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


After the heat of the day, the old man set the air conditioning to ‘ice station zebra’ mode and I wake up shivering and desperately searching the depths of my luggage for a jumper. Today, we are going to Manuel Antonio National Park; our entry time slot is 9-9.40 am. No food is allowed in the park, so we stop at a café en route for breakfast and arrive at the allocated time. Once the admin is complete; tickets and ID produced, temperature taken, hands sanitised and bags checked for contraband, we are allowed in. We follow two trails; first Sendero Perezoso (sloth trail). We don’t see any sloths - I’m beginning to think they’re mythical creatures! We do, however, spot monkeys. At first we’re excited, peering up into the trees for a closer look. but ... read more
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park

After one last night in the rubbish bed, it’s time to check out of the hotel Santa Fe, bringing the guest count to zero. My least favourite thing has been that they refused to provide room service ‘due to covid’ yet asked that we do not throw paper in the toilet. By now, the bin is overflowing with 4 days’ worth of soiled paper. At 6 am I’ve had enough and go and sit outside until it’s time to leave. Today, we are travelling 119 miles south to Manuel Antonio, site of Costa Rica’s most popular national park. There’s a strict quota system in place so we’ve already purchased our tickets and are raring to go. After one last encounter with the fluorescent fruit juice, we depart. It’s supposedly a 3.5 hour drive - factor in ... read more
Departing Monteverde
Descending from Monteverde
Road from Monteverde

After breakfast this morning, we had a short ride to the Manuel Antonio National Park. This is a very small park along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. We did a walking tour of the park walking in to the beach where we had several hours to enjoy the beach if we desired. The walk yielded very little new to our wildlife list with the exception of a few bugs. The larger animals consisted of monkeys and sloths. The White-faced Monkeys here are very bold and will steal items right off the beach if you do not watch your belongings. Raccoons will do the same as we watched one check out some backpacks. After walking into the beach, we spent a short while sitting at a table near the beach before deciding to walk out of ... read more
Capuchin Monkey eating from the tree
Black Iguana
Sleeping Sloth

The warm evenings and hot sunny days were exactly what I wanted, coming from Seattle. It was also nice after the chilly evenings up in the mountains of Monteverde. Cloud forests are beautiful, but you’re in a cloud. The beaches around Manuel Antonio were a whole different world. We stayed with a woman named Anita who has run a small guest house called Casa Buena Vista for forty years. It’s on a steep bluff overlooking the Manuel Antonio beach, so the deck area above our room was up in the trees. We saw dozens of squirrel monkeys and a few howler and capuchin monkeys too. It was fun to lay back in a hammock and watch the squirrel monkeys playing around us in the tree tops. We saw almost as many animals from Anita’s as we ... read more
Baby Sloth!
Trouble a.k.a. Capuchin Monkey
Tent-making Bats

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 ... read more
Manuel Antonio Sunset (3)
Manuel Antonio Nationaal Park Costa Rica - White-faced Monkeys (15)
Manuel Antonio Nationaal Park Costa Rica - Racoons (4)

Another great day in paradise started with a home cooked breakfast in our sweet digs before heading out to check out some souvenirs. On our long drive yesterday we passed a small patch of souvenir sellers that had colourful tablecloths hung up for sale. They also happened to be next to the (we now know) renowned “crocodile bridge” in Tarcoles. Since it was a beautiful morning three of us hopped in the car to check them out. We made a pit stop on the way to check out a souvenir shop en route - I’m always on the hunt for a magnet as a memento. Mostly we were looking to see what was on offer and what the typical prices were. It took us just under an hour to get to Tarcoles and although the crocodiles ... read more
Path to the beach
Capuchin at the beach

Ok before you get excited, Manuel Antonio isn't a sexy Costa Rican guy who wants to marry me. It's a national park on the Costa Rican coast where the jungle meets the beach. I arrived here and so far I've not seen much but I went to the beach with two Dutch girls and an American guy from the hostel and it was amazing. The sand was BLACK! The reason is because it's actually volcanic sand, a mixture of ash and the rock from the nearby volcano. Photo attached of my feet in the sand. I had my first swim in the Pacific Ocean and the water was warm and beautiful. There were strong rip tides and currents so I didn't go far but it was still lovely. We sat and drank vodka and ginger ale ... read more
Palm trees with real coconuts to collect!
The Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean

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

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