Two weekends ago seven of us went to Montezuma. It was a real adventure and me with no camera. We left on Friday directly from the university. We took a bus to San Jose where we asked directions to the bus terminal for Puntarenas. There were not enough seats for us on the bus that was leaving right then so we had to wait about 45 minutes for the next bus. Soon after we left San Jose, I reached into my purse for my camera and it wasn’t there. I don’t know if it had somehow fallen out or if someone took it, but I no longer have any way to take photos. The photos on this post are ones that my friends took. Anyway, it was about 2 hours to reach Puntarenas where we asked for directions to the ferry. There we had to wait 1 hour until the ticket office opened, and then another hour until the ferry left. My friends bought coconuts from a street vendor. They cut a hole in it and insert a straw for you to drink the juice. After drinking the juice, they break open the coconut and eat it. The ferry ride was about 1 hour 15 minutes. When we arrived in Paquera, we got a bus and rode for about half hour, switched buses and rode for another half hour until we arrived in Montezuma. Then we spent a little time walking around and comparing hotel prices until we decided on one.
first people on the ferry
the line is where the salt and fresh water meet
Montezuma is a small, eclectic community. Many people there speak English and there are a lot of little shops with clothing, jewelry and souvenir type stuff. The town is literally only a couple of streets which was really nice because you could walk around after dark (it is dark by 6pm) and feel totally safe.
Saturday morning we got up and ate toast and orange juice at the hotel for breakfast and hiked out of town to go to the waterfalls. The first falls were a few minutes’ walk from the road. After we passed these falls there wasn’t really a trail. We had to walk across the rocks in the river and along the bank. The second falls was very high with a pool at the bottom. We stopped here so my friends could go swimming and jump off a tall rock.
"Montezuma Waterfalls, danger, some people have died here, don't climb or jump"
and along the bank
Another group (middle aged couple and 3 twenty-something boys) and my friend asked them if they knew how get to the third falls because we had heard that it was difficult to find the trail. The man said that he knew how to get there and pointed out where we needed to go. They then said that they were going there shortly and we could go with them. We decided that it would be easier to follow them since they knew where they were going.
So we started off climbing straight up, using roots to pull ourselves up. One friend and I were right behind the other group when they reached the top, but our other 5 friends were still near the bottom. We heard some guy yelling at them that they needed to go to the left, not up. So our friends veered off and we just hoped that we would run into each other again as it would have been very difficult for the two of us to climb back down.
We never came across the path the guy said was supposed to be there. He said it didn’t matter because there should be a road at the top of the hill which we could follow to a path that went to the third falls. We came out of the woods in a pasture with a very nice view of the ocean below. We hiked through the pasture to a dirt road, followed the road to a paved road and turned left as that is the way the guy said we needed to go. By now my friend and I didn’t believe that this guy knew where he was going but we didn’t know where we were. We saw a local and asked him how to get there and he said we needed to go in the opposite direction. So we turned around and hiked downhill on the road for quite awhile until we ended up walking back into Montezuma. By now we had been hiking for over an hour. The other group went to their hotel but my friend and I continued on because we were worried that our friends were worried about us.
view from the pasture
So we walked back through town, out the other side, to where we had begun our hike. Just past the path to the first waterfall was a road that we were supposed to follow to get to the path that led to the third waterfall. So we started up this road. We walked several kilometers up a VERY steep hill. We kept stopping to ask people about the location of the path to make sure we were going in the right direction. We finally reached a zipline place where we were told we had to pay to use their trail to the falls or we could walk about a kilometer back down the hill to another path. So we turned around, went back downhill and took a dirt road that we thought the path was on. We followed the road until we came to a dead end in a little grassy area. We were at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean, surrounded by tropical forests and there at the edge of the hill was the most random site I think I have ever seen: playground equipment. At least that is what it looked like. It was a round-shaped jungle gym that was made with metal bars shaped in triangles (I don’t know what they are called). I did see a small path off to one side, but it seemed overgrown. So we turned around, walked back to the main road and went back up the hill to the next side road. We followed that road which ended up at someone’s house. We asked the lady there how to get to the falls and the directions she gave us was to the same place we had just come from. So we went back to the main road, down the hill, followed the dirt road to the dead end and the little path.
By this time it was early afternoon; we had not had any food since our toast in the morning and had been sharing a bottle of water. We had been hiking for over 2 hours nonstop, up and down hills. My friend said she couldn’t go any farther so I went down the path to the falls to see if our friends were still there. I couldn’t find them, so I returned to my friend and we headed back to town. My legs were beginning to get a little shaky and it was hard to walk back down the steep road. We arrived back in Montezuma and were walking through town when I saw our friends walking out of the grocery store. It had been about 3 hours since we had last seen them and they had no idea where we were. So it all ended well and we had a real adventure.
After that not much else happened. We got food from the store for a very late lunch (best fruit I ever tasted in my life) and then went to the beach. We didn’t stay there long as it was cloudy and nobody wanted to swim because the water was cold and the waves were really high. We watched part of the Costa Rica vs. Uruguay game during dinner and then fire dancers in the street after dinner. Sunday morning we got up at 5am to make sure we got a seat on the 6am bus. When we got to the bus stop we found out that it doesn’t leave until 7am on Sundays, so we spent an hour on the bench at the bus stop.
monkey by our hotel
Only 16 days until I come home!