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


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
Photo Op
Lesley at the Overlook

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
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

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

We were on the road relatively early again as we made our departure from Monteverde, down out of the mountains and back down to sea level. The view was amazing as our little mini-bus spiralled its way along this windy gravel road. Rolling green mountains, some of which were baked in sunshine whilst others were covered by low hanging cloud. Rach tried unsuccessfully to capture the moment, the bumpiness and trees lining the road proving an obstacle. We stopped after about 2 hours and we knew we'd come down out of the mountains as the first thing that hit us was the heat! It was only about 10am by this point but whilst we waited at the little truck stop we all chatted about not being able to wait to hit the beach in Manuel Antonio. ... read more

MANUEL ANTONIO: It's no wonder thousands of vacationers flock to Manuel Antonio during the dry season. It's not only home to a famous national park, but also has pristine white-sand beaches framed by jungle. Is has a little something for everyone: good swimming areas and surfing spots, delicious restaurants and 2x1 drink specials, parasailing and beach bumming. Its Costa Rica's own Orange County. The only thing this tiny town doesn't have is much nightlife. We checked into the national park backpackers hostel about a hundred feet from the entrance of the park and a five minute walk to the beach. This is the first hostel we've stayed at that had a pool. Even though it felt like bath water, it was still a nice relief from the intense heat. Every night they show a movie on ... read more

After leaving Paradise, we quickly realized that the rest of our vacation would be entirely different -- not worse or better, just different. We were dropped off by boat in the AM in Golfito and spent about 3 hours on the rocky beach waiting for our 2PM bus to Quepos. We read, chilled and played games-- followed by a fresh ceviche lunch. Delicious :) We got on the bus around 2:30 PM and arrived in Quepos right at dusk about 6-6:30PM. We met a very nice woman who helped us call a cab, and were dropped off at Casa Buena Vista. Casa Buena Vista was another gem that I found on airbnb -- Anita, has lived in her home or 38 years, she has 8 rooms (If I remember correctly) and loves having visitors with her ... read more
Town of Golfito
love it when he falls asleep like this

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