Last time we were on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica we had lunch on the beach in Montezuma. We were staying just down the dusty road in Mal Pais at the time but knew we had to come back to this same beach someday. Well, twelve years later we’re back. This time for just over a week.
Mal Pais? In Spanish means Bad Paradise. Probably why it’s the Costa Rican Mecca for hippies and surfers. AND the reason we liked it enough to come back. Miles of uncrowded beach with a few fish shacks along the shore trail. A throwback to undeveloped beachfront. Hard to come by these days.
The town is tiny. Maybe 1 kilometer long, along a bumpy, dusty gravel road. A bit hard to get to. Add to that a 90-minute ferry crossing from the mainland and an hour long road trip on a “road” you might imagine driving on the moon…
Forget your GPS. It doesn’t pick up these roads. Your best bet? Ask a local.
That is exactly the draw here. I’m guessing most people might say, What? A bumpy, dusty, cratered gravel road that’s hard to get to AND a “downtown” which is only about a half mile long. No thank you! I’ll stick to the fancy resorts up in Tamarindo.
That’s the beautiful thing about Montezuma. There’s enough of nothing to do. When you’re traveling two nights here, three there, it’s a bit of an oasis. Let’s stay a while. Linger longer.
In the twelve years since we were here last, it hasn’t changed! There isn’t pavement for miles, no tacky souvenir shops, just a few passing tour buses, and family run sodas( Costa Rican diners). This tiny village retains the same charm we remember. We absolutely couldn’t wait to spend more time here.
We stayed at Mariposario, a four room lodge with half a million dollar views above the Bay of Montezuma. A little pricey for the hostel goer, but mid-range for Montezuma at $60 a night. This included breakfast and admission to the onsite butterfly gardens.
The added bonus was that this place is run by American ex-pat Ryan who is also the brew master from Portland, Oregon. He’s been the only craft beer brewer in the area for 13 years. He’s also the bartender and was very happy to pour us a sample (or three).
While Mal Pais draws the surf crowd, Montezuma is a bit pricier so it attracts the older, “done with hostels” folks still young enough to endure walking the rough roads and trails to warm water tropical waterfalls with not a soul in sight.
Hali likes to call Montezuma the Costa Rican destination for the boho yoga-mom.
You’ve seen the Corona beer commercials, find your beach? The beaches here radiate that remote tranquility. Forget the only buzz, beat bar back in town. Just pick up a six-pack, follow the only river upstream beyond the BIG waterfall to your own private cascade. There you have it, you’ve found it!
We found ourselves here again. Traveling the road less paved.
It was this time last year we visited the Dalí exhibit in St. Petersburg, Florida. Today, we are giving away postcards of Dalí’s art to our followers.
Looking back, Dalí made a big impact on us here and a huge influence on why we chose Spain as our 2017 Trip of the Year. It wasn’t just his artwork but his lifestyle and larger-than- life persona that had us travel this past Fall to his hometown of Figueres and then the home he and Gala shared on the coast of the Mediterranean in Cadeqés.
So, in the spirit of our new look website we not only will share our stories of Dalí but this is your chance to have a hand written postcard sent to your mailbox.
Enjoy our take on the Dalí experience. At the end of the post we will show you, YOU, our devoted readers, how to receive your very own Dalí mini masterpiece.
The best way to see Dalí is to take the guided tour. The audio guide is fine but the tour with a knowledgable docent takes you up close and personal to the man himself~The Master of Surrealism.
Dalí, the artist, was just as eccentric and surreal which is manifested in his paintings. His personality included some brilliant habits and techniques which created his dreams. These warped dreams were very apparent and reflective in his artwork.
Figueres is the birthplace of the famed artist, and where his crypt lays today… embalmed in such a way that should there be a way for any sort of future cryogenic-like reincarnation, he’d be ready. . . mustache and all.
(His body was recently exhumed to address a paternity suit. It was said his mustache is in perfect harmony, with the handle bars at his signature 10 past 10 o’clock style, just as he requested. And, for the record, there was no DNA match.)
Unlike Any Other Museum
The Dalí Theatre-Museum is quite unique. Contrary to a logical, catalogued collection of art, typical of a museum, what we saw bordered between PeeWee’s Playhouse and genius. A museum conceived, designed and painstakingly choreographed by the master himself. It was utter chaos. To attempt to make sense of it, would be contrary to his intention. In Dalí’s words, “there are two kinds of visitors, those who don’t need a description and those that aren’t worth a description.” There you have it… just soak it in. So, let’s walk in those footsteps…
This stop was a two nighter. An opportunity to soak-in more of the Dalí world. In 1932 Dalí & Gala had humble beginnings. They bought a fisherman’s hovel, a mere 400 square feet, in Portlligat.
Systematically they acquired structures around them, built upon what they owned, and created an artists paradise with grand views, beautiful lighting, and the eclectic Dalí touch. Today it is known as the Portlligat Museum-House.
We saw the tools of his trade:
It seemed slightly more subdued than his Figueres museum-home. But there wasn’t any question he had always been an eccentric.
We felt this was a nice wrap for a complete Dalí experience. Today we know enough of his bio to carry a decent cocktail party conversation. His is a colorful story, he pushed boundaries, was an enthusiastic entertainer, and revolutionized how we look at life.
Simply comment on this post and we will send you a souvenir Dalí postcard. Just a small token of thanks for following and the closest we can come to Wishing YOU were here.
A postcard from a town that knows how to drink. I’m amused that the street light is having difficulty standing straight. Not to mention the photographer having some difficulty squaring the image!?