Exploring Manuel Antonio National Park – Costa Rica

1Those who have been following my progress will have spotted that I have about 670km to get to Tucuman Airport in Panama and I have about 46 days to get there. That isn’t very demanding… So I have decided that I am going to run passed the airport and to the very end of the road in Panama which adds about another 300km. I am also going to try and see as much stuff along the way as possible and really enjoy my time in Costa Rica and Panama.

P1060062So that is why I took another day to visit Manuel Antonio National Park just south of Quepos. I stayed at the beautiful Serena Vista hostel which is situated about 3 km passed the Quepos and about 3 km north of the National Park. I had assumed that the road between the town and the park would be country but I could not be more wrong. The road is lined with resort hotels, supermarkets, bars and even a gentleman’s club. It is also very hilly. I had been warned and advised to take a taxi but being as stubborn as usual I pushed on regardless. I kid myself that I get a greater sense of achievement…

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The Park opens at 7am and costs $16, which is the most I have had to pay for any national park anywhere on this expedition. However, everything is Costa Rica is expensive so I am not letting prices get in the way of exploring and adventure. I was advised that getting there early would give me a better chance of seeing animals but I decided to get there at 7am to avoid people and in particular large groups of loud tourists!

P1060085Once in the park everything is well signposted and the track well maintained. There are about 5 different points to visit and for $16 I was determined to get to them all. The reason most people come here is to see the wildlife. There is the possibility of spotting sloths, White-faced Capuchin Monkeys (the ones from Outbreak), Howler Monkeys, Ghost Crabs, Racoons and Iguanas amongst other things.

Within seconds of entering the park a deer-like animal strolled out of the woods into my path and I immediately thought I was going to be lucky and see everything possible but alas tP1060120hat was not to be! But I did see the Capuchin Monkeys, a sleeping Howler, racoons (who tried to steal my bag while I was swimming) and an awesome Iguana. While I may not have seen everything I did have an amazing time walking around an almost deserted park. The little beaches were deserted apart from armies of crabs scuttling around scavenging for food and Iguanas sunbathing on black rocks. The trees were epic and the undergrowth constantly rustled with the lizards and crabs darting around apparently on urgent errands.

Between the two main walking routes is the beautiful beaches where most of the tourists head. It’s here you see the racoons and the capuchin monkeys, all a little relaxed around humans or maybe they are watching us in the same way we watch them. Some of the tourists really are quite special!!!

P1060069There has been a storm at sea over the last few days and while I was in the water the whistles went and we were asked to evacuate the beaches. After 5 hours in the park I felt I had witnessed enough and made my way for the exit.

It was an expensive excursion but one that I felt was worth it. The next excursion is a lot more expensive… Diving at Isla Cano Biological Park! Something I am very much looking forward to!

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