Day 13: To Manuel Antonio

Today, we have got a full day of driving ahead of us. From Rincón de la Vieja where we woke up this morning to Manuel Antonio National Park is about 275kms or 4.5 hours of driving.
That is long and far, at least for Costa Rican standards!

Luckily, the roads are way better than we have previously seen over here. Most of the time the maximum speed is 80km/h instead of the 60 we are used to, and the roads are tarred and in good condition compared to the roads on the Caribbean side of the country.
This means the 275kms can be driving within a day. It is only a good thing that we started off early this morning, we left the B&B around 8am.

We entered the town of Manuel Antonio around 2pm, right after we had lunch in a Soda next to the road, on,y to find that the room would be ready in 20 minutes. We could spend the time waiting in the (closed) bar/restaurant/patio area.
As we were running low on colones, we decided that time would be best spent looking for an ATM in town. We found one, and even did some grocery shopping along the way, and returned in about half an hour. Still, the room was not ready.
We decided to check out the speeds of the WiFi at the hotel, and made do with another half hour.
Rather unfortunately for us, the temperature had risen to well over 34 degrees Celsius with high humidity and virtually no shade: and with a closed bar, there is not cold beverage for us.

Oh well, those were actually the only problems we encountered along the way, the resort is nice, we had a lovely dinner of pollo in the town and basically spent the afternoon in the pool after unpacking the car.
Still, without a cold beverage though!

This afternoon, we booked some tours in and outside of the adjacent National Park: a morning and an evening tour. We are looking forward to spotting the Pacific animals already!
PS: today, a small flock of Red Ara’s flew by. Really nice!

Day 11: To Rincón de la Vieja

05:00. The alarm clock sounds, and we know: it is time for us to get out of bed as we have a busy day ahead of us.
First, we will be picked up at the hotel at 05:30 for a morning bird watching tour, and after that we’ll have breakfast.

The tour takes place not inside the Monteverde Reserve, but just outside in a privately held piece of forest of which the sole destiny is to be turned around from secondary forest into primary forest. Along the way, naturalists guide tourists on tours to view the wildlife which is becoming ever more present.
This morning, it looked like the forest was completely empty! We heard some birds sing their songs, but they would not show themselves.
Until, in the final half hour of the 3 hour tour, a parrot!
Our very first in Costa Rica!
The guide had to sneak us into the adjacent property (a hotel) through some barbed wire sneaking around in the bush, but finally we got a good, clear view of it and we just loved the experience! It is a white fronted parrot, completely new to us!

Right after this, an Emerald Toucanette and even a female Quetzal showed up and made these final moments a real treat. What an awesome way to end the tour.

After breakfast, we checked out, jumped into our car and drove back to the entrance of the Reserve, to spend some more time with the hummingbirds at the Colibri Café. We spent another hour and a half practicing our skills trying to take a picture of a hummingbird in flight or while hovering. That is really, really hard! We found out that the lighting conditions were better yesterday, but still think we managed to get some great shots today. Furthermore, the garden is such a nice place to be, as the hummingbirds are zooming around like bumblebees and because of the low season, nobody is there.

Finally, we decided it was time to go, and embark on the journey to Rincón de la Vieja National Park which is about 120km or 3.5 hours away. The road took us over about 30kms of untarred, very bumpy roads, and the Panamerican highway which has been under construction over the length of 50kms for at least a year and a half. I guess that just is the way things work around here. 🙂

After arriving at the B&B Aroma del Campo (which is really rural!) we decided today has been long enough and just relaxed at the B&B. They have a small pool, some resident animals, a few hammocks and enough space to just linger around and do nothing. Add a nice 35 degrees Celsius to the mix, and you’ll understand it has been a nice afternoon. 😉

Tomorrow, again a full day ahead of us! We are going for a walk in the park to see the park’s famed volcanic activity with fumaroles, mud pools and much more.