Wednesday, February 23
Today we woke up in one of our favourite places – Tulemar resort. https://tulemar.com/Resort. At 6:30 a.m. we headed up to TuleCafe for breakfast. We were disappointed to learn that our favourite breakfast wasn’t on the menu anymore, but all their breakfasts are great.
After eating we slowly made our way up the hill to the lobby to meet Johan Chaves – our private tour guide for the morning at Manuel Antonio National Park. We booked this tour well before our trip through Miguel, the concierge that was assigned to us as guests of Tulemar. We had the option of making it a private tour for an extra $10 per person and we thought that was a great deal.
On our way up to the reception area we spotted this Sloth mom with her baby.
We were very lucky to have Johan as our guide. We later learned he is somewhat of a celebrity in the birding world. He has a photo book published featuring the animals and birds of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. It comes in a digital or hard copy version. I highly recommend it.
Johan’s spotting skills are phenomenal and he showed us many creatures we would not have found on our own. By combining our phone’s camera with his lens we were able to get some great shots. We started with a couple of bats, a Black Hawk, Green Tree Frog and an Iguana. Iguanas are very large – 130 cm nose to tail tip.
The Common Pauraque is a very hard bird to find unless you know where to look for it. They are often found on the sloth trail in this park so the guides know where to look. I had a hard time seeing it in the leaves until I spotted its eye. They are ground nesters.
Next, Johan found a Giant False Parrot Snake. They are quite small in girth but can be up to one metre in length. Also nearby, he found this Tent-making Bat hanging out inside a large leaf.
There are many types of Anoles. They are fairly small but are not hard to find. The larger Helmet-headed Lizard has the ability to change colours to match its surroundings.
The Orange-chinned Parakeet is the second smallest Parakeet in Costa Rica. It’s always fun to see the more colourful birds. We were lucky to see the uncommon Purple-crowned Fairy Hummingbird visiting its nest.
We also saw some of the larger mammals. I wasn’t able to get a good picture of a sloth we saw because it was hidden high up in a tree, but we saw some Spider Monkeys and a cute Raccoon resting on a branch. We could also hear Howler Monkeys in the distance but didn’t get a chance to see them. You are not allowed to bring food into this park because the monkeys have figured out how to open zippers on backpacks in order to steal food.
This shot shows how powerful Johan’s camera is.
Manuel Antonio National Park is a very pretty park. There are about 12 kilometres of trails as well as a few beaches. Our plan was to come back another day to hike and visit the beach briefly. This is one of the parks that requires a reservation before you visit. It is also the most popular park in Costa Rica.
We found it a bit crowded on the paths near the entrance. That was where most of the wildlife was spotted. Once you get further in there aren’t very many people. We really enjoyed our tour with Johan and highly recommend him. We headed back to Tulemar for lunch.
We had a couple of problems with our room so while we were having lunch the staff moved our bags. The new room was a bit prettier with the colourful art work on the wall but we still had an issue with the shower. It wouldn’t maintain its temperature.
For the rest of the day we wandered around the resort and visited the beach. All beaches in Costa Rica are public but because Tulemar is situated on a fairly steep hill it is difficult to get to unless you are a guest of the hotel. We went in the water twice and found the water very warm. We saw a large Iguana sun bathing on the beach. When we were leaving there was a golf cart going by and they asked if we wanted a lift. We jumped on the back and had to hold on tight while we drove up the hill to move our car to our new location.
We had dinner at TuleCafe where we both ordered the Strip-loin steak and enjoyed another beautiful sunset.
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