Montezuma is a small but amazing town to the East of Santa Teresa in Costa Rica. The beaches might not seem as prominent as the beaches in Santa Teresa but they are if you know where to look. Playa Grande in Montezuma is a vast beach that has easily the best waves in the area. There are barely any people around you but that is because it is a little bit of a hike to get to it. It takes around 30-40 minutes to get here but after that, you get an entire beach practically to yourself.
I would highly recommend you take the hike here at least one of the days. You might see some volunteers with a tractor going around to different spots. This is one of the areas where they let off baby turtles into the ocean. Unfortunately, we did not see any but you might be luckier than us! If you get to Playa Montezuma early in the day, you might as well give this hike a try!
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
Directions to Playa Grande Montezuma
If you were to only look at the map above, it may seem super straightforward on how to get to Playa Grande. It still is, as most of the hike is along the beach but some trails are hard to see. The only way to get to this beach is by walking and that’s why it is so amazing. You will be going through different natural refuges along the way which makes the trail unique. Start at Montezuma beach by the Montezuma sign. This is the beach that heads north, not the small beach on the south side of the town. You can follow the beach for a while until you get to the Ylan Ylan Beach Resort. Here is where one of the trails that you must take starts.
Keep following this path for not long at all and you will see a sign welcoming you to Piedra Colorada and Playa Grande. The first section of the beach you will access is Piedra Colorada. This area is famous for rock stacking that you will see takes up a large part of this area. You can hang out here some if you want but keep walking almost diagonally to the new trail to head to Playa Grande.
The trail is pretty easy to follow from here. It will turn into a lot more cobblestone-looking pathway. This will lead you to another beach that isn’t the greatest. It is full of huge rocks but has a lot of colorful seashells in the sand, so you’ll know you’re there. Keep an eye out on the left for a trail that goes through to forest. We missed it our first time and cut through, so it is fairly easy to miss. Once you finish this path you will be at Playa Grande Montezuma! You will most likely be one of the very few people at this beach. Sometimes you will see some surfers here and volunteers but the beach is so massive it will always feel like you’re alone.
What To Do In Playa Grande Montezuma
If you want to take your time getting to Playa Grande, Piedra Colorada is a cool place to hang out at. There is a river flowing right through it into the ocean. You can hike back into it and do some exploring. Keep an eye out for a colorful rock you’d like to stack! This area is rather popular because of how much closer it is to the other beaches.
There aren’t as many places to surf in Montezuma as compared to Santa Teresa but this is one spot that is popular with the locals. The amazing thing about this is that you will most likely have all the ways to yourself. There might be a few people out there or some surf lessons but Playa Grande is so huge that it doesn’t really matter. The fact that you have to carry your surfboard for 30 minutes to get here is a big turn-off but well worth it.
Romelia Wildlife Refuge
During this trek, you walk through two different forests to get to it. The forest that is right behind Playa Grande is Romelia Wildlife Refuge. This means you have the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife while sunbathing at this beach. We personally saw an anteater and multiple monkeys. Be careful though as the monkeys might still have some of your belongings! This area is home to a popular volunteer program and is also home to where sea turtles lay their eggs and are released back into the wild.
Playa Grande in Montezuma is easily their best beach and one you have to visit while you’re here. The hike isn’t that long and 99% of the time you’re looking at some gorgeous scenery. Overall I highly recommend this to everyone even if you’re coming from Santa Teresa for the day. Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you get to make it out here one day.