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tsmith May 11th, 2004 05:24 PM

Montezuma and Arenal
We are planning a trip to Costa Rica in late June. I am considering going to Montezuma for a few days but am wondering how the ocean swimming is. We are not surfers but don't mind some waves. Also, a previous thread mentioned going by boat to Jaco. Is this a possible way to leave and avoid the ferry to Puntarenas.

My question about Arenal is whether it is worth going in late June or is it very unlikely we would see any lava.

shillmac May 11th, 2004 05:45 PM

Montezuma is a lovely area, and good for swimming. There are some nice waves a few miles away at Mal Pais and Santa Teresa (surfing areas) --worth a visit and also good for swimming.

We were there in March and there is a boat transfer to Jaco, although I couldn't tell you prices or specific details. Just remember seeing it advertised and hearing about it a bit. I don't know why this wouldn't be an option for you as opposed to the ferry. If you were to write one of the Montezuma hotels, I am sure they could give you the specifics.

The entire area around Arenal in all directions is very nice. It would be a plus to see the lava flow, but there are NEVER any guarantees with the odds probably not in your favor at ANY given time. In other words, my impression (through many conversations and quite a bit of reading and some personal experience) is that it is clouded over more often than not. The hot springs in the area are wonderful, and there is so much to do here that it is worth a visit, volcano viewing or not.

tsmith May 12th, 2004 09:28 AM

Thank you for the feedback. I was considering both Malpais and Montezuma as possible places to relax for a week or more. We have 2 adults and a 14 year old and want a good beach for swimming and some areas to hike and explore. Montezuma seems to have those though it doesn't sound much like a typical Costa Rican town. We also considered Playa Samara.

Otis_B_Driftwood May 12th, 2004 11:35 AM

For hiking options, I would give the nod to Montezuma especially since Cabo Blanco is so near. Samara does not have as many hiking trails but it does offer better swimming and kayaking.

When we were in Montezuma in March, the water was pretty rough. We met one girl who smashed her leg when caught in an undertow that pushed her down the beach into some rocks. We pretty much just stayed in the shallow surf as it broke on the beach, mainly to cool off from the heat. We also went into the tide pool at the Amor de Mar and the fresh water pool below the waterfall. Samara had much better swimming conditions.

Neither Samara or Montezuma are typical Costa Rican towns. Everyone you will meet are tourists or residents who cater to tourists. By the way, if you are just going for the beach, go to Hawaii or Bermuda instead.

I would not miss Arenal. There is so much to do there. You can use it as a base for many day trips and you don't really need a car there. Arenal is the real Costa Rica and the mountain is spectacular.

shillmac May 12th, 2004 03:49 PM

I definitely think your 14 year old would like Montezuma. If you like hiking, the Cabo Blanco is great! Also you can hike up to the falls and beyond (higher to a second falls with a rope swing). Mal Pais and Santa Teresa nearby are beautiful beaches and definitely worth a visit, but this area is very laid back (THE place to go to relax) and wouldn't provide much evening entertainment.

Further north, Playa Flamingo offers one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica as does Playa Conchal about 15 minutes south of Flamingo.

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