It’s a long scenic ride from the capital to the coast (4500Colones) and different scenes are passing by as it would on the TV screen if watching National Geographic. In Quepos we change bus and a bit later we are in Manuel Antonio. A small town with few hotels to choose from is easy for anybody to find a hotel. 60$ for 3 nights, having a private room in the hostel ‘National Park Backpackers’, with pool, kitchen, bar and each evening a movie projected on a big wall, is a price we are willing to pay.
The hostel is at the entrance of the park in a quite area of the village but still not too far away from the bars and restaurants which are just in front of the Pacific shore. In this two street village are just two minimarkets and both of them are equally expensive. We make a minimum buy and will try to cook as much as possible. So after diner we watch a movie aside the blue lighted pool and go asleep early to be prepared for a long day of walking at Manuel Antonio National Park. As we wake up it seems to be not at all a day for walking, as it is pouring and the sky is so dark and grey that any color in nature turns into sadness. So we make a change of plans and work a bit on our website, organizing the more than 8000 photos we have till now and spend most of the day in or around the pool. In the afternoon the rain fades away so we make a short walk on the extended beach the settling has.
Kids are playing with sand, building castles the tide will fight at night. A group of youngsters, playing football using their flip-flops as goalposts, are laughing and entertaining the many tourists and locals passing by at the beach and sea walk. Randomly small groups of kids are playing in the small waves while a bit further some surfers floating on their board are waiting waves that will never come. Not today at least as the ocean is quite and calm as we stroll the shore from side to side with the sun sliding down announcing the end of the day. After a good nocturnal rest we have breakfast and prepare lunch for a long day. Right by the entrance our adventure in nature starts with seeing a ‘White tailed deer’ that is having its first chewing of the day. The entrance to the National Park is a 10$ each for a full day of hikes, beaches, exquisite views and discovering Mother Nature herself.
In the morning lots of animal sounds come out of the canopies and it is a true phenomenon to listen to the awaking of the jungle. We observe a sleeping (of course) sloth in a tree while our feet follow miniscule paths, almost overgrown by the ever-changing forest, reaching isolated beaches, viewpoints and other ‘secret’ places so beautiful that words are getting short.
Later on the day we reach ‘Playa Espadilla’ were nature has adapted to human presence. Both Capuchin Monkeys and Raccoons have learned from generations of observations of the human species. Tourists with the yellow plastic bags (from the only two grocery stores in the center) full of food are a target for the partners in crime and as soon people go swimming or are not alert, bags disappear in mysterious ways. The raccoons attack from land crossing the beach and try to catch whatever they can find and more than once we see people in a struggle with these clever animals.
The monkeys are even smarter and as fast they jump out the tree, they reach the bag they have been desiring for a while, look inside and choose what they like. If the bag has more than the mouth can masticate or more than the hands can carry, the monkey just takes the whole treasure and disappears in the dense canopy. We have a long good time watching the entire show and have the chance of our lives to observe these cute animals as close as it can be. Manuel Antonio… a real pleasure for wildlife lovers!
Recommendations: Restaurants are good but expensive even the 2 supermarkets are at least 20% more expensive so for the low-budgets: buy food in the capital or Quepos and look for hostal with kitchen / It is a long bus ride but worth the travel / In high season it is possible to get at Quepos directly from Montezuma by boat / Be aware of your equipment… even monkeys like iPhones!!!