Manuel Antonio

Trip Start Jan 03, 2009
Trip End Apr 30, 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Monday, February 2, 2009

Well this weekend (Jan 30th to Feb 1st) we went to Manuel Antonio with CEA. On the bus ride there we stopped at a neat little roadside stand with food and souvenirs. Theses souvenir shops are very common and all sell very similar things so we don't usually spend to much time there, although Jessie did buy one of the most delicious pineapples I have ever had for like $0.70 or so. The time we stopped on the way was at a river crossing. We got out of the bus and walked across the bridge, when we got to the middle we looked down and saw the most crocodiles I have ever seen. There were about 20 HUGE crocodiles in the river below us. That was very exciting, but I was glad we were far away from them. When we were entering the Manuel Antonio area the sun was setting over the ocean, it was a very amazing sunset and a nice into to the trip. The first night we arrived at the hotel around dinner time. That night we basically walked into town and ate dinner, then went for a walk on the beach. Almost everything was closed already so there wasn't much going on. After the walk on the beach we went back to the hotel and hung out in the pool for awhile. I went to bed early that night because I had to get up at 6:30 on Saturday to go SCUBA diving.
After a good Costa Rica breakfast the cassado, which is basically rice, beans, a little salad, some fried plantains, potatoes and chicken, we got in the van to go to the SCUBA place. After we got all our gear sorted out and packed up we went to the boat. The boat was a little smaller than I was expecting but it worked out very well. we took the boat on about a 20 min ride into the pacific ocean until we arrived at the dive site, right in front of fairly big island. The first two dives were pretty fun we got to see a lot of fish but the visibility want all that spectacular. We did lots of skill work on these dives. I was a little freaked out to take my mask of when we were sitting on the ocean floor about 25 feet down. But we all did well, no problems. After the two dives we did a little swimming around the boat and a couple of us did some dives and flips off the top deck of the boat. It was a blast!
After we got back from diving we were all really tired but they had scheduled a guide to take us on a tour of the Manuel Antonio National park... so we went on the tour even though we all wanted to sleep. The tour turned out to be a great idea, the guide was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot. We also got to see a lot of wildlife through his spotting scope that we would have never noticed otherwise. Right away we saw a couple Howler Monkeys, they are very impressive and LOUD. There are some amazing animals and insects in the forest. One of the most exciting things though was about halfway through the tour we ran into a pack of white faced monkeys. WOW! That was an amazing experience, I have lots of pictures of the monkeys and a couple videos. after watching them for about 10 min maybe, we heard the alpha male call them and all the monkeys quickly scrambled and jumped away. It was very cool. We also saw a very poisonous spider that was about as big as my hand. It was beautiful but I could not get my camera to focus on it unfortunately. After the tour Jessie and I hiked off the main path to another beach while the others went to the main beach. The main beach was very crowded I guess, But the beach we went to was totally private surrounded by forest. It was awesome we had our own secluded beach to swim in the ocean for awhile. After getting back from the hike I took a little nap and then went out to dinner. We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant right on the beach where we watched the sun set as we ate. It was beautiful. After eating we just hung out on the beach with a few people, started a fire on the beach and played some games. Again I went to bed early that night because I had to dive the next morning.
Then next morning basically the same routine, breakfast, dive shop, boat and then dive. This time we were all a little more comfortable and had more time to explore the ocean. we say lots of crabs and sea urchins as well as some morey eels and fish. The other dive group got to see a baby shark, but my group missed out on that one. hopefully we will see some on the next few dives. After finishing up our certification dives we pretty much had to pack up and head back to San Jose right away. over all it was a really fun time but diving took up a lot of the weekend.
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