Visiting the Montezuma Waterfalls

My SIL took me on an unforgettable hike to the Montezuma Waterfalls in Montezuma, Costa Rica. There are three waterfalls in all with the first two being the largest. The first waterfall is easy to get to but getting to the other two is much more challenging if you access them from the first waterfall trail, which is what we did.

Here is a link to more information about the trails, saving me from writing the details myself: Montezuma Waterfalls.

My Experience

As those of you who have been following my blog for some time know, I have experience hiking and running trails of various difficulty levels. This trail, however, is not for the inexperienced! Even the first part of the trail will challenge you, especially novices. If you have any physical disability I suggest you find another way to the falls. If you are just out of shape, be prepared to struggle, especially if you hike it in the wet season, which we did. You will likely get wet. You will probably slip on the rocks. You will probably get dirty. Wear shoes that can get wet and have good tread. Wearing a swimsuit is a good idea, too, since the hike will make you sweaty and hot and there are deep pools of water to swim in when you reach each of the three waterfalls.

The most challenging part of the trail for me was the second half of the trail leading to the two upper waterfalls. It is a steep, almost vertical trail composed of mostly roots and mud with various ropes near the top to assist. It is not for people who are afraid of heights! You will get a full body workout that’s for sure. I laughed and said we were “lunge climbing” because you often have to put your foot on sections that will put it in line with your shoulder. The ropes near the top are a must since you need to put all your weight on them to get to the very top where the trail levels off and follows the ridge to the other waterfalls.

From the top of the trail it gets easier but there are more sections with rope assists along the way. At one point you can stop at an overlook and see the two lower waterfalls from above. It is spectacular! There is no trail to the second waterfall. Most people access it by jumping from the upper waterfall, about 50 feet. Not for me! lol

When you get to the top waterfall you can rest and swim in a deep pool. The top waterfall is not as impressive as the other two but it is beautiful regardless. This is where we found most people lounging and swimming. We moved on, climbing up to the top of the last waterfall and going further upstream where we encountered various smaller waterfalls and pools. We stopped and got in the water when we stopped encountering people.

I waded out into one of the pools and felt numerous fish bumping into me. It freaked me out so I got out and sat with my feet in the water. This is when I got to see the fish. They looked like minnows, about three inches or so long. I saw one “bumping” into me. I soon realized he was looking for a snack because I felt a pinprick bite! I didn’t put my feet or body in those pools of water after that. Were they tiny piranhas? IDK but I wasn’t planning to find out! I sat in a place where the water was running fast and did not experience anymore “bites”.

On the hike back we took an alternative route rather than climb down that vertical portion of the trail. My SIL took me to some stairs that led to a much easier path down. We did have to pay $1000 colones each ($1.60 USD), but it was worth it.

Dinner in Montezuma

Afterward, we walked into the town of Montezuma and found a nice beachside restaurant to have dinner. We then walked around and shopped a while. I haven’t had time to buy souvenirs, so this was the perfect time to do so. Next we had some gelato at a local ice cream shop. Finally, we stopped at a grocery store to get some items.

The grocery stores in Cabuya don’t have many options, so we always take advantage of larger grocery stores when we go into a bigger town. While in the store I paid for a French couple’s food. I just felt like doing it and the man looked at me in shock and asked, “Why??” I said, “Because I want to.” He hesitated and then let me buy his items. It felt good! I told him to “pay it forward” and he agreed he would. Afterward, he and his friends talked to us a while and thanked me again.

We then caught a cab and headed home. The cost for a cab to Montezuma to Cabuya is $5,000 colones, so not bad at all. While on the way home, the driver suddenly stopped. A man and his girlfriend were standing next to his motorbike which was on its side in a mud puddle. The man seemed confused but he was otherwise okay. They had wrecked but we didn’t see it happen. We offered to let them share our cab but they refused. So, we followed behind them to make sure the man was okay to drive. He seemed to be.

The next morning we were both somewhat sore and stiff. The following day we were both complaining that our entire bodies were aching. That vertical climb was the cause, I’m sure! lol

So, if you ever find yourself around Montezuma, Costa Rica, definitely check out the waterfalls. You don’t have to take the path up to the top two waterfalls me and my SIL did, though. You can linger at the bottom waterfall or take one of the other two options for a fee (stairs or canopy bridge).