We had an amazing weekend getaway at Manuel Antonio National Park. We left right after school in an absolute downpour to head to the "beach" for the weekend. We took the Interbus (which is like a private shuttle bus) from Santa Ana to Manuel Antonio. It is on the west coast of Costa Rica on the Pacific Ocean side. It took about 3 hours with a lot of traffic and a few stops along the way. We arrived after dark to our hotel "Costa Verde". The hotels motto is "Still more monkeys than people" so we were hoping for lots of sightings. Our room was great, really big with an amazing balcony but it was dark so we didn't really know where we were. The kids were super hungry and we weren't really sure where to go but there was a pizza place walking distance from the hotel so we decided that was a safe bet. On our way up, there was a group of college kids with a flashlight pointed up and they stopped us to show us they were looking at the coolest sloth climbing across a telephone wire. We ate some delicious wood-fired pizza which was a welcome
break from "gallo pinto" which is served with every mean here (rice and black beans). We went to bed early and around 5am I kept hearing the strangest noise. I couldn't decide if it was from the cars going by or something else. I got up and went to the bathroom and could hear it even louder in there so I walked over to the sliding glass door to our balcony to look out and low and behold we had the most amazing view of the ocean and the jungle. The noise I could hear was howler monkeys. We thought we saw one right outside our room but it actually turned out to be a Coati which is kind of a raccoon type creature. We went snorkeling on an amazing catamaran with a slide that the kids loved. Saw some pretty big iguanas near the marina. When we got back there were monkeys right out side of our balcony. It was incredible. We took a little siesta and then went to the beach for the evening. Then, this morning, we got up and headed down to Manuel Antonio National Park. We hiked about 2 miles in the park and found
an amazingly white beach with clear water. Signs everywhere say don't feed the monkeys and they warn you that they come up and steal your food. I was sitting by a tree and a man about 10 feet from me called out..."Senora" and when I looked at him he pointed behind me and I swear there was a monkey not 5 feet away from me. 2 raccoons also paid us a visit and tried to steal food from peoples bags. The sights and sounds were amazing and something I will never forget. Back to the grind tomorrow at Conversa for another week of studying. There is supposed to be another family coming with a 14 year old boy so that should be good for the boys.