Blogs from Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean

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This was our last day of planned activities here in “The jungle on the beach”. Our muscles were sore and tired, but we had another day of hiking, so we sucked it up and attacked the Manuel Antonio National Park. First, we learned that the land used to be owned by a man named...Manuel Antonio. For many years the locals had a path across it to the best beach around. Manuel Antonio was fine with that, so the practice went on for many years. After he died, a French man purchased the property and he erected a fence and put up “Prohibido el paso” signs. The locals climbed the fence and crossed through his jungle to the beach. He built taller fences, and they continued to go over. When he added even more security, the locals ... read more
Hungry monkey
Monkey mid-jump
Howler monkey


This morning we left the cool mountain top of Monteverde to head to the lowlands and the beach. I managed to sit in the front seat for the hair-raising descent on the dirt road that leads down and around the mountain. I think I was better off not knowing that Juan Carlos, our driver, talks with his hands...taking both of them off the steering wheel at the same time. On the drive to Manuel Antonio, we made a monkey stop to see some howlers up in a tree. I've always been particularly amused by monkeys in the wild, so I continue to get excited about sightings. We made a pit stop further down the road, and we managed to see some black-striped iguanas. I'm accustomed to lizards in Florida, but these are big! Our guide assured ... read more
Black-striped Iguana
View from below Monteverde
Howler Monkeys


For our last non-travelling day together as a group we decide to have a last bit of wildlife watching followed by what I think is going to be a relaxing ocean cruise to view the National Park from the sea, but unfortunately turns out to be something entirely different. But first the wildlife walk. We have to get the bus from Quepos to the same beach we'd been at the day before - not really sure why Intrepid parked us all the way out in Quepos which isn't really that nice a place instead of nearer to the national park, but hey it did have a lovely pool. We have to walk inland a bit to get to the entrance to the Park and Brian pays our entrance fees (Intrepid included activity this one). Luckily we ... read more
Checking out his audience
Having a rest
Looking for another branch to move slowly towards


Our main reason for visiting Costa Rica was to see wildlife so what better way to arrive in the country than on a boat through the jungle with monkeys running around in the branches and various birds swooping through the trees. We crossed the border at Los Chiles and it was a pretty easy crossing. To get anywhere in Costa Rica by bus you have to go in and out of the capital San Jose, which makes it a difficult country to travel around. We headed straight there as a quick stop on our way to Manuel Antonio national park. Steve will talk about San Jose later. After the remoteness of Rio San Juan, Costa Rica came as a bit of a shock. The country is incredibly beautiful and has a ridiculous amount of wildlife. It ... read more
Agouti in the undergrowth
Spot the sloth
Look out for crocodiles!


We had an amazing weekend at the central Pacific coast enjoying a well-deserved break from classes and daily life in the Central Valley. The hotel (called Mimos) was very tropical and our first stop on Friday afternoon was the pool! Saturday morning was our highlighted time at Manuel Antonio National Park, but this entry of the blog is only going to tease you a little bit about that. There will be a blog entry written by a student focusing on the wildlife that we saw in the park and even at the hotel, so the entry you are reading now will not contain our wildlife pictures. But we did get some GREAT ones -- tease, tease -- so keep checking the blog for that upcoming entry. Of course, Howl, our own Red Wolf, is not indigenous ... read more
Overlook
Photo Op
Lesley at the Overlook

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Costa Rica 2013: Day 13: Manuel Antonio Day 3: This morning is the Spices Tour we signed up for last night. We were up and ready long before the minivan arrived at 8:50 to take us to the farm. I don't think I mentioned that we were a bit hesitant about taking this tour, due to the cost of $50 each, but it sounded very interesting, and Manoli wasn't all that excited about the other tours available, so we went for it. When they picked us up, there was already a young couple in the minivan, going on the tour with us. We traveled quite a ways out of town to their farm, Villa Vainilla. It is a well-known, recognized biodersity operation with a lot of write-ups expounding on it's virtues. They are a major producer ... read more
Waiting on the Tour
Vanilla
Cocoa Beans


Costa Rica 2013: Day 12: Manuel Antonio Day 2: This morning we were headed to Manuel Antonio National Park, hopefully to at least see monkeys and a sloth or two. After a cup of coffee made in our suite, we walked down the road to the park entrance. We had to stand in line a few minutes to buy our entry tickets, at $10 each, hoping it would be worth it. They gave us a map and explained the parts that were closed to the public, then off we went. At first, we sort of trailed along with one or another guided group, not to hear what they were saying, but to see what they found interesting. Many times we couldn't see what they saw because the guides had fancy telescopes set up, but we did ... read more
Unusual "Slow" sign
Beautiful Flower
Rather Large Spider


Costa Rica 2013: Day 11: Playas del Coco to Manuel Antonio: We were ready to leave our room at Laura's House by 6am, but unfortunately the lady who had been in the cafe the morning before wasn't there, so no coffee. We made our way to the bus stop in Playas del Coco to catch the 6:30am bus to Liberia and arrived with time to spare. The "bus stop" is just a place on the side of the road where the Pulmiton busses stop. When we arrived in Liberia, it was just past 7:30am, so we walked the block or so to the bus station for Puntarensas, and lo and behold, the 7:30 bus to Puntarenas was just leaving, so we hopped on, already an hour ahead of schedule, as I'd planned on catching the 8:30 ... read more
Quepos Bus Terminal
Soda Maricela, Quepos
Lunch at Soda Maricela


Sorry folks, you've still got to put up with my (Ben's) rambling as I have the advantage of being able to type away whilst on the bus and we're currently snaking our way up into the Panamian mountains...but that's for a blog in a few days time. We woke up a little disgruntled given we had to leave our beach paradise and travel back to the dirty capital. We could've have easily spent another couple of days relaxing but alas, the tour must go on. It wasn't all bad though, as our public bus back to San Jose wasn't leaving until noon so we had the morning to 'chill-out'. I rose around 8.30am, chucked my running gear on and went for a jog along the beach. As soon as I opened the front door I was ... read more
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We allowed ourselves a bit of a sleep in this morning given our frantic week of bussing all around the country. We wandered 3 doors up from our hotel to a hostel that did $4 'big breakfasts' – fruit platter, scrambled eggs, toast, coffee and of course, Central America's favourite dish, rice and beans. The sun was already beating down on us and it felt like 100% humidity, as even sitting down and eating would raise a sweat. We wandered up to the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park, paid our $10 entrance fee for foreigners (if I was Costa Rican, the entrance price was about 50c), shrugged off the would-be guides who were trying to obtain our business and strolled into the park, confident of seeing the elusive sloth. The Manuel Antonio National Park is ... read more
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