I NEED A VACAY FROM MY VACAY (Part 2)
As we said our goodbyes to our friends and family heading back to brave the winter storms in the states, Ryan and I couldn't help but smile inside thinking of the unknown adventures that would await us. We were headed into the jungle with no plans. If you know me you know that I am a planner ... and not having two seats on the sold out boat from Jaco to Montezuma terrified me. But everything works out in Costa Rica - there are no worries. We hit the open ocean with a pack of yogis, surfers, a few locals (also known as Ticos) and our two large suitcases to head to our next stop.
Cocozuma Water Taxi from Jaco to Montezuma
The water taxi ride was breathtaking. Flying fish hopped out of the water periodically and their scales sparkled in the sun. We even spotted a few manta rays (I would have never seen them but the Ticos gratefully pointed them out to us)! As we got closer to land I could tell that my heart was getting closer to "home." Hammocks dotted the tree-line and reggae music filled the air. I felt the bohemian vibe instantly.
First view of the beach at Montezuma
One thing to know if you are traveling to the Nicoya Peninsula is that you should bring colones with you! We found this out the hard way, expecting to pay credit card for our water taxi ride and not having enough colones on our arrival. BUT ... people are so kind that you can always pay them later. Like I said - there are no worries. The one ATM machine in town had already been drained by tourists and credit cards aren't commonly accepted, though you will find a few places that take them. We gave them all we had which wasn't nearly enough and were on our way.
A "map" of Montezuma
We chose to stay at Casacolores, a collection of multi-colored casitas up the windy dirt road and closer to the jungle. The land is owned by a man from Uruguay and no it is not for sale - Ryan already tried and failed! After building his own home here years ago the owner slowly developed the land and built a bunch of little casitas of various sizes and colors, each with their own wooden porch equipped with the necessary-for-relaxation hammock. And of course a gorgeous pool amongst the palm trees and flowers. Within minutes the owner's friend came by and dropped off an ATV for us to use for the few days we would be staying there. We had no money but that was fine - we could pay later! Gosh I loved this place already!
Our Casita for the trip
The off-the-beaten-path charm of Montezuma was something we were drawn to immediately. The people are the kind of people that love the life they live and want you to love yours as well. The town is home to many wonderful Yoga retreats, which was our next stop of the evening. We were lucky enough to be in Montezuma at the same time as the Rock Your Life Retreat, which is held every year and hosted by our lovely friend Taraleigh. After a beautiful sushi dinner on the beach at Puggo, we headed over to the Los Mangos and joined in on the "chillathon" - a relaxed, lay on the floor and enjoy the music, set by Ryan Montbleau and a few of his friends. What a magical way to end our first night in Montezuma!
A beautiful sushi dinner (again!)
Ryan Montbleau at the Rock Your Life Retreat
We woke up on day two to the sounds of wild monkeys howling and the sun shining through the large windows of our casita. We chose a light lunch of empanadas at b bar to start our day and headed for Montezuma Falls. The twenty minute hike along "rustic stairs" of roots and rocks led us to a glorious swimming hole at the bottom of a three tiered waterfall. A mix of Ticos and tourists were sunbathing on the rocks and jumping from the cliffs. And when I say cliffs I mean up to 80-foot cliffs at some points. There were many young daredevils heading as far up as they could and doing flips and dives into the deep pool below. We swam, jumped and watched for a while before it was on to the next adventure.
Santa Teresa seemed to us like a far-fetched dream. We had never planned on traveling there on this trip but once you rent an ATV with Ryan Dempsey all he wants to do is ride that ATV, so convincing him to take the 40 minute trip was beyond easy. Plus, since this was our last day with the ATV I wanted to let him get that kid in the candy store feeling and drive across the Nicoya Peninsula (this is why we're getting married people!). The rutted dirt road took us through small towns and farm lands before we arrived at one of the most unspoiled beaches I've ever laid my eyes on. I'm convinced that Santa Teresa maintains its perfection because of the road that leads you there ... only the determined will brave the potholes, windy roads and extreme dust that kicks up from the flocks of atvs and motorcycles (we were COVERED head to toe in dust when we arrived!). But once I wiped off the visor of my helmet I was in absolute awe. As we walked along the coast I admired how there were no restaurants jutting out of the jungle like the numerous beach towns I'd visited before - all you saw was palm trees, white sand, and toned bodies carrying surf boards.
A "map" of Santa Teresa
We explored the town for a bit, looking at plots of land of course! When you find such a beautiful place the first thing you think is "WHY DON'T I LIVE HERE?" As the day began to wind down we heading to a beautiful dinner at Banana Beach, where we sat watching the sunset and surfers at before traveling back to Montezuma in the dark (which was an entire different adventure of its own - remembering the treacherous road that brought us there!). But for a last meal of our two days of "couple time" it was probably the best we'd had in Costa Rica thus far. Tuna Tartare, Shrimp Tacos, and Filet Mignon by candlelight (sorry we ate it so quickly I didn't have time to snap the photo)!
Watching the beautiful sunset on some driftwood
Surfers in Santa Teresa
Last dinner at Banana Beach
Like I said in my last post - traveling has to be my favorite part of living this tour life. Really of life in general. The experiences we had in Costa Rica are ones that I will never forget, and that goes for all of the other places we have visited together in the last two years as well. I'm excited to see where the next few years bring us!