By Jennie M., guest blogger learning Spanish in Heredia, Costa Rica
After three weeks of intensive Spanish classes, I needed a weekend away from Heredia. Where would I go? I had been to the rainforest, and taken day trips to San José and the surrounding area. Then it hit me: I hadn't yet been to a beach while in Costa Rica, and this was my last chance this time around. When I heard that that week's tour group was heading to Montezuma, I packed a bag and headed off for a weekend of relaxation and fun.
Montezuma is located near the southern tip of the Nicoya Penisula on the Pacific Coast. We took a beautiful ferry ride across the Golfo de Nicoya from Puntarenas (a little less than two hours west of Heredia), and then drove the rest of the way through the forest to Montezuma.
When I arrived at the hotel, I knew I had made the right decision. Our hotel was located right on the beach, and there were hammocks suspended between the trees.
We quickly dropped off our luggage and took a hike to a nearby waterfall. We had to cross the creek, scrambling over rocks. Tall trees rose above either side. The waterfall itself was well worth the climb. We swam in the refreshing water, then made our way back down.
That night, the sky was completely clear and we could see the stars. After spending so much time in cities, it was wonderful to be somewhat removed.
The next day, it was incredible to wake up to the sound of the waves against the beach. We caught a boat to Isla Tortuga for an amazing day of snorkeling and spending time at the beach. Although the water was somewhat cloudy, I saw several different kinds of colorful fish.
The water near the island was the beautiful color of turquesa. After lunch on the island, I spent more time in the water, enjoying the mild temperature. I looked over at the rocks, and watched crabs scuttle back and forth. It was an invigorating and relaxing day.
Montezuma is small town. It includes two main beaches, a central park, restaurants, hotels, shops, and one ATM. What I have discovered about popular tourist locations in Costa Rica is that you often have to insist on speaking Spanish. The staff at the shops and restaurants are accustomed to catering to English-speaking tourists. They don't always ask what language you would prefer to speak, so it is almost too easy to fall back on English. I was glad that our guide talked to us mostly in Spanish and encouraged us to answer his questions in kind.
On Sunday morning, I got up early in hopes of seeing monkeys (monos). I was rewarded not only by the sight of monkeys, but also a beautiful sunrise. In terms of monkeys, I found several hanging out around a bus stop. There were even a few mothers with their babies. After swinging through the trees, they scrambled across the the power lines before disappearing from sight. After breakfast, I took a walk with a friend and came across even more. They were hanging out around a restaurant, swinging through the trees and begging the patrons for food.
After watching the monkeys argue over food for awhile, I needed more time by the beach. I spread out my towel on the Playa Grande and ran into the waves.
After I packed to head back to Heredia, I spent the last few minutes in the hammock, rocking back and forth. The weekend was a perfect break. I returned from the trip ready to tackle my last week of classes with a clearer mind.
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Read all of Jennie's blogs from Heredia