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


Today, Renata and I are going surfing with Dante’s Surf School. I always thought it would be cool to learn how to surf. However, I never realized just how difficult it would be. While trying to surf, I fell off my board numerous times, bruised my knee and twisted my ankle. I am glad, Renata and I decided to leave surfing as our last excursion in Costa Rica. I would not want to be walking around with a twisted ankle for the majority of our trip. Although, I had great difficulty learning to surf, Renata had better luck. She able to stand up on the surf board for about 30 seconds. I really applaud her determination with learning to surf. She never gave up and looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself. I, on the other ... read more

In the afternoon, we headed to the Damas Mangroves for our Kayak tour with Tucanes Tours. We drove past huge African Palm trees on our way to the Mangrove. Palm oil is one of the many exports of Costa Rica. When we finally reached the Damas Mangroves, we were given life jackets and paddles. After a brief safety demonstration, we were off. On the tour, we learned about the different mangroves. The main three mangroves are the black, red and white mangroves. There were also mangroves that we saw that looked sort of like pineapples. Although, Renata and I had difficulty maneuvering the kayak to avoid mangroves, we always seemed to escape tight situations. It was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again. For dinner, we headed over to the local Falafel Bar ... read more

Today, Renata and I headed on a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park with Costa Rican Jade Tours. Out of all the national parks we’ve been to in Costa Rica, I found Manuel Antonio National Park to be the best park to spot wildlife. We saw sloths, various monkeys, birds and insects. The park also has a beautiful beach to relax. However, at the beach, we had to be careful of our belongings. The white face capuchin monkeys and raccoons are known to steal from unsuspecting tourist. As the day grew hotter, we headed back to our hotel to cool off. In the late afternoon, we headed to the local beach and watched parasailers in the distance and the beautiful sunset on the horizon. For dinner we headed to La Cantina, where we enjoyed some ... read more
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park

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 ... read more

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

We decided that sleeping in a bit wouldn’t be a bad way to start off our first full day in Costa Rica. Breakfast in the restaurant was full of choices, and both of us ate way too much again. With our stomachs full we packed for a day trip down to Manuel Antonio, a national park along the Pacific coast. We made our first stop in a town called Jaco, where we bought some bug-spray and for Soph to grab a coffee. After a brief walk up and down the street we were back on our way. It was well after noon when we found a taqueria near the park called Sancho’s ... read more
Sophie taking it all in
Found a beach
El Avion near Manuel Antonio

We drove to Manuel Antonia Park which is about a 40 minute drive. It's a relatively small park but one that I'd heard a lot about and a place we shouldn't miss. We hired a guide to help us see more animals and take us through the park. She brought along a telescope to see some of the things up close. We saw monkeys, sloths, a poisonous snake, some red eyed frogs (although the one I looked at through her scope just looked like a green blob on the underside of a leaf), and a type of racoon called a kudamonday. We don't have any good monkey photos from this trip...they're very fast and up in the trees. I got a lot of trees but hard to see the monkeys in the pictures I took. We ... read more
Ken and Marsha at the park sign
Our tour guide with telescope
Poisonous snake

So in some ways you could say we are still living for the weekend... while we are definitely enjoying the volunteer work, the daily commute (which is new to us!) takes its toll and this weekend we decided to escape from the city for a needed break. Along with 12 other Maximo Nivel volunteers (and our fearless driver, Leo) we piled into a microbus on Friday afternoon for the 3 hour trip to Manuel Antonio, which came highly recommended by pretty much everyone we have met! After checking into our hotel (Costa Verde) and having dinner, all 14 of us set out in search of the beach. By the light of the full moon (and some help from the iphone light app ;) we managed to find our way down a steep hill, across a mushy ... read more
Sunset on the Pacific
Friendly Iguana
Pura Vida!

Well we went to the restaurant Hicaco, in Jaco, to find that it was closed. So we headed to a restaurant in Herradura beach, called El Pelicano. Not only did I have the best seared yellow tail tuna I had every had, I also had a few of the best piña coladas ever made! Our dinner was delicious and we enjoyed the sunset right over the water. Yesterday could not have gotten any better! My dad and I rented a car and drove down to Manuel Antonio National Park. We went on a tour with a man named William, who was incredibly knowledgeable about all of the different animals in the park. He also had the unbelievable ability to spot insects and camouflaged animals that we would have never seen with our untrained eyes. After a ... read more
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Our Villa We have a 2 bedroom villa overlooking the ocean. It is a far steep walk (one we haven't attempted yet) down to the ocean- they provide shuttle service. We are at the top of the property so great overlooking views. We are close to some restaurants outside the property, grocery store and a quaint coffee shop. At the beach there is one restaurant which serves breakfast and lunch. They have good food here and the beer is Imperial- but reminds me of Canadian so not my fave! There are 3 pools as well- all a fun walk to find! Beautiful property and lanscape. Monkeys in the trees outside the room and down at the Ocean front restaurant as we showed yesterday. There are tons of lizards and Iguanas all around. I am still a ... read more
dinner in the room
open air showers

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