So I had to show my Mom how to operate my digital SLR for this one. It came out pretty good. This is at the lower falls in Montezuma, Costa Rica.
I thought the colors stayed pretty good for converting this to an animated GIF, if you click the image for a larger version it looks pretty good too. I used GIFQuickMaker, which I got from the MacApp store.
Yeah, I know I’ve shown you high-def video of a similar thing not so long ago (but I’m in Montezuma again, so I’m doing it again), but I’m playing with the photos and animation software so you get it again.
I’ve got several clips of fire dancing for you! I’m in Montezuma and they did it tonight at a recycling festival. I haven’t seen it for a while, so I was pretty excited about it! I think the second one came out better since it’s tall so it’s a better zoomed in shot.
I got some other traveler I’d been talking with to use my camera to video me jumping in at the upper falls in Montezuma. I’m guessing this is 30 feet(?) up, I worked out the people behind me are about 40 feet up (did some GPS based calculations a few trips ago), so maybe a little higher than 30 feet.
The water really hurt my face when I went in the water. I guess my head is tilted a little forward but I’ve jumped from the higher spot (where you can see the people) a few times before and never noticed anything. But then I can see it took me longer to come up than from the higher spot (which makes no sense either).
This isn’t the most exciting photo of the upper falls
but you can see the whole falls and the ledge where I jumped from
(the ledge on the right that looks even with the top of waterfall).
Someone else in his group got a picture of me with the SLR, but she never e-mailed it to me, which isn’t a huge surprise, but since I actually got him jumping in on hidef video I thought they’d at least e-mail for that…
So the my blog host was acting up a few days ago, but it made me look around a little bit. Tried (again) to speed things up and make the pages load a little faster; I tried some stuff a month ago, but it might have slowed it down (but then I’ve been posting a lot more photos, so who knows?). I think it’s faster, but who knows.
Sunset from Montezuma Beach
So I removed some of the things from the sidebar, I never got the feeling a few of the things were being used. I changed the banner (it’s a snippet from the above photo) and shifted it way up, I don’t know why I never thought of moving it up before. It’s another sunset picture, but it fit well (with the title and search box), so it’s not a drastic change.
Okay, so maybe it’s not a super big secret, but it’s a really nice view; two views actually. When walking back down the hill from the upper waterfalls you walk right past it (see the end for specific details on finding it).
Looking south-west down the coast.
Before turning right to get the above view, you could have continued straight and to the left a little (through the brush) and you can see north-east up the coast. From the spot you’re at, you won’t even see Montezuma, you’ll be looking right over it.
So as you come down the big hill, either from the upper waterfalls or from the Mariposario Butterfly Gardens, after you pass the private bridge to the really big house (you can’t miss it), keep your eyes to the right shoulder and about 50 yards (or 50 meters) past the bridge you’ll see the grass on the incline is a little worn (see picture) climb up there and head left.
When you get near the end on the right you’ll see south-west down the coast, towards Cabuya and Cabo Blanco; if you veer towards the left you’ll see north-east. It’s a really nice view in either direction! The north-east view is a little hidden, but just take a minute and you’ll find it.
There used to be fencing there so watch out for barbed wire. And keep in mind, it’s not a public park, so tread carefully…
Trees is (are?) the challenge for today’s Photo Friday. I actually took more than a few photos of trees than usual so here’s a few of them.
This was a tree at the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.
Up the beach from Montezuma, north-east about an hour(?). I thought the dead(?) tree looked interesting extended above the forest.
From above Montezuma Falls, looking down at the pool at the base of the falls.
Just some photos for your viewing pleasure, click for a larger view (although the larger tall ones aren’t that much bigger) with a little more descriptive text. Trying to figure how to best post photos for viewing…
Before I went down to Costa Rica last month I knew they eclipse was going to happen and I knew the Moon was going to be full. But I forgot all about the fact that the do some horse rides down the beach in the moonlight; I knew that from the last trip and forgot all about it. While I don’t really like horses (they’re big, scary and I don’t know how to turn them off or reboot them), down the beach during the full moon sounds pretty cool.
This was the full moon lighting up the beach,
it’s really hard to show how bright it really was.
It’s completely night out, but it was just so bright.
This one came out a little brighter but it’s a little washed out.
They might have come out better if I’d had a tripod. I think it was brighter the next night (less clouds?) but my pocket camera just doesn’t appropriately show how it really looked. I don’t recall even thinking it was really bright this night, I was actually just scoping out the sky to see if the eclipse would be viewable.
So I picked up a disposable waterproof Kodak camera before my trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been tempted to get a waterproof camera but couldn’t justify the cost.
The weird part was getting it developed. It’s been years since I got film developed. I can’t even remember the last time. When I stood at the counter at Walgreens it was weird, I knew I wanted it on CD but did I want prints? It seemed so foreign to want prints of the photos I hadn’t even seen yet…
But in the end I ordered a set of the prints. And they weren’t as interesting as I’d hoped. It’s hard to stell that the shots I took from the water are six feet deep, they could be ankle deep. And the waves that are crashing down at me, you can barely tell.
The resolution was pretty disappointing at 1545 × 1024 they weren’t very detailed, even for 800 ASA (IMHO). I’m not saying the pictures are bad, they just weren’t any better (visually) than many that I took from shore…
Here’s a few for your viewing pleasure :)
Me at the upper falls (actually the upper-upper-falls about 15-20 feet high).
Sunset from way up the coast from Montezuma.
This a cRaZy one of me jumping in the water.
I’m at the lower falls, it’s probably only about 20 feet (15?).
It looks like I’m hurtling to my doom.
I think the above shot of me jumping is from the same spot as this video of me jumping off the rock. So the camera was $10 (for 27 shots) and I think it was $12 for developing (developing, negatives, and one set of photos) so $22 for an experiment; I’ve certainly spent more for something I’ve never used again. I’m not saying the camera was disappointing in itself, although the pictures were only 1545 × 1024 pixels (but that just might be the Walgreens scanner), I just hoped taking the pictures from different angles in the water would look much more interesting. I’d try it again, but I think I’ll try again with this Snap Sights Waterproof Underwater Reusable Camera with Flash, especially if I was to go snorkeling.
It was four years ago today that I was in Jaco with Mark and wanted to check out the Nicoya Peninsula. We heard the easiest way to get there was to take a taxi boat from the beach North of Jaco to a little town called Montezuma.
I think we were there about ten minutes and “I said can we stay another day?” and by the end of the evening asked if “we could spend another day” on top of that one…
I’ve been back at least six more times and I think I love it more every time. I’ve talked about Montezuma many times (the first post with probably be this one, so scroll down) and plan to talk and visit it many more.
Just a quick pan of the upper falls in Montezuma. I’m thinking they’re about 40+ feet, but looking how tiny the people at the top looks I want to say it’s taller. Next trip I’m bringing a ball of string to drop over the edge and then I’m just measuring it…
Actually, later I did notice a few people adding some smaller rocks to the tops of some already existing piles. I was too high up to get some good footage though. Some people calls these piles “cairns” or “ducks”; personally, “cairn” makes me think of something religious or a memorial.
I was really hoping that zooming in would change the rocks scale to make them look huge, but no such luck. Not sure if it’s the plant life or that everything looked in focus (or something else) that made it look so different. But I still thought it was fun enough to share…
Just kind of beast crawling around making a lot of noise on the roof. At first I thought it was someone (I say “he” in the video) up there fixing a leak or something (it’d just been raining). But a little while later I spotted this. The video is a little slow in the middle but it does pick around 53 seconds.
The next morning I was eating breakfast on the balcony and this guy was up in a tree nearby. It’s something different, doesn’t appear to have the spiky things on it’s back.
The image is a little dark, but you can see better if you click to enlarge it. FYI, I don’t eat breakfast without some kind of camera nearby, you never know what might be nearby. Usually we have the lizards and monkeys, but I’ve not seen any monkeys by the hotel yet.
I was looking at the Montezuma Beach web site the other day and I found the best map of Montezuma that I’ve ever seen. The town is mostly just those two blocks at the center of the top. Montezuma really isn’t that busy, it’s the names of all the places that take up space. It even shows the start of the path to get to the waterfalls (at the bottom).
It’s one of the few maps that shows both roads in and out of Montezuma; the split at the South end of town that goes to the North always gets left out (even my Costa Rica purchased GPS maps don’t have that road!). There is an “Open Source” Open Street Map of Montezuma. I’ve actually added a lot of the items on the Open Street Map of Montezuma. If you look at it and zoom out you can see how small Montezuma really is. I’ll admit most of the locations are estimates based on the few roads already in the image, but they’ll get you there. I’ll use the GPS next time I’m there to make it more accurate.
I’ll (probably) tell more about the Open Street Map project in a future post, but it’s one of the few maps only zoomable map with all the roads in and out of town that actually shows some detail of “downtown” Montezuma. This is all that Google shows and I’m not even sure where that (nonexistent) road the goes North-East up the coast goes..
I like this jump even though it’s kinda high because there aren’t (m)any rocks below you so you don’t have to push out as far. It’s not that I mind the pushing, it’s just I worry about not pushing enough.
It’s always a debate to how high the waterfalls in Montezuma are. It comes up almost every visit to the falls. So today I specifically took some readings with the GPS (location just isn’t longitude and latitude, it’s height too!) and came up with the following numbers –
Water level of first waterfall: 82 feet (above numbers see level)
Waterlevel of second fall (which is top of the first fall): 238 feet
Top of second falls: 280/313 feet
If you don’t want to see how the numbers work out and the how whys of my rounding (and I rounded way down for the first one and a little for the second one). I’d say the first water fall is 130 feet (40 meters) and the second is 40 feet (12 meters).
Here’s the way I did the math and the “rounding”:
So 238-82=156 and rounding down I’d say this makes the big falls about 150 feet (47 meters). That’s higher than I thought it would be and there is error in these GPSs so lets round down to 40 meters and say it’s 130 feet. I’m hoping that’s generous enough to where people wont’s say it’s an exaggeration. This is mostly consistent with some readings I took last fall.
The next falls up, where people do a lot of jumping was 42 feet when I took the readings, I did the math then and I know that’s what it said. The bookmark on my GPS says it was at 313 feet, but maybe I moved when I wrote the bookmark, I know I started talking about it so if I stood up and went to a higher rock I easy could have added another 12 feet. From last fall I recorded 303 feet, but at the time I was looking for long/lat and not height so I have no idea where I was standing (and all my readings for fall were about 18-20 feet higher but it was extra cloudy). So I’m going to stick with 40 feet for this measurement (12 meters) since every thing else says it’s actually higher (I would have guessed it’s more like 30 feet, maybe 35 but what do I know?).
Yes, I know there are many variables in the GPS so these are estimates, but it’s better than how it’s been discussed before which is a bunch of people standing around looking at it and guessing. Also, the water levels change here, but only by a few feet. It’s particularly low right now.
It just started to rain out. It’s really been looking like it’s wanted to for a few hours now, the waves have been pretty rough all day (I didn’t go into the ocean, even though I planned to) and there’s been cloud cover and extra humidity all day. I dashed into the Pizza Parlor in Montezuma. I’m now sitting upstairs under the steel roof and it’s coming down pretty hard right now and it sounds great. I can see the waves crashing in and I’m pretty happy about it.
It’s been pretty long since they’ve had rain in Montezuma. It’s been drier and a lot dustier than normal since I’ve been here. I’m hoping for at least a 1/2 hour of this (if not hours more), I can see it’s pretty clear in the distance. Although I’m looking more south than west; hmm, do the weather patterns go NW here? And I meant to bring a plastic bag for my stuff
Everything has just been so dry. I’ve really been missing some of the greenness I saw on my last visit (there are leaves, they’re just kind of wimpy/sad looking). Hiking has been a little tricky since there is gravel and pebbles everywhere making the hills a little slippery, some rain would help wash that away.
So I’ve got a great slice of pepperoni and a glass bottle of Coca-Cola for 1,800 colones (the exchange rate isn’t great right now, so I’m guessing about $3.50). Actually, it’s dos (2) bottles of Coke (they’re only 12 ounces). And if I’m trapped here in the rain for a while I might need more.
The other problem is they tore up the road to put some new draining piping in. I’m not sure how far they got before the rain started. It’s been inconvenient for people driving who drove into town and a few minutes later there was no road. There’s only two ways in and out from that section of town and it’s probably ten kilometers around the long way. That’s really annoying if you don’t know your way around.
It’s cut in and out a few times since I’ve been typing this but I think it’s go for a little bit longer. I’m not sure if it’ll be enough to cut through the forest and clears the paths, but I guess I’ll know tomorrow. There was one big flash of lightening/thunder when it started and while I’ve heard some thunder I haven’t seen more lightening. It’s by far the coolest for this time of day since I’ve been here.
Later: It’s stopped (maybe 45 minutes of rain?) but I can hear lots of thunder in the distance so maybe we’ll get some more later.
So it’s actually my second day in Montezuma, but it’s my first full day so I made the most of it. I picked up a sandwich first thing in the morning and I hiked up to the waterfalls and stayed for hours. It’s really hot today so I took 5 bottles of stuff to drink (2 water, 2 gatorade and 1 coke).
The water level was low in the river. Not too low just lower than the last two times I was just (at the beginning and ends of rainy season). Many of the rocks in the above photo would be covered with water, causing it to be (almost) like rapids. It made for an easy walk. It’s not hard to navigate the rocks or even step in the water, but it the water isn’t clear it’s hard to tell if it’s 6 inches deep or 6 feet deep.
I jumped around into the pond at the bottom of the falls; it’s hard to see the big rock on the left (since I didn’t get it in the photo) that I was jumping off of but I’d have landed in between those swimmers (but I waited until they were gone). I tried to climb up into the falls themselves but the rocks were too slippery today, after three falls I took the hint and gave up.
Then I went up to the upper falls, if look at the above photo you can see the where the water runs over the far edge, that’s the top of the waterfall from the previous photo.There were multiple groups of people up there and everyone was pretty social today, it was pretty fun up there. Lots of people jumping, with everyone encouraging everyone to jump. I actually jumped from the spot where I took the above photo (I need a better one to show how high of a fall it was).
Obviously, I had a hike back down so I post more later (with some more photos)…
FYI, I ended up drinking 6 bottles of fluids, I stopped at the butterfly gardens hotel (at the top of the hill on the way back) and picked up another drink. They had cold sodas and my last was pretty warm by then, but I still managed to finish the warm gatorade before I made it home.
It was kinda gloomy out and I didn’t want to hike far and get trapped in the rain. I saw a few people gathering for the bus so I asked what time the bus was, I was told 11:30 so I grabbed my stuff from the hotel and went back to the bus stop.
I’m not sure why this looks pixelated, it’s actually way better in High Quality.
A few people showed up at 11:30 but no bus. A few more show up at Noon but no bus. At 12:10 the bus showed up and lots of people showed up by 12:30 (which was the correct time). Turns out this is the one time of day the bus is generally on-time since they stop to get lunch when they arrive here. Why all those others thought it was 11:30 and 12:00, I have no idea, they said those times with no hesitation. I really wish “I don’t know” was part of the Costa Rican vocabulary.
And now that it’s all uploaded, I realize the ocean looks kinda washed out. But I swear it’s right there…
So Cobano is a nearby town of Montezuma it’s about 7 km away. It’s kind of the centralized place for the bus transfers, a few more restaurants, way faster Internet and some larger stores. Also it’s the nearest bank, ATM, pharmacy, gas station, hardware store, appliances, bicycles, etc. Even with all that, it’s pretty small. I was waiting for the bus the other day and shot this time lapse footage of the main intersection.
So riding the bus in Costa Rica is cheap and it’ll take you anywhere. The problem is figuring out when the bus is going to be running.
In the bigger cities this doesn’t appear to be a problem, if you miss a bus another one will be by soon and if it’s not the right bus it’s still heading in the correct direction, just hop on. In the more remote areas (such as Montezuma) they probably don’t come more than every two hours so if you miss the bus it’s a pain.
The people closest to the bus stop seem to have the most reliable information. Restaurants and internet cafes have it written down, but they wrote it down ages ago. My trickiest problem is asking “when is the next bus?” and they tell me “it’s in 20 minutes” but that’s too soon for me so I try to find out about the bus after that and it’s no good; I have to come back in 25 minutes and ask again to get the info for the bus after that :)
The appears to be no schedule posted, even at the bus station in Cobano (a central town in the lower Nicoya Peninsula). I did notice the bus that goes from Montezuma to Cabuya to the National Reserve does have a schedule taped to the window (4 trips a day) with pricing and everything; as an added bonus, it generally seemed to be leaving Montezuma at the correct time! More info below.
Pricing is cheap though. In San Jose I took a bus for about 150 colones (28 cents) but honestly I don’t know far that would have taken me, it was in front of me heading the right way and it kept going once I got off. In Montezuma, it’s 300 colones (55 cents) to go to Cobano which is 7 km. away (a very hilly/dusty walk).
You can get a direct bus all the way to San Jose from Montezuma, but you might not get a seat and there isn’t any A/C but I think you can do it for about $8-ish (maybe $10 including the ferry ride). CORRECTION: The direct bus does have air conditioning; if the directo bus in Montezuma does not have A/C, when you switch onto the directo in Cobano that one has A/C (and little controllable vents like on an airplane), I’ve taken it three different times now and it is an excellent value (it seems like it will stop at the SJO Airport [you must ask/tell them!] or San Jose at the Coca Cola bus terminal (updated March 2012; I think I paid just under $14 and that included the ferry ride). Montezuma to Cabuya to the National Reserve info: When I saw the schedule it said 600 colones to the Reserva and 500 colones to Cabuya (just over or under a $1.00). It leaves Cabuya for Montezuma at 7:20 am, 9:20 am, 1:20 pm and 3:20 pm (not sure what time it actually leaves the park). It leaves Montezuma for Cabuya at 8 am, 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. Obviously they get a long lunch hour or maybe it doubles as a school bus? (These times and prices are from November 2008).
Just me getting into the water and climbing the big rock in the background and jumping into the water. Nothing ultra-exciting but should give an idea of the pool and jumping area…
I’m not the first person you see. I’m the guy who walks in front of the camera a few seconds into the video (and gets in). There is a larger version of the video if you go to the direct link (below). It’s not the best quality, it must have lost something in the encoding to YouTube :(
Here’s part two of the video from the waterfall video from last Saturday (Nov. 22, 2008). This is the view from the top of the falls taken a few minutes after the first video. I’ve since learned that the waterfalls are named El Chorro (and the adjacent beach is called Cocolito).
Here’s the direct link to this waterfalls video (sometimes the embed codes don’t work); be sure to notice that under the right-hand side of the video you can “watch in high quality”.