A 9pm bed time meant that I was wide awake at 8am the next day and definitely in need of a mammoth breakfast after skipping dinner the night before. Luckily for me the Luz en el Cielo hostel serve up a mini feast: fresh pineapple, watermelon, scrambled eggs, toast and rice with beans. Even better, it’s free!
I took my plate, poured a cup of freshly brewed coffee and sat down at the wooden table amidst a few other early morning risers. As the sun began streaming through the jungle-like surroundings, warming my back, I felt relaxed and contented, eager to meet some new people and discover this beach-side haven.
Shortly after breakfast, I headed back to up my dorm where thankfully, my roommates were beginning to wake. One friendly face in particular caught my attention as he jumped out of bed and beamed down at me rather enthusiastically for what was still only 8:30am!
After spending the past few weeks with such a great group of people, who I’d felt so relaxed and at ease with, it was difficult to start all over again in a new place but as I started to chat to others in the room, I soon remembered that that is in fact the beauty of travel…there’s a new friend to meet around every corner.
Soon, Jonathan and I were heading down the hill into town, stopping at The Greenhouse smoothie bar to chat to Douglas, the owner, who seemed to know everything that was going on around town. We soon learned of the highlight excursion – a trip to Isla Tortuga – and quickly booked on for the trip departing the next day. At $50, it was hardly the cheapest excursion and I could tell that my budget was going to fly out of the window in this place, but hey ho, it was my last week of travel, I was going to enjoy every last moment.
Rock pools, waterfalls and rope swings
A young American couple (and our fellow roommates), Tom and Taylor, joined us at the juice bar followed by Randy, another hostel guest who’d been taking an extended holiday in Montezuma for the past few winters. Not your typical 60 year old, Randy seemed to know everything that was happening in town; from where to get some of the boy’s favourite ‘green herb’ to where the party was happening that night. So, when he offered to take us on a little tour of the town, who were we to resist?
We were all keen to visit the waterfalls just on the edge of town, but first of all we headed on a detour past the beach, scrambling over the rocks to reach some rock pools. By 11am the sun was already burning fiercely at 30 degrees and so we were happy to stop and take a plunge to cool off.
Randy had grown up in the heyday of the mods and rockers taking over the London party scene and so he entertained us with his stories of life as a Texan cowboy in London during that era. Being a big music fan himself, it seemed that Tom had found his musical soul mate, much to mine and Taylor’s amusement. I was soon to see just how talented Tom himself was that evening but first, we had a lot more left to explore.
Once suitably cooled in the rock pools, we grabbed our sandals and drifted slowly back over the rocks to discover the town’s hidden waterfalls.
We were happy to while away the rest of the morning and early afternoon splashing around in the water and it wasn’t until our stomachs told us it was time for lunch that we waddled back into town. Puggo’s was the ‘Randy recommendation’ of the day for lunch and it was so good that I was more than happy to go back for dinner again that evening, but not before we’d taken a little detour to the beach…
On the bus ride over to Montezuma, not content with listening to the German’s mumbling on to themselves in their native tongue, I’d struck up a conversation with what seemed to be the only other English speaker on the bus. It turned out that (I never did catch his name) had been living in Montezuma for the past 4 months, doing conservation work for a turtle sanctuary. So when he mentioned that they released the newly-hatched baby turtles at around 4pm each day, I was more than keen to check it out. Unfortunately for me, no turtles had hatched the previous night but a team of volunteers were working hard clearing infected sand from the site where the mother turtles go to hatch their eggs and so naturally we offered to help out.
That night, after showering off the remnants of the beach, we headed back down the hill to Puggo’s for dinner. Our group had grown from 5 to 15 and we settled across two tables ready for the mouth-watering middle-eastern style food to be served.
Once filled by the signature garlic foccaccia bread that seems to accompany every meal, we took a stroll through town to Organico for the weekly open-mic night (every Tuesday in high season).
Taylor and I, along with Gemma (a fellow Brit) sipped on a delicious red wine as we listened to each act serenade us with their guitars and melodic voices. But it was Tom who was the highlight of the night, receiving several encores, especially as he sang of the curly-haired brunette.
A magical first day and night in Montezuma was over all too soon but as I strolled back up the hill to bed, I knew there were still many more to come…