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Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

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Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

Well now that transportation to the resort is taken care of, I’ve begun doing research on activities in and around Montezuma. I will be without a doubt doing the hike to the falls/rope swing and Tortuga island. Is Zuma Tours the best place to book these 2 activities? Also is the hike to the falls different then the canopy tour? Both worth doing? Along with these we’re looking at the butterfly gardens the Curu wildlife park.


I also imagine there are good areas to explore north and south (?) of Montezuma. I had planned on doing this on an ATV. What activities are in ATV distance? Tambor, Mal Pais, Playa Hermosa ? Is there a best company to get a reliable ATV from?


I chose to spend all 5 days of my Costa Rica vacation in Montezuma for a reason, what other “can’t miss” activities would you recommend for 2 young adventurers. I’ve heard the beaches can be rocky and unswimmable near Montezuma, yet that Montezuma has some of the best beaches in CR. Can we easily walk/drive the ATV to other beaches better for laying out/swimming etc.


We will be staying at Ylang Ylang if that helps.


I know this is a ton of info, but answers to any part would be very much appreciated!

Level Contributor
38 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

I haven't used Zuma Tours (didn't go to Tortuga) but have read from many different people here that they are the best for the tour. We went to the falls and this you can definitely do without a tour guide. Just follow the trail :)

Haven't done the canopy tour either but from what I understand, it's the same as zip-lining, meaning going zipping down a cable using pulleys. So yes, different than the waterfall hike, although I think it's around the same general area. Not sure, haven't seen where the zip-lining takes place, though we heard them pretty much every day from where we were staying.

If I were to do it again, I think I would skip the butterfly garden, but I'd definitely do Curu. Really liked it. There is also Cabo Blanco down at the tip of the peninsula, but if it's a choice between Curu and Cabo Blanco, mine would be Curu. Cabo Blanco is more of a workout; 4 kilometers to a beach that you can't really swim in (although beautiful) then 4 kilometers back, over hilly terrain. It's an absolute reserve, which means there's the trail and that's it... Not supposed to venture off it. Curu had better maintained trails, wide and flat in some areas, with different types of ecosystems. We really loved the mangrove and supposedly you can spot crocodiles in the estuary.

As for ATV, actually you could reach Cabo Blanco by ATV. Not sure about the others. By car Tambor is about 45 minutes from Montezuma, I think? So is Mal Pais. If by Playa Hermosa you mean the one way up by Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, I'd say that's way too far... You could look at the beaches near Mal Pais. We stopped by Playa Carmen. It was nice and sandy, less rocky than the beach in Montezuma, but big waves! People surfing there. We ventured in the water as far as up to our thighs and waves would wash over our heads. Lots of fun though!

Don't know if it's your type of activity, but we really enjoyed the horseback ride on the beach to the Cocolito Waterfalls. Went with El Pinto. If you decide on this one, might want to keep it for last. We were sore for 2 days after... but would still do it again, that's how much we liked it!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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44,965 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

Nice to do some ATV around...if you see a BAJA red Toyota 1600cc...that will be me...I drive around that area some times!

Love to stop by the tree shades and have a cold bottle of water...or a good Tamarindo!

Or just seat at the cold water at some of the creecks...so nice!


Montezuma, Costa...
Level Contributor
538 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

Zuma is absolutely the best tour operator - They are focussed on quality & customer care & safety. (don't confuse them with 'Cocozuma' which have kinda the opposite mentality)

At Zuma's office on the main street between the Mar y Sol soda and the supermarket you can book any activities/tours. They all also speak

For the waterfall hike, you definitely don't need a guide, just follow the river up. But a warning - don't dive off any but the lowest ledges. You may see local kids doing it, but they know the rock formation in the pool and the technique to clear ledges. Every year visitors are taken to hospital, and some even die from diving off the higher ones. So swim, enjoy, but don't put yourself at risk

Level Contributor
16 posts
4. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

So the best beaches for swimming sound like they are in Mal Pais which we can get to by ATV?

Where is the curu wildlife sanctuary? Is it in the same direction

Level Contributor
38 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

I'm not sure I would say the best beaches are in Mal Pais. Just saying that we went to one there which was gorgeous. But Montezuma beach is gorgeous as well and the waves seem a bit milder...

Curu isn't really in the same direction. If you are leaving from Montezuma, it's going back towards Paquera (where you get off the ferry). It's maybe 10 minutes before Paquera, and you pass Tambor on the way.

Sao Paulo, SP
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1 post
6 reviews
6. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

Tortuga Island is very beautiful, but a bit crowded (when compared to other places in the area).

The hike to the falls and the canopy tour are different things. I did not do either, but I hear both are great.

Malpais is around 45 minutes from Montezuma on an ATV. You might also want to check Santa Teresa, which is close to Malpais.

The beaches around Montezuma are incredibly beautiful, especially Las Manchas, but apparently some of them are a bit dangerous.

Enjoy. :)

Montezuma, Costa...
Level Contributor
538 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

Just to clarify,

You can hike up to the waterfalls which is great.

But also the canopy tour includes a stop for a swim at the upper waterfall

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
3 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

def go to tortuga! we went with zuma tours on a monday so it was not very crowded with other tour groups. wknds probably are very crowded. there was maybe two groups there max at one time. if 20 people is crowded at tortuga,....

you will love playa grande on a sunday morning. we were the only two there! low tide, easy to swim, not a lot of rocks. the beach is huge and beautiful. the walk is about 40 mins but from ylang ylang its probably 30.

the beach along the el chorro bay is beautiful as well.

playa las manchas was my favorite because it was small and empty with beautiful pebbles, no sandy butt!

playa los cedros when we went was too rocky to swim and didn't feel worth the 1 hr walk.

the beach at the end of the 1 hr 40 min hike at cabo blanco is stunning but the rocks are HUGE.

montezuma beach is good for swimming as well, altho there seemed to be a lot of driftwood.

we went to playa carmen, playa santa teresa, and loved them both. big waves are further out for surfing, regular swimmers can go in and swim no problem. the beach here is huge and they have beautiful sunsets - montezuma has sunrises. it is very spread out and the roads kick up a lot of dirt so bring a bandana and sunglasses. def rent a bike if u don't have a car. there is a cute art gallery at the end of santa teresa, before playa hermosa and manzanillo.

9. Re: Questions about “Can’t Miss activities"/ATVs/Beaches

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