Day 35-36: Manuel Antonio

After we enjoyed our last breakfast at Trip On, which offered one of the best free meals we’ve had at a hostel, we headed to the bus station for our ride south to Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast.

The ride was uneventful until we got to Quepos, the major town nearest to Manuel Antonio, and were told we needed to take a local bus the rest of the way. Our bus driver pointed out which bus to get on and paid for our fare, but then we were on our own. We knew our hostel, El Faro Beach Hostel, was close to the ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park, so we stayed on until the last stop, which seemed to be the tourist area, and luckily we were right.

We found our hostel fairly easily and then when to the beach to swim for an hour or so until the sun went down. We ran back to the hostel quickly to change before we went out to dinner.

As we walked along the main road looking for a place to eat, Elliott and I were lured into a restaurant by a kooky worker named Oscar. But it was to our benefit because we took advantage of the food and drink deals, and the sangria and shrimp and rice dish didn’t disappoint.

The next day, we woke up early to check out Manuel Antonio National Park, the most-visited park in Costa Rica. It’s home to an array of tropical plants and wildlife.

While we ventured through the rainforest at the park, we saw three-toed sloths, capuchin monkeys, black spiny iguana, green lizards, pizotes, raccoons, a white-tailed deer.

The capuchin monkeys were definitely the most active animals in the park. When we first saw them at a picnic area near the beach, they were running around and jumping through the trees, so I was trying to get some really good photos. Well, I must’ve pissed off one of the monkeys –maybe because I got too close to the baby monkey — and he came at me, not really aggressively but more as a warning. I tried to back up when it swiped at me, but the monkey touched me and left a mark where its little fingers took off a layer of sunscreen and bug spray on my leg. It didn’t draw blood or anything but I was a little shaken up afterward because I’ve never had a monkey chase me before.

We encountered some more capuchin monkeys as Elliott and I were hiking through a nearby swathe of jungle. At first we were just watching them swing through the trees, minding their own business, and then a monkey family stopped right in front of us, blocking our way on the path. I started snapping photos like crazy again. But then what we presumed to be the daddy monkey started getting territorial. To avoid another monkey attack, Elliott spread out his arms to make him look bigger, and the monkeys eventually cleared out of the way so we could pass.

After the second monkey confrontation, we continued walking along the trail and ended up back at the beach, where we swam for a while, and then we watched raccoons and pizotes that were trying to steal things from people who were sleeping on the sand. We also warned a nearby couple who were about to fall victim to the thievery. 

On our way back to the park entrance, we got to hear some noisy howler monkeys, and Elliott was able to spot a couple of them high up in the trees. So that was kind of a nice treat for us before we left Manuel Antonio after spending the whole afternoon there.

Then we walked into town to get lunch at a restaurant near the beach and grabbed some ice cream on our way back to the hostel.

Elliott and I went back to the beach to play in the big waves and to watch the sun set. It ended up being the best sunset we had seen on the trip so far. I took so many photos because the colors somehow kept getting better.

When it was completely dark, we stopped by a little corner store to grab some ingredients to make dinner, and then went back to the hostel to cook rice and vegetables.

Before we called it a night, we took a dip in the pool, which we had all to ourselves because seemingly everyone had left the hostel earlier that day.

– Brie 

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