Here it is...the last part of of our trip!
We made the four hour van ride to Manuel Antonio with one forty minute stop when we found ourselves at a rather long line of parked vehicles. This was apparently the main dirt thoroughfare and only way across the river we had been following. When our driver put it in park we all got out and marched forward interested to see what lie at the end of the line. A half mile of windy dirt road later and I started to hear some moaning that sounded to me like some unhappy cow or large pig that must be causing the hold up. I had visions of some horrific accident ahead, but was quite pleased to find out that it was a bunch of howler monkeys in the trees above the river. As I rounded the last corner where monkeys were I saw that there was a road crew working on regrading the road on the other side of the bridge. Someone said there had been a landslide.
Manuel Antonio is the name of the small "town" adjacent to the National Park with the same name. En route to one of our adventures, one of our guides pointed out a town and then explained that there were four essentials which make up a town; a church, school, bar, and a futbol field. Manuel Antonio consists of a short strip of road along the beach with a couple small restaurants and shops and a ton of small hotels. There was a bar and I guess the beach served as the futbol field since we saw a group of guys playing there every low tide, but we never saw the church or school.
The main beach outside the part (low tide):
We had three hours to kill so we explored the "town" and walked the entire length of beach that we could access between the giant rocks and spent two and a half hours relaxing in our room. We ate in that night since it happened to be dinner and a movie night at our hotel. They put on a great spread for a good price. They had a massive selection of bootlegged movies, but chose Beverly Hills Chihuahua as the feature of the evening. It was probably for the better since no one was really interested and we got to chat with the three other young couples there. Two american couples on their honeymoon and an Israeli couple. It was the third Israeli couple we had encountered. They said Israel is such a small place that they have no choice but to travel outside the country.
The next day we spent in the park. It wasn't a very big place so we covered every foot of trail in the morning and spent the afternoon at the beach within the park. We saw a few three toed sloths and a bunch of white faced monkeys, among other things.
Mama and baby Bambi (they didn't have tails):
Three toed Sloth hanging out in the tree:
Lime Green Frog chillin on a palm leaf:
My ultimate favorite-the Monkeys:
The raccoons may have stolen the show that day as they stole part of our lunch. At one point in the morning we stopped at a picnic table to retrieve the water bottle from our bag. Eric pulled out the bag of food and set it on the table so he could get to the water in the bottom of our backpack. A moment later this raccoon started towards us. He instinctively turned the camera on to get a picture of the little guy. Before he could get a picture off, the raccoon was right up to our feet. Realizing he may be after our food, Eric started yelling at him. I swear I heard him laughing as he snatched the bag of food. Fortunately, Eric was able to get hold of the other handle to the plastic grocery bag and ran behind him as he tried to escape with our food for the day. Eric tried to pull the bag back causing it to tear in two, spilling its contents. The little guy could only carry one of our pastries so he left the rest. The raccoon sat in the woods, fifteen feet away, staring at us as he chomped down every bit of that tasty treat.
Raccoon running away on the beach:
The beach inside the park:
At one of the viewpoints inside the park:
I thought the Israeli guy was exaggerating when he said he had a five minute tug-of-war with a raccoon insistent upon taking his sandwich right out of his hands. We had lunch on the beach and settled in for a relaxing afternoon enjoying the picturesque surroundings. After what I considered to be a draw at best with that ONE raccoon in the morning, I thought I was done for when I turned around to see four of them coming at me on the beach. I managed to chase them all off empty handed, but my pride felt like it was a loss since it took running around screaming like a little girl to get them to retreat. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the raccoons going from towel to towel terrorizing the tourists.
For the first time on our trip it didn't rain at the end of the day so we found a nice place to have dinner and watch the sun set.
The rain really hadn't been too much of a burden on our trip. It rained late in the afternoon everyday, but we were usually done with our activities for the day so it wasn't a problem. On our last day we decided to take advantage of the rainy season and go white water rafting. The rapids were pretty rough at some points, but of the ten people in our two boats, I was the only one to fall out. But according to Eric, I shouldn't be ashamed though as he got thrown across our boat twice and would have flown out the other side if the guy across from him hadn't gotten in the way.
We were back at our hotel in time to have them make us a great pizza and watch a little college football. Seriously, they had a pizza oven at this little hotel in Costa Rica, who knew. We spent the rest of the day at the beach. Eric enjoyed the surf while I read her book and we took advantage of the second rain free day and watched the sun set from the beach.
Sunset: (through Eric's orange sunglasses):
Sunset: what we actually were seeing :)
Last but not least: Here we are having fun at the beach: