Author Archives: Christine

About Christine

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Manuel Antonio Residents

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica, yet it is one of the smallest at only 1983 hectares.  The park has a well built hiking trail, half a dozen beaches, a variety of flora/fauna, 109 species of mammals, and over 175 varieties of birds.

Matt and I took the public bus from Quepos to Manuel Antonio which was a short 25-minute ride and cost a whopping $.75 each.  The town is relatively small, but it is packed with lots of eateries, bars, and tourist traps.   We did a quick walk around before heading into the park which cost $18 per person.

Many people hire tour guides to tour the park at $20 per person, but Matt and I decided to explore on our own.  There was a really nice wooden trail and lots of maps around so we figured we couldn’t get too lost.

We started at the top left of the map (Bahias) and followed the yellow trail to the water where we picked up the dotted pink line (Sendero Miradoras Trail).  We took this new trail all the way to the left and walked until we hit the dead end.  This was up many, many stairs, then down, then up and again, then down.  We ended up at the top of an overlook.

Manuel Antonio National Park Map

Manuel Antonio National Park Map

The overlook, Puerto Escondido (Hidden Port) is 25 meters above sea level.  During low tide you see these small bridges of sand that link the islands to the continental part of the coast.

Beautiful sandy beaches at Manuel Antonio Park

Beautiful sandy beaches at Manuel Antonio Park

After turning around, we took the same trail back until we got to the Sendero Congos Trail (left at the fork).  Then climbed to the Sendero Puerto Escondido Trail which led to a nice beach.  We back tracked again and found ourselves on the Sendero Playa Gemelas Trail which led us back to the yellow line below.

We landed at Gemelas Beach which is divided into two by a rock formation.  The waters from the creek merged with the sea currents have given life to the twin beaches providing a sanctuary for many sea and wild life.

Instead of leaving the park, we took the Sendero Playa Manuel Antonio Trail to Punta Catedral and eventually out the Sendero Perezoso Trail.

At first, we were a little put out that it was so expensive to enter the park.  But as we walked through it and saw how well maintained the trails were, we understood the cost.  If you weren’t walking on a nice wooden plank trail, you were on cement, or a very well maintained dirt road.  Check out the funny sign I posed with below.

Hiking Trails at Manuel Antonio Park

Hiking Trails at Manuel Antonio Park

There were these really strange prickly things growing on some of the uber tall trees.  At first, I thought it looked like fur, but up close, they are strong, sharp, needles growing out of the trunks.

At the end of our trail we ended on the most popular beach in the park. Most of the tourists stop to admire the monkeys and enjoy the beach.  There was a tourist eating a banana that attracted a funny pair of monkeys – they entertained us all.

Beautiful sandy beaches at Manuel Antonio Park

Beautiful sandy beaches at Manuel Antonio Park

We saw this really odd looking critter – cross between a rat and rabbit..  Never did find out their name – can you help?

We also, did not get to see the howler monkey, but we heard them throughout our adventures.

Wildlife at the park

Wildlife at the park

After our crazy long walk/hike we treated ourselves to a nice cold beverage.  As we cooled down, a light rain started.  We decided to catch the bus back so we did not get stuck in the pending downpour.

As we were waiting for the bus, my phone rang, it was a friend of ours from Texas, Tom Faulk.  He mentioned he would be in Costa Rica, but we did not nail down a meet up.  As fate would have it, he was sitting at the restaurant right behind the bus stop!

Friends from Texas at Manuel Antonio

Friends from Texas at Manuel Antonio

We had a great day of exercise.

Manuel Antonio walk-hike

Manuel Antonio walk-hike

Successful day:

  • Almost a 9-mile walk/hike
  • Climbed the empire state building (which is 101 floors)
  • Met up with some Texas friends
  • Played with a lot of wildlife

A Mother’s Day Celebration in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is absolutely beautiful, green, lush, and full of friendly people.  We have enjoyed walking around the various towns (Jaco, Quepos), meeting “ticos” (locals), and seeing the wildlife.  It has been a fun adventure. We are thrilled we could share it with Matt’s mom, Monica.

Mother’s Day – 13 May 2018

We met her at the Croc’s Casino and Beach Resort and enjoyed some chat time before we headed to Poseidon Restaurant.  Matt and I had made reservations the day before so we were all set to enjoy our Sunday brunch.

Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s day in August. As a result the place wasn’t terribly crowded. It’s a cute little place with the seating and bar inside and the kitchen outside.  Very tasty food!  We ordered a chicken Caesar salad, Tropical salad and eggs Benedict with mimosas of course.

Our yummy meals from Poseidon

Our yummy meals from Poseidon

The day Monica left, we enjoyed a nice lunch by the pool along with some frothy drinks.  I had a Miami Vice, have you heard of that before?  It is 1/2 strawberry margarita and 1/2 pina coloda.  Perfect mix.

Cocktails by the pool to celebrate with Monica.

Cocktails by the pool to celebrate with Monica.

Matt and I found this beautiful bowl made out of Brazilian wood that has become our fruit bowl on the boat.  Important to realize, I bought this in Costa Rica and they were bragging about it being Brazilian wood.

My beautiful bowl bought in Costa Rica made from Brazilian wood

My beautiful bowl bought in Costa Rica made from Brazilian wood

They have several of these stores around town which just crack me up – Fruity Monkey Poop.  Obviously, it is a cafe that sells tourist items.

I forgot to post this photo during one of our tours.  They have wonderful art like this all around Costa Rica.   This is a beautiful bus stop.

Costa Rica art at its finest

Costa Rica art at its finest

In Costa Rica they make fences using cut down trees.  After awhile, the trees start to grow again.  The horses and cows eat from the tree fence while being confined to the pasture.  I took these photos from a moving van on the highway, can you tell?

Little blurry, but tree fences are prevalent all around Costa Rica

Little blurry, but tree fences are prevalent all around Costa Rica

We had many lovely sunsets while anchored at Bahia Herradura.  The top image is the sunset and the bottom is the view of the Los Suenos Marina at night.

Sunset at Bahia Herradura and a shot of Los Suenos

Sunset at Bahia Herradura and a shot of Los Suenos

Coming up Next

Sugar Shack was struck by lightning while we were celebrating Mother’s Day with Monica.  We will be working on repairs for the next several months. With this in mind, we will not be posting about the incident until it is 100% resolved and behind us. Thank you for being patient.

Big Cats, Monkeys, Birds and Waterfalls: La Paz Nature Preserve and Waterfalls

Our tour continued after the Doka Coffee Plantation.  Oscar, our driver drove us an hour to the La Paz Waterfall Garden and Nature Preserve.  Originally, we were all excited about the waterfall tour, but as we entered the facility, our interests quickly shifted to the animals.

Aviary

The tour started in the bird aviary where toucans, pavas, scarlet macaws, grosbeaks, and many others fly freely.  This aviary is a refuge for wild birds that have either been captured illegally by hunters and confiscated by the government or donated by owners.  Many of the birds lack the basic skills to survive and the wild on their own.

La Paz Water Garden and Nature Preserve

La Paz Water Garden and Nature Preserve

Butterfly Observatory

Is an enclosed structure that allows over 20 different species of butterflies to soar freely.  We mostly saw the blue monarchs, but they were all gorgeous.

Butterflies surrounding me with joy

Butterflies surrounding me with joy

Flora everywhere

There were an assortment of breath taking flora around the park as well.

Flora at La Paz

Flora at La Paz

Hummingbird Observatory

La Paz boasted of a monkey, hummingbird, and snake sanctuaries as well.  The monkeys were just not as exciting as the ones we met in the wild, but still fun.  The hummingbird Garden was beautiful and offered a rare chance to see these skittish creatures in front of your face.

Can you see the beautiful green breasted hummingbird below?

Beautiful Hummingbird Enjoying Nectar

Beautiful Hummingbird Enjoying Nectar

Casita De la Paz

Is a reproduction built using only the tools available to the average farmer a century ago.  Inside they offered fresh cow milk cheese and hot tea.  Matt joined me for a photo op with an ox-driven cart, even though we passed on the joy ride.

Casita La Paz

Casita La Paz

Jungle Cats

One of my favorite stops was the jungle cat exhibit.  This is the newest exhibit and it is considering temporary at the moment.  We saw Ocelots, jaguardundi and Margays.

Big Cats at La Paz Sanctuary

Big Cats at La Paz Sanctuary

Waterfalls

Monica and Oscar took the van and drove around to the bottom of the falls where they met us after our hike.  The walk down the waterfalls was a 45 minute walk down hundreds of stairs which would have been too challenging for Monica.

As Matt and I began our descent, we quickly came across the first waterfall called Magia Blanca Waterfall which was 120’ tall.  This trail took us through the La Paz river along the rainforest showing the diversity of the plant and wildlife.

The other two waterfalls are Encantada Waterfall at 65’ and Escondida Waterfall at 10’.  They were beautiful and refreshing.    We had a little fun with each of them.

Waterfalls at La Paz

Waterfalls at La Paz

It had been a really long day.  It took us 2 hours to drive back into town where Oscar dropped Matt and I off at La Puesta Del Sol and took Monica back to Croc’s.  We had a quick beverage, caught our water taxi back to the boat and were unpacking as another boat stopped by.

Manu Kai is a beautiful 56’ catamaran that is part of the Panama Posse.  They invited us over for a cold drink to share stories. Super nice family, Thor and Tanya with a 16 year old son, Tristan and 12 year old daughter Sienna.

All Day Tour Included:

  • Transportation (2.5 hours each way)
  • Breakfast
  • Doka Coffee Plantation
  • Lunch
  • La Paz Water Garden and Nature Preserve
  • Stop at a tienda to buy fresh strawberries, local cheese, and blackberries