Mojitos, Monkeys & Manuel Antonio Beach
Trip Start Apr 16, 2012
14Trip End May 02, 2012
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Where I stayed
Villa Prats Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Read my review - 3/5 stars
On the bus down to Manuel Antonio we met 3 Americans Alex, Ron & Trevor, who were also fresh to Costa Rica. What we didn't know at the time is that we would all become great friends and share many of our future CR experiences together, like the time we accidentally ended up at a backcountry whorehouse outside of La Fortuna (stay tuned for that story)!
It was raining in MA when we arrived so Tom & I decided to hit up a beach restaurant for dinner & drinks to kill some time while waiting for the rain to stop. Well, we must have picked the most expensive place in all of Costa Rica because even though the mojitos were 2 for 1, our night out cost us a whopping $70 (that is A LOT in CR)! Ouch!
Once the rain had stopped and our wallet had been drained, we decided to go for a drunken stroll down to the beach to explore. Halfway into our walk across a path of jagged rocks I got a bad feeling (or maybe common sense prevailed) and shouted to Tom in front of me that I didn't think this was a good idea. He shouted back at me to say "we'll be fine, we're having fun", and carried on. Moments later his foot slipped off the rock and banged hard against another instanty bruising the top of his foot. Hmmm, maybe not such a good idea afterall? So we turned around and limped back to our hotel room, hoping he didn't injure himself too badly at the start of our trip. Anyone that knows us, knows that a TnA vacation isn't complete without one of us hurting ourselves.
Waking up to a bright and sunny day, we decided to hike in the National Park. We opted not to hire a guide and just paid our entrance fee of $10/each. The first beach that we arrived at was Playa Manuel Antonio, which has a reputation of being the most beautiful beach in the park. Wow, words can not describe how beautiful this beach is in the morning before all the tourists decsend upon it. It looks like a scene from the movie "The Beach". Knowing we had only a few minutes before the tour groups arrived, we took full advantage & went for a refreshing swim, just us. About 10 minutes later people started to arrive so we dried off and continued our hike through the rest of the park.
We hiked for half a day along the easy and beautful trails in the park to different beaches and viewpoints that looked out over the ocean. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including three-toed sloths and four species of monkeys (capuchin, squirrel, spider & howler). Visitors who are lucky can spot all four species of monkeys in one day and we met lots of people who had this luck. Us on the otherhand were not this lucky, probably because combined we have the attention span of a gnat so we plowed through our hikes at record speed. We did stop at one point to talk with another tourist about how we haven't seen a single animal when a capuchin monkey came out of nowhere and started traversing the trees above us. What luck! After our monkey sighting our luck improved and we started to see much more including a halloween crab, two iguanas, lots of lizards and my favorite, a three-toed sloth! My first sloth sighting literally brought tears to my eyes. For me these animals are just magnificent and I could watch them lollygag around for hours. Incredible :)
While inside the park we ran into Alex & Trevor and made plans to meet up with them and Ron later that day at their hostel. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the pool at their hostel with another guest Simon (from Australia) where we traded stories on what life is like back in our respective countries. Separating only long enough to have dinner, we met up again for 2 for 1 mojitos on the beach before going back to their hostel to watch Tin Tin on the big screen (projected onto the side of a white building). Here we shared more drinks and more stories and made plans to meet up again somewhere along our travels in Costa Rica.