The Montezuma Waterfalls

During your stay, be sure to keep the Montezuma Waterfalls high on your list of "things you've just got to see!"

Tucked back, up and away - in the jungle, it's easily one of the most breathtaking places in all the Nicoya Peninsula... one I think you'll immediately fall in love with.

It's a magical place...

Montezuma Waterfalls Jumper
Divers at the Montezuma Waterfalls

A short walk south of Montezuma - the road wrapping around the main beach... you'll find the entrance to the falls on your right, just after the bridge and across from the Amor de Mar Hotel.

Montezuma Waterfalls Amor de Mar
The Entrance is Right in Front of Amor de Mar

Here on this web page - I invite you on a journey...

Let's take a walk up the river - to the first and biggest of the falls. Then, a hike to the second and third falls at the very top - a place where thrill-seekers take a forty-foot plunge to the pool below!...

And finally - a *secret* route back to town... where you can learn all about butterflies native to the Nicoya, and experience some of the best coastal views on the peninsula.

C'mon... it'll be fun!

Map   |    Up River   |    The Falls   |    To the Top!   |    Way Back

A Map to the Montezuma Waterfalls

Getting to the entrance of the falls is easy. Again, it's just a short walk south of town - right across from the Amour del Mar hotel.

The following map details a walking path, as well as some key sites along the way. Click on the various markers - and you'll be taken further down the page to learn more...

Montezuma Waterfalls Map Costa Rica Legend river river waterfalls the-top back back
  • Click on the markers to learn more...
TICR Maps - Montezuma Waterfalls

A Picturesque River Walk...

Just before the journey upriver, you're bound to meet Hugo - relaxing in his hammock, in front of a small wooden house.

Montezuma Waterfalls Hugo
Hugo - Guardian of the Falls

Be sure to say hello - and also, if you've come by vehicle, the cost is one thousand colones for parking... about two american dollars.

On to the journey now - the walk to the first and biggest of the three falls is quite picturesque.

Crystal clear waters... lush green trees and plants flanking both sides of the river... and the sound of rushing water growing louder and louder as you approach...

Montezuma Waterfalls River
Trees Overhang a Crystal Clear River on Your Way to the Falls

The walk along the river bank is a great place to sight some of the animals native to the area... especially early in the morning.

Monkeys, iguanas and all sorts of different birds...

There's one type of lizard here - a basilisk. Skipping across the water on it's hind legs - it's taken on a second name... "The Jesus Lizard".

Montezuma Waterfalls Animals
Basilisk, Bobo Bird and a Boa Constrictor!

Something to note. Be sure to wear a good pair of shoes for the hike. And also... do take your time! Some of those rocks can be quite slippery.

Oh - and bring some sunscreen and lots of water. And picnic sort of stuff too. There's a good chance you'll want to stay a while!

Next stop - the first of the Montezuma Waterfalls...

The Montezuma Waterfalls

Alas, the canopy gives way to a large opening - and the first thing you see - the first and biggest of the Montezuma Waterfalls...

Montezuma Waterfalls Main
The First Thing You See...

...and what a site it is!

Pictured to the left is the very first glimpse.

In high season - with less rain... there's a lot less water pouring down... perfect for getting right up under the falls for a shower.

In rainy season though - or any time after a storm or large rain really...

Do be careful!

Flash floods do occur - so it's best to wait a day or so for the water levels to die down... before you venture up.

Stepping back a bit - here's another photo of the first waterfall - encompassing the entire area.

It's the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon...

Montezuma Waterfalls View
A Broader View of the First Waterfalls

On some occasions, you might get to see some of the locals - diving from atop the first waterfall.

Luckily, today is one of those days!...

Montezuma Waterfalls Divers
Divers at the Montezuma Waterfalls

Unless you're experienced - I recommend you either ask one of the locals where a safe spot to jump from is - or better yet, make the hike to the very top.

Here you can take the plunge off the second (and about forty feet high) waterfall...

Montezuma Waterfalls Top
A Look to the Very Top...

Well, our tour definitely doesn't end here.

Onward and up...

Montezuma Waterfalls Roots
Grab the Roots, as You Climb to the Top... the second and third, Montezuma Waterfalls...

Montezuma Waterfalls - a Hike to the Top...

Our climb to the top starts just to the right of the first waterfall.

Scaling the rocks and grabbing the odd vine to help pull you up... it's best to take this route with a group - or perhaps even better... a guide who knows the area.

Montezuma Waterfalls Bird's Eye View
Bird's Eye View

At one point - after a short walk along a forest path - there's a really nice spot with a "bird's eye view" of the falls and pool below.

Maybe stop for a photo or two... but be cautious not to get too close to the edge!

Next, it's onward - up again through the Nicoyan jungle - and finally... to another opening.

Climbing down the rocks - using a rope to help with the descent (be extra EXTRA careful here!)... we've arrived at the second and third waterfalls...

Montezuma Waterfalls Descent
The Descent Down the Rope, to the Third and Second Falls

And as I was mentioning before... the climb is totally worth it!

Care to take a jump?

Montezuma Waterfalls Thrill-Seeker
What a Rush!

A forty-foot drop to the pool below, this is by far one of the best parts of the Montezuma Waterfalls.

Montezuma Waterfalls Jump

On this particular day actually - I was lucky to catch up with Danny, life-long resident of Montezuma - and frequenter to the falls.

He's pictured to the left with the grey shorts.

Danny offered some pointers to help travelers stay safe during their time here.

One tip for example... if you're going to take a leap off the second waterfall - be sure to keep your body nice and straight. And feet first too! Makes for a nice smooth entry into the water below.

Also, it's best to watch where others climb up after the jump. Again, those rocks can get slippery...

Pace yourself. Ask someone first!

The last - and probably my favorite part - is the third of the Montezuma Waterfalls, complete with a nice big freshwater swimming hole...

Montezuma Waterfalls Jumping
Take a Ride on the Rope Swing or an Easier - Twelve Foot Jump

Take a ride on the rope swing or a much-more-forgiving jump to the pool below (only twelve feet high this time).

Also, it's a great place to relax and catch some afternoon rays...

Montezuma Waterfalls Mom and Dad
Relaxing in the Pool at the Top of the Falls

You can easily spend the rest of the day here... the perfect conclusion to a long and adventurous! ascent up the falls.

But soon enough... It's time to head back.

And not something too many people know about... is an *alternate* return route to town (as opposed to going back the way we came)... one with even more interesting things to see and do along the way.

The Way Back...

Another look at the map above, and you'll see our path continues - across the river, and up the other side...

The same spot where the canopy zip-line tour ends, take the stairs/path all the way up - until you get to a wooden deck. You'll see the wire for the zip lines.

Just on the other side - there's a dirt path, going back into the forest. Take it all the way - until you come to an opening. And to this...

Montezuma Waterfalls First View
Out of the Jungle, and Into this Spectacular View!

When you see the following, you know you're on the right path...

Montezuma Waterfalls Right Path
The Path to the Butterfly Gardens

A short walk later - and we've arrived at the Mariposario - a nice little Bed & Breakfast, as well as home to a large butterfly enclosure and breeding area.

Mariposa by the way - is Spanish for butterfly.

Montezuma Waterfalls Blue Morpho
A Vibrant Blue Morpho

Definitely stop in to say hi - and while you're at it... be sure to take a tour of the gardens.

It's home to one of the most beautiful of all the Costa Rican butterflies - the Blue Morpho.

On a previous tour - I learned quite a bit from Josh.

For example... did you know that pachote trees (they're the ones with the HUGE sharp spikes all over the trunks) shed their leaves during the summer?

This is how they retain moisture in hotter weather. Very interesting...

Montezuma Waterfalls Butterfly Gardens
Josh Bickle - Lot's to Learn at the Montezuma Butterfly Gardens

Well, after an educational visit with Josh and Ryan - it's down the asphalt road, back toward the town of Montezuma.

Montezuma Waterfalls Path
Path to the View

But first - one last stop...

About half-way down the hill, you'll see a bridge to your right. And just after it - one of the best views in all of the Nicoya.

On a nice sunny day like this one - you'll be able to see and photograph the eastern coastline in vibrant azul color.

The views are breathtaking!

To show you what I mean - here's to the north...

Montezuma Waterfalls Lookout North
You Can See Playa Grande from Here... Surf's Up!

And then to the south...

Montezuma Waterfalls Lookout South
The Southern Stretch - Cabuya Island Way Off in the Distance

Perfect spot for a photo!

Montezuma Waterfalls The View
Can the Views Possibly Get Any Better?

Simply stunning!

Well, it's pretty straight forward from here. A short jaunt down the hill - and you're right back where you started.

And while there...

Montezuma Waterfalls Pipa
When You Get Back... Grab Some Thirst-Quenching Pipas from Jason

Why not enjoy a nice cold *and very well deserved!* pipa? Jason's on the scene - and more than happy to have some ready. Absolutely delicious!

And one more thing.

Danny (you can see him in the grey and yellow shorts, in the photo from above, where a girl is jumping from the waterfall) - has been living here his whole life.

He knows the area very well, and is more than happy to give you a tour. Give him a shout, at 8970-8456.


I hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour of the Montezuma Waterfalls...

Til next time!