The next morning I woke to a message from Slavi, he’d been locked out of his room the night before and so after a sleepless night, had decided to stay in Montezuma a little longer.
I was half tempted to skip down the hill to see him, but the day’s plans had already been made and so I hopped in the shower with a smile on my face and headed down to breakfast to join the gang for a day at La Mancha beach.
As we strolled out of town (La Mancha is a 20 minute walk from the centre), there was an aura of excitement amongst the group. Tonight was Reggae Night in Montezuma and after nearly a week of chilled out evenings, we were in the mood to party! All plans to move on to another part of Costa Rica had vanished from my mind as I found myself happy in the ‘Zuma bubble of breakfast, beach, eat, repeat.
We spent the morning floating in the waves, chatting nonsense and just enjoying that blissful feeling you only seem to get when travelling…pure freedom! No responsibilities, no demands, the day was ours to do what we wanted and we’d decided to do sweet FA. Well, until lunch time beckoned us back to town that is.
Before Reggae night got into full swing, we headed to the hostel next door to ours, Hotel Luna Llena, for bbq night. For $15USD we’d been promised a feast of delicious meats, salad and a glass of wine to wash it all down. With the chef from Puggo’s running the grill, we knew we’d be in for a good meal and so happily handed our money over.
Dinner was as delicious as expected but I was impatient for the night to really get started and so once we’d finished eating, I persuaded everyone to head into town so that the fun could really begin. We stopped off at the Downtown hostel to meet Slavi, and then wandered round to Chico’s in anticiaption of the reggae beats booming from the sound system.
Sadly, there wasn’t a beat to be found and so we consoled ourselves with a bottle of rum, perching on the side-walk like a bunch of teenagers who didn’t want to admit defeat and head home.
A live fire show placated us somewhat but what we really wanted didn’t appear to be on offer in Montezuma. It’s such a shame as there’s so much to do during the day, from the hidden waterfalls to distant beaches, but come 10pm and the town seems to shut down. Perfect if you’re looking for a relaxing few days, but in hindsight, perhaps a week was a little long to spend here in this sleepy town.
Eventually we all headed to bed early with plans to meet for surfing the next day.
As usual I was up at the crack of dawn (well, 8am) enjoying the free breakfast from my hostel up the hill, Luz en el Cielo. By 10am I was feeling restless and without my new buddy Gemma around to keep me entertained, I decided to meet Slavi and head to a beach on the other side of town, Playa del Grande. When he mentioned that it was a 40 minute walk out of town, I didn’t think twice about joining him but as we slogged across beaches and through the grassy pathways with no respite from the heat, I was soon panting quietly, my cheeks burning from the midday sun. Hailing from Israel, he was perhaps used to the 35 degree heat but even for a beach-loving English girl, it was a little much.
Once we reached the beach, the last thing I felt like doing was surfing, instead diving into the smashing waves to cool off. Once I’d cooled down a little, it soon became apparent that the waves were far too strong for a beginner, and not wanting to embarrass myself in front of Slavi, I opted for sunbathing on the beach with his friend Vanessa instead as he headed out into the surf. The heat eventually became too much though and I slowly wandered back into town in the hope of catching up with the others.
As I strolled back into the centre, I spotted Axel and Elaine and joined them for lunch at Organico. Still feeling overheated from the earlier exertion, I then headed back to the hostel for a cooling shower and a couple of hours in a hammock. When I got home however, the sight that greeted me was simply unbelievable…
An unwelcome surprise
My clean, tidy, ‘luxury’ hostel room was covered from floor to ceiling in giant ants. It was like a scene from a horror movie, I didn’t know whether to scream or run! Thankfully one of my room mates had been speaking to the cleaner who explained that it was a natural occurrence that happens once a year where a swarm of ‘cleaning ants’ move through the properties in town, cleaning as they go, and had assured her that they would have disappeared by the time we got back from dinner. It was hard to believe that literally thousands of ants could come & go so quickly but there was nothing else I could do other than take her word for it and head to the shower before escaping to Puggo’s for dinner and a very large glass (or two) of wine.
When I returned to the dorm, I opened the door with trepidation and eased myself into the perfectly clean, ant-free room. I couldn’t believe my eyes after having seen the chaotic scene just hours earlier. My room mates had all moved to alternate rooms that night and so I had the entire place to myself, meaning I got a perfect night’s sleep ready for a long journey back to San Jose the next day.
Gemma, Slavi and I met early at the bus stop in town and watched the sun rise over the ocean as we waited for our bus to collect us for the onward journey.
Slavi was heading to Nicaragua so we said our goodbyes in Paquera, whilst Gemma and I continued on to San Jose. Once there, it was time to say another goodbye as Gemma caught a flight to Cuba and I headed to the Hostel Bekuo for one final night’s sleep before it was time to head home to London and back to real life.
As I sat on the plane home I was already plotting my next escape, but in the back of mind I was slowly taking on board the lessons I’d learned whilst away. Mainly not to think of each trip as an escape and instead try to start making the most of the here and now. Perhaps London would end up being ‘home’ for a while and so instead of fighting it, I needed to learn to accept it and enjoy the good bits, like spending time with friends and maybe even that damn ex boyfriend who I couldn’t get out of my head no matter how hard I tried. But whatever happened, I was determined that 2014 was going to be a good year!