On The Road In the West Coast

Trip Start Jun 22, 2006
Trip End Sep 04, 2006

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Saturday, July 15, 2006

The time has come to get off the training wheels and head out all by ourselves.
We left Jaime, Marcela and the girls two days ago back in Cartago with our two hardcore backpacks and headed off to the Pacific Coast.
Our first stop is Manuel Antonio. We have been here for three days and tonight will be our last night in this little peace of Costa Rican paradise.
Our first day was spent in the nearby touristy town of Quepos, only 7 km from the beach. Our hostel is about a 5 minute bus ride away from the town. We spent the first day walking the streets of Quepos which is riddled with gift shops, all kinds of restaurants, hotels and of course, many gringos. The excitement only came from the fact that we were caught in a fierce storm and the town was flooded. Besides that, there was not much to see unless you were in a shopping mood and have funds to spend (which we have not).
Yesterday we walked from our hostel to the main beach. I takes about 45 minutes to hike the gradually descending windy road which snakes up and down until you reach the beautiful playa prinipal. Unlike the East Coast, the sand here is thick and dark. The beach is very wide, probably about fifty yards from the beginning of the beach to the water. The beach was absolutely great; its span is not too long but it offers many giant rock formations and small coastal caves to explore for several hours.
The weather was ideal. It wasnt too hot but there was enough sun for Melissa to enjoy. We walked the length of the beach a couple times, checked out the booths, ate some street chicken (which you shouldn't do) and had a drink by the ocean. It wouldnt be fair to leave out our awsome accomadations! Hostel Vista Serena is a great place to come back to. Not until we got there did we learn from our fellow backpackers that it is considered the number one budget location in Manuel Antonio by many of the travel guides. It has an awsome view of the beach with a great balcony and has a very laid back youthful atmosphere. The owners are four young Americans, probably about our age who call Costa Rica home for the summer.
Today was by far the best day of all. We got up early and walked down to the beach for our 9am surf lesson. We had 2 instructors so we had personal lessons for an hour (it was a really good price- just bargain with the locals!) By the time we finished our lesson, we were both drenched, covered in sand, and full of salt water, but we were loving it! We both had an amazing time and will definitely do it again. We are clearly naturals because we both got up within the first 10 min and after that, we made it up at least 5 more times before the hour was up. It was so much fun!! After the lessons, we grabbed a drink at a bar by the ocean and headed over to the National Park. We spent roughly 3 hours walking the trails. This was definitely the best Park we have visited yet; it felt as though you were in the heart of some remote and very dangerous jungle. There were paths everywhere but they weren't easy! We had to cross through streams, extended patches of mud, vines, and thick bush. We saw huge Iguanas, white-faced monkeys playing in the trees, and this wierd looking unidentifiable animal that looked like a giant rabbit-rat with no ears or tail. We followed one path which lead to a 30 foot waterfall. We went swimming in the small lagoon and played amongst the rocks. The weather was amazing; sunny and warm all day, but that great kind of dry heat. Jorge blended into the jungle today, attempting to communicate with the monkeys. It was such a great day! Anyone who visits this country MUST come here to Manuel Antonio!!
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