Butterfly Garden -- For an intimate look at the life cycle and acrobatic flights-of-fancy of butterflies, head to the Mariposario Montezuma Gardens ★ ((tel) 2642-1317 or 8888-4200; www.montezumagardens.com; daily 8am–4pm; $8 entry). This has perhaps the wildest and most natural feel of all the butterfly gardens in Costa Rica. Wooden walkways wind through thick vegetation under black screen meshing. Most of the butterflies in the enclosure are self-reproducing. You can also see butterflies and other wildlife on trails through open forested areas outside the enclosure. It’s along the dirt road heading up the hill just beyond the entrance to the waterfall trail. These folks also rent out a few pretty rooms and have a microbrewery.
An Excursion to Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve ★★
As beautiful as the beaches around Montezuma are, the beaches at Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve ★★ (tel. 2642-0093), 11km (6 3/4 miles) south of the village, are even more stunning. At the southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Cabo Blanco is a national park that preserves a nesting site for brown pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, and brown boobies. The beaches are backed by a lush tropical forest that is home to howler monkeys. The main trail here, Sendero Sueco (Swedish Trail), is a rugged and sometimes steep hike through thick rainforest. The trail leads to the beautiful Playa Balsita and Playa Cabo Blanco, two white-sand stretches that straddle either side of the Cabo Blanco point. The beaches are connected by a short trail. It’s 4km (2.5 miles) to Playa Balsita. Alternately, you can take a shorter 2km (1.25-mile) loop trail through the primary forest here. This is Costa Rica’s oldest official bioreserve and was set up thanks to the pioneering efforts of conservationists Karen Mogensen and Nicholas Wessberg. Admission is $10; the reserve is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am to 4pm.
On your way out to Cabo Blanco, you’ll pass through the tiny village of Cabuya. There are a couple of private patches of beach to discover in this area, off deserted dirt roads. A small offshore island serves as the town’s picturesque cemetery; snorkel and kayak trips to this island are offered out of Montezuma.
Shuttle buses head from Montezuma to Cabo Blanco roughly every 2 hours beginning at 8am, and then turn around and bring folks from Cabo Blanco to Montezuma; the last one leaves Cabo Blanco around 5pm. The fare is $3 each way. These shuttles often don’t run during the off-season. You can also share a taxi: The fare is around $15 to $20 per taxi, which can hold four or five passengers. Taxis tend to hang around Montezuma center. One dependable taxista is Gilberto Rodríguez ((tel) 8826-9055; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Backroads Exploring & Beach Hopping
This is a great area to explore by 4x4 or ATV. A single coastal road heads up the coast to Cabuya and Cabo Blanco, with a half-dozen or more spots to pull over for a swim at a semi-private beach. Moreover, several dirt roads head into the hills here connecting Montezuma with Cabuya, Delicias, Malpaís, and Santa Teresa.
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.