Montezuma, Costa Rica, near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, has a bit of a slacker reputation along the coast. There are waves, but people usually go elsewhere to surf. There is less-than-spectacular snorkeling. There is a little nightlife, but not as much as other coastal surfer towns. But still the hitchhikers and the RTW travelers and the dread-locked masses flock to this small Tico Town to sit around in hammocks and practice yoga.
There are also tropical drinks to drink and good food to eat in this beach town. There are cheap sodas, open-air diners, on every corner, but good Mediterranean food is easy to find. For a taste of southern Europe, a little romance, and the perfect beach location, head just south of town along the beach and hit up Playa de los Artistas. Don’t miss it: the only thing that marks it is a small menu and an inconspicuous open gate on the beach side of the road.
Driftwood tables are scattered across the beach, and once the sun goes down, the only light comes from a series of lanterns and candles on the beach and in the open-air restaurant. They have a menu that changes daily, and servers explain dishes for non-Spanish speakers. Meat, fish and pizza are cooked on the outdoor, coffee-wood oven, and they offer a variety of beer, wine and cocktails. Try their Costa Rican microbrews, which can be hard to find in a country full of cheap (both in price and taste) Imperial. They aren’t great but definitely a welcome change.
Service is slow and relaxed, like all service in Costa Rica, and there is ample time to wind down from your day and enjoy the waves and early tropical sunsets. The food is excellent and eclectic, and there is also sushi on the menu. Food in Costa Rica contains lots of fruits and vegetables, but “vegetarian” is difficult to find. Here at Playa, however, they take great care of their vegetarian options (try the stuffed peppers!) that cater to the yoga crowd. They also take care to use local, organic ingredients, which is a common practice not only in Montezuma but all over Costa Rica.
Playa de los Artistas is a great stop in a town not known for its food. It can be pricey, and they don’t take credit cards, so be prepared. This is also the kind of restaurant where most of the employees are from somewhere else, and chances are they speak little Spanish. One of our servers was a Kiwi and the other hailed from Bosnia, both were in Costa Rica just to enjoy the beach, live cheaply and make some cash for the summer. In fact, throughout Montezuma, English, French and Slavic languages are easily as common as Spanish. But definitely take some time to visit this perfect little spot on the Nicoya Peninsula.