Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Manuel Antonio

This past weekend the big group of students split up into three smaller groups. Six of us headed to Manuel Antonio which is on the Pacific coast. Not only does it offer a great beach, but also a national park filled with fun tropcal critters. We stayed in a hostel called Costa Linda that only costs $10 a night. It had a shared bathroom, no towels, and a stand up fan for cooling off. I guess you get what you pay for. :) In all honesty it wasn't too bad of a place to stay. It did have an amazing breakfast for under $4 and the lunch and dinner menu was pretty delcious and cheap. I was happy to only spend $10 with such a great location by the beach and the national park. One thing we found out quickly is that Manuel Antionio is a pricey place.

When we arrived Friday night we checked in and headed out for dinner. We shoppped around until we found a restaurant that had prices we liked. I looked to the bar to see what they had in stock and to my pleasant surprise they had Ron Cortez!! Yay!! I ordered a rum and sprite and was a little puzzled when the guy showed up with a tan colored drink. I specifically ordered white rum, so I know I didn't get the dark rum. It turns out that sprite can also mean ginger ale....NOT the same thing!! I don't recommend ginger ale as a substitue to mix with rum. Gross. After dinner we hung out at a bar by the beach. We had a low key evening because we knew we had to wake up early for our dolphin-snorkeling tour that was going to pick us up at 8:30.

Well, we didn't have to set our alarms to wake up because the local howler monkeys start the morning hustle and bustle at about 5 am. It was so annoying! We went to Manuel Antonio with hopes of seeing wildlife not being rudely awakened by them at 5 am!! Just when you thought they were done another would start the howling all over again. This of course woke up our neighbors in the hostel, who were obvious chain smokers, so we also got to hear the awful morning smoker's cough next door. I think the smoker's-cough was worse. Eww. That morning we headed up to Quepos, the nearby town, to set off for our dolphin-snorkeling tour. I was so excited to get on a boat! A few minutes after we set off onto the Pacific the crew made a few announcements. The most important one being...beer cost $1 and all liquor was FREE!!! We had no idea that booze was included in the cost! The specialty of the day was Rum Punch, made with Ron Cortez!! It was so good! I was in heaven! We set off in search of dolphins (which we never saw) and took a little tour of the surrounding shoreline and islands. We stopped for about an hour of snorkeling (which was sub-par) and had lunch waiting for us on the boat when we got back. So in four hours we saw zero dolphins, amazing views of the shoreline and islands, probably the worse snorkeling I've actually paid for, and......I had the best time!!! I have no idea who that all works out, but I considered it loan money well spent. After the tour ended we headed to the beach for the rest of the day. That evening we headed to a fancy hotel on the mountain called Hotel Las Mariposas to get a drink and enjoy the sunset. It's suppose to have an amazing view and has gained a spot in the 1000 places to visit before you die. Well we can check that box off, but it was a bit of a let down. The hotel was great as was my pina colada, but it was so overcast that there wasn't really a sunset. Oh well. We tried.

Sunday morning we toured the national park. When we walked in I noticed all the other toursts had super serious cameras with big lenses with lots of zoom. They all looked a little silly to me, but I soon wished I had one of those cameras. We had heard it is best to take a guide or you won't see any animals. I'm guessing the guy we ended up with was not an "official" guide, but he charged the same rate, had a telescope, and did a decent job. I didn't get a lot of pictures of animals because they were all so far away and hidden. We saw them through the guide's telescope, but that was about it. We saw a couple of sloths, local birds, a spider, and a few lizards. One great thing that came out of our park ticket purchase is that the ticket lasts all day and the park has it's own private beaches!! After our tour was over, Katie and I returned to the park to take advantage of the less crowded beaches. Buying the latest return ticket to San Jose is a must, no matter how tired you are the next day. :)

My slice of pineapple I bought at the bus stop on the way to Manuel Antonio. Amazing!
Salt and beer is not a new concept to me. But this was the first time I had a Corona with lots of salt and a lime. I highly recommend it!
Our boat coming to pick us up.
Bhav and Ramona on the boat.
Anisa and Lori

I'm on a boat!! Yay!!

Bhav and me enjoying our Rum Punches
We stopped for a quick opportunity to jump in and cool off. Katie and I took advantage. My first dip in the Pacific Ocean!! Unfortunately I jumped in with my watch on. Ten dollar watches from Target don't handle the ocean very well.

Cooking our lunch. It was delicious!

The best view of wildlife we had the whole weekend was at the entrance of our hostel!! This group of monkeys stayed around for a good 5-10 minutes.

The view from the fancy hotel. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate.
My amazing piña colada! If it was cheaper I might have ordered another.
2 piñas, 1 margie, and 1 coco loco.
The national park
Our group: Lori, me, Katie, Anisa, and Bhav
The less crowded beach we enjoyed later that afternoon.
Look, it's shaped like a turtle!

On our way to the beach Sunday afternoon, Katie and I bought coconuts to drink thinking it would be a fun idea. It was so gross! All it was good for was this picture. $1 for a picture on the beach with a coconut.

1 comment:

  1. i've been to manuel antonio! so awesome! the beach is so beautiful there