Day 14: Manuel Antonio National Park

After yet another breakfast for champions, this time with fresh fruit and the inevitable Gallo Pinto, our guide Brian arrived to pick us up for a tour inside Manuel Antonio National Park.
Yesterday, we negotiated a good price over the phone, and today was the day.

We got in our car and followed the guide to the park. After parking and getting the entrance tickets, $10, as usual, we were off. The park itself is only 7km² and a large part of it is accessible through senderos or paths. The main path leads to a large intersection of paths, one of which leads to the central Manuel Antonio beach.
The main path is actually nearly a road, but as it is wide and clear it is also a very good location for spotting animals.
In the scorching heat we have seen a very large troop of Squirrel Monkeys as they crossed the road. This is the first time we’ve spotted those! that was a real treat. You know it is a good sighting if the guide starts taking pictures!

We also encountered many other animals, big and small, including the two other species of monkeys living inside the park: Howler and White faced Capuchin Monkeys. We even got to see e few sloths! They unfortunately refused to show themselves, and remained that grey blob high up in the tree. 🙂
The guide even offered us the sweetest pineapple I’ve ever tasted at the end of the tour, and helpfully told us we could stay in the park as long as we wanted.

With the temperatures rising to well over 30 degrees again, we didn’t feel like walking a whole lot after the tour. And decided to see some of the beaches inside the park. As it was high tide at the time, we didn’t get to go to many of the beaches, to we walked back to the main beach and found ourselves a nice spot under a tree, right next to some Costa Rican dudes and black lizards. Yes, they were really close, approaching us to within two metres! The Italian couples next to us were scared out of their pants, which made the situation that much more enjoyable.
The water here is really nice, but the swell is enormous! It is hard to stand up in these waters, but it is too much refreshing to resist. Yes, this must be one of the few times I actually enjoyed swimming. 😀

We went back around 3, only to grab a quick bite and gear up for the next tour: a night tour to view frogs!
We had the best pizza yet, in a place called El Wagon. It looked very much like the standard tourist trap, but they offered awesome pizzas. The lace even included recliner chairs to sit on, and a full size train wagon to have your dinner in! The rains started to pour quite heavily during dinner, which didn’t give us good hopes about that night…

Around 6, Brian showed up again, and we drove off to the private property the tour would be in as the National Park closes at 4pm. Even with the rain, we have seen an enormous amount of frogs! Red-eyes tree frogs everywhere, in total we have spotted 9 species of frogs, most of which I cannot remember the names of. Including the many other nocturnal species like night jars, bug-eating crickets, spiders and much more, this was a very good trip.

Tomorrow, we are off again, and leave Manuel Antonio for Ojochal which is also along the Pacific Coast. Who knows what this place has in store for us!

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