Paradise found

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Dec 24, 2007

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Monday, July 2, 2007

After our adventures in Monteverde, we decided that another dose of beach time was required, so we vamosed off to Manuel Antonio, on Costa Rica´s central Pacific coast.

After another 5.30 start and 6am bus, we wound our way back down the mountains in the grey dawn,with a beautiful view over the Nicoya peninsula and gulf in the distance. Once we got back down to the Interamericana, we had already seen the scenery a couple of times already, but despite our best efforts to catch up on a little bit of shut-eye, neither of us could sleep.

Puntarenas was much more inviting this morning, with bright sunshine greeting us, instead of the drizzly rain of last time. Our bus to Quepos, the nearest town to the Manuel Antonio national park, was packed to the gills - we were lucky to get seats, as although we had numbered tickets, they hadn't told us which bus they were for, so some girls were legitimately sitting in ours seats when we got on the bus.

Halfway to Quepos, at the beach resort town of Jaco, an American man pushed his way through the bus in a panic, as someone had stolen his bag (small and black apparently) from the overhead racks. While we really felt for him and his partner (their passports were stolen too), as we had had that same sinking feeling just over a week ago, we couldn't help but feel they were a little bit stupid for putting it there in the first place, as the man we bought the tickets off had explicitly warned us to keep our bags on our laps - even going so far as to act out what we should do in an air hostess-like safety demonstration.
Added to this, he questioned us as to whether we had seen a woman get off the bus with a bag fitting the description he gave us - woman + small black bag? That could have been anyone.

Anyway, felt sorry for him for the rest of our ride - which was mostly through palm tree plantations; the occansional Iguana dozing on the trunks. In Quepos we quickly found some accomodation, and spent the rest of the afternoon on the internet, and bikini shopping (with no success).

Sunday we woke up in our own good time, and caught the bus to the national park - lucky Frances had checked the park opening times, as we had intended to visit on Monday, when it was closed.

Anyhoo, the park and the beaches in and around it were absolutely stunning - easily one of the most beautiful spots we have seen in our travels so far. about 50 metres after the park entrance we saw our first big Iguana, and after that we rarely walked another 50 without seeing some other fascinating bit of wildlife.

The white faced monkeys, no doubt due to the number of visitors here, came right down into the lower boughs of the trees, and we also saw a large rodent like creature, and a number of sloths clambering through the trees in slow motion. We overheard a guide telling a group that it was mating season for these fellows, hence why the were congregating in the one place - we hate to think how long finding a potential mate takes when you can only travel 200 mtres or so in a day.....

Also on our walk we saw an amazing and spooky number of land crabs - all with brightly coloured shells and nippers. Sams phobia of these creepy crustaceans took another turn - seeing them all crawling on the forest floor was like a scene from a horror movie as far as he was concerned.

The day in the park was capped off with a lovely swim at the main beach in the park - nice and deep and warm to boot!

Monday we mucked around a far bit before getting off to the beach - helped in no small part by the morning rain, and the cable T.V in our new lodgings  - we changed because we thought we were going to get more for less. Turns out we got more for the exactly the same (damn currency conversions!).

The beach was as lovely as it had promised to be the day before, although our swim after our beach walk was rudely interrupted by a thunderstorm, with lightning striking earth not too far behind the beach, althought the Costa Ricans swimming seemed to be singularly unimpressed!

Dinner was good, despite the terrible service. While not usuallly the type of people to care about such things, when we only order three things, and the waiter gets at least one of them wrong (for example brings the wrong drink and forgets something completely) we are a bit bemused. Thankfully we did receive the pizza we ordered, although even this looked touch-and-go for a while! 
Our lunches here were far better, thanks to the delicious little comedor below our hotel - Francies favourite was a heaping pile of Carbonara washed down with a Mango smoothie!

Don't really feel this entry adequately sums up our enthusiasm for our time here - it was beautiful! So if you're in the neighbourhood get yourself down here!!

Until the big smoke......!
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