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The ocean here is a gorgeous royal blue, and idyllic beaches stretch out along the coast on either side of town. Be careful, though: The waves can occasionally be too rough for casual swimming. Be sure you know where the rocks are and what the tides are before going bodysurfing. Given the prevailing currents and winds here, Montezuma also has experienced several severe and long-lasting red tide episodes at different times over the years. During these periods of massive algae bloom, the ocean is reddish-brown in color and not recommended for swimming. The best places to swim are a couple of hundred meters north of town in front of El Rincón de los Monos, or several kilometers farther north at Playa Grande.

Don’t miss the Montezuma waterfall ★★ just outside town—it’s one of those tropical fantasies where water comes pouring down into a deep pool. It’s a popular spot, and it’s a fairly easy hike from town up the stream. Along this stream are a couple of waterfalls, but the upper falls are by far the most spectacular. You’ll find the trail to the falls just over the bridge south of the village (on your right just past Las Cascadas restaurant). At the first major outcropping of rocks, the trail disappears and you have to scramble up the rocks and river for a bit. A trail occasionally reappears for short stretches. Just stick close to the stream and you’ll eventually hit the falls. 

Note: Be very careful when climbing close to the rushing water, and also if you plan on taking any dives into the pools below. The rocks are quite slippery, and several people each year get very scraped up, break bones, and otherwise hurt themselves here.

Another popular local waterfall is El Chorro ★, located 8km (5 miles) north of Montezuma. It cascades down into a tide pool at the edge of the ocean, making it a delightful mix of fresh- and seawater. You can bathe while gazing out over the sea and rocky coastline. When the water is clear and calm, this is one of my favorite swimming holes in all of Costa Rica. The pool here is dependent upon the tides—it disappears entirely at very high tide. It’s about a 2-hour hike along the beach to reach El Chorro. You can take a horseback tour here offered by any of the tour operators in town.

A Unique Canopy Tour -- The Waterfall Canopy Tour ★ ((tel) 2642-0808; www.montezumatraveladventures.com; daily at 9am, 1pm and 3pm; $45) is built right alongside Montezuma’s famous falls. The tour, which features nine cables connecting 13 platforms, includes a swim at the foot of the falls.

Horseback Riding -- Several people around the village rent horses for around $15 to $20 an hour, although most people choose to do a guided 4-hour horseback tour for $30 to $50. Any of the hotels or tour agencies in town can arrange this.

Other Activities -- Some shops in the center of the village rent bicycles by the hour or day, as well as boogie boards and snorkeling equipment (although the water must be very calm for snorkeling).

A range of guided tour and adventure options is available in Montezuma. Zuma Tours ((tel) 2642-0024; www.zumatours.net) and Sun Trails ((tel) 2642-0808; www.montezumatraveladventures.com) can both arrange horseback riding, boat excursions, scuba-dive and snorkel tours, ATV outings, and rafting trips; car and motorcycle rentals; airport transfers; and currency exchange.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.