Surf Dogs, Squirrel Monkeys, Sloths, El Avion

Trip Start Jan 21, 2013
Trip End Feb 21, 2013

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Friday, February 8, 2013

Got up fairly early and decided to do our walk we had discovered on our last trip here, along the beautiful Manuel Antonio Playa beach and then up a steep 4x4 gravel jungle road to get back up to the main road in Manuel Antonio.

We enjoyed this instead of the National Park on our last trip because there are far fewer people, not the crowds one has to contend with at times in the park.

We had thought about doing a kayak rental but some of what we read talked about the rough surf and so we were not surch if we wanted to take that kind of chance.

So we opted for this walk and were glad we did. Set off from the main beach past all the workers getting the umbrellas and chairs set up, vendors getting ready to hawk their wares and the beach sweepers cleaning the beach near where the umbrellas were going to be set up.

We were walking in the sand and in the shade in the edge of the jungle and fortunately the parts on the beach were pretty well packed and there was still some shade for the most part.

Got to a standing pool of water and watched a small kingfisher work the area looking for something to eat.

As we continued past this area, we saw a sign warning of crocodiles.

A girl and her dog came walking up and into the water and we asked her about the crocodiles and she thought they were all gone.

Hope for her sake they were!

Walked through the area where the beautiful palm trees were offering some shade and watched some warblers sounding off to each other.

Got to the Hotel Arboleda which is right on the beach and decided to once again go in and have a batido.

We had discovered this walk two years ago when we had stopped at Raphael's Terrazos Restaurant and talked to him about his restaurant and he told us about the road down to the beach.

 The road down to the beach is the road for the hotel but you do not see that it is a private road until you are already down there!

The dining area looks out over the water and is a very peaceful and cool place to have a nice fruit drink with mas hielo !

After we had rested for a bit we were ready to move on and set off once again down the beach. by this time, it was getting much warmer and there wasn't much shade to be found. There was a stream that actually came down to the water that we had to jump across to get to the other side.

There were lots of people out walking, sunning and in the distance we could see some people surfing.

We continued on toward them and the big rock that sits on the edge of the water. The tide was coming in and there was a small tunnel (for lack of better description) where the water would rush through and then crash onto the rocks on my side of the big rock.

Surf Dogs !!

We watched the surfers, some being successful and others getting knocked down and then we saw one of those amazing sights, surfer dog.

 This dog would swim out into the surf and then catch a wave and ride back in on it. It did this several times while we were watching!

Saw the road we were going to hike up and crossed over to begin hiking up it.

Titi and Cama Blanca

You do not go very far when there is a place that advertises rooms, etc. and all of sudden we were surrounded by monkeys.

Well, maybe not quite surrounded but we heard them on the roof of the place and then they were crawling along the fence and up in the trees.

 They were the beautiful squirrel monkeys which we had not yet seen on this trip!

 Another one of those very expressive faces! They were busy reaching up and eating the red flowers from the trees.

Monkey Eat Monkey World In the Jungle

We then heard that familar sound of banging of loose roof tin that we associate with the White Throated Capuchin monkey. Sure enough, some of them began to appear.

While we were having this great wildlife experience, two gentlemen walked up and one of them was a local man and he called the squirrel monkey the tica monkey and told us the white chinned monkeys like to stalk the squirrel monkeys and steal their babies and eat them.

Of course while we are watching all this we see a mother squirrel monkey with her baby on her back crouching down like she was hiding from the white chinned and even her eyes seemed teary and she seemed to be crying from fear!

Fortunately, no drama today,   Maybe we were staring at it so intently the Capuchin decided to leave.

You a kinkajou?

We also saw another smaller mammal with a baby and long tail that could have possibly been a kinkajou but could  not get a clear a picture or sighting to really be sure.

Continued on hiking up the hill looking for the mother sloth with her baby that we had seen the last time we were here. :)

 Not to be found so we continued on our way.

 Left the gravel road we were traveling on and came to a blacktop road that either connected to the main road or back down the hill to Bienzon Beach.

We had thought about doing some kayaking there but had read that some of the waves can be treacherous so decided to save that for another time and place.

Robert had talked to a guy on the bus that worked at one of the kayak rental places on this beach and this was part of our motivation.

Continued on up this road and were almost to the main road when a couple walked out of a nice hotel and saw us with camera and scope and she said if we were looking for sloths, there was a good tree to see them in.

We looked for the sloth in vain and the gardener came up and signaled to us to come look and showed us the sloth. It was in the bamboo and not moving and not very easy to see. While we were looking, a lady that was staying there came out of her room and said there was another sloth that we could see much clearer.

Walked with her over to the pool area and there was a sloth in the clear and moving around much faster than we have every seen a sloth move! Went from one branch to another, up and down, checking leaves and really putting on a show.

Watched it for awhile and visited with the woman. Come to find out she is from the Austin area! Small world. This place is quite beautiful and the pool looks out over the hills and would be a nice place to stay I'm sure.

Continued on toward the top and noticed there was a sign for a monkey highway built with funds donated by two different elementary classes.  Basically what it is, is a man-made rope ladder across the road where trees no longer touch.  It is made to mimic the natural tree highways that you see in the more undeveloped places where monkeys can cross overhead instead of risking their lives crossing down on the road.  When we were at Raphael's, he had said for awhile there were no monkeys on his side of the road and was glad to see some of them returning.

Unfortunately, the phone was turned off while we were hiking and we had missed calls from Craig wondering where we were.  The day before we had told him we might go kayaking at a beach this local guy had told us about, but we got cold feet because of fear of waves.

Craig had gone to the beach anyway and tried to find us and called us numerous times but we had forgotten to turn the phone on.

We were hot and tired but very excited about all we had seen when we finally connected with him and he came to pick us up.  We went back near our hostel and ate lunch at the Funky Monkey near our hostel.  We wanted to take a nap but  Craig offered to drive us into  into Quepos to get medicine for Robert's fever blister and find Robert a straw hat!  Found the medicine at the pharmacy in Quepos but most stores the hats were too small.

Craig had said he had been in Costa Rica several years but had not explored Manuel Antonio like we were doing.  On the way  back we told him about a favorite road we had hiked on during a previous trip.  The gravel road goes past kayak rental place and curves on a ridge around to Ronny's Place, where we have eaten before and enjoyed the great views. 

Robert asked Craig to drive us on down the steep road into this neighborhood where we had been before because it had some great views.  Craig turned around at the bottom and had to put his pickup in 4 x 4 to make the steep climb back up to Ronny's.  Glancing down below we could see   a 'secret' private beach bounded by spectacularly tall cliffs and in the distance we could see a multi masted sailboat. There was a gate so we could not go. Rats!

Craig drove us on down to the Playa area where there was a market in an alley and told Robert to ask for a disquenta if he found a hat. Craig and I waited in the car while Robert went and looked.  He found one, but had no money, so he came back out to the car. Craig told him to ask for a disquenta again. Robert did, and got one lol.

Craig then drove us on to National Park Backpackers.

We showered and took a nap .  Then we caught the bus to El Avion for dinner.

We called it an early evening and when we got back to the National Park Backpackers they were showing "Batman: The Dark Night Rise", and it was a wild one.

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