Montezuma Costa Rica

Your Guide to Montezuma, Costa Rica

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Oh, Montezuma, Costa Rica—a beach town as chill as it gets, on the Nicoya Peninsula not too far from the popular town of Santa Teresa.

Here, narrow streets wind through the town full of local life, cool shops, coffee joints, and local art. Montezuma isn’t about flashy or fancy—it’s about simplicity and just the right vibe for a perfect getaway (talk about my type of town!).

It’s the kind of place where flip-flops are part of the uniform, and time slows down just a bit. Hey, this is Costa Rica, after all, right?

As you stroll around, murals and surfboards propped up on shop sides will catch your eye, and next thing you know, you have no idea what day it is. Time easily slips away in Montezuma, and I was totally cool with that during my time backpacking in Costa Rica!

Montezuma, Costa Rica


Montezuma, Costa Rica is small, and it’s easy to get to and walk around. Here’s everything you need to know!

A colourful street in Montezuma town.
The town is super colorful!

How to Get to Montezuma, Costa Rica

  1. Drive: If you’re up for a road trip, rent a car and enjoy the scenic drive. Most roads leading to Montezuma are now paved, and unless you’re staying in the hills, a 4×4 isn’t usually necessary.
  2. Shuttle: Alternatively, opt for a shuttle service for a comfortable and hassle-free ride. This is what I used to get around the country! You can book a ride easily here.
  3. Public Bus: If you’re on a budget, take a bus from San Jose to Montezuma. Yes, it’s a bit of a journey (around 6 hours), but it includes a ferry ride for some extra adventure (usually from Puntarenas).
  4. Getting Around: Getting around Montezuma is easy as everything is walkable. There is a bus that goes to Cóbano, which is a point for those using the bus to get here or to head to Santa Teresa.

TRANSPORTATION TIP

If you’re looking for bus or boat tickets around Central America and Mexico, you can easily book them online! Check Availability

What to Do in Montezuma, Costa Rica

I can’t lie; there’s not THAT much to do here in Montezuma, Costa Rica, but I think that’s kind of the point, no? It’s a chill town where you can let time pass you by as you sip coffee and watch the waves lapse on shore.

Here are the best things to do while you’re visiting.

Head to The Beaches

Playa Montezuma is where it’s at – rocky coast, white-ish sand, and good vibes. Whether you’re sunbathing, swimming, or just taking a leisurely walk, this beach is your spot.

A boat sitting on Playa Montezuma.
Tropical vibes at Playa Montezuma

But with any beach that’s right in town, it’s not the best beach in the area; it’s kinda just the best because it’s so close to town! So it’s a great option, but there are definitely cooler spots…

You’ll have to go off the beaten path a bit to get to the nicer beaches, but it’s worth it, I promise. My friends and I had the beach to ourselves out here! Head to Las Manchas, Las Rocas, or Los Cedros – names you might not find on postcards, but trust me, they’re worth the stroll.

Guy swimming in the ocean at Playa las Manchas.
Taking a dip at Las Manchas without a soul around us!

It’s like discovering your secret slice of paradise in between some random rocks and on a small patch of sand. It’s not far from the town, but there’s nothing out here, so make sure to pack snacks and beers!

Go Surfing

Now, if you’re into surfing, Playa Grande is your ultimate playground. This beach is a surfer’s dream – a long, expansive stretch of golden sand kissed by waves that just won’t quit. As you make your way to Playa Grande, you’ll be shaded by a tree canopy that may or may not have some cute swinging monkeys above your head.

The good news about this beach in Montezuma is it’s never crowded. The bad news is, it’s a 30-minute walk from town! Check here for surf lessons.

Hike Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

So Cabo Blanco is the OG of Costa Rican nature reserves! It’s the trailblazer that set the tone for Costa Rica’s commitment to nature conservation. Here, you’ll hike through towering trees with monkeys swinging through the branches and birds of all colors and sizes just above you.

Aerial view over Cabo Blanca Nature Reserve.
Overlooking Cabo Blanca Nature Reserve

There’s one trail you wander here, and you can choose how far you want to go. If you want a short stroll, you’ll get cool jungle views, but if you stick out until the end, you’ll get rewarded with a beautiful beach! It’s a moderate 5.5-mile round-trip walk.

Splash at Montezuma Waterfalls

There’s a waterfall that’s easy to access from town but does require a hike. It’s only one mile out and back, though, and you’ll get two tiers of waterfalls to splash around in on a hot day. To reach these falls, head to the entrance near Hotel Cascada by the bridge. It’s about a 20-minute hike to the upper tier first.

A long exposure of Montezuma Waterfall surrounded by the Costa Rican jungle.
Montezuma Waterfall is a great place to visit

Wear good shoes; it’s rocky and slippery at some points. If you don’t want to hike too far, you could stay at the resorts that are clustered just off to the side of Montezuma waterfall, like the Sunshine Sanctuary Boutique Jungle Lodge.

RELATED: 10 Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica (+ Costs and Tips)

Go Snorkeling at Tortuga Island

Set sail to Tortuga Island and go snorkeling before basking on an island for the rest of the day.

This is an easy trip from Montezuma, where you can swim with the fish and then chill at a beach cabana for the day. While this sounds really fun and relaxing, it’s usually known to have a bit more of a party atmosphere—if that’s your thing, this is the tour to do!

An aerial view of beach sun beds and people swimming at Tortuga Beach.
Beach-goers and boats around Tortuga Island

Boat ride tip: As you cruise, keep those eyes peeled for turtles and dolphins. The boat ride there is just as cool as getting there!

Don’t have too much time to spend in Montezuma? You can still reach Tortuga Island on a day trip! Check your day trip options to Tortuga Island from:

Wander a Cemetery at Isla de Cabuya

Just offshore from the quaint town of Cabuya, just 20 minutes south of Montezuma, is Isla de Cabuya. The island is known for its cemetery!

The large white arch that marks the entrance to the Cabuya Island Cemetery near Montezuma.
Cabuya Island Cemetery near Montezuma

Rows of agave plants and seashells adorn the gravesites, and you can wander around (respectfully) reading the tombstones and notes and admiring the surroundings.

Some of the tombs in Cabuya Island Cemetery.
Tombstones on Cabuya Island

During low tide is the best time to visit. You can walk out the island yourself, but just be sure to keep track of the time if the tide is returning soon. When the tide is up, there are some boats that can take you back and forth for a small fee.

Visit Santa Teresa

Just 45 minutes or so away is the cute beach town of Santa Teresa. Here, you’ll find even more surfing at the stunning beaches, a lively set of bars and restaurants across the two-mile drag, and overall chill surf beach town vibes!

Surfers walking along Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica.
Surfs always up in Santa Teresa

I loved Santa Teresa despite its slightly annoying set (just one long street), so if you’re in the area, you’ll want to visit Santa Teresa.

READ MORE: Your Guide to Things to Do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Where to Eat and Drink in Montezuma

Clinking beers with your fellow backpackers at the beach in Montezuma.
Stopping La Selva Cerveza Artesanal before the beach was a good idea!
  • Soda Tipica Las Palmeras: If you’re exploring the secluded coves I recommended above, you’ll want to stop here to refuel! They have a nice location with some sea views and some damn good food!
  • Sano Banano Restaurant: They have such good breakfasts and options for everyone (like vegans). It’s a great spot to pop in for a quick meal or to chill for a bit, and the staff was super nice.
  • La Selva Cerveza Artesanal: This is a great spot to stop by if you’re going to the Montezuma coves or after Cabuya Island. They have great local craft beers to drink there or take on the road!
  • Soda la Naranja: Head here for good local eats at a good price!

TRANSPORTATION TIP

If you’re looking for bus or boat tickets around Central America and Mexico, you can easily book them online! Check Availability

Where to Stay in Montezuma, Costa Rica

👉 More Accommodation in Montezuma

I hope this helped you plan your trip to Montezuma, Costa Rica!

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