Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by Carolyn
Carmona to Montezuma, Costa Rica
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Today was Day 11 of our Costa Rica adventure and we explored the hills above Carmona and then traveled further down the Nicoya Peninsula to Montezuma Costa Rica. Here’s a recap of our day.
Memorable Hotel-In a Bad Way
You know a hotel is bad when two non-morning people can’t get out of bed early enough to leave! We were very glad to have an early morning meetup. We also considered ourselves lucky to wake up without additional bug bites, and without scary confrontations with unexpected bugs or other critters in the night. Despite a less-than-stellar evening at the hotel, we were quite ready to get out and explore more of the Nicoya Peninsula.
We arrived in Carmona quite a few minutes early for our 7 am meet-up. I was in dire need of a coffee but oddly enough there weren’t any sodas open on the square, and it certainly wasn’t a place where you’d find a café. I ended up buying a coffee at a fried chicken eatery which strangely appeared to be the local morning hang-out.
At 7:00 am we met up with Duane, an expat from Canada, who was showing us the property for the owner who resided in the US. Duane also had land for sale. We opted to take our vehicle, so he squeezed in to the back of our little Jimini and away we went, heading for the hills above Carmona. As we left he pointed up to the top of the hills pointing out a waterfall and said “that’s on the property “. We were excited to see it!
They Didn’t Lie About the Roads
We headed up into the hills, via a paved road that turned to dirt. The area was pretty but rather remote. The first property he showed us was 40 acres with a gorgeous view of the Nicoya Bay. We tromped around on it for a bit and then set off to see the 30 acres we’d come to see.
It sounded lovely and we’d already seen the waterfall from below:
“$80,000, 30 acres mountain farm with spectacular gulf views and waterfall (Nicoya Peninsula, Carmona) Magnificent views to village below and gulf of Nicoya. Gentle rolling hills, with open pasture above and some old growth forest. Small spring fed water source, fully fenced, great for horses...”
We headed up a muddy side road, dodging potholes and large puddles that might have swallowed the Jimini whole. We got to a hill that was a bit steeper and slicker and our vehicle just slipped and slid, and tires spun. We decided we didn’t need to go further- we couldn’t imagine living there and we really didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, and at the rate we were going the chances of getting stuck were escalating by the second!
Which Way Now?
We headed back to Carmona and dropped Duane off and then had a decision to make. Where to now? With the lack of internet connection at our previous night’s stay we had made no further plans. We knew we wanted to visit Samara on the West side of the peninsula but we had a choice in how to go: We could fill up with gas and turn back the way we’d just come and head West through the hills or hug the coastline and head South and drive around the bottom of the Nicoya peninsula. Since Wally was interested in ocean view property we chose the latter option.
I’d read about another eco-village in Montezuma called Rancho Delicioso and we thought we might investigate that. It also featured a beautiful structure named the River Palace that looked worth checking out. We decided to head that way.
We were hungry and after the disappointing dining experience of the day before, chose to buy some groceries to eat on our drive. We went to “Pali” which interestingly enough is owned by Wal-Mart corporation. It is a far cry from the giant Wal-Marts of North America, but was sufficient to stock up on a few provisions. Once we had some food and drink we set out for Montezuma.
The roads from Carmona to Montezuma were, to say the least, not the best, though they were being worked on as we traversed them in preparation for pavement! The roadworks made for slow travel, but we weren’t in a rush. We enjoyed the scenery (more so when we were moving and not viewing the same tree for 1/2 an hour at a time). Route 21 runs down the East side of the Nicoya Peninsula passing through a few small towns along the way including Naranjo and Paquera, both towns serviced by ferries from Puntarenas.
Travel in Costa Rica is certainly not like it is in the US. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to travel the 100 km to Montezuma.
Montezuma, Costa Rica
Our first impressions of Montezuma were good with it appearing to be a small sleepy bohemian beach town with a sprinkling of hotels, hostels, and restaurants.
Since we hadn’t planned this part of the trip our first task was to find a place to stay. I found a decent-looking Airbnb-type rental on booking.com called Kassandra House and booked it. The reception for the rental was at a local seaside hotel just up the road. We arrived there and with our pitiful Spanish, we were able to communicate that we had rented the house and we were shown to our lodging.
Though we had only rented a room we had the whole house to ourselves. It was clean, comfortable, and in a great location on a hill overlooking Montezuma and the ocean beyond. It was on the edge of town so just far enough to be quiet but only a short walk to restaurants and shops.
We waited out a passing thundershower on the comfortable covered deck of our accommodation (quite a contrast to the night before). Once the shower had passed, we ventured to town to explore and purchase dinner provisions. We strolled down our laneway and turned left on the dirt road leading to Montezuma village.
Montezuma Village consists of about two blocks and is bordered on two sides by beaches, the ocean on another, and a hill rising above the town on the fourth side. Town artisans line the road offering their handicrafts for sale (these artisans are cheerful and not at all pushy unlike in many places). Latino music can be heard trickling out of the beachside bars, and there is an assortment of restaurants to tempt your palate. At the end of town, the road peters out into a beach trail.
We wandered out to the beach and dipped our feet into the ocean. The beach has numerous lava flows which make for great places to search for ocean life such as snails, urchins, nudibranchs, little gobies, and crabs. The main beach goes for miles with a lovely jungle path bordering it offering welcome shade from the hot sun for those traversing it in the heat of the day. While wandering through town we saw a sign advertising beach horseback rides and thought we might just do that the next morning.
Lucy who was our host came by to check on us when we returned and ask us what time we’d like breakfast the next morning. We asked her about the horseback riding and she quickly arranged for us to have a beach ride the next morning after breakfast.
We spent the evening watching a spectacular ocean lightning storm from the safety of our covered deck and reading up on the Montezuma area and things to see.
There are many interesting places in the Montezuma area. I was keen to hike the Montezuma waterfall if time permitted, and to stop by the ancient Higueron tree on the way to the nearby fishing village named Cabuya which is also home to Costa Rica’s first national park, Cabo Blanco.
Enjoyed this post? Would you like to see more Costa Rica Posts? Here’s the post where our journey started: 17 Day Costa Rica Itinerary