Costa Rica: In Which We Test Our Life Insurance


I woke up a little after sunrise and took a bath in the ocean. It felt so good, especially considering how the previous day had been so muggy. Isn't it funny how clean hair and brushed teeth can make you feel so much better?

I set my toiletries on a rock and used them one by one. Sometime during shampooing, an exceptionally large wave crashed ashore and washed everything away! Luckily I was able to find everything except for a disposable razor. SORRY FOR POLLUTING YOU, EARTH!

After breaking camp we headed to breakfast at one of the little soda shops in town. In Costa Rica a "soda shop" is basically like a mini-mart, sometimes with a small restaurant attached. This was one of my favorite meals of the trip! We had a chocolate banana granola smoothie, fried eggs, a banana pancake, bacon, fried plantains, and a little bit of cheese. Riiiicisimooo!!!

Then on to adventure! Montezuma's main attraction is the set of three amazing waterfalls nearby. After a twenty-minute hike upriver through the jungle, we arrived at the first (and biggest) one.

If you look closely, you can see a pool above the waterfall--another waterfall feeds into that pool, and another  waterfall feeds into that  one. Freaking rad. We splashed around in the big pool of the lower falls for a little while, but we'd heard that the ones above were much quieter and secluded (most tourists just stop at the lower falls). So away we went! There really wasn't a trail, per se, but there were plenty of tree roots to help you scramble up the wet mountainside.

We wound our way through the jungle until we got to the pool of the third waterfall. Brock was stoked to find a rope swing and, since we were the only ones there, it didn't take long for him to channel his inner Tarzan. Sans loincloth.

Oh, it gets better. We'd heard that the pool beneath the second waterfall was super  deep . . .

Nothing screams "pura vida" like jumping of a 40-foot waterfall, eh? After splashing around a bit, we continued up the river using a trail off to the side. We found a beautiful set of pools farther up ahead and cooled off in them. It felt like we were the only two people in the world.

"Our" pools.
On our way back down into down, we snacked on some funky-lookin' fruit we'd bought at a soda shop. It's called mamon chino. The translucent flesh inside tastes similar to a grape, but with a sweet tropical tinge. Delicious!

Once back in town, we ate an early dinner of ceviche  (Brock's favorite) at a small restaurant. The only tables it had were outside on a covered patio, which made it the perfect location for beggars...

Cue the Mission: Impossible theme.
These white-faced capuchin monkeys were everywhere! We literally ate dinner about six feet away from a dozen of them. The owners of the restaurant have completely enabled monkeys' antics by always throwing them scraps. You really have to keep your eye on them! When a server turned her back on a table (for all of five seconds), one of these monkeys lept from a branch, onto the table, and stole a sugar packet from a jar! Little sneak.

This little sucker found a loose section of the tin roof and would bang it up and down in hopes of dinner scraps. It was cute the first time. Then it got freaking annoying.

After dinner we spent a blissful hour down at the beach. It was cool and overcast, so we just laid ourselves down in the sand and talked.

With a few hours left until sundown, we decided to take a mini road-trip up to the hills above Montezuma. It was a gorgeous countryside, with lots of rolling pastures and farms. Just as we were about to turn back, Brock asked the car behind us if there was anything cool up ahead. "Oh, yeah!" she said. "The town of Santa Teresa. It's awesome--so much better than Montezuma."

Sweet! I thought. Santa Teresa was on the itinerary for tomorrow anyway, and since we were halfway there, we figured we'd just keep going. (Ah, the beauty of backpacking--you can get up and go whenever!) 

Well, that lady must've been on something, because Santa Teresa was a hell-hole. It was the perfect example of what happens when you let surf bums invade your city. The only thing people do in Santa Teresa is surf and smoke weed. Not exactly a recipe for a dynamic, thriving community.

We got a really bad vibe there (lovingly referring to it thereafter as "Satan Town"). Camping wasn't allowed on the beach (a few years ago there were a lot of surfers literally living there), and even if it had been allowed, I don't know that we would've felt safe. So we splurged! A couple kilometers outside of town we found a cute place where we could stay in a private bungalow. Breakfast included. For a whopping $40.

After settling in, we went back into town to grab some snacks. We loaded up on junk food: Hazelnut milk, raspberry shortbread cookies, Doritos, and--drumroll, please!--Kinder Bueno bars!!! I hadn't seem them since Jordan, so I was one happy girl.

We came back and ate The Feast while playing cards (I AM THE QUEEN OF "SPEED"!). It was so much fun that we made it a nightly tradition for the rest of our trip! After some hot showers, we settled into bed and fell asleep to the sounds of the rainforest.

Had I known that all that chirping outside was made not by birds, but by BATS clinging to the netting around our room, I probably wouldn't have slept so soundly. Ignorance is bliss!


  1. that fruit is called rambutan. it's delicious.

  2. Loved this post! We had a Golden Retriever that acted like those monkeys. If you had a napkin in your lap during any meal, he would become Mr. Stealth, meander under the table, then dash by your knees to grab the napkin, and head behind the loveseat.

  3. That fruit looks a LOT like Lychee, commonly found in asia. I wouldn't be surprised if it is either the same thing or a close relative


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