Julio and I took a weekend trip to Montezuma and did some exploring around Santa Teresa and Mal País. We took the new highway, Autopista del Sol, to Puntarenas to catch the ferry across the Golfo de Nicoya. The boat ride across the Gulf was really relaxing, peaceful, and very beautiful…especially after Julio’s mad dash to the coast. I’m still not use to his crazy Tico driving and I’m not sure I’ll ever be. We showed up an hour early, ensuring a spot for the Samurai on the boat.
We stayed at Hotel La Cascada in Montezuma. They were offering us a good deal for a one or two night stay and breakfast is always included with the price of the room. They have air-conditioned rooms as well as open-air rooms. I chose the open-air despite the warmer temperatures at the beach – like I said, I’m getting use to the temperatures, plus the air-conditioned rooms felt a little claustrophobic. I’m a fan of the ocean breeze.
La Cascada is not on the beach, but across the street from it and right next to a river. It is also close to the waterfalls, hence the name La Cascada (the waterfall). Here is a 4 minute video of the hotel that Julio took…it is not good quality and he narrates it in Spanglish, but you can get a good feel of the place from it. My favorite part is towards the beginning when Julio introduces our dogs, completely ignoring the fact that I am standing right there with them. LOL.
Hotel La Cascada was nice – no fancy amenities, but it had the basics (bed, private bathroom, closet) and was clean. The reason I’m going back to this hotel one day is the restaurant, also named La Cascada. It is absolutely fabulous! The menu had the most expansive selection of items I’ve ever seen in a Costa Rican restaurant and the food was beautifully prepared. Turns out the menu was designed by one of the professional chefs from the boutique hotel, Grano de Oro. I could have stayed there all day, but we had some exploring to do…
Our objective was to take the off-road from Montezuma to Santa Teresa, stopping at Julio’s favorite secret beach and Mal País along the way. It was a great off-road trip. I wasn’t worried about sliding off the mountain this time, so I actually had the frame of mind to snap a few pics.
Julio’s favorite secret beach was our first stop. It’s his favorite because it is beautiful, void of tourists and rarely hosts any locals. It also has the same kind of swimming holes near the shore like the beaches in Puerto Viejo. He says the sand on this beach is the softest sand in all of Costa Rica and I believe him – so do the dogs. Mocha nestled into the sand like it was a blanket.
Santa Teresa and Mal País were cool – a surfer’s paradise. I’m looking forward to spending more time there in the future, the beaches are gorgeous and the vibe is definitely laid back.
The next day, Sunday, we decided to spend the day on the beach in Montezuma. It is not nearly as beautiful as Santa Teresa or Mal País, but it was close to our hotel and I was ready to just chill on the sand and in the water, no driving. First we had breakfast at The Bakery Café. It was the only place open Sunday morning in Montezuma and it was delicious. What sets this place apart from the rest is that they feed the birds right next to the dining room, so you can watch them while you eat.
After a day at the beach, we headed back to the ferry, giving ourselves another hour to ensure a spot on the boat. Not enough time, though – there was a huge long line of cars and they cut the line off 15 cars in front of us. We had 2 options: haul butt to Naranjo and try to catch the 5:30 ferry or wait for the 8:00 Paquera Ferry. Julio insisted we wait in line in Paquera because his Samurai was the shortest car out of all 15 in front of us and he believed he could talk his way onto the ferry. And he did 🙂
Apparently you need to be at the 5:00pm Paquera ferry at least 1.5 – 2 hours early on a Sunday afternoon. Lesson learned.
Here are a few more photos from our trip: