Climbing Montezuma Falls

Filling up our ATV tank.
Filling up our ATV tank.

After our morning Zip Lining tour in Mal Pais we hopped on our ATV, stopped to get gas, and headed to the Montezuma Waterfalls. It took us nearly an hour to reach Montezuma from the Santa Teresa/Mal Pais road fork. Twas’ a very bumpy ride for me on the back of the vehicle. I loved riding through Costa Rica’s roads. 

The map they drew out for us to get Montezuma.
The map they drew out for us to get Montezuma.

We followed our hand drawn map and arrive at the Montezuma/Cabuya sign they gave us as a landmark.


We pulled into a parking looking for the fall. What we expecting was to pull right up to a waterfall, pop-a-squat, and enjoy the surroundings. Little did we know that we had a bit of a hike ahead of us. Justin and I attempted to make our way up unpaved rockiness. There was a bit of struggle on my end due to my unpreparedness. I was wearing dainty little sandals with not a stitch of grip. There was a small group ahead of us that seemed to have been adopted by an “unofficial tour guide”. The unofficial tour guide, Carlos, could tell that I would not have made it without guidance. Therefore, Carlos invited us along.

We had NO idea that we would be trekking an unpaved mountain route to get to the waterfall. We had to rely on tree stumps and roots for proper handle. Normally freaked out by insects, I over looked spiders and ants to hold on to branches to swing myself over bits of cliff. There were moments where I was so apprehensive I regretted the decision to even start this journey in my wretched sandals and up Montezuma. I was mildly freaking out.

The first waterfall we came to had been occupied by both locals and tourists. Carlos informed us that there was more to see if we went higher. And, that if we went higher, we would be less likely to have our things stolen.

Scenic Climbing
Scenic Climbing
Sitting at the first waterfall!
Sitting at the first waterfall!
First Waterfall!
First Waterfall “cascades 80 feet to the pool below”. 

We went ahead on higher up Montezuma. More cliffs. Carlos picked up eight stray tourist and made us all one little climbing family. We reached the second waterfall. The second fall required a steep, difficult climb – we were holding on to cords, vines and tree branches. We spent a bit of time at the second fall.

DSC01086 The second waterfall was the fall that my boyfriend decided he wanted to jump from. He’s a bit of a “thrillist”. I was only nervous because I read people have died making that jump. He was going to do it no matter how I felt about it.

Everyone chilled out a bit at the second fall before we headed to the third fall. We were tired from all the climbing.

IMG_4523 IMG_4520

We were all a tad restless when we got to Montezuma’s third waterfall. It was just us at the top. We spotted a few more White Faced monkeys or, the Capuchin Monkey.

The third waterfall!

We were excited to be heading down but not looking forward to what it took to get down. It took us, maybe, thirty minutes to get back down to the main road – stopping along for scenic snapshots. Though our group ended up together per Carlos’ miscellaneous invite, we had great group chemistry!

Thank you Carlos for getting us up and through Montezuma safely!


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