Costa Rica | Vol. 2 | Manuel Antonio

[Ryan’s thoughts are in italics]

After a couple of nights in Arenal, we awoke early and packed up the car for our long trek to Manuel Antonio. We followed our trusty GPS route and passed through several small towns – all of which were extraordinarily bustling due to election day.  It was the red and white party versus the green and white party and the towns people proudly flew flags and wore their respective colors.  It was VERY cool to wear your parties flag attached to the hood (think Dukes of Hazzard – but on the hood not the roof).  Some towns were comfortable with good roads, some towns were very uncomfortable with terrible winding roads.  With surfboards on the roof, maps out, cameras and sunglasses, we screamed “TOURISTS!! RIGHT HERE IN THIS CAR”.  After passing through San Ramon (about 100 km or 2 hours from Arenal), we headed through the windiest mountain roads for another hour, we passed a big road block (not really considering why would a road block be right there) and right then the road turned into a glorious well paved wide and straight HIGHWAY! A highway! Yes! We pinned our diesel and were flying!

For only about four minutes, then we saw this (below).  A massive mudslide that covered the road with about 30ft of dirt and rocks and went on for hundreds of yards.  The road that we had just spent an hour on working our way through the mountains was now closed!  The boys went to check to see if we could just drive over it (there was no way in hell but we checked it out anyway) as the girls stayed in the car and consulted the maps.  Just out of the picture beyond the dirt we a saw a lone guy doing something weird which sealed the deal, we hopped in the car and turned around.  We had to find another way. Thankfully, the girls found that we only needed to back-track 10kms and we could catch Highway 3.

Even with three savvy navigators and a courageous driver, we were still unsure of our chosen direction.  That is until  we saw a tour bus with “Manuel Antonio” on the back. As we passed the bus, we joked, “See ya later Fitz & Kristin” knowing they were going to be in Manuel Anontio via bus that day as well.  Later on that night we found out that Fitz & Kristin were in fact actually on the bus!  Feeling at ease, we turned back on the iPhone music (we forgot the AUX cord, so all music was played through the iPhone speakers!) and cruised through Jaco (below) and arrived at Manuel Antonio many many hours after we left Arenal.

After arriving at The Suu Hotel, we flipped a coin for rooms and headed to the pool.

The newly engaged bride-to-be catching up on the latest wedding trends!

That night, Charlie, Vivian, Kristin, and Fitz came over for drinks and some good ol’ fun!  We all weighed in on Costa Rican politics and wondered who had won the day’s election.

Ryan and I brought just about every charger, cord, back-up cord you could think of, except for the AUX cord to play our iPod through the stereo. We even brought the old school tape adapter in case the car had a tape player.

Ryan, being the genius MacGyver, decided that if we sacrificed a pair of headphones and the tape adapter, he could splice the cords together and make an AUX cord. After 30 minutes into this process, he realized that the headphone cord and tape adapter had different configurations and this wasn’t going to work (did you know that inside ipod headphones there are four cords wrapped into one? Now you do!). Fast-forward to our evening dance party (with music coming out of an iPhone), I realized that our stereo had a tape player and that tape adapter Ryan demolished 3 hours prior would have worked PERFECTLY!

Once I relayed this information about the tape adapter, Ryan began his new quest — to repair the once working tape adapter!  Let’s just say he succeeded and we had music coming of real speakers for the first time!  (Stay tuned for the video which we will post in the coming days, aaaarrrrgggh)

After a fun night, we woke up early and headed to Costa Verde Hotel to meet up with Charlie, Vivian, Fitz, and Kristin for breakfast.  This is the view of the north facing side Manuel Antonio National Park from the Costa Verde Hotel.

Here is Ryan’s first order of ‘Gallo Pinto’ – the traditional Costa Rican breakfast. Little did we know that we would be eating this for the next 7 straight days.

While at breakfast, someone spotted this sloth about 10 feet away in the trees! I was creeped out at first, but I guess they are kind of cute, in a creepy-cute kind of way.  Ryan took both these pictures of this guy, while I was busy videoing!  This sloth’s name was Geoff which many tourists mess up by pronouncing “J-eff”, but it is in fact pronounced “Gee-off”.   A sloth never needs a back scratcher.

While we were all staring at the sloth, this Central American Squirrel Monkey, the smallest of the Costa Rican monkey species, made an appearance.

After the breakfast jungle adventure, we headed back to our room for a complimentary balcony massage courtesy of Melissa at Tropical Sun Villas!!!!

I love this picture Ryan took using our Tokina 12-24mm with our new polarizer!

Even Ryan got convinced on the massages!  Above is Cynthia working it out, she is an angel sent from god and this is what heaven probably looks like.

We originally planned to go to Manuel Antonio National Park on Monday, but we learned that the park is closed on Mondays.  Since Tuesday was our last day in Manuel Antonio, we decided to get up early, quickly check out the park before heading to Puntarenas to catch the ferry.  In Costa Rica as a sign of masculinity, men wear purses and stand looking toward the sky with their hands on their hips.   Below is a picture of AC and I demonstrating.

The beach was definitely one of the best things about the park.  It is completely isolated and offers beautiful views.  This crab was only one of hundreds we saw on the beach!

These White-headed Capuchin monkeys were causing a ruckus as they scoured through the trash cans in the park – specifically the trash cans that had monkey pictures on them.  I’m sure saying to put your trash in the can so the monkeys don’t eat it!  Guess those didn’t work too well!

Here is a picture of the Costa Rican trash cans. These metal containers are planted at the end of driveways and people put their trash bags in here for pick-up! Something a little different than here in America.

After two-nights and countless wildlife spottings in Manuel Antonio it was off to Santa Teresa next!

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7 thoughts on “Costa Rica | Vol. 2 | Manuel Antonio

  1. Amazing pictures!! Seriously, I need to take a lesson from you two and soon! Pictures hardly ever do a place justice, but I have to say that all of these do and are absolutely breath taking!! Love them!

    • Viv – thanks for the unexpected and super kind comment about our pics! We sure had a fun time with everyone and sure took a lot of pictures! xoxo

    • Hi Carrie! Thank you and yes – those are raccoons! They were actually little babies and the one in the picture actually had a hurt back leg 😦

  2. love reading your post. i will be making my first trip to Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio this Feb 2011. I’m not much of a traveler outside the states so this is a big deal for me. you’ve made it easier on me thanks.

    • Hey Deb – How exciting for you!!! Glad this post helped a bit! A few additional tips:
      1. Sancho’s is a small restaurant, but has yummy Mexican food and pretty cheap.
      2. We saw more wildlife at the Costa Verde Hotel than in the Manuel Antonio National Park. I would try to stop by the hotel for breakfast and to catch all the wildlife early in the morning (before 10am). We didn’t hire a guide at the park, so that may be why we didn’t see much (except for the monkeys in the trash cans and the raccoons).
      3. Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays.

      Have fun on your trip!!!

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