Of all the places on the southern tip of the Nicoyan Peninsula, we had heard the most about Montezuma. Of all the people we had talked to, there was never a negative word said about it. We really hadn't done a lot of homework on the place but we knew it had a few hotels and restaurants and had pre-decided that if we spent the night, it would probably be in Montezuma. Neither one of us knew what to expect as we drove down the steep road leading into town and to be honest, we still have mixed feelings about the place. It is at once greater and lesser than we expected.
It is greater in that it is quite a cute little offbeat town tucked on the sides of a mountain with gorgeous beaches running along both sides of it. There are a dozen little restaurants and shops hidden along its curving streets and lanes. There is a nice park and play center right smack in the middle of it all. The people in town seem friendly enough and the prices, though not amazing, seem on par for that area of the world. There is a definite "earthy" feel to the town with yoga classes, all natural foods and organic fare available at a bunch of places. We even had decent healthy food at The Bakery Cafe while watching a pair of monkeys descend from the treetops to entertain us while we ate a late lunch.
That all being said, there seems to be an hidden undercurrent to the town. Both ends of the beach have...
In my last post about our travels in Costa Rica we were bouncing our way South down the Nicoya Peninsula. I say bouncing simply because the only road from Naranjo to Paquera is about as rough a road as you'll ever drive. After such a tough stretch driving down, we were greatly relieved to finally make it to our planned destination.
We were hopeful that Santa Lucia, Tambor and Montezuma would ease our frazzled nerves and give credence to their well deserved reviews. Well, that isn't totally true. After that rough road we were anxious to just sit back and rest. We weren't sure Santa Lucia and Tambor would offer much respite, but we looked forward to seeing them regardless.
We had met another couple that had stayed in Santa Lucia while we were day tripping out of San Jose a few weeks before. Long story short, they loved the area, but said there really wasn't a whole lot to do in Santa Lucia proper. Oh sure, they went ziplining, did a little snorkeling, walked the beaches and went kayaking but there wasn't a lot to do in the town itself. Following their advice, we simply cruised through town and did a quick stop at the local beach to check out the views. After a bit of walking around, we jumped back into the jeep and headed to Tambor.
The area around Santa Lucia was gorgeous (as expected) however they were right on the money in terms of things to do. If you're hoping for a string of restaurants and a wild nightlife just keep on trucking. Santa Lucia is perfect for...
Tamarindo is just one of those towns: You love it or hate it. Noone seems to be ambivalent about Tamarindo. Me? I loved and hated Tamarindo.
Tamarindo's amazing beach to seems to go on forever
Great waves, perfect for surfing, boogie boarding, or just chilling by the sand. At high tide, the waves are way too big and powerful for little kids and weak swimmers. At low tide, waves are smaller, and a bit more manageable for the little ones, if you keep an eye on them.
A foodie's dream beach town. Tamarindo has a great selection of fantastic restaurants (though a bit expensive), but there are a few budget options.
Friendly folks and a laid back vibe.
We stayed at Mango Condos for a month during our stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Overall, Mango was one of the cheaper Tamarindo condos we looked at renting. We were quite happy with the value that we got for the price, despite a couple of minor problems.
Price. We negotiated with the ever-patient owner, Julius, and got our two bed, one bath unit at Mango condo for a month, starting in mid-January, for $1,200 USD. When we went, the Tamarindo economy was still in a bit of a funk, but prices were starting to pick up again, so you might pay more.
Security. The condos have a secure, locked front entrance, with separate keys for each condo. There are three levels, with condos facing either the dusty front street or the big leafy trees in back. A troupe of howler monkeys traveled through trees in the back a couple of times, making for some great wildlife watching out back. Because the condo is about a three minute walk from the beach, none of the condos have ocean views.
Pool. The pool is nice but small, with a small kiddie pool and an attractive fountain. It's great for a quick plunge, but not really big enough to hang out at all day. It's in the center of a small courtyard, and out of the sun most of the day. The cafe tables by the courtyard are a great place to read the local paper or enjoy a drink...
Tamarindo's expensive, and the grocery stores are no exception. Once we got used to the sticker shock after coming from San Jose, we managed to find almost everything we needed at the local Tamarindo supermarkets.
Super 2001 - Our condo was about half a block away, so this was our default place to stock up on groceries. This is a very small supermarket (only about five isles, so about the size of a convenience store in Canada or the US).
The good. Considering the store is so small, they have a respectable selection of North American staples. There are some decent bakery items (including pizza) in the cases next to the cashiers. The wine selection was good.
The bad. Not cheap, but nothing is in Tamarindo. This is the smallest of the three main grocery stores in Tamarindo...