A full day of travel took us to the small town of Quepos, known really only as the gateway to the super popular National Park: Manuel Antonio. We hit the grocery store in town before hailing a cab to take is the last 7 kilometers to our home for 3 nights at Manuel Antonio: Villas de la Selva.
We checked in and were given a set of keys that would make any janitor jealous: literally 6 keys on a huge key chain. We were starving so settled straight in to cook dinner in our kitchenette. It took some creativity, considering what we had to work with, but we got there in the end; our specialty: Black Bean Burritos. We enjoyed a little cable TV for the first time in a long time before calling it a night.
In the morning we wandered down to the beach to run, but ended up walking instead as the tide was way in. After a coffee we headed straight to the park; it was only about 15 minutes walk farther down the road and immediately we realized that the hype was true: Manuel Antonio, while beautiful, is crowded as can be.
In spite of the hoards of tourists and locals walking the main paths, however, we managed to see quite a bit of wildlife and even find a little (momentary) solitude. The main thing we hoped to see was the Three Toed Sloth which is known to be a common sight in the park. We did manage to see a couple, and pretty close up too...but, we were by no means the only people who saw them. No, the fantasy of hiking through the rain forest on your own only to look up and spot a slowly meandering sloth is close to impossible these days at Manuel Antonio...at least on a Sunday. Still, the box is now checked and that's what counts.
Like we'd done at Monteverde, we walked the extent of the trail system in the park. There are a number of beautiful beaches and amazing view points that we paused at during the walk and we considered going for a swim once we were done, but all the beaches were absolutely crawling with people so we decided instead to head to the beach by our Villa instead which was a bit more empty.
That afternoon we spent time soaking in the sun and swimming at our beach before heading to the pool at our Hotel. When we'd had enough we made for the balcony of our little villa which had a hammock, lounge chair, and a gorgeous ocean view. We spent the late afternoon enjoying the view, each other's company, and a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. Not a bad scene at all!!!
In the evening we had dinner at the Cantina up the road: a HUGE BBQ Veggie kebab for G and a great piece of grilled Fish for Adrian. The weather had cooled after a little afternoon weather had rolled in, so it was very pleasant sitting in the open aired restaurant. We had a nice, leisurely meal before heading home to call it a night.
The next day was our last day in town before making the trip to San Jose and we decided to make it a pretty low key one. Aside from heading to Quepos to purchase our bus tickets for the morning, we decided we were going to do nothing more stressful then rotate between the beach, pool and our awesome balcony. We made the walk 6 km into Quepos in the mid day sun, which was by no means overly pleasant, but we told ourselves this could be our exercise for the day and we stopped along the way for a cold beverage (Hoegarden Beer) so it wasn't too bad.
After buying the ticket and grabbing a quick lunch we hopped a bus back to our place and proceeded to do as planned: beach, pool, balcony: repeat.
One cool thing was walking down to the beach once when we saw a huge group (about 10) monkeys playing in the trees right above us. We've seen tons of monkeys on the trip, but this was a little special in how many were there and how close we were to them. We watched their monkey business for about 15 minutes before continuing on our way.
For dinner we made a pasta salad and boiled some corn on the cob and we packed our bags in preparation for an early morning departure the next morning.
In the morning, we awoke early and pepped ourselves up for a sunrise barefoot beach run. 30 minutes in the rising Costa Rican sun, running on soft and surprisingly deep wet sand left us tired and sweaty. We recharged with a iced coffee in town and walked back to our villa for a quick shower and bite to eat.
By 9:15am we were sitting on the side of the road on a steep hill in Manuel Antonio awaiting our bus pick up. Only one quick stop in Quepos and we will arrive in San Jose for a transfer to Alajuela. One last night before we fly back to the states for a surprise visit to the family!
Good ole US of A, it's certainly been a while!