Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Remarkable Pacific Coast - Manuel Antonio Park

After a half day bus ride from Monteverde, we arrived at the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The hotel Si Como No was in a lush tropical setting on the hillside with a spectacular view of the Pacific, although it was not a place for those weak at the knees as it was on a steep incline.  However, it had the advantage of being on its own nature reserve, including a butterfly garden.  There was also a resident toucan that we could see from our bedroom window a couple of mornings and a three-toed sloth on a tree just in front of our building. Too bad we missed the bird walks they held early in the morning - I've heard they were quite productive. 

View from the lobby of Si Como No
The resident toucan

Three-toed sloth - the first time I could actually see the face of a sloth!

We spent a morning hiking in Manuel Antonio National Park, encountering unusual wildlife native to the area, including an unusual owl like bird called a Potoo.  The trail led us to a gorgeous sandy beach.  It was a wonderful experience swimming again in the warm waters of the Pacific - I was reliving my childhood!  White-faced capuchin monkeys were hanging around the beach area, ready to steal bags from unaware bathers.  They looked very cute - when they don't have your bag.

One of several wonderful sandy beaches at Manuel Antonio 

The Potoo - an owl like creature, well-camouflaged in the forest - it looked like a tree trunk!

White-tailed deer giving its faun a shove
A nephila spider and its web

White-faced capuchin monkeys

Lowland Jesus Christ lizard

One morning, a catamaran took us out to sea for sightings of a family of dolphins and the brown booby, a seabird that supposedly always shows up near the dolphins.  It was my first encounter with wild dolphins - what an amazing experience!



Brown booby

Heliconia butterfly

Mating ritual of Heliconia

Morpho butterfly in the Butterfly Garden

Flock of scarlet macaws beside the highway to Manuel Antonio

Ctenosaur lizard on the hotel grounds

It was January when we visited and the heat and humidity was bearable.  What amazed me was the complete lack of mosquitoes - we were able to enjoy our evenings dining in restaurants that were all open air, without having to worry about bug bites even though we were right in the midst of the tropical rainforest.

The beautiful Pacific Coast was the last stop on our Costa Rican journey.  We returned to San Jose after spending three days in the park.  The return trip was uneventful except for a mouth-watering stop at a fruit stand on the way - we bought the sweetest, most fragrant mango we ever tasted...

For our food experience in Costa Rica, please check Foodsparks, the food blog.

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