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Montezuma is in Costa Rica in the north-western Pacific Ocean area. More specifically it is located at the bottom end of the Nicoya peninsula. This is one of my favorite places in the world!

Written By: Gary on November 30, 2007 No Comment

Cr Montezuma Jaco Water-TaxiSo I’m off to Montezuma this morning. You can see the ride by car would take forever. The water taxi, pretty much some guy on a boat that’ll hold about 8-10 people/luggage, will take about an hour. If experience holds, it’ll take longer since it’ll be way late. I sure hope it doesn’t rain…

I’ll be at the El Sano Banano, it’s a little hotel (in a little town), but I have access to their resort way down the beach. I’d consider staying down there but there is no A/C in their cabanas.

That’s all for now I’ve gotta shower and finish packing and get a taxi to get me to the water taxi (it’s actually at the next town north).

Written By: Gary on November 28, 2007 No Comment

TabaconThese Chicken Nachos are delicious! I’m at the Restaurante Tabacon in Jaco, it’s right across the street from Planet Food (closed for years but still a landmark for giving directions). They come with everything, including sour creme, beans and guacamole (I did not get the latter two). It’s a huge bowl for 3,000 colons ($6), it’s not a appetizer, it’s a meal.

I think I really enjoyed my food lat time here too. They used to be a pizza parlor and I think that was really good too, if I recall back 3-4 years correctly…

Other details:

  • Free WiFi.
  • The cool paper lanterns that I’ve only seen in Montezuma before.
  • Pepsi products
  • Their drinks are never cold enough. I recall this from before.
  • They have Smirnoff Ice in a bottle, it’s hard to fine at home, but very common in Jaco.
  • Written By: Gary on April 19, 2007 One Comment

    Costa Rica Monkey 2007Another photo-meme. Today the Thursday Photo Challenge is Wildlife so I’m using this White-Faced Monkey photo from Montezuma, Costa Rica.

    If you look very close (just below/by the neck) you can see there is a (very tiny) baby on the back of the monkey!

    Speaking of Costa Rica, here’s a information page from Time for Kids about Costa Rica

    Written By: Gary on January 28, 2007 No Comment

    Cr Tortuga MapSo almost everyone was giving us mediocre reviews of the volcano this trip, so we decided to skip it. Since we skipped it we were staying in Montezuma for another day and then going back to Jaco.

    Staying in Montezuma (Costa Rica) resulted in us taking a tour to Tortuga Island. Every travel group in town seemed to offer a similar tour to this. A trip on the water (hopefully spotting some whales/dolphins) some snorkeling and some time on the beach with with lunch cooked there and then some more (optional) snorkeling and back along the coast. I’m glad we went but the day went by really fast.

    Cr Snorkle 2007-01-05 10-59-57.Img 4592The photo with the island (big rock) in the middle is not Tortuga, it’s nearby and it’s where we snorkeled (if you look real close you can see people snorkeling). Now remember where we are, there aren’t real lessons. They hand you some flippers and a mask and a snorkel and off you go! I asked some of the other tourists and got the gist of it but was always afraid of somehow getting a big gulp of water somehow (which never happened). The fish were awesome, different colors and if you stayed still you could be in the middle of a big school of them. Different colored rocks and coral, it was all very cool. Now one some of the people who had gone down to the Caribbean (or other exotic snorkeling places) were a little disappointed but the rest of us were happy.

    I also saw some kind of Eel and some kind of Sting Ray. The eel was a squiggly but I’d guess it was about 3-4 feet long and the Sting(?) Ray was probably a little less than 3 feet (from wing tip to wing tip). They were 6-10 feet below me so it’s hard to judge the size.Cr Tortuga 2007-01-05 14-21-56.Img 4605Cr Tortuga 2007-01-05 14-21-51.Img 4603The beach was nice, set up as if you were outside a hotel on the ocean. The rest of the island was a “state park” of sorts (and had admission costs, in hindsight probably pretty cheap) but the day went by so fast, there just wasn’t time for exploring.

    And they made us a pretty good grilled lunch too!

    All the photos in this post are clickable for larger versions.

    Written By: Gary on January 28, 2007 No Comment

    Costa Rica Montezuma WaterfallSo here’s the Montezuma Waterfall that we climbed way up into the hills to get to. We swam and (I) jumped into the pool there and then we climbed way farther up into the hills to get way above the waterfall (and there were a few more pools up there too) and then I climbed down past them so that if you were where I was when I took this movie you’d seem me at the top of the falls.

    I know I’m behind in getting stuff up, but I’m getting there. FYI, I rotated this movie, so if it doesn’t play, can you please let me know?!?

    Written By: Gary on January 7, 2007 2 Comments

    Cr Montezuma Big MapSo we really liked Montezuma, I’ve never been in that peninsula in Costa Rica and I’ve always wanted to go there (I think it’s called the Nicoloyia Nicoya Peninsula). We just kept extending our stay a day here and there and ended up staying four nights. We’re really glad we stayed an extra day or we would have missed the island of Tortuga (more on this later). It’s a very small town, just a few streets but it’s very laid back and I’ll definitely go back!

    Seems like a bit of a surfer town, but we saw very little surfing, even though there were lots of places to rent/buy surfing supplies. The water seemed very clear but part of that may have just been because the sand is so dark in Jaco. Speaking of Jaco, it seems like it’s a bit mini-Jaco before it grew, maybe if you could roll it back 30-40 years.

    Here is a street map of Montezuma. You can see all the busineeses on this map. If there is nothing listed it’s probably just trees or sand. Size-wise most of the hotels only have 10-15 rooms so they don’t take up much room. Most of it is concentrated in the top have of the map with Chico’s Bar (#14) at the center o the town, we stayed at El Sano Banano (#9) which is really close to the center.Things did seem less expensive in this town, but don’t assume and be sure to check the menu’s prices before you sit down. Generally (but not always) if a place lists the cost in US Dollars they are more expensive. FYI, no ATMs in this town so make sure you have cash, especially since many places will give you a better deal for cash than charge (mostly noticed this with tours, transportation and hotels).

    It’s way more laid back and it’s a bit of a hippie/rastafarian/bohemian crowd that seems to have settled in there. Some just seem to be traveling for a while and stop for a few months or years and others just seem to have moved there. There seems to be a few Ticos (Costa Rican people) who have relocated up that way as well, they just think it’s more relaxed than some of the other places they’ve been.

    Written By: Gary on January 5, 2007 No Comment

    White Monkeywhite monkeySo the hotel we are at (The El Sano Banano in Montezuma, CR) has a sister hotel (Ylang Ylang) down the beach (which you can only get to by walking, but they will transport your luggage) and we’re allowed to use their pool and hammocks, etc. But the main reason we went down is we heard in the afternoon that the monkeys stop by. We got there just in time and I got a variety of photos (many blurry or obscured by trees) and some video.

    They would come down and take food from people, they were very cautious but many of them took some. It was funny since as they climbed closer the branches would bend and they’d panic and try to scramble back up. Be sure to notice in the one photo you can see the White Monkey with a baby on it’s back.I’m not really sure if they were called “White Monkeys” or “White-Faced Monkeys”.

    FYI – The Ylang Ylang is more resort-ish (pool, hammocks, lounge chairs, massage, yoga, etc.) but it has no Air conditioning…

    Written By: Gary on January 4, 2007 No Comment

    Img 4271So we’re staying at the The El Sano Banano and we keep adding days to our stay. It’s a great hotel in that it’s located right in the center of Montezuma and it’s got all the necessary requirements for a hotel. It’s got air conditioning which to me is a must and not that many hotels have it (and it’s brand new, so it works very well), private bathrooms/showers, the showers have heat and it’s only about $65 US a night. There’s no internet but I just found out that the Ylang Ylang (the sister hotel) has free WiFi but I just found that out so I haven’t tried it yet.

    It’s cute but plain vanilla, just beds and a TV in the room, no chairs and no desk. It’s tiny, only 12 rooms, but many of the places are like that. Free breakfast in the morning, it’s delicious(!), I get Huevos Rancheos, which is eggs and salsa on a tortilla but no frijoles (beans). The dinning rooms shows free movies with dinner; I assume the legality of this is questionable, but I haven’t bothered to quiz them on the legalities of international copyright and are they paying the proper fees (my spanish stinks and no one’s English is that good). But pretty much you’re wandering the streets or beech or at a restaurant or people-watching or on the beach.

    I’d definitely recommend this place for the price, location, A/C and the rest of what I’ve mentioned above. The A/C really helps the enjoyability of it, the water pressure could be better (sometimes it’s awesome, but sometimes it’s not working). No one we’ve talked to has air conditioning, but they’re staying at places for half the price but we really like the A/C…

    The photo is the view out my window.

    Written By: Gary on January 4, 2007 No Comment

    So after talking about the wonderful weather this morning, this afternoon the last few hours of daylight were the cloudiest I’ve ever seen while I was in Costa Rica. I actually thought it might storm. It was still gorgeous (and the lack of sun did make it more comfortable), I just thought it was weird after I mentioned it this morning.

    Written By: Gary on January 3, 2007 No Comment

    lower fallsSo we took a walk up to the lower waterfalls which were really small but were nice to swim in. It was just up the street and was pretty easy to get to. I’ll have pictures later, but the bandwidth here is very slow (it’s all dial-up).

    Cr-Montezumafalls-2003Then we decided to hike it up to the bigger falls. This really was a hike but worth it. The falls were at least a hundred feet high (I’ll see if I can get a real number) and there was pond to swim and jump into from the surrounding rocks. You could also climb up on the rocks and get behind the falls and jump out through them. It’s really hard to swim around since the falls are generating current and huge amounts of spray and the closer you get you can feel the pressure(?) of the water impacting on the pond as you (try to) breathe.

    Cr-Montezumafalls-1963It was a blast! I jumped off the rocks a few times and through the water fall multiple times too (Mark did no jumping). One of the thumbnails links to a photo of me diving in from top the rocks (not all the way up!) click for larger images of all the photos.

    The we decided to climb up to the top of the waterfalls This was more of a mountain climbing expedition, it was tricky navigating the “trails” and twice I thought I’d lost Mark but he managed to hang on and we continued our quest. Once we we got to the top it turns out we were way above the falls. So then I had to go down two more levels to the top of the falls and then I was at the top, so if anyone took pictures of the falls at the time I was standing right there where the water came over the edge.

    Getting back was another quest, some of it was much harder but it was shorter (and mostly downhill) so we did (eventually)make it back home alive!

    Written By: Gary on January 3, 2007 One Comment

    dancing with fire 3Picture 8So we’re in Montezuma (Costa Rica) now. A great little town on the peninsula (more on that later). We had just kinda given up on the night and were heading back. And there was a group dancing in the street so we started to watch. Then they started using some sticks and some chains with weights and then they lit them on fire. And then they danced around some more. It was very very cool, eventually the crowd was huge. I did run up and get the video camera but I’ll have to put that up later (if it came out).

    The pictures are clickable to get larger images.

    Written By: Gary on January 2, 2007 No Comment

    So we needed to stay another night at the Hotel Balcon del Mar and we had to transfer to another room. That was a little trickier than we thought it would be. Checkout is at Noon and checkin is at 2, no one seemed to have the ability to make sure the room we were transferring to was cleaned first and our old room cleaned after we moved. It finally worked out, we just didn’t bother to checkout so when the room was ready we moved. (It worked for us at least).

    Cr Montezuma Jaco BoatSo we got moved from the new wing of the hotel to the old wing. (Just to give you some perspective on the hotel there is probably only 50-60 rooms in the whole place and it’s shaped like an “L”) The old wing definitely needs to be renovated. It’s not awful it’s just not as shiny as the new wing. But I’ll come back, the location and setup works well for me.

    So in a few minutes we’re off to taxi a “Taxi Boat” up the coast to Montezuma, which is on the peninsula on the north pacific side of Costa Rica. I’ve wanted to go to this area for a while now! See the image on how we’ll cut across the ocean to get there. The boat is an hour instead of the many (treacherous) hours driving up the coast, and probably more scenic :)

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