|Manuel Antonio National Park - Well angled photos to miss the crowds|
It seems like we might be repeating ourselves, but we have anther travel disaster story. Not really a disaster, but just a frustrating day ending in a nasty town that we hadn't planned to spend even a minute in, far from the peace and relaxation of where we had just left. But having just come from paradise, we weren't so bothered because we were still on cloud nine. So it literally took us all day from 11am to 8pm to take two buses and a ferry, probably the total distance of about 50km. One bus didn't show up, which meant we missed the ferry and had to take the later one which got us in too late for our third bus to Manuel Antonio. So the run-down port town of Puntenarenas was where we were staying for the night. With white sand beaches and a long boulevard with lots of what seemed to be restaurants and bars, it was strange that the place was deserted. Oh and that white sand beach was the dirtiest beach we have ever witnessed, covered in plastic waste an amount I can't even describe, with homeless people living on mattresses under shrubs and trees and just a sad sight of what unmanaged development can create/destroy. No pictures included of said town!
|Manuel Antonio public beach|
|The fun walk back up he hill.|
So we got into Manuel Antonio a day late. The big attraction here is the Manuel Antonio National Park, a pretty but small and slightly overpopulated National Park on the central Pacific Coast. There were lots of flash hotels and restaurants, but obviously the closest we got to these was on our walk to and from the beach. It was a nice spot though, the town spanned the road leading down to the park perched on the seaside hills. So we had some beautiful sunsets and vistas out to sea. Even at our 20 bed dorm, $10 a night backpackers, we still had a million dollar balcony view. Only being in town for two nights we basically were there just to check out the park, but there was also a nice public beach with some small waves leading to a gorgeous rainforest which met the sand beach. There was a bit of stuff happening around with jet skis for rent, para-sailing, beach chairs and umbrellas for rental, locals selling coconuts to drink and small crafts, but this place still held the paradise vibe though. We swam, sunbathed and sweated it out on the 45min walk to and from the beach, with the uphill return being a tough slog, better than a 50c bus fair though ay?
At the park, we were slightly underwhelmed but still saw an amazing array of wildlife especially in such a small area. We were blown away with how busy the main and basically only walking trail was, maybe more like a gravel road. Along the path every 20 meters or so was another guide with a group and a telescope looking into the trees. Good thing we didn't take a tour, we easily crashed each group and saw sloths, birds, snakes and got all the good stories and headed on our merry way leaving the groups behind in the crowds. We made our way to the main beach of the park, a stunning bay with beautiful clear water, iguanas strolling around everywhere and monkeys swinging in the trees lapping at the shoreline. There was also a small loop walk around a small peninsula through some wild rainforest. We got the real tropical humid atmosphere as it was stinking hot, crazy humid and there was no breeze at all. So we saw what we came to see quite quickly, with the animals and forest. So all that was left to do was relax in the shade and keep cool with regular swims. We found a side beach where it was almost deserted to chill for the day.
|Thanks for taking our photo Mr Rock.|
The sunsets were so striking, and we had the most amazing view from our backpackers. I quite enjoyed the reggae vibes at the hostel too especially as they played a whole album of the Black Seeds the New Zealand reggae group as we watched the sun go down. Super chilled. This was the last we saw of the Pacific Coast as we were off to the Caribbean.