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


Distance driven today: none – hanging out in Manuel Antonio Cumulative distance driven: 7,474 miles / 12,028 km Today’s trip: Hiking around Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica We spent all day in beautiful Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The humidity level here is well over 80% most of the day, apart from the time when the tropical rain starts pouring, upon which the humidity level further increases! Zoe and I took a long guided tour in the Manuel Antonio tropical rainforest national park. We learned that, despite its tiny size of 200 hectares / 8 square miles, the national park boasts over 100 mammal species and close to 200 bird species, making it one of the most biodiverse areas anywhere. Our guide, who carried a tripod and powerful binocular lens with him, did ... read more
Ininity pool at our hotel facing the Pacific coast
Manuel Antonio tropical rainforest national park
National park beach

Distance driven today: 91 miles / 146 km Cumulative distance driven: 7,474 miles / 12,028 km Today’s trip: San Jose to Manuel Antonio, Cosa Rica Times I dropped the bike: once on an extremely steep driveway up to the hotel parking – no serious damage other than to Christer’s pride… Today we rode the shortest distance so far, just 146km/91miles. However, there was no lack of adventure for sure. Our goal was to ride from San Jose to the Pacific coast, and the beautiful backpacker friendly Manual Antonio. Instead of taking the straight-forward highway to the coast, I decided (in my infinite wisdom!) to take the scenic route over the mountains. The GPS route showed it to be shorter by a whole 50km/30 miles compared to the coastal highway. Half way into the scenic route it ... read more
Road from San Jose towards the Pacific coast
Zoe resting after a bumpy ride on gravel
Manuel Antonio approching

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

Nick: What with the salt flats tour, trip to the Amazon and visit to Machu Picchu (not to mention the bout of illness between the two), the last two or three weeks of travelling had definitely been the most intense so far and it started to catch up with us. As such, we were looking forward to our time in Costa Rica and having a few days to calm down and recuperate before the next leg. We'd wanted to visit Costa Rica for some time - it had only just been pipped to the post for our honeymoon destination by New Zealand - and when we'd drawn up our travelling plans, we couldn't resist bolting it on to the end of our South America itinerary, since we were in that neck of the woods (sort of!). ... read more
Beach, day 1
Taking a dip

This was our last day of planned activities here in “The jungle on the beach”. Our muscles were sore and tired, but we had another day of hiking, so we sucked it up and attacked the Manuel Antonio National Park. First, we learned that the land used to be owned by a man named...Manuel Antonio. For many years the locals had a path across it to the best beach around. Manuel Antonio was fine with that, so the practice went on for many years. After he died, a French man purchased the property and he erected a fence and put up “Prohibido el paso” signs. The locals climbed the fence and crossed through his jungle to the beach. He built taller fences, and they continued to go over. When he added even more security, the locals ... read more
Hungry monkey
Monkey mid-jump
Howler monkey

It stormed all night, so I was very happy to wake up and realize that the sun was peeking through. This was our catamaran cruise day, and I certainly didn't want it to get rained out. We caught our van to the dock in Quepos, and boarded a large and apparently new catamaran. This boat had lots of extras...2 criss-crossing slides into the water, 2 hot tubs, and 2 stretched nets to lie on over the water. They served fresh fruit, crackers, and an open bar as we sailed out of the port and into the Pacific Ocean. We were hoping to see dolphins, but they must have had other plans for the day because they never did show up. After an hour or so, we dropped anchor in a sheltered cove and jumped in! The ... read more

This morning we left the cool mountain top of Monteverde to head to the lowlands and the beach. I managed to sit in the front seat for the hair-raising descent on the dirt road that leads down and around the mountain. I think I was better off not knowing that Juan Carlos, our driver, talks with his hands...taking both of them off the steering wheel at the same time. On the drive to Manuel Antonio, we made a monkey stop to see some howlers up in a tree. I've always been particularly amused by monkeys in the wild, so I continue to get excited about sightings. We made a pit stop further down the road, and we managed to see some black-striped iguanas. I'm accustomed to lizards in Florida, but these are big! Our guide assured ... read more
Black-striped Iguana
View from below Monteverde
Howler Monkeys

Manuel Antonio is situated on the Pacific side of Costa Rica and in the southwest direction of San Jose. I was quite excited that this was our next destination as I had heard that Manuel Antonio is an amazing place to visit. I'm told that the beaches are stunning and it's the perfect opportunity to see lots of wildlife as it has an national park. The day started off with another early start and we had approximately a 4 hour bus journey ahead of us as we headed south from Monteverde. We had only been on the bus for about 45 minutes when we came to a halt. There were workman working on the road. I must admit some of the roads in Costa Rica are in poor condition and we found that these workman were ... read more
Hacky Sack
White faced monkey
Manuel Antonio

For our last non-travelling day together as a group we decide to have a last bit of wildlife watching followed by what I think is going to be a relaxing ocean cruise to view the National Park from the sea, but unfortunately turns out to be something entirely different. But first the wildlife walk. We have to get the bus from Quepos to the same beach we'd been at the day before - not really sure why Intrepid parked us all the way out in Quepos which isn't really that nice a place instead of nearer to the national park, but hey it did have a lovely pool. We have to walk inland a bit to get to the entrance to the Park and Brian pays our entrance fees (Intrepid included activity this one). Luckily we ... read more
Checking out his audience
Having a rest
Looking for another branch to move slowly towards

Our main reason for visiting Costa Rica was to see wildlife so what better way to arrive in the country than on a boat through the jungle with monkeys running around in the branches and various birds swooping through the trees. We crossed the border at Los Chiles and it was a pretty easy crossing. To get anywhere in Costa Rica by bus you have to go in and out of the capital San Jose, which makes it a difficult country to travel around. We headed straight there as a quick stop on our way to Manuel Antonio national park. Steve will talk about San Jose later. After the remoteness of Rio San Juan, Costa Rica came as a bit of a shock. The country is incredibly beautiful and has a ridiculous amount of wildlife. It ... read more
Agouti in the undergrowth
Spot the sloth
Look out for crocodiles!

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