Saturday, December 13, 2014

Costa Rica part IV: Manuel Antonio, the beach life

We took a bus from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio via San Jose. We were supposed to go to Puntarenas from Monteverde, spend the night there, then go the next morning to MA, but we got on the wrong bus! I knew something was funny when the bus left half an hour early! Turns out it left right on time. That is the last time I get on a bus without asking the bus driver first where he's going!

Well it turned out alright, because we didn't really need to go to Puntarenas. The guide book had said the only reason people go is to take a boat from there to the Nicoya Peninsula... Which would have been really fun, maybe for next time! By the time we figured it out, it was 5 hours later and we were in San Jose. The bus driver helped us get a cab to the bus station in the knick of time to hop on the last bus to MA. We arrived in MA 3 hours later at 10 pm with no hotel... A friendly surfer bum directed us to a hotel that didn't seem too dodgy, the Costa Linda Backpackers, for $24. It was good for one night, and the price was right, but super smelly bathrooms led us to check out the National Park Backpackers down the road, where we originally had our reservations.

Nice place to have breakfast
 NP Backpackers had a wide open space, with a clean feel to it. There was a sparkling blue swimming pool, and a wide open space that let the sun in. It felt much more welcoming than the dark jungly atmosphere at Costa Linda. I think during high season NP might be crawling with loud hostel-ly mish mash and what not, but during this rainy season, it was fairly quiet. The cleanliness was maintained by a crew of 5 or 6 Ticas who looked like they resented the backpacker crowd but nonetheless did a fabulous job of maintaining the place spotless. I loved them, and the clean bathrooms.

How happy were we at Manuel Antonio?
We had a wonderful time enjoying the beach, and the sunsets.
A tropical paradise...

Pure joy

Typical evening


My office


Aside from enjoying the beach, we hiked at the national park. Did I mention our hostel was literally right next door to the park? How convenient. We hiked all over that park. No need for a guide, which at a rate of $20 per person for the tour, I thought was too much. They had the benefit of huge telescopic binoculars and knowledge about where to find the ever elusive sloth, but I'll have to say we saw our fill of lovely wild animals and didn't miss what we didn't see!

Spider Monkey

There are a few beach spots inside the park where you can chill out, bring a picnic, and swim. You'd have to plan it ahead of time to bring your stuff because the beach is about a 1/2 hour hike (depending on how fast you go) from the entrance.

After the hike, we had an amazing meter long pizza at Pizza Pata. Seriously yummy, especially after the hike! It's about halfway between Manuel Antonio and Quepos. The cab fare was $5. If we took the local bus, it costs 600 colones per ride, which is like $1.
We had a nice surprise- We ran into the couple, Shani and Ofer, that we saw in Monteverde (from on the boat and in the restaurant on the rainy day) - they had just arrived and we shared our experiences. It's always fun to run into friends in foreign countries!

 We went exploring around some of the nice hotels. They had beautiful grounds. 

 You can see the peninsula which is part of the National Park. 


We wrapped it up with dinner at El Avion, a restaurant with a giant plane in the middle of it. We got there just in time for a beautiful sunset, and bid farewell to the Pacific Coast.

We are gearing up for the next adventure, the long awaited 2 day rafting trip! Stay tuned!

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