Saturday, April 4, 2015

Monkeying Around Manuel Antonio National Park

Sorry for the posting delay - we've been having trouble finding internet lately, but we'll try to get caught up in the next couple of days

If you ever visit Manuel Antonio, make sure you stop at this bakery in Quepos... it was INCREDIBLE.

A very happy Roel

Manuel Antonio National Park was an incredible confluence of man and nature. We payed for our tickets a day in advance so that we could be among the first to enter the park at 7am when the gates opened. Early morning is the best time to see wildlife, but it is also the best time to avoid hordes of people.

Throughout the night, cars full of vacationers arrived and the hostel we’d booked a room in got progressively louder. Semana Santa, or Holy Week had begun. All of Central America was officially on vacation.

Once we evaded the mass of other tourists who were lined up at the gate at 6:50am, the sounds of the early morning jungle were wonderful. Serene, exciting and mysterious all at once. We saw a troop of howler monkeys first. Then we hiked on a path we had all to ourselves to a beautiful lookout. On the way back to the main part of the park, we saw a guide pointing out something to his group and after they passed we squinted into the trees and eventually saw what they had seen: a three-toed sloth! It was my first one and it was just awesome to actually make him out. There is no way we would have seen him had the guide not been there… in fact, we had missed him when we walked to the lookout and given that sloths are unlikely to move very far in any given period of time, he was definitely there.

Look at the toes on this sloth!

A little sloth playing peek-a-boo

We walked towards the main beach of the park, or what seemed to be the main attraction, both for people, Capuchin monkeys and opportunistic raccoons. It was 9am and the beach was already packed. Imagine 4th of July crowds, but on a National Park beach that you have to pay $16 to get to!? We were astounded.

By the time we made it out of Manuel Antonio at 11:30am, hundreds of people were lined up to enter the park. Holy Week in full force.

From Manuel Antonio, we headed in the direction of Osa Peninsula, but stopped to camp for the night on Domicilio Beach… for free :)

On the way out of Manuel Antonio, we pulled off to snap this pic of a airplane-turned-bar  - pretty neat concept and pretty cozy inside.

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