Sloths, Monkeys & Bulls, Oh My!

Trip Start Jan 22, 2012
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Saturday, February 25, 2012

After living here for almost a month, we FINALLY made it to the Manuel Antonio National Park. There is a $10 entrance fee to go to the park, so we wanted to go on a day where we would be there almost the whole day. The park is known for amazing wildlife and beautiful beaches and with it being so close to our apartment, we knew we couldn't leave this area without checking it out.

We took our normal route to get there – a cab to the Quepos bus station, and then we hoped on the bus and rode it until the end of the line. It took about 20 minutes to get there.

We weren’t really sure what to expect, but when we got there we found the park swarming with tour guides. You can hire them for a tour for about $20 per person in a group setting to walk around the park and spot out the wildlife for you. We decided to walk through on our own and save the money for food and beers. :)

And we managed pretty well our own. A few minutes in to walking through the park, we found a sloth. We think he was sleeping because he was just hanging there and wasn’t really moving. Seeing a sloth was high our wish list of things to see, so we were very excited that we found one! They are a pretty weird looking animal (Google them for shots of their faces). They are a tree-dwellers found throughout Central and South America and are in the same family as an armadillo and anteater (thank you Wikipedia!)

We hiked over to our first beach stop after our sloth spotting. The beach was pretty small, yet beautiful and pretty private. I joked as we sat there that this could be the Bachelorette if only our picnic lunch of turkey sandwiches consisted of fabulous fruits, cheeses and wines and if we were sitting on fancy pillows and blankets. It was that type of beach, and I loved every minutes of it. :)

The beach had hundreds of tiny crabs and hermit crabs crawling all over the rocks and beach. We also saw some crabs the size of our hands on the larger rocks by the water. Many photo ops for the photographer. Happy me! As we were scoping out the wildlife, we heard some people yelling and laughing. We look over and a monkey had come down from the tree and stole their grocery bag with chips, crackers, etc. Major photo op!

Before we got to the park, we were told that the monkeys are notorious for snatching up people’s bags and therefore you shouldn’t leave your bags unattended and near the trees (I was worried while walked around that this would happen to us, but I am pretty confident that a monkey would not be able to carry my 20-pound bag. I’m still packing light…haha).

The monkey rummaged through his loot and found some cookies/crackers and went to town eating them.  He was so happy eating his stolen goodies that he didn’t even care that 7 people were gathered around him, cameras in his face, watching him. It was such a cool experience to see. Phil snagged some video. I went to work on the photos. We were literally two feet away from the monkey as he sat there and ate.  Way better than the Brookfield Zoo!

At this point our day was complete in our minds. I kept thinking of Peter and how he would have loved this since he was on a serious monkey hunt while he was here visiting us. (Sorry, Pete. We have video – pretend you experienced it.) But as we walked over to the next beach,  we stumbled upon an area that had about 10 monkeys hanging out in the trees. They were EVERYWHERE and would get really close to people. It was AMAZING. We watched them for a while and took a ton of pictures. (Check out my shots to see how perfect they are!) My favorite shots are from this area.

We spent the rest of the time relaxing at the beach soaking up the Costa Rican sun before heading back to our apartment. Exhausted, we both wanted to take a nap or just stay home, but the Fiesta de Quepos was going on, so we gathered up a little more energy and headed over to the fest with our Canadian neighbors.

The fest was pretty large. It had your typical carnival rides like a merry-go-round, fun-house, tilt-a-whirl, etc. There was a bunch of food vendors and beer tents – even a Pizza Hut stand! The main draw to the fiesta, though, was the bull riding rodeo.

Now, I have never experience anything like this. And I know that our experience was quite intense. Spectators had two viewing options – the bleachers (where we sat) or along the sidelines (aka sitting on metal gates so your feet dangle above the bull). Tons of people opted for the second option which got them super close to the bulls throughout the rodeo. On top of sitting like this, people would jump in and out of the bull area. They would have the bull chase them or they would hit it so it would get all riled up. No one working the event was regulating this. It was a free-for-all. At one point, a spectator ran in with the bull and started antagonizing a lot. So much that the bull pushed him down and nearly stopped on his face. (See the pictures for proof of this madness). The rodeo people gave him a t-shirt. Weird. I know!

It was like a car accident. You didn’t want to watch in case something happened, but I couldn’t help but watch all these stupid people hitting the bull and waiting for it to react to it. It was quite the show! There was even a group of 3 girls about my age that would sit on the railing and jump in and out when the bull was there. Phil said we should try it but given my coordination this trip, I decided I did NOT want to get my face stomped on by an angry bull. Phil found out that the reason the people were doing all these stupid things is because the announcers would pay them if they successfully did it. ah ha! I still think they are stupid. :)

While there, I made a friend. She was 8 and after I told her I liked her jeans (they had sequins on them – I loved them!), we loved me. She left her dad and sat by me for some of the show. She really didn’t speak English. I speak little Spanish. It was interesting. I could understand about of what she said. We know where my Spanish skills are now, huh?

I loved the rodeo! It was such a fun, wild experience, and I would have been so bummed had we not checked it out. I can’t believe people risk their lives on those animals for entertainment.  I wonder what type of life insurance they have. Haha.

We had a great day full of new, exciting experiences. Now check out the photos to tell you even more about our day. 
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donna on

These are great photos, monkeys, crabs, bulls but like your new little friend.

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