I Returned to Montezuma and Saw it For the First Time - This American Girl



One year ago I ran, and I mean ran, out of Puerto Viejo as fast as I could.

I was so hurt, so wounded, by someone I had trusted so much that I couldn’t bear to stay.




I headed to the sunny Pacific shore of Montezuma with a closed heart and mind. I grieved the loss of a love and the loss of the first place that felt like home. I was distracted, blinded, by my pain.




I recall climbing to a nearby beach and perching on a large rock. The scene should have been beautiful, but instead,  in search of privacy from my friends, I sat and cried.




This time

Montezuma opened its patchouli scented arms and swaddled me in motherly love.




Our hostel, more like a home, housed warm, adventurous, open-hearted women.




We hiked to hidden beaches and waterfalls.




We wandered the streets gawking at artisan jewelry, hula hoop dancers, and creamy gelato.




We found community at a yoga class in an empty basketball court in the center of town.




And danced to electro beats on the beach under the starry night sky.


Isla Tortuga


We hopped a boat to Isla Tortuga


Sea star Isla Tortuga


snorkeling with sea stars


Sea star Isla Tortuga


along the way.


isla tortuga


We feasted on grilled fish, watermelon, and pineapple


isla tortuga


Played with the resident wild pig


isla tortuga


And simply laid on the sunny shore, blinded by the glowing turquoise sea.


isla tortuga


As the boat turned back we sang girl band songs with all of our might, competing with the sound of the wind and the motor.


tambor ferry


We left Montezuma, missing it already, and took a ferry back to the mainland.


tambor bay ferry


With full hearts


tambor bay ferry


We held hands


tambor bay ferry


As we watched the sun set behind the hills sweeping its glow over the sea.


tambor bay ferry


And we knew


tambor bay ferry


that one day we would return.




Montezuma, Costa Rica





Luz en el Cielo

$15 for a dorm bed inclues full breakfast of fruit, eggs, gallo pinto, toast, and coffee

This is probably my favorite hostel I have ever stayed in. The small hostel set back in the jungle with its big communal table and deck with hammocks feels more like staying in someone’s home than in a hostel. There is an incredible community and family vibe here that begins with the warm and accommodating employees. We made friends over breakfast, swinging from a hammock, and with drinks downstairs at night. The hostel even arranged for a large group of us to head to Isla Tortuga without taking a commission. STAY HERE! We loved it.


Luna Llena

$15 for a dorm bed, $28-55 for a private

Luna Llena is a small intimate jungle hotel. Rooms and communal areas are clean and beautifully decorated. Guests tend to be more mature rather than young backpackers.


Ylang Ylang Beach Resort

$200-400 for a private bungalow

If you are looking for luxury, you will find it at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort. A short walk from town the hotel sits on a beautiful, quiet beach. Bungalows are set in the jungle surrounding the hotel. The onsite bar and restaurant overlooks the sea and offers delicious, inventive cuisine. If it’s not in the budget to stay here, come for happy hour with drinks on the beach surrounded by tiki torches, or for a morning yoga class with a sweeping view of the ocean.






$7-15 for entrees

Get your health fix at this organic cafe. Delicious salads with tofu and spirulina, vegan homemade gelato, and a lovely breakfast. Come on Monday night to hear live music.


Playa de los Artistas

$10-20 for entrees

The most famous place for a fancy meal in Montezuma. The menu changes daily and is handwritten. Food is outstanding.


Homemade onion bread from the grocery store

$1 for a small loaf

This is the best bread I have ever eaten. I think half of the guests at our hostel were slathering it in avocado and eating a loaf nightly. It’s fluffy but still chewy with lots of air bubbles and soft caramelized onions. It’s absolutely delicious plain but also makes great sandwich bread.






The one “happening” bar in town. At night they throw on the disco balls and locals and tourists get down to hip hop and reggaeton. We shook our hips here with with the town drunk who was shirtless with his liquor bottle sagging down his pants.


Beach party

The two main beaches in town host electronic music parties with fire dancers and hula hoopers. Bring your own drinks from the corner store. A small bottle of vodka and a carton of mango juice makes several drinks and will only set you back $4.





Take a tour to Isla Tortuga with Zuma Tours

$50 for a six hour tour includes transportation, snorkeling, fruit, and lunch.


Hike the beach to the waterfall

Ask at your hostel or hotel how to get there or hire a guide, though I don’t believe one is necessary.


Shop for some the best handmade jewelry in Costa Rica


Free yoga in the park at 4pm




Want to create a truly life changing trip to Costa Rica? My eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica will show you how!


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