Known in spanish as “Refugio Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia” (RMVSR), this reserve is located just behind Playa Grande in Montezuma.
Although this inscribed as a national wildlife refuge, it’s still managed by the original family who founded it, so it’s not public property and should be respected as such. So unless you’re invited to see the interior, please stay on the beach. No camping is allowed here. And anyway, you wouldn’t want to spend the night on this beach, because it’s well known to be haunted.
Founded October 24, 1997, the size is 156.3 Hectares, or 386.4 acres, and includes the land from 50 meters behind the high tide line, up into the hills.
Hike to Romelia
It’s one of the most popular hikes in Montezuma, and many people make the 30-40 minute trek out to Playa Grande (originally named Playa Cocal) for swimming, surfing, visiting the turtle sanctuary, or to join the yearly Chunches de Mar art festival.
Sea Turtle Sanctuary & Volunteer Program
As part of the management plan of Romelia, the refuge includes a Sea Turtle sanctuary. Hidden in the jungle in the beach are several structures, including housing for the volunteers, a kitchen, greenhouse a half-built three-story villa (more than 15 years old), and much more.
This is definitely a tropical paradise, and a popular place to volunteer.
Turtle egg-laying and hatching season is August through January, and this is the time that volunteers are most needed, to move the eggs to the sanctuaries so no one digs them up to eat them, and to protect the babies as they wiggle their way down to the sea after hatching. However, volunteers are needed all year to take care of the infrastructure, orchards, gardens, etc.
To volunteer, email the contact info below, or you can also volunteer through the Tropical Adventures program.
Montezuma’s Wine Vineyard
The legends are true! Tucked in the back of Romelia is quite a large hillside covered with grape vines. Local grapes that grow wild in the jungle were used for the root stock, and grafted onto that were Italian grapes that grow well near the beach. For decades the grapes here were all but abandoned, but recently Romelia has had the resources to take care of the vines again. So, Montezuma could have its own wine again within a few years.
Chunches de Mar Art Camp Festival
Usually, once per year, Chunches de Mar happens, and artists come from all over to stay at the beach here at Romelia to create art made from whatever they can find washed up on the beach, and to experience beautiful Playa Grande.
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