Other Pages of Interest

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Costa Rica: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

The last full day of our trip we decided to visit the enormous national park that was right on our front doorstep.  The Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, but is visited by large amounts of tourists annual due to the biodiversity and the beautiful beaches in the park. The park entrance tickets were US$10 each, and we paid an additional price for a guide at the entrance of the park.  The park guides are willing to negotiate, though we found that after the negotiation, the guide was still able to make a few extra bucks by adding other people to our "private" tour.  The guide was great at pointing out animals, birds and reptiles that we never would have seen on our own, but didn't offer much of a "tour" of the park.
 We certainly never would have spotted the sloths that he showed us during the tour.  Even this guy that was only a few feet above us in the trees would have been a challenge to spot.  This is a 3-toed sloth that looks remarkably like the friendly, docile 2-toed sloth - though we were told that this one will kill you if you cross him.

We have been told that there are a limited number of visitors allowed inside the park on any given day, this was not an issue for us, but it certainly can get crowded as the day goes on.  We arrived around 10:00am, and there were times that the path was full of folks trying to see whatever animal the guides were pointing out.  Another reason to go early is that it is incredibly hot and humid during the day. Gretchen was ready for a bath and a nap as soon as the tour was over.  She was remarkably well behaved on the tour, though she did NOT want to get inside the backpack carrier we had borrowed for her.  So, she walked:

And at times was carried by various members of the group:

I'm not sure who is hotter in this picture, baby or Daddy...

 At the end of the hike through the park, we came to some remarkable beaches.  Beautiful sand, crystal clear water, and hardly a person to be seen.  The difficulty is that you need to do the hike to get to the beach - needless to say, less people come here.
Our Family Christmas Shot
The park is truly beautiful, so much green space, lush forests and a coastline to dream about.  We saw monkeys, sloths, many different birds, crabs and a nasty looking iguana, so we certainly were right in there with the wildlife.  At the end of the hike, there was a very small creek that some kind locals were able to "ferry" you across (for some sort of tip) or you could walk across a few yards down.  We all walked across, we all ended up with wet shoes, but no one was worried about it.  Especially my mom and Kyra, who were either having a great time, or really excited about the margaritas we had waiting at home.  


Chris is deep in thought...
 And after a hot day's tour, we all enjoyed lunch at El Avion, the bar made out of an airplane that we had been hearing about all week.  The airplane part was cool, but the view from the restaurant over the water made it a perfect lunch spot.

After lunch and a full morning hiking in the hot air, we were all ready for a bit of this:

What a great way to spend our last day in Costa Rica.  The only place that I have not mentioned in a previous post is where we ate our Christmas Dinner, the restaurant of a hotel called Arenas del Mar.  If we ever return to Manuel Antonio, I will seriously consider staying at this beautiful hotel.  The restaurant was great, we were picked up in golf carts, driven through the pitch black forest into an open air bar and restaurant that was really great for a night out.  The servers were attentive, the menu was full of delicious fresh seafood options and it worked out perfectly for our group of 10.

We had a wonderful trip, and we are so grateful for our families that spent the holidays together with us and helped care for Gretchen throughout the trip.  We look forward to many more amazing vacation trips together!


  1. Great pictures! Everyone looks crazy hot and sweaty -- glad you all enjoyed it :)

  2. What a fantastic Christmas, exactly what I see doing with the girls in the FAR future. It looks like Gretchen might be ready to be treated like a princess with us.