Beach raccoons, a bar in a plane and sleepy sloths

Trip Start Jul 11, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Manuel Antonio!
Private beaches, pina coladas made and served in pineapples and awesome views looking out across the Pacific Ocean... This was our first afternoon in Manuel Antonio.  
We checked into our hostel after our 3 and a 1/2 hour busride ($4) from loud San Jose. This place boasts huge ocean/jungle views and delivers. 
After a quick Mexican feed we hiked down the hillside behind our hostel- through farms and mud tracks to discover our own private beach cove. It took 40 minutes but was well worth it! Nobody else was around and the only surroundings were dense jungles and farms. We made the most of it and swam in the ocean, even as it began to pour down heavy, afternoon rain. It was mainly a rock beach- but it made for great swimming and was extremely stunning, especially while bathing and looking up into the surrounding green jungles and farms as the stormy, black clouds drew nearer and made our landscape even more dramatic!
Oh and we even found a loyal dog that followed us to the beach and sat and waited for us, minded our stuff and was just good company for the afternoon. She reminded us of the hostel dog we 'adopted' in Puerto Viejo called 'Lupita' which did the same!
The main reason people visit this place is for the national park (US$10 entry). Just minutes after entering this national park Macushla and I were spotting sloths, howler monkeys and lime green reptiles! Further jungle exploration revealed capuchin monkeys, jungle raccoons, huge colorful butterflies and native rodent-like deer animals. The park was teeming with wildlife! 
Inside the national park there are also several fantastic beaches with water that is deliciously good for swimming.  We were pretty surprised to see one of the more touristy beaches had raccoons walking around on it! It was hilarious to see all the sunbathing tourists along the beach with huge sticks next to them as they were using them to fend off the raccoons (that due to tourism and people feeding them, have become pests)! The raccoons owned this beach and were parading up and down it attempting to search tourist backpacks, towels and clothes for food scraps! These guys were the seagulls of Costa Rica! 
It took around three or four hours to walk around the national park and complete all the walks (some were closed due to the previous night's rainfall). We loved that we saw so many sloths and it was great to swim in the national park. One of our neighbours from the hostel also spotted whales off the coast here but we weren't so lucky.
After all that hiking we built up appetites and decided (after exiting the park by wading through a 'crocodile infested' mangrove river) to head to 'El Avion' - a bar/restaurant built inside and around an old 1954 Fairchild C123 aeroplane. This place was unique- and really, really cool! In addition, the place sits on top of a hill and has incredible ocean and sunset views!

Thanks for reading about our adventures!
Next, more Costa Rican surf bum and beach towns...!
Stay tuned!

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