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A fun day trip from the beach resort town of Santa Teresa on Costa Rica's Guanacaste coast is to visit the waterfalls near Montezuma waterfalls.
A 40-minute drive from Santa Teresa, Montezuma is another picturesque beach village on the southeastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The bohemian village is known for its artsy community, beautiful beaches, jungle covered hills, and waterfalls and pools. The local geography also tips most of the rainwater near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula toward Montezuma, creating an abundance of waterfalls in the area.
The Montezuma waterfalls – three cascades along the Montezuma River – are the most well known. The tallest part of the falls is the lowest tier, tumbling 79 feet (24 meters) into a large pool at the river bottom that is great for a refreshing swim.
To reach the waterfall, start at the main beach road just outside the village center, near Hotel Amor de Mar; there are signs and a parking area there. A rough trail leads up the river for approximately 20 minutes. Be sure to wear sturdy, water-resistant shoes as you will wade through the river and climb over slippery rocks and roots.
At this first largest cascade, there are usually lots of people. It is not recommended to dive or jump off the rocks here, because if you fall, you’ll probably hit the rocks instead of the water; in the past, people have died from doing such stunts. Thrill-seekers who want to jump from heights into a waterfall pool can do so up above at pools two and three.
To get to the upper pools, continue uphill on a small difficult trail at the right side of the lower waterfall. There is a rope swing at pool three. Another way to get to the upper pools that is much easier is on a path starting at the Montezuma Canopy Tour; the tour company charges a $4 toll for using its bridges and trails. See a map of the Montezuma area.
Another beautiful waterfall in the Montezuma area is at Cocalitos Beach (Playa Cocalitos), five miles (eight km) north of town. The “El Chorro waterfall” cascades off an escarpment at the edge of the beach into lava rock pools and the ocean. The falls are beautiful, often reflecting rainbows, and the beach cove by it is incredibly scenic with white sand and transparent turquoise water. To get there, you can either hike two hours one-way down the beach from Montezuma, or go on a horseback riding tour from Montezuma.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
A broad ribbon of rainforest lines the pristine coastline of Santa Teresa, with zero high-rise buildings in sight. Jungle covered hills sweep down to white and beige sand beaches bordered by clear blue sea. Picture-perfect sunsets and friendly residents from all over the world add to the charm of the fun, cosmopolitan town of Santa Teresa.
Named one of Central America’s top 10 beaches for 2015, Santa Teresa faces due west at the bottom of the Nicoya Peninsula. The area is most popular for surfing, stand up paddling, yoga and relaxing. Read more about some of the top things to do in Santa Teresa Costa Rica.
Where to stay in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Hotel Tropico Latino on the beach in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is an unforgettable place to stay. Very private guest bungalows, suites and rooms are scattered along the beachfront and in beautiful gardens shaded by huge, old trees. You can enjoy beachfront yoga classes, a spa, and delicious meals at the beachside restaurant at this Santa Teresa beachfront hotel.