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  • Writer's pictureJill Reed

Explore Costa Rica: Quick Trips from Guanacaste

Welcome back, friends! It has been some time since we posted anything here. It’s not that we haven’t been up to stuff, it’s just sometimes life gets in the way of doing ALL the things. Priorities.

Semana Santa Travel to Tambor

Do you waver a bit when planning travel for your family? I do. I started thinking about Semana Santa travel several months ago and I was pretty sure we were going to Colombia until I found an Amazon retreat in Peru and then super cheap tickets to Quito. Romancing the Stone OR jungle of things that can kill us OR Andes (not the mints). Decisions are so hard, so just don’t make them I say.

Fast forward a month or so and the tickets became unaffordable and didn’t mesh well with my promotional tour for my children’s book so…what to do? I set a hopper notification for Nica and Guatemala and Cabo (why not?). Nothing panned out.

I thought (for half a second) about driving to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side and then imagined the reality of driving across the country during Semana Santa. So we kind of landed on Monteverde UNTIL my bad ass boss reminded she has a beachfront getaway in Tambor. Perks of work. Done.

Getting There

Driving early in the morning from north of Tamarindo, we went through Santa Cruz, Nicoya and on down, which placed us on Playa Pochote around 2:00pm. It should normally take a couple hours and change, but Semana Santa traffic around the towns made it more challenging.

The Spot

We pulled into this amazing little spot between the beach and the mangroves. The cabin sits on a shaded and fenced lot facing the gentle waves of a perfectly clear bay with a huge low tide beach, perfect for soccer or long walks.

It’s an old school Costa Rica wooden house with a big front porch and hammocks. It reminds me of Nosara before it got to be, well, Nosara. The boys immediately claimed the upstairs which has several big beds, a half bath and an amazing beach view. Of course they did.

The far end of the bay was kind of bumping with boats and people enjoying the holiday week, set up for some camping and good family fun. I was prepared to hear boots and pants all night long, but the campers were lowkey keeping quiet hours after dark, so that was pleasant.

What to Do? Go to the Montezuma Waterfalls

We jumped in the ocean, read books in the hammocks, played cards and made a yummy dinner. Everyone settled in and bedtime was pretty early. We’d planned to take a bioluminescence boat tour, but the manager told us since it was a full moon, it wouldn’t be as great as it could be, so we skipped it.

Instead, we got up early, made a big breakfast and took off for Montezuma. There are waterfalls there that make for great swimming and cliff jumping, even in dry season. It took us about an hour from Pochote to Montezuma where you can park easily and walk the hanging bridges and jungle trails down to the falls

I think you can access the lower falls for nothing, but we chose the hanging bridges because we had our little dachshund with us and he’s old and we needed it to be a little bit easier for him. Hot tip: it’s still a long hike down approximately 300 steps and some bridges so if you’re carrying a 20lb dog, consider yourself warned.

All in all, the hike was beautiful and quick and the falls were so much fun. Very few people were there when we arrived and the boys quickly started jumping off the edge, both from the easy spot and the higher spot.

After recording them for a while, I decided I needed to join in and jump. It was SO much fun. I can highly recommend the experience. The water was amazing - so deep and clear and refreshing. There’s plenty of room for swimming around and exploring.

The next fall, a little lower down, is a much bigger jump and not as safe, but I did see a couple people do it and it looked so cool. You have to really get a good start and jump out pretty well so you miss the rocks that jut out on the way down.

After about 45 minutes, some folks who had been doing the zip line tour showed up and it got a little more crowded. It wasn’t bad. Everyone was really friendly and encouraging, but after having it to ourselves for so long, it felt more crowded.

The boys had some snacks, took a few more jumps and we headed back up the trail.

Where Do You Eat? At the Butterfly Brewery Of Course

We knew before we went to the falls that we wanted to have a late lunch afterwards at the Butterfly Brewing, Co., because we always plan our travel around good food and drink. This was no exception.

The boys made themselves at home, Snoot (our little pain in the ass dog) was served water and we ordered up some delicious food items. Christie tried a beer and I had a hibiscus bubbly water that I wanted to take home with me. It was so refreshing and tasty. The boys got passion fruit bubbly water which was a little sweeter but just as yummy.

It’s a funky little spot, surrounded by jungle and sitting up above Montezuma town. We met the owners and learned all about their adventure in business in Costa Rica. He’s been brewing beer here since 2009, and the whole family is living here and helping out. They are passionate about their place and they love to share the love with travelers.

The menu is easy. Burgers, salads, good pub food, and some gluten free and vegan items to please everyone in your group. We took home some passion fruit soda home with us and Christie bought a t-shirt.

One More Night - Have You Ever Seen Tambor Airport?

We made it back to the cabin a couple hours before sunset and I set up a chair on the beach and read my book for a little bit while the boys swam. After sunset, we had an easy dinner and played some cards.

The next morning, I got up early and went for a long walk on the beach. Apparently it’s 7k all the way into Tambor proper, but I stopped short of the airport. I’d seen planes coming and going over the last couple of days, but driving by the airport the day before I realized how short the runway is. Wow. I cannot imagine what coming and going is actually like.

So, I walked down there and caught some video of the planes coming in and out. On the way back, I saw a bunch of Macaws flying over. It was such a magical moment. Very few people out there, perfect light.

Heading Back

We made breakfast for the boys and started packing up and washing towels and sheets to help the team get ready for the next check in later that day. I’d love to spend more time there, but it was the perfect amount for this trip.

When you live full time in Costa Rica you can get into a groove of work and school and all the normal living stuff. We know there’s so much to see in this beautiful country and we’re so grateful when given the opportunity to explore a new part of it.

Tambor and the surrounding area is a quick escape if you live in Guanacaste, particularly in the dry season. It's so green.

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