Montezuma, Costa Rica 2016 Recap

On this cloudy and rainy afternoon, I’m reminiscing about my one week stay in Montezuma in June of 2016. I want to share some pictures and maybe serve as a resource for any future travelers 🙂IMG_8755.JPG

Flying into Montezuma from San Jose with NatureAir. It was a small plane that probably fit 15 people max.The flight was about 30 minutes from the capital.

We arrived at about 4pm after 10+ hours of traveling. We got settled into the hostel (that is the view from our dining area), walked to Montezuma beach, and had a casado for dinner. Casado is a traditional Costa Rican dish that is a marriage of rice, beans, plantains, salad, meat or veggies. So yummy!

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Every morning between 7-9am we woke up in our cabin nested in the trees. We can also see the Pacific Ocean in the distance! After throwing our bathing suits on, we walked down for breakfast that consisted of freshly baked bread, eggs, rice & beans, and fruit. We stayed at Luz en Cielo B&B for any wondering and I highly recommend it!! Friendly staff, delicious breakfast, clean, and affordable.

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And quick view of our bathroom and one of the 2 queen size beds

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On our first full day in Montezuma, we walked to El Chorro waterfalls. You can read more about it on my last post! The walk was so nice along the beach but trekking in sand, through woody trails, and mild rock climbing all while in flip flops is no joke! I thought my legs were legit going to fall off after our 6-7 hour walk, but I think the extreme humidity relaxed my muscles and I was fine an hour later!

We spent the entire next day being beach bums at Playa Grande! For most of the day there was no other human as far as our eyes could see. It was so awesome to have a huge stretch of sand to ourselves just frolicking 🙂 And attempting yoga poses haha

We ended our day by having dinner at Chelo Pizzeria. We had dinner here twice during our one week stay. The pasta dishes were so simple, had fresh ingredients, and just so yummy. It’s not overly dressed in sauce or cheese.. just how i like it!

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The following day, we met Guy (on the right) at our hostel during breakfast. We decided to all go together and hike to Montezuma Falls. The waterfall behind us is just one of the 3 falls. There are 2 more above this one! The place was pretty packed with people of all ages lounging on the rocks and swimming. Quick note – Guy is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. No words to describe such an interesting person full of depth! So lucky we met him.

After the hike we went to Soda Tipica Las Palermas which won our hearts over tenfold. I’m sad even thinking about how I can’t eat their food right now. Every single day in CR we had fruit juices because they’re cheap, fresh, and delicious. I often got guava 😛 Also pictured are fried plantains and ceviche.

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After our late lunch, we walked to this little beach to catch the sunset around 5:30. Being so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets early in CR. With the soft waves and mellow sunset, the world felt so still and calm in the moments captured above. Such a beautiful evening. Oh, and I couldn’t resist a quick crow 😉

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Spent another day being absolute beach bums at Playa Grande. A sweet friend we met from Germany that stayed at our hostel came along and took a picture of us from ashore.

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We then walked back to Soda Tipica and had casados for lunch. Hands down the best casado we had in Montezuma. I mean.. just look at that plate. Howler monkeys also kept us company as we had our late lunch.

On our last full day in Montezuma we went zip lining! I also wrote more about it on my last post. What I would give to zip through the jungle and have that Costa Rican wind blow in my hair right now 😉

Towards the end of the zip lining adventure we ended up at Montezuma Falls, but to the other 2 falls we didn’t get to see during our first visit. It is much less crowded up here since it’s difficult to get to.

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In the top right photo, there’s a shirtless man with jorts on named Roger. He had all these fruits in his backpack and shared them all with us. He even let us try guaba for the first time 🙂 It’s hard to describe the taste, but imagine a mildly sweet, furry, soft fruit with seeds. You can tell he is obviously a local as he was hopping around the rocks like it was his second home. Even though there was a language barrier between us, I’ll never forget the vibes we exchanged. Such a sweet soul and would be so amazing if I ever met him again!

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After zip lining, we stopped by the beach for our last swim of the trip.

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And on our last day, we ate our delish breakfast, took one final photo at the hostel, and went our way to the local airport to hop on a flight to San Jose.

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What I’ll miss most about this place is how nobody cares about superficial or materialistic things. We packed everything we really needed in a backpack and lived so simply for one week. Walking  around barefoot, wearing no makeup, living in our bathing suits, the humidity, walking everywhere, eating locally grown food, the list goes on and on.

Montezuma, you have our hearts. Pura Vida ❤

Montezuma, Costa Rica Must-Do List!

I spent a wonderful week in Montezuma and would love to share some highlights. Although short, I hope this list will be helpful as you navigate your way through this kooky little beach town 😉

1. Eat at the sodas –
Sodas are typically family-owned restaurants that sell traditional Costa Rican dishes for cheap. We ate at a soda 4 of the 6 days, and always ordered a casado with a fruit smoothie on the side. Our favorite was Soda Tipica Las Palmeras. HIGHLY recommend!

2. Hiking to El Chorro Waterfalls –
Without any stops, it’s a 2 hour walk from the town of Montezuma. Expect to go through a series of sandy beaches and woody trails until you reach a little beach cove that is Playa Cocolito,where El Chorro is located.

It took us 3 hours to get there because we stopped to swim at Playa Grande (30 minutes into our walk) and spent another hour trying to knock coconuts down from a tree 😉 The waterfall was surprisingly a little underwhelming that we didn’t even care to get a picture. But we did enjoy some time at Playa Cocolito before trekking 2 hours home as rain clouds approached. Expect this trip to take at least 5 hours total (walking, resting, exploring, etc.)

3. Montezuma Falls – 
This is a must see! From the base of the trail, it takes about 20 mins to get to the first waterfall (there are 2 other falls, but requires you to keep on ascending). You’re basically hopping from rock to rock along a stream of water. Once you arrive, you can jump in the swimming pool or just lounge on the rocks. We saw young kids and older adults doing it; it is pretty suitable for all ages and sizes! I wore sneakers, but my friend was barefoot and did fine. I would recommend wearing hiking water shoes if you decide to wear shoes at all! I would plan half your day for this trip.

4. Zip lining –
We used SunTrails for our zip lining adventure. For $45/person, it included a shuttle to pick us up from our hostel (5 min drive) and about 2 hours of adventure! You zip through 13 platforms to get amazing views of the jungle and Pacific Ocean. Towards the end, you reach the Montezuma Falls where they allow 30 minutes of free time. We jumped from the top of a waterfall, lounged on the rocks, swung on the rope, etc.

I would highly recommend SunTrails as the tour guides are fun yet professional, the gear and equipment are solid, and overall we felt safe and cared for. We definitely felt like we got our money’s worth for the service we received. Perfect way to spend our afternoon.

Hiking Old Rag & Tips!

We did it! We made it to the summit of Old Rag in the Blue Ridge Mountains of beautiful Virginia. On Saturday morning (4/2/16) at 9am, four other friends and I began our trip from Fairfax, VA to Shenandoah National Park about 2 hours away.

Once we arrived, we noticed many hikers  equipped with legit looking backpack, boots, and other hiking gear while we were strapped with our Jansport from highschool (-_-). From the parking lot, we walked 30 minutes to the base of the mountain to begin the ascent. The hike begins with an up-hill trail for about 4 miles before reaching a rock scramble. Friends, that rock scramble is no joke. It is 1.1 miles of climbing, jumping, and crawling to maneuver through huge boulders. We were pretty exhausted at this point and often felt like turning back around. Every time we thought we reached the summit, it turned out to be a false summit.

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Both taken at the first false summit. Still gorgeous views!

Finally about 3 hours later.. we reached the top!

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And that moment couldn’t have been any more perfect. It felt so rewarding and complete to enjoy that incredible view with great friends who encouraged and laughed with you all the way to the top. Breathtaking view, crisp air, and smiles all around = bliss.

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After about 30-40 minutes at the top, we began our descent. It is a pretty easy downward trail that is about 4 miles long. Not to sound too dramatic, but we basically lost feeling from our waist down by the end of it. All I kept on thinking about was enjoying a nice, juicy burger once we got back to civilization. Everything was in pain, but the entire experience was totally worth it.

I would highly recommend this trip to a group of friends who want to enjoy a day doing something other than eating/drinking/spending money in the city. Plan on making a full day trip out of this; it took us about 5.5 hours to hike, 4 hours driving to and from, and then dinner afterwards. We had to entertain each other by actually talking face-to-face while sober (crazy, I know). Take a break from the usual and get out here to connect with nature and your friends 🙂

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TIPS!

1. Bring lots of water! AT LEAST 1 liter per person, preferably 2.
2. Pack lots of snacks and a light lunch (granola bars, bananas, sandwiches, etc.)
3. If you’re going on a cooler day (<60º), pack a blanket so you can find a spot on the summit to snuggle and enjoy the view longer. It can get chilly up there!
4. Wear a sturdy pair of shoes. Hiking boots are preferred, but grippy sneakers will also work.
5. Don’t pack a lot or bring a huge backpack. It’ll be hard to move with during the rock scramble.
6. It’s not the hardest thing, but definitely not the easiest. Prepare yourself for strenuous activity but most importantly – take your time and have fun with it!

Comment if you’ve ever hiked Old Rag and tell me your experience! Would love to hear.