The southeastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula enchants visitors with its untouched natural reserves and mellow atmosphere that permeates throughout the string of picturesque white-sand beaches and dense tropical forest. Decompress on Nicoya’s Playa Tambor, surrounded by the grand half-moon bay or breathe easy in Montezuma, known for its artistic, bohemian vibe.
Playa Tambor is quaintly nestled along the protected Bahia Bellena, the largest bay in southeastern Nicoya. Originally surrounded by a handful of fishing villages, Playa Tambor has slowly developed over the past 15 years and now offers plenty of opportunities for eco-tourism while still managing to maintain its Costa Rican authenticity. The gentle, warm waters of Bahia Bellena are safe for swimming and snorkeling and an ideal environment for kayaking. Keep your eyes peels as occasional whale sightings have been reported!
Nature lovers and will particularly enjoy the Curú National Wildlife Refuge, located 16km from Playa Tambor. Privately owned by a local family, the Curú National Wildlife Refuge is a wilderness gem that houses scarlet macaws, squirrel monkeys, deer, pumas and over 230 species of birds. The marine life is spectacular with iguanas, sea turtles, lobster, crab and other shellfish quietly roaming along the secluded beaches.
Charter a boat out to the magnificent Tortuga Island and peer through translucent waters into the great underwater world below along the way. Tortuga Island is an uninhabited paradisiacal dream and widely regarded by locals and expatriates as the most beautiful island in all of Costa Rica. Towering coconut palms line pristine, powder-soft beaches leading out onto wondrous coral reef that makes for a memorable snorkeling experience.
After an exhilarating day of activity, unwind in one of Playa Tambor’s unique eateries. Beach Combers offers an array of pasta dishes and other hearty European fare. Trattoria Mediterrenea serves up delicious thin-crust pizza, among a menu of authentic Italian fare, and greets each table with complimentary bruschetta. Delightful combinations of the freshest seafood can be found at the Bahia Ballena Yacht Club.
Approximately 20 miles south of Tambor sits the remote city of Montezuma, a town that feels a world apart from other destinations in Nicoya, Costa Rica. With legendary beaches, tropical forests and stunning waterfalls, this unique town has long been a popular spot among hippie expatriates and European backpackers. Development is booming in Montezuma, however, and now caters to travelers of all budgets. The white-sand beaches, enveloped by rugged, rocky headlands, in Montezuma are an ideal setting for beachcombing and photography. Swimmers should utilize caution due to strong riptides. Snorkeling is best during low tide, when remarkable marine life can be observed in tide pools along the beach.
Stroll along the waterfall trail up the hill towards the town of Cobano and in less than 1km you’ll reach the Montezuma Gardens. Tour the vibrantly lush jungle-butterfly garden and nursery by the sea and become inspired. The owners of Montezuma Gardens welcome and invite artists to bring their lenses, oil paints and sketch books to capture the natural beauty that abounds.
For adventure seekers, arrange for a day trip that starts with zip lining above the jungle canopy and continues with a hike down a mountain that leads to a one of Montezuma’s many striking waterfalls. End the day with a dip in the waterfall or simply relax nearby to the soothing sounds of the rain forest. Other exciting excursions are also available, including guided horseback riding, ATV tours and whitewater rafting.
Enjoy a night on the town at Chico’s Bar in Montezuma, Costa Rica, where a sprawling maze of bars, tables and dance floors attracts an impressive crowd most nights. Luz de Mono offers the laid-back sounds of reggae on Saturdays and El Sano Banano, a local restaurant, features nightly movie screenings on a large screen projector.
The southeastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula is an ideal destination for couples and friends looking to escape to paradise. The relaxed attitude and secluded feeling of Playa Tambor and Montezuma have the perfect atmosphere for the ultimate Costa Rican get-away.