Marvellous Manuel Antonio

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Dec 17, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hotel Luna y Mar Quepos

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Monday, May 5, 2008

Took a trip from San Jose down to the Manuel Antonio national park which takes about three hours by "express bus" (the normal bus apparently takes six hours) and involved another early start, getting up at the unearthly hour of 5am on a Sunday morning. Itīs one of the most visited places in Costa Rica and easy to see why - I very much enjoyed a day wandering around the park with its forest, beaches and wildlife. Really glad I made the effort to come down to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica before I go back north to the caribbean side and on to Panama. In the national park I managed to see a sloth, a coati, monkeys and iguanas .... the monkeys and iguanas are obviously very used to lots of human visitors and seem virtually tame. When you see the area around Manuel Antonio with all the hotels that line the road in and the public beach just outside the National Park it makes you really glad they have created it as a protected sanctuary, even if it is the Costa Rican national park standard of $10 to get in, because you can easily imagine what this area of coastline would look like now if it was allowed to develop unhindered.  Stayed the night in a little town called Quepos which is about 5km away from Manuel Antonio and basically seems to be a service town for the National Park. After dark Quepos becomes more than a little dodgy with several unsavoury characters hanging around on the street corners hassling tourists (well certainly me, anyway) and trying to sell various illegal substances - all I actually wanted was an internet cafe but that seemed to be a far more problematic thing to find so I just grabbed some food and walked at pace back to the relative safety of my hotel. Couldn't get a bus back to San Jose in the morning as all the express buses were full so I had to wait for an afternoon bus - my plans for a much needed lie-in in my own private room (at the same price as I have been paying for dorms in expensive Costa Rica) were thwarted by the renovation of the hotel bathroom directly outside my door from 8.30am onwards - banging, drilling and sanding were the order of the day so sleep was once again postponed and I had to get up and take a walk around the town, which is much more pleasant in daylight.
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