Friday, February 25
Today we returned to Manuel Antonio National Park to explore at our own pace. We reserved our arrival time about a month before our trip. This is one of the national parks that requires a paid reservation. After breakfast we headed up to the reception area and ordered a taxi. Our driver offered to pick us up at 2 p.m. for the return trip which we accepted for $10 each way. It was a short 5 minute drive to the entrance to the park. He got us as close as possible to avoid all the people offering tours of the park. We chose not to drive ourselves as the parking there isn’t easy. We arrived around 7:30 a.m. so it wasn’t too crowded yet.
We made our way deeper into the park. The plan was to hike all the trails. We soon discovered that that meant a lot of stairs.
The reward for climbing many flights of stairs were the gorgeous views….this view shows the island that we Jet skied around the day before.
Some of the trails lead to some really nice beaches. We stopped at each and had a short swim.
The most picturesque beaches were the ones that required hiking further into the park.
We didn’t see much wildlife at this park but we weren’t really looking. We saw a few White-faced Capuchin Monkeys at the quieter beaches. They are very intelligent. During the rainy season they will rub certain plants over themselves to discourage insects from landing on them. They can be aggressive and groups will raid the nests of birds and Coatis for food. Some Costa Ricans refer to them as the “white faced Mafia”.
We stopped for ice cream after covering most of the trails. It was very good! I bought a souvenir T-Shirt which has always been a challenge because we tend to stay in places that have no shops.
The last trail we did was a circular trail around the part of the park that sticks out into the ocean and is joined to the park by a thin stretch of land. It has long beaches on either side of the path. We went in the water briefly to cool off before heading out to look for our taxi driver. Today we covered 12 kilometres of trail.
We found our driver outside the park and with a quick drive we were back at Tulemar. We had a late lunch and spent the rest of the day relaxing. TuleCafe is also a good place to watch for Scarlet Macaws.