“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – Costa Rica Adventure 11

Another Day at Manuel Antonio

My second morning at Manuel Antonio National Park starts with a toucan in the tree next to my porch. It isn’t as large or colorful as I expected (thanks, Froot Loops), but that beak is just as I knew it would be—long and curved.

We’re picked up from the lobby at 7:45 by an Iguana Tours bus again for a 2 ½ hour nature hike in the National Park. We plan to devote the afternoon to the beach.

We’re paired with a Spanish-speaking couple, which means our guide has to give his remarks twice—once in Spanish and then in English. Of course, this slows us down considerably and after about 45 minutes, we’ve only seen a three-toed sloth, a spider and a grasshopper. We were very hot and the slow pace was very frustrating, so we decide to peel off from the tour and head for the beach.

We spend about three hours at the National Park beach. The bottom Is very stony near the shore with some very large rocks submerged a little past that, but once you get by those, it’s wonderful! The Pacific water is surprisingly warm with a soft sandy bottom.

Around 1:00, we walk to the nearby village for lunch. After eating, we go to the bus stop to head back to the beach and, after standing there a while, we figure that a bus surely should have come by now. About that time, an American guy comes over and tells us the police have blocked off the road, which means the bus can’t get to us. We have to hike a little way up the road to catch the bus back to the hotel.

It turns out that the vendors who usually line the beach selling their wares mostly don’t have permits. Today, the police are cracking down on them. This explains the strong police presence we noticed earlier in the day (probably they expected protests or trouble due to the crackdown). Standing at the bus stop we can see just a couple of policemen still on the beach.

The rest of the day we spend just relaxing at the hotel – napping, reading, talking. It was a nice change of pace from our activities and the constant sunshine.

In the evening, we take the local bus into Quepos, about a 15 minute ride. Not sure where to get off, we ride all the way to the end of the line. Then we walk around a little, looking at shops and decide on El Gran Escape (The Great Escape) for dinner. It was a wonderful meal, especially their signature drink with cacique, rum, orange juice and something else. It tasted like a creamsicle—Yum! The food was also delicious. We leave the restaurant, grab a cab for home, and retire for the night.