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Published: December 6th 2018
Sun 2-Mon 3 December - Day 37 to 38 - Manuel Antonio
We travel from the Central Valley to the Pacific coast, through very lush green countryside to the small village of Manuel Antonio, where we visited the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most popular parks in the country.
We checked into the Manuel Antonio Hotel which was 5 minutes walk from the entrance to the Park and just across the road from the beautiful beach. The water was brilliant turquoise and sand white with some pebbles to negotiate on the way into the water.
We had got up at 4.00am for a 4.30am departure so that we were in the Park by 8.30am to beat the crowd. We organised a guide ($15USD each) which was worth every cent. Costa Rica uses the Colone which equates to 425C to $1 AUD, however USD are nearly always quoted, and you pay either by USD or Colone.
This celebrated park is blessed with beautiful lagoons, palm fringed beaches, a vast array of animals and lush green forests. We saw so much wildlife – many sloths (2 & 3 toed
sloths) including a mum with a baby, White-faced monkeys, Howler monkeys, several birds, Jesus Christ Lizard, iguanas, many insects and the common green rainforest frog and many racoons on the ground and in the trees. When we went on several walks to the various beeches and the lookout points, we saw what a pest the White-faced Monkeys were. As soon as you sit down and look as though you are going to pull out your lunch, they come and try to pounce on you to steel your food.
The view on the highest lookout was incredibly beautiful. The Park had prepared all the paths with concrete and big drains as well as wooden and concrete stairs. We walked for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, we didn’t take our bathers (silly us) so we didn’t swim in the several coves inside the Park. At around 2.00pm we walked out of the Park to our hotel, to have a swim. We stopped at a restaurant to have a lovely cold beer first, watching a bright yellow and black bird feeding.
Our rooms were very large with all the facilities. Our room wasn’t quite ready when we
returned from the Park, but we had access to change facilities so on went the bathers. Oh, the water was a beautiful temperature. There were small waves where you could pretend to body surf!
That afternoon we just enjoyed our new environment, sharing beers with some of our travel mates and going for a lovely fish dinner at night.
The next day (Monday), the Manual Antonio Park was closed so we decided to catch a local bus to Quepos. We found the very new marina which was a city in itself, walked along the (tired) foreshore where we noticed a lot of properties for sale. We then found a lovely little café to have a cold drink. This area’s economy relies 85% on tourism and the remainder on palm-oil which is owned by a Nicaraguan company.
The area was completely cleared of mangroves and land reclaimed to plant bananas. In the 1950s over 85% of the plantations died of disease so the fruit company moved from the Pacific side to the Caribbean side. Now it is covered with restaurants and hotels and surrounded by palm oil plantations.
caught the local bus back along the cliffs to the El Avion Restaurant made famous for the C-123 military surplus cargo plane which the restaurant is built around. The body of the plane is a bar and the wings are part of the roof of the restaurant. It is perched on the side of the cliff which provided spectacular views as we ate our lovely lunch with a cold beer. Next to the restaurant was a 500m long zipline which we watched on the way back to our hotel (which was about a 30 minute down-hill walk).
On our return, we had another swim in the ocean in the afternoon before being picked up at 5.00pm for a night jungle walk through the Rainmaker National Park. Our big group of 15 was split up into 2 groups with one guide for each group. For a short time, it sprinkled with rain but didn’t last long. Wit LED flashlights in hand, we saw several red-eyed frogs, the common rainforest frog, massive bull frogs, many, many cane toads (yuk), iguanas, leaf0cutting ants, spiders, bats, one bird but no snake. The forest was a primary forest, so the trees were
massive so not many birds were seen.
After 2 hours, we had a lovely Cost Rican dinner (chicken rice, black beans, shredded vegies and coleslaw. It took us an hour to return to our hotel in a very new Mercedes minivan. Many of the other tourists we walked with were from the USA and Canada. Cost Rica is a very popular holidaying destination for these 2 countries.
Next morning we got up at a reasonable time and departed in another minivan at 7.00am
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