Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos

Trip Start Sep 13, 2011
Trip End Sep 22, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Monday, September 19, 2011

On Monday morning we grabbed some breakfast breads from a local panaderia in Monteverde and boarded our tour bus bound for Manuel Antonio/ Quepos. We arrived there in the early afternoon, which gave us a good amount of time to hop on the local bus and check out the beach there (the beach was only a few kilometers from where we were staying, Hotel California; each room had a great ocean view from its balcony). The beach (Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica) turned out to be beautiful, even though an impending thunderstorm made the sky pretty grim. The water was warm, and the waves weren't too rough, so a refreshing swim was a must. While attempting to dry off from my swim, the rain began to shower down on us, so we sat for a while in the sand "drying off", Imperials in hand and smiles on our faces. It was getting dark though, so we headed back to the bus stop to catch up with the rest of the group for dinner (a restaurant owned by locals that was a short walk from our hotel, El Arado).

The following day we went to Manuel Antonio National Park (just adjacent to the public beach we visited the night before). We wandered around the park a bit, trying to spot some wildlife (during our trek to the private beaches that made up part of the National Park). We saw some freshwater crabs wandering around in the forest, various birds and butterflies, and even a group of monkeys before we finally broke through the forest and found the beaches.

We spent a good amount of time at Playa Espadilla Sur. After checking out the hermit crabs for a bit we decided to go for a swim. I stood up from my towel to head down to the water, and to my surprise I looked down and saw two raccoons staring up at me.  Those sneaky bandits were waiting for us to leave our bags so they could dig through them. We chased them off, but while we were in the water they kept creeping back over to our backpacks and shoes every time we weren't looking! Unfortunately for them, they weren't able to pilfer any of our belongings. Some neighboring tourists weren't so lucky though; one one of the raccoons ran off with a guy's shirt (presumably adding it to his burrow of "hot" goods).

Our time at the beach was limited because we had a sunset cruise to attend to; our boat left Marina Pez Vela that afternoon, and we cruised around the Pacific Ocean listening to music, eating fish and veggies for lunch, and drinking tasty caipirias. We spotted some dolphins on the way to a snorkeling spot, where we had a chance to swim around a bit before heading back to the marina. The sunset cruise was by far one of the prettiest and most fun things we did while in Costa Rica!

That night we wandered back to the beach for dinner at a beach-side restaurant, Las Gemelas (so much eating on this trip!) Exhausted from the eventful day (and all the eating and drinking), we headed back to Hotel California for some sleep. We had a surprise middle-of-the-night visitor that night... A gato Tico decided that it wanted to sleep on the BED. I guess all kinds of critters can climb onto your balcony and into your room if you leave the doors open! (It was not nearly as bad as the spider infestation in La Fortuna though!)

We had a half-day left to enjoy Manuel Antonio, so rather than sitting by the pool at our hotel, we headed back to the beach for a final few hours of sun. (Thankfully it wasn't raining any more). At noon we met back up with our tour group for our ride back to San Jose. I couldn't believe our trip was ending already!

We had one final night in San Jose, so we returned to Rio for an hour or so (the restaurant/bar where we discovered caipirias), and then met up with our tour group for a goodbye dinner at Olio. We checked out a Costa Rican casino, Del Rey, but sadly didn't win back enough money to make our trip a free one (apparently the odds in San Jose are no better than Vegas. There definitely are many more "bonitas esquinas" in San Jose though!)

Our flight wasn't until the mid afternoon on Thursday, so we used the morning to do some last-minute exploring around downtown (with the intention of buying souvenirs, although no transactions actually took place). After a final tipical meal, we headed to the airport for our journey home. I was tired, but happy. It definitely had been a trip to remember!
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