Day 13: A day to relax

Published: March 2nd 2010
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Day 13

After the heavy rain and lightening of the day before, Sunday dawned as hot as ever. After a quick breakfast, we set off at 08h00 towards the Manuel Antonio National Park for a day by the sea. Bathing costumes and towels were the order of the day - but not being interested in swimming, I opted for the walking.

Apparently, one of the four beaches in the park is rated as one of the ten most beautiful in the world. I have to admit that I'd be pushed to say which one.

We parked at Playa Espadilla Norte, which is just outside the park's entrance and, although very pretty, with white sand and palm trees, it is plagued by street vendors.

Passing through the exit (!), we found ourselves at Playa Espadilla Sur. This is another fine sandy beach although the currents make it difficult to swim. Heading across to the far side of the beach, the others in the group headed to the third beach whilst I climbed in the heat to the top of Punta Catedral. I'm clearly not as good as the guide as spotting anything as all I saw on the long walk around the island was an agouti, a female basilisk, an iguana, a gecko and a German tourist.

Coming out at Playa Manuel Antonio, I was met by the most stunning beach of all. Palm trees and mangos studded the white sand which slipped gently into the blue sea. Still, pretty as it was, this was not for me.

Heading up the hill, I spotted a two-toed sloth climbing a tree with its baby holding on for dear life. Reaching the top, I turned off the path and headed off towards the fourth beach, Playa Puerto Escondido. The footpath was very clear though steep at times but the forest was very dense, hot and humid. Finally, dripping, I came out at the extremely pretty beach and found that I was the only one there. Despite the very hot sun, I did find a cool spot on top of the rocks.

Returning to the meeting point, we had the privilege of watching the daily visit of the white-faced monkeys on their hunt for food. They are very organised and tend to run en masse into a crowd and grab whatever bag they can before heading into the safety of the trees to discard anything they can't eat or drink. They also show signs of intelligence in that one or two may pose for photos and whilst all eyes are on them, a third will sneak in from behind and grab a bag!

The walk back to the bus was hot but devoid of wildlife and back at the hotel, a cool shower was the first thing on everyone's mind!

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