Costa Rica: N P & T F

Day 9 - Friday, December 21, 2012 - Manuel Antonio National Park; Nature Walk; Visit Quepos

Today was Friday, December 21, 2012, the last day on the Mayan Calendar. We had breakfast with our group at the Gato Negro (Black Cat) Restaurant and agreed that if the end of the world was coming today, we could not have picked a nicer place for our last days on earth!

We left for Manuel Antonio National Park at 7:45, and within five minutes of the hotel, we made our first stop to see a troop of white faced moneys. The area is a corridor for movement of the monkeys and a fly zone for migratory birds.

People in the city are so conscientious about protecting the monkeys in this habitat for wildlife that they have erected monkey ladders and bridges so the animals can have safe passage over the highways and be far enough from the power lines that they are not injured.

Eddie gave us details about Manuel Antonio National Park and the initiation by Jacques Cousteau to conserve the land in this archipelago as well as acres of land under the surrounding Pacific Ocean. The park was named after the man who donated the land to Costa Rica.

On the sides of the roadways there were many young men with telescopes waiting to be hired as guides by tourists coming to the park. Only 350 people per day are allowed into the sanctuary. When the park first opened, it seemed that the total capacity going through the gate with us!

The park itself is just 1700 acres, but houses habitats influenced by the Rain Forest, the Tropical Dry Forests, and the Tropical Humid Forests. The biodiversity makes the parks a not to miss site in Costa Rica.

With his scope ready, Eddie spotted a sloth, many monkeys, birds, bats, crabs, iguanas, and plants. He gave us such an extensive explanation of each creature, that Bob called him “Triple E” – Eagle Eyes Eddie! A great new name for our guide!

The temperature was 84° and the humidity was 77% but the trees overhead protected us from the overbearing heat from the sun. A simple concept but what the whole concern of deforestation of the rain forests is all about.

We walked to Playa Manuel Antonio or Third Beach for an hour’s swim in the Pacific. The water temperature was cool and a refreshing respite from the humidity of the forest. There were changing rooms, showers, and picnic tables so this was a very popular place for families and other tourists.

As we swam, Eddie guarded our things; not from other people, but from the marauding Crab Eating Raccoons who were working the crowd for any hand outs and grabbing bags then scampering away into the jungle.

Our hike continued back on a sandy path next to the ocean, but protected by a tree line shore that acted like an awning. At 12:15 we made it back to the park exit. There was Samy waiting for us with the bus and the air-conditioning going full blast!

At the hotel we hurried to take our things back to the rooms, hang up our swims suits to dry, and then headed to the El Gran Escape in the town of Quepos where we had lunch.

Eddie gave us another hour to look around in the shops or get anything we needed from the pharmacy, souvenir shops, or the grocery store.

At 2:30 we returned to the hotel for the few minutes of leisure time we have had on the whole trip. We are very pleased with this schedule because we have been on tours where we began at 9:00 am and ended our day at 2:30 pm.

We tried to use our free time wisely by starting the journal, sorting the photos from the day, and getting ready for our next adventure at 5:00 when we met the group for the evening.

Back in the bus, we drove a few miles northwest of Quepos for dinner. Ronny’s Place, our restaurant, was on an overlook where we had a perfect view of the sun setting over the Pacific.

Eddie took our drink orders while we sat outside and the staff prepared our dinners. Because this was a busy night for the restaurant, we ate early but the sun set at 5:26 making it perfect timing for us.

It was 7:15 when we returned to the hotel. We finished the journal and then went to the bar to send it out on the net and check our mail.

Tomorrow is another travel day which means we have to get ourselves organized and ready to check out by 7:00 am.

Accommodations: Casita Eclipse - Meals: B, L & D

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Sunset Gorgeous. Are you sure you want to come home? We had 3 above this morning. Going to miss your day trips.

Norma   December 23, 2012 - 12:04am

Following our schedule to a "T" - we loved Ronnie's Place!! the sunset was stunning!

Cheryl Vieira   December 22, 2012 - 9:27pm

Glad to hear you having such a wonderful time!

Carolyn Barrett   December 22, 2012 - 8:21pm

Everything sounds wonderful. Carolyn and I may follow in your tracks.

David Barrett   December 22, 2012 - 3:00pm
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White Faced Monkeys

White Faced Monkeys

Manuel Antonio Park Entrance

Manuel Antonio Park Entrance

Crab Eating Raccoons

Crab Eating Raccoons

Playa Manuel Antonio

Playa Manuel Antonio

Sunset from Ronny’s Place

Sunset from Ronny’s Place

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