Manuel Antonio

Published: October 15th 2012
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emily, nick, and kelsey on a rock in the pacific
After an AWESOME weekend, I’ve returned to my casa in Santa Marta safe and sound! It was so great to have three days to enjoy the weekend. It gave us enough time to explore a lot of Manuel Antonio! I’ll fill you all in on the best parts.

So we first took the bus from San Jose on Thursday night at 6pm. I didn’t know what to expect since I had heard that sometimes the buses can be uncomfortable. But I was lucky! I got a seat right behind the handicap entrance so I had a ton of leg room. It was a very comfortable ride. It only took a little over three hours.

Then we arrived at our hostel, called Backpacker Manuel Antonio ( We had made reservations before we left, but it turns out there are like three hostels in Manuel Antonio with the same name. We ended up not having a reservation here (oops) but there was plenty of room so we just decided to go for it. I’m so glad we have the opportunity to travel outside of the busy season because it was not crowded at all! We ended up staying at this hostel
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un restaurante (muy caro) en manuel antonio
Friday and Saturday night – the first night there was only one other girl there, and the next night be had the entire room to ourselves. Very comfortable. Also, this hostel had complimentary pancakes and coffee in the morning – I think we picked a winner.

Friday, we all decided to go to the public beach. It was a really great day in terms of weather…even a little hot. I can’t even describe the beach there. It literally looks like a postcard. Or what you see in movies. And the water is SOOOO warm! And there are vendors walking around selling fresh coconuts and shaved iced.

After spending a few hours on the beach and in the water, some of us explored the street behind the beach. It reminded me a little of Venice, but a lot smaller. There are probably only two or three stores that sell merchandise but what they sell is a lot like what the little shops in Venice sell. And while we were looking around in one there was an earthquake! I think it was probably an aftershock of the one up north that happened a few days before. It wasn’t that strong but we definitely felt it.

Out of the whole group, I am the one that spends the most time at the beach, and I think the only one that surfs. So, as I kind of expected, it was requested that I give surfing lessons. The waves were okay, but not great. I didn’t end up renting a board because it wasn’t really worth it. But a couple people in the group did and they asked me to give them some tips. They kind of caught a couple waves, but it was fun nevertheless. Riptides are a common thing on the Pacific, just like in California. Nobody had really experienced them before, and one girl kind of got stuck in one. Everything was okay, but you can definitely tell who has and hasn’t spent a lot of time in the water before.

It started to rain in the afternoon so we decided to go back to our hostel. In an effort to save money I packed some food with me that I had bought at the grocery store. So for dinner that night we ate oatmeal and raisins made in the microwave – a true hostel meal.

The next day, Saturday, I think was my favorite. We decided to move to a hostel closer to the beach. After we dropped off our stuff in our room, we bought tickets to go into Manuel Antonio National Park. To get to the beach, you have to walk a little ways through the jungle. It was only about a mile. Once we got to the beach, we were greeted by monkeys! That’s right people – monkeys on the beach. They were white-faced or capuchin monkeys, like the one from Night at the Museum J I think they are like the equivalent of seagulls in California – well maybe not quite, but there were a lot of them. We found a spot to sit and spent about four hours layin’ on the beach, playin’ in the waves, and climbin’ rocks. There were these really cool rocks right off shore that we all climbed – got some real good pics! We also frequently had to ward off raccoons. Yes, raccoons live on the beach too. These guys and the monkeys are very used to people which is not so great. The raccoon tried to steal our lunch, and I saw a monkey make off with someone’s flashlight. They are pretty sneaky.

A little later some people decided to head back, but four of us went to another beach in the park close by. I’m so glad we did because we saw a lot more cool stuff! First, two people had snorkeling gear so we took turns and explored the reef a little bit and it was AWESOME. Not as cool as Hanama Bay but still awesome. Lots of tropical fish and clear blue water. After we finished snorkeling, some monkeys snuck up on us. And one of them had a baby on her back! They are so cute. Devilish but cute. And fast.

Today, our last day, wasn’t too great weather wise, so our beach time was limited. We decided to go into Quepos, the town near Manuel Antonio. We got subway for lunch, and then luckily caught the earlier bus! Saved us about 4 hours of waiting around and doing nothing. An awesome end to an awesome weekend.

I also have to mention the fact that everything is sooooo cheap. I estimated how much I spent this weekend and it comes to about $70. That includes lodging, transportation, food, everything. For three days on a tropical beach in Costa Rica, I would say that is pretty bitchin’.

Even though the weekend was great, it is really nice to be back in a home, and have regular meals, my own bed, and a shower. It was a great weekend trip, and if anyone has the chance to visit Manuel Antonio, I would highly recommend it!

Last note – pictures will be posted soon. I have to steal them from my friends J



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