Costa Rica, Day 3

This was the day we went to Manuel Antonio National Park. I’m only going to post some of the pictures from here and the rest later, depending on the connection.

Our shuttle picked us up at 7 and included the couple we met at the Thrifty on Sunday and the couple we met here for the Quepos grocery run.

At the park we got our guide, Andre, met up with us. He had a super high-powered telescope on a tripod so we could see lots of things would never have seen, especially on our own. Without Andre we probably would have seen nothing!

All of the pictures in a circular frame were taken through the telescope. We saw 2-toed and 3-toed sloths. Their differences were not just in the numbers of toes but several other things such what they ate. We also saw baby bats sleeping, several types of tree frogs, insects, frog larvae.

The frog larvae was interesting. I have 2 pictures. It looked like a gelatinous mass with lots of eyes…which moved. Eventually, the sac will fall off the leaf and into the water below. Those eyes will become tadpoles for a bit, then frogs.

We heard before we saw the howler monkeys. They were very noisy! Eventually one threw a tree branch down toward us, then a bit of monkey poop.

The monkeys are, of course, free to go wherever they want and some were getting killed in the roads. Or they would use the power cables as highways. Not a good idea! The people installed blue cables for them at the routes they normally took. The monkeys can see the blue, use those highways and stay safe.

We also saw another type of monkey, lizards and more.

After this part was over, we forded a stream and had a great fruit snack along with soursop drink. Mmmmmmm. On this trip I’ve had more fruit than a long time.

We went and sat on the beach for a bit, then back “home”.

After naps, there was a barbecue near the pool, then early bed.

Costa Rica, Day 2B (or not 2B…)

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After Tom’s conference call we went back by the pool for a bit until the thunder started and we decided to head home. On the way back we signed up for a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park (description below) which will happen tomorrow. So all our days are now filled with activities. I’ll need a vacation day when I get home to recover…

Tom took the picture of me today on our balcony. Which reminds me: they told us yesterday if we were on the first floor to be sure to lock our back patio doors because the raccoons had figured out how to open them to get food. Glad we’re on the second/top floor.

I was looking at some receipts. The money here is the colones, about 500 to $1.00. Our ATM receipt showed that we’re millionaires, just not in US currency.

The temperature at home was 104. Here, near the equator, it’s 78. Very strange.

Getting up in less than 6 hours for Manuel Antonio. Night, all!

Manuel Antonio…

With the establishment of ManuelAntonio National Park in 1972, the people of Costa Rica decided to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country’s smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled.

Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. This beaches are the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent too. The forest is home for sloths, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys and millions of colorful little crabs. And the trail that winds around Punta Catedral affords some spectacular views. The park is easy to reach, south of the town of Quepos, and is near a good selection of hotels and restaurants.

Visiting the park, one is treated to an abundant diversity of wildlife. Cathedral Point, with its forest topped cliffs was once an island, but is now connected to the coast by a thin strip of island. This land bridge now forms the spine separating the parks two most popular beaches, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio.

The southern facing beach, Playa Manuel Antonio, is a picturesque half mile long, white sand crescent bisecting deep green foliage to one side and a private, secluded cove to the other.

Standing with your feet dug into the sand and watching the wave crash against the rocks on either side of the lagoon, it is easy to believe that you are a thousand miles from anywhere.

Costa Rica

We finally got our plane tickets today – that makes it “official”.

We traded our timeshare a while ago for a place in Quepos, Costa Rica.  We had originally traded for Saint Martin but after reading the online reviews changed our mind and switched to Costa Rica instead. Neither of us has ever been there before so it looks like it will be really fun.

Here’s someone else’s video:

Some of the things that I thought were really neat about this place was that it was near to Manuel Antonio National Park, rainforests, volcanos,  ziplines and whitewater rafting.

Manuel-antonio

From http://www.govisitcostarica.com/travelInfo/nationalParks.asp

With over 615 wildlife species per 10,000 sq km, Costa Rica sits atop of the list as the most bio-diverse region of the world. Home to an incredible plethora of exotic and tropical flora and fauna, this tiny Latin American country is the habitat of 12 key ecological zones. With an estimated 5% of the world’s biodiversity found here, it is no wonder that Costa Rica is often referred to as ‘the living Eden’ by many scientists and naturalists from all across the globe.

In an effort to preserve much of Costa Rica’s natural beauty and surroundings, 25% of the country’s land has been set aside and turned into protective parks and reserves so as to safeguard the beautiful and lush environs from deforestation and logging. To date Costa Rica has 27 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, 15 wetland areas/mangroves, 11 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, as well as 12 other conservation regions that protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country.

Home to a staggering 10,000 species of plants and trees, Costa Rica is also the home of over 850 indigenous and migrant birds, 205 species of mammals, over 35,000 species of insects, 160 species of amphibians, 220 species of reptiles, and around 1,013 species of fresh and saltwater fish.. This diversity and richness of nature and wildlife makes Costa Rica a truly natural paradise.

Deciduous forests, mangrove swamps, rainforests, herbaceous swamps, cloud forests, riparian forests, swamp forests and coral reefs are just some of the many habitats that are protected by the national parks and reserves of Costa Rica. Areas of geological and geophysical interests, such as active volcanoes, hot springs, caves and relict mountains as the result of plate tectonics setting; areas of historic and archaeological interest, such as battlefields and pre-Columbian settlements; areas of scenic beauty, such as beaches and waterfalls; and areas of conservational importance, such as islands where the brown pelican and magnificent frigatebird nest, or enclaves with the last remaining stands of Mesoamerican dry forest, or beaches where huge sea turtles flock, all fall under the protection of the national parks and reserves in Costa Rica.

Home to many endangered wildlife plant and animal species such as the Leatherback turtle, Olive Ridley turtle, West Indian manatee, Scarlet Macaw, Resplendent Quetzal, Tapir, Golden Toad, Jabiru and Ocelot, Costa Rica’s national parks offer tourists a wealth of diversity that was previously unheard of.

Some of the popular national parks in Costa Rica include; the Arenal Volcano National Park – with the country’s most active volcano; the Barra Honda National Park – with its Pre-Columbian limestone caves; the Chirripo National Park – home to Costa Rica’s tallest mountain; the Corcovado National Park – considered to be the most biologically intense place on earth; the Las Baulas National Marine Park – where millions of Leatherback turtles nest; the Turrialba Volcano National Park – with the largest volcano craters and the La Amistad International Park – which is a biosphere project.