348; mains US$9-22; h 5-10pm Tue Sun) Set on a beachside terrace lit with lanterns, Cocolores is one of Montezuma’s top spots for an upscale dinner. The wideranging menu includes curries, pasta, fajitas and steaks, all prepared and served with careful attention to delicious details. Prices aren’t cheap but portions are ample.

Drinking & Entertainment

If you’re not down for drinks, you can stop by the restaurant at El Sano Banano to check out which movie is screening that night.

Chico’s Bar (h 11am-2am) a sprawling complex of bars, tables, beach chairs and a wide dance floor. It can get loud, especially on Thursday, which is reggae night. If you can score a table outside, it can be sort of romantic. Barkeeps are well stocked with all manner of spirits, and the old weathered bones are built to withstand a hurricane.


The only ATM in town is a BCR cajero located across from Chico’s Bar. The nearest full-service bank is in Cóbano. For money exchange, tour operators in town will take US dollars, euros or traveler’s checks.

El Parque (Tel 2642-0164; laundry per kg US$2, bikes/scooters/ATVs per day US$10/40/75; h7am-8pm) the best place in town to get your laundry done. it also rents bikes, scooters and ATVs.

Librería Topsy (Tel 2642-0576; h8am-4pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat) Has US newspapers and magazines, and a large lending library with mostly used books in several languages. Accepts trade-ins but doesn’t offer straight swaps.


This tiny, bucolic village is populated by a community of Ticos and expats, and unfurls along a rugged dirt road about 7km south of Montezuma. It is a hidden gem, ideal for those looking to chill, with easy access to the Cabo Blanco reserve. Don’t miss the amazing Cabuya Ficus tree, which claims to be the largest strangler fig in Costa Rica, measuring 40m high and 22m in diameter!

The beach here is rocky and not great
for swimming or surfing. But you’re a short
walk from Playa los Cedros, a great surf
spot that is halfway between Montezuma
and Cabuya. Alternatively, at low tide you
can walk across the natural bridge to Isla Cabuya, which has a small sandy beach and
good snorkeling spots. It’s also worth visit
in the cemetery, where you’ll find a few
modest graves marked by crosses. Make sure
you keep an eye on the tides or you’ll have
to swim back!

The beach here is rocky and not great
for swimming or surfing. But you’re a short
walk from Playa los Cedros, a great surf
spot that is halfway between Montezuma
and Cabuya. Alternatively, at low tide you
can walk across the natural bridge to Isla Cabuya, which has a small sandy beach and
good snorkeling spots. It’s also worth visiting the cemetery, where you’ll find a few
modest graves marked by crosses. Make sure
you keep an eye on the tides or you’ll have
to swim back!

Sleeping & Eating

El Ancla De Oro

Cabina $ (Tel 2642-0369;; s/d US$15/25, cabinas US$35-45; p W ) the rustic, Dutch outpost is a great option for budget travelers who want to experience life in the treetops. Simple but super-clean accommodations include regular rooms in the main building as well as more secluded standalone ‘jungalows’. If you stay in the latter, you’re likely to spot howlers and white-faced monkeys from bed. Located on the road to Montezuma.

Hotel Celaje 
(Tel 2642-0374;;
breakfast US$78/90/106/121;
This sweet spot is a collection of spacious, stained-wood A-frame bungalows set on a sublime palm-dappled slice of shore. The place is decorated with beachy artistic touches, like coconut lamps and seashell mobiles. Your hosts – a Dutch couple and their dogs – are delightful. This is the first property you’ll reach coming from Montezuma.

Howler Monkey Hotel $$ (Tel 2642-0303;; s/d US$50/70; p W s ) Follow the signs down the side road to find these large rustic A frame bungalows with kitchenettes (useful, as eating options are limited in Cabuya). They are clean and comfortable, and the place is right on a slice of very quiet, rocky beach, while the friendly Irish owner also rents bikes, ATVs and kayaks. And yes, it’s called Howler Monkey Hotel for a reason: expect a wake-up call.

Panadería Cabuya Bakery, CAFE $; mains US$3-17; h 6:30am-8pm Mon-Sat, 6:30am6pm Sun; W) A local landmark. Set on a tropical patio, this inviting cafe serves up a stellar menu including fresh bread, pastries.

(Tel 2642-0354;; mains US$5-11; h 8am-10pm) Jenny can help you with just about anything you need, from calling a taxi, organizing an adventure outing, pouring you a cold cerveza or making you a tasty pizza (her specialty). She also offers delicious breakfast options and other meals to sate your appetite at any time of day.

Soda Marvin $ (mains US$4-10; h 7am-9pm; v ) Here’s your local family-run soda, offering all your Tico favorites. Non-meat-eaters will be surprised and delighted by the excellent vegetarian casado, but there’s also seafood pasta, fish fajitas, filling breakfasts and ever-important, strong, dark coffee. You’ll find this delightful place set under a thatch roof across from Super David.


Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco

Just 11km south of Montezuma is Costa Rica’s oldest protected wilderness area. Cabo Blanco comprises 12 sq. km of land and 17 sq. km of surrounding ocean, and includes the entire southern tip of the Península de Nicoya. The moist microclimate on the tip of the peninsula fosters the growth of evergreen forests, which are unique when compared with the dry tropical forests typical of Nicoya. The park also encompasses a number of pristine white-sand beaches and offshore islands that are favored nesting areas for various bird species.

A Danish-Swedish couple, the late Karen Mogensen and Olof Nicolas Wessberg, who settled in Montezuma in the 1950s and were among the first conservationists in Costa Rica, originally established the park. In 1960 the couple was distraught when they discovered that sections of Cabo Blanco had been clear-cut. At the time, the Costa Rican government was primarily focused on the agricultural development of the country, and had not yet formulated its modern-day conservation policy. Karen and Nicolas, as he was known, were instrumental in convincing the government to establish a national park system, which eventually led to the creation of the Cabo Blanco reserve in 1963. The couple continued to fight for increased conservation of ecologically rich areas, but, tragically, Nicolas was murdered in 1975 during a campaign in the Península de Osa. Karen continued their work until her death in 1994, and today they are buried in the Reserva Absoluta Nicolás Wessberg, the site of their original homestead.

Cabo Blanco is called an ‘absolute’ nature reserve because prior to the late 1980s visitors were not permitted. Even though the name hasn’t changed, a limited number of trails have been opened to visitors, but the reserve remains closed on Monday and Tuesday to minimize environmental impact.

Monkey, squirrel, sloth, deer, agouti and raccoon are usually present, and armadillo, coati, peccary and anteater are occasionally sighted.

The coastal area is known as an important nesting site for the brown booby, mostly found 1.6km south of the mainland on Isla Cabo Blanco (White Cape Island). The name ‘Cabo Blanco’ was coined by Spanish conquistadors when they noticed that the entire island consisted of guano-encrusted rocks. Seabirds in the area include the brown pelican and the magnificent frigate bird.


From the ranger station, the Sendero Sueco (Swedish Trail) leads 4.5km down to a wilderness beach at the tip of the peninsula, while the Sendero Danes (Danish Trail) is a spur that branches from Sendero Sueco and reconnects 1km later. So, you can make this small 2km loop and stay in the woods, or take on the considerably more difficult but much more rewarding hike to the cape, heading down one way and taking the other path back up. Be advised that the trails can get very muddy (especially in the rainy season) and are fairly steep in certain parts – plan for about two hours in each direction.

The wide, sandy pebble beach at the end of the trail is magnificent. It’s backed by jungle, sheltered by two rugged headlands including one that stretches out into a rock reef with island views just offshore. The water is striped turquoise at low tide, but the cool currents still make for a refreshing dip. Visibility isn’t always great for snorkeling but you may want to bring a mask anyway. Driftwood is smooth, weathered and piled haphazardly here and there. There are even picnic tables and a grill, if you care to get ambitious. Simply put, it is a postcard, and frankly a must do. Leave the beach by 2pm to get out before the park closes.


The ranger station (Tel 2642-0093; www.; adult/child under 12 yr. US$10/1; h 8am-4pm Wed-Sun) is 2km south of Cabuya at the entrance to the park, and
trail maps are available. It is not possible to overnight in the park, though there are plenty of options in nearby Cabuya or Montezuma. Bring drinks and snacks, as there is no food or water available.

The average annual temperature is about 27°C (80°F) and annual rainfall is some 2300mm at the tip of the park. Not surprisingly, the trails can get muddy, so it’s best to visit in the dry season, from December to April, and start your hike early before it gets too steamy.

Getting There & Away

Buses (US$1.50, 45 minutes) depart from the park entrance for Montezuma at 7am, 9am, 11am and 3pm. A taxi from Montezuma to the park costs about US$16.

During dry season, you can drive (4Wd required) for 7km from Cabuya to Mal País via the stunningly scenic Star Mountain rd. it’s a rough road and there is one river crossing but it’s all good.


Playa Cocalito

Here’s your chance to see a waterfall crashing down a cliff, straight onto the rocks and into the ocean. And yes, it is as spectacular as it sounds. El Chorro Waterfall is the pièce de résistance of Playa Cocalito, which is it pretty irresistible. The waters here are a dreamy, iridescent azure, with pink rocky cliffs creating two inviting swimming areas. It’s far enough away from the action that you are likely to have the place to yourself.

It’s a hot, two-hour, 12km hike from Montezuma: leave at sunrise to spot plenty of wildlife along the way. Alternatively, this is a popular destination for horseback riding. In any case, be sure to bring water and snacks, as there are no facilities here.








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