This weekend we went to Montezuma, which is a bit ambitious for a weekend because it’s kind of difficult to get to, but it’s definitely worth it. Penelope (another intern at our office), Christina and I headed to the Coca-Cola bus station straight from work, armed with our giant backpacks. We caught a 2-hour bus to Jacó, where we wasted no time in gobbling down some TicoBurguesa (a delicious and cheap burger joint) and picking up some beer and wine. We checked into Jacó Inn, a nice little hostel next to the popular Orange Pub. We set up a game of King’s Cup with a Californian surfer and a guy from Switzerland, who was adorably baffled by the rules of the game (when we played ‘Never have I ever’, it would take him 5 whole minutes to think of something).
After we polished off the Imperial and boxed wine (just as terrible as it sounds), we headed to Orange Pub, which was overflowing with foam. Christina did not look impressed, but I dragged her inside and we were quickly up to our knees in bubbles and foam. The night continued to improve with 6 dollar tequila shots. The bars in Jacó are a little bit sketchy, with prostitutes that boldly come into the bar and dance with tourists. At one point we got pushed aside as three policemen came barreling through the foam, which was very entertaining and slightly worrisome.
At around 1 am we decided to wash off the foam in the ocean, where a stunning lightning and thunder show was happening. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the smartest decision we made, but we jumped in the water and watched the awesome lightning. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize the tide was coming in and just as we got out of the water, a wave started to wash my clothes and shoes out to the ocean. I rescued them, but poor Penelope lost a flip-flop and had to hobble back to the hostel. We couldn’t resist buying a 6 dollar bag of Ruffles from a surly cashier who gingerly took our soaking wet bills and shook them out before putting them in the cash drawer. Sorry bro.
On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early, which generally means that I, as the ‘morning person’ of the group, set the alarm and have the joy and privilege of trying to wake up the other girls. Penelope just swats at me like a fly, but Christina unleashes the fury of hell on me and swears and probably casts spells on me. Eventually, they rose from the dead and we headed to Taco Bar, a cute little restaurant with swings for seats and $3 French toast. Delicious.
We then caught a taxi speedboat from Jacó to Montezuma, which was a lot of fun for just me. Christina got slightly seasick and everyone else just seemed bored. I forgot to put on sunscreen and got a ridiculous burn on only one arm and half of my chest. We climbed out of the boat onto a beautiful sandy beach of Montezuma, which is a tiny town on the mountainside. It was too picture perfect. There was even a couple running into each other’s arms. Everything is set on one giant hill, and so we lugged our backpacks up the hill only to find out that all of the hostels we had looked up were full. We’re too lazy to ever actually make reservations, and usually we’re fine because it’s the off-season. We wandered around and eventually found a room at Hostel El Parque, which is a little family-run place right on the beach for just $10 a night. We dumped our bags and headed to a cute little restaurant on the beach for lunch, where we had amazing ceviche (raw fish with lime, onion, and coriander dipped with chips) and white marlin fish.
After lunch, we met up with some of Penelope’s friends and hiked to the Montezuma waterfalls. The hike was along flat ground, but was basically up a long rocky creek, so you had to jump from rock to rock, wade through mud and rock climb. After half an hour, you reach a gorgeous 20-foot waterfall with a refreshingly cold swimming pool underneath and rocks for jumping off. The hike back was just as rough (for me at least; Christina was like a little kid clambering over the rocks), and at one point I fell behind because flip flops were not meant to hike. A random little Spanish girl came out of nowhere and started chatting to me in Spanish and showing me little paths and where to step. I’m 90% sure she was a ghost. I eventually made it to the end, and a bunch of us grabbed some beer (or boxed wine) from the corner store and sat on the beach to watch the sunset.
Sunday morning was spent pressing snooze. We slept in until 9 (the sun rises at 5 so it’s incredibly difficult to sleep in) and when we tried to get up, we were all incredibly sore from dancing and hiking. Penelope groaned so loudly I could hear her from the bathroom across the hostel. We limped pitifully to a cute little soda (a family-run eatery) and had el desayuno Americano, which means fried eggs, fried cheese, toast, bacon, and pancakes (Costa Rican breakfast usually involves gallo pinto—rice and beans), and we guzzled down black coffee.
The rest of the morning we spent lying on the beach, playing with stray puppies (I tried to stay cool in front of the locals but couldn’t resist baby-talking to them), and attempting to swim. The waves were huge and the current was crazy strong, but I headed into the ocean anyway. There was an old Costa Rican man walking down the beach, and when he saw me walking to the water he started yelling ‘no don’t go in!’ and waving his arms. I glared at him and thought ‘leave me alone, old man’ and confidently headed into the water. I only got in up to my knees when a wave knocked me flat on my back and pushed my halfway up the beach, only to start dragging me out with the current. I quickly scrambled out of the water with a bathing suit full of sand while the old man laughed at me and the locals stared. I think I’ll start listening to the old men from now on.
When I attempted to shower at the hostel, I immediately saw what looked like a giant spider on the floor of the shower and made Christina, my designated bug killer, come look at it. It turns out it was a baby crab, which is essentially a big spider in my opinion, and I started loudly freaking out as usual. A big, blonde guy walked past and started strangely freaking out too, while Christina tried to convince me to just shower in there anyway. At that moment, the giant mom crab darted out from under the shower curtain and I embarrassingly lost all composure. In my defense, it was the size of my hand and scuttled around pretty menacingly. The big, blonde guy ran away, and while I was freaking out, another guy came running up quickly swept the crabs into a dustpan and took them outside. Right at that moment, the big, blonde guy ran back with a giant plate and a pot lid and said ‘Ok, where’s the crab?!’ as if to redeem himself for freaking out about the ‘spider’ with me. On this trip I’ve had a lizard sleep under my bed, a giant cockroach live in our sink, and now giant crabs in the shower, and who knows what else crawls into bed while I’m sleeping. At least I have Christina to save me…
The rest of Sunday was spent travelling. We caught a 2-hour bus to Paquera, where we took a 70-minute ferry ride to Puntarenas. The ferry ride was beautiful—it crossed the bay, and we got to watch the sunset. We even saw the outlines of a few whales in the water, but sadly they didn’t surface. After the ferry, we caught a 2.5-hour bus to San Jose, and then finally cabbed home from the bus station. Montezuma is definitely hard to get to, but it’s a beautiful and peaceful little town.
When we got home, we had to say goodbye to our fellow intern and housemate Ines, who is heading to Cuba for a week and then back to France for school. Ines had to spend 6 months at Verba Publica for her internship, and she helped us out so much when we first got here and even helped us move into her house. We’ll miss her quirkiness!