Sloths, monkeys and reggae

Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
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Trip End Oct 04, 2007


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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wednesday, August 8th
From Puerto Jimenez, we took a short flight up the coast to Manuel Antonio, a small touristy village in the rainforest, near a beautiful beach. Costa Ricaīs most popular national park is located here. We came with a mission - to see sloths!
The first day we were here we didnīt do much, since our hostel has such an amazing view and a nice patio with hammocks, we hung out there in the morning, made lunch, watched a really stupid movie about killer lions in Africa, and eventually tried to go down to the beach, just as it started raining (once it starts raining, it continues for the rest of the day). When we got back to the hostel a few of the other guests were out on the patio, so we talked with them and of course met another Israeli, a 23 year old who is in Central America on a visa run from the US where he has opened an embroidery business (although he has no permission to work in the country). Just another one of the many young Israelis who come to the states to make money for their big trips in South America. It was fun to talk to him, we had some interesting conversations and it made me (Phoenix) feel older and wiser than I was at his age. We went to dinner with a bunch of people, 2 girls from Quebec, 1 Arab guy from Toronto, an English girl, Michael from Israel, and 2 other Americans. The food was typical Costa Rican, which is basically grilled meat with plantains, rice, and black beans on the side. I am starting to get tired of rice and beans already!
It was reggae night at a bar nearby so we went to check it out. I discovered my new favorite cocktail - rum and pineapple juice on ice. Yum! The party was nice, but people werenīt really dancing enough so eventually I gathered our whole group and made them get on the dance floor. Others joined us and we had a good time. A local Tico guy with a rasta cap showed me some cool moves.
Thursday, August 9th
We got up early to get to the park in time for opening at 7. It was a good move because this park fills up quickly with many, many tourists. First thing as we enter the park, we look to our left and see a small-ish caiman (like a crocodile) right next to us. He moved suddenly and we thought he was trying to hide, but it turned out he was just snapping up a crab for breakfast. We hiked around to a nice overlook spot and then down to a small beach, but it was high tide so there was no beach, only rocks. On the way back from the non-beach we decided it was time to see a sloth, since we had been looking for them the whole morning with no success. Ido took a short video of me saying where we were and what we were here for (to see a sloth), and 2 minutes later, after I had just said that as soon as we see the sloth, we could leave the park, Ido looks up and says "Thereīs a sloth". I thought he was kidding but sure enough there was a big sloth actually moving on a tree right above us. Closer inspection with the binoculars showed that it was actually a mother sloth carrying a really adorable baby that was hanging out on her tummy. We layed down in the middle of the trail and watched her for a while. Thatīs the nice thing about sloths, they arenīt really in a hurry to go anywhere. We got some good pics and video of them. After the sloths, on our way out, we had a close encounter of the monkey kind. At a junction of two trails, we saw a bunch of people looking at something. We had just eaten some bananas and were still carrying the peels around since there was no garbage can nearby. The monkeys (white faced capuchins) noticed the banana peels right away and came over to beg. . (because this park is so busy with visitors, some of the animals have become really tame and there are big signs around saying not to feed the monkeys). Ido thought it would be fun to wave the banana peel in the air to see what the monkeys would do. They came closer and closer, so that we probably could have touched them if we wanted to. Then accidentally a piece of the peel fell on the ground and the monkey ran over and grabbed it. The monkeys stayed around for a while posing for pictures and playing amongst themselves. At one point they looked at us baring their teeth and even though theyīre pretty small, it was a little bit frightening.
After that we finally got to the beach and had our first swim in the Pacific here. The water is perfect temperature, and the waves were nice for bodysurfing, but there is a really strong current so we had to be careful not to get pulled down the beach. At the beach we saw another sloth, just hanging out in a tree and having a good scratch.
For lunch, we decided to treat ourselves to a break from rice and beans and went to a pizzeria next to a swimming pool. It was an excellent pizza, definitely worth the almost $10 we paid for it (as opposed to $3 each for a Costa Rican meal). As a bonus, at the pizza place we saw an agouti, which is like a giant guinea pig with longer legs.
Tonight I will cook us a gourmet pasta meal in the hostel with clams in tomato sauce with garlic and herbs. I hope it will turn out alright, Iīm not really sure what kind of clams we got.. .
Tomorrow itīs off to the Nicoya Peninsula, where weīre going to be for a few days learning to surf and hopefully seeing mass arrivals of Olive Ridley sea turtles to lay their eggs on the beach.
Until next time,
Pura Vida!

Phoenix and Ido
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Comments

lyd
lyd on

what no pics of a sloth!
i feel let down.

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