sweating our way through manuel antonio national park.

there are a few hot spots in costa rica, and manuel antonio probably tops of the list. it’s the country’s ultimate honeymoon / tourist destination and so it’s beauty comes with a price. we were actually blown away by how expense it was. i’d argue it was as expensive, if not more, than what we pay at home for grocery and dining. which just felt really strange considering the wages in the country.

beyond that, i can’t say manuel antonio was mind-blowing for us. (which does not mean it’s not an awesome vacay spot)it’s gorgeous, it’s totally easy to navigate, it’s got the right mix of adventure to relaxation, but it felt borderline fabricated and super westernized for our taste. in fact, i had to start telling people, “espanol solamente” (spanish only) so that i could at least try to brush up on my spanish language skills. that being said, we’re a little different than the typical vacationer and so take that with a grain of rice and margarita salt.

however, one shared sentiment between us and the other travelers was that the crown jewel of manuel antonio – the national park – was pretty anti-climatic (particularly if you’ve done any real jungle hiking in your day).

here’s a look at our day at manuel antonio national park where we saw two sloths, a deer, an iguana, some monkeys and a bunch of butterflies.

manuel antonio national parkday two in manuel antonio we woke up early, got lubbed up with SPF 60+, d decked out in all his moisture wicking adventure apparel, and walked down the hill to the local bus stop. during the wait, i played a game of “guess the animal crossing the road” and did some pretty cool sloth impressions.

manuel antonio national parkfor $.60US or 310 colones (the costa rica currency said: cologne-ace) we hopped on the bus and off we went. this is also where we met carter, a solo-female traveler from austin who ended up joining us for the day.

manuel antonio national parkpost bus stop, a handful of locals pointed us in the right direction where we bought our $16/each tickets to explore the paved paths. based on other recommendations we skipped the “private guided tours” for $45/person and decided that we’d just be the total creepers on other tours and stop to look at things when we saw 25 cameras pointing at a tree. sneaky sneaky.

manuel antonio national parkoh, and just in case you need a coconut and a shot of jose cuervo before you go in, this guy has the goods.
manuel antonio national parkfirst things first, adventure dan loading up on H20 at the free agua filling stations.
manuel antonio national parkonce inside with the rest of the bazillion tourists, we picked a trail to a waterfall. exciting right? see it over there? beyond the railing we can’t go past? ;)
manuel antonio national parkcan you see the look of excitement on d’s face? the all-natural bench to relax on. the railing? muy authentico.
manuel antonio national parkso the BIG thing about this park is all the wildlife. just beyond this bridge an asian tourist showed us that there was a sloth in the tree.
IMG_0277this is the photo of the two-toed sloth sleeping in a tree. no, really. keep looking. (this is how we felt).
i was quite certain we were getting punked. in fact, we decided we could do an awesome Jimmy Kimmel Lie Witness News Jungle Edition and tell people,”hey look! there’s the endangered X animal” and see how many people go, “ooohhh… there it is! i see it!” and whip out their camera to take photos of nothing.
manuel antonio national parkbut my super positive husband kept with the map and was bound and determined to tackle each and every perfectly paved trail. so in high heat and extreme humidity, we forged on. sweating our asses off with each step.
IMG_0282but that’s when we found this picture-perfect view and photo spot.
manuel antonio national parkand this was pretty awesome and totally worth it.
manuel antonio national parkso we kept cruising another trail and popped out at this beach cove where we jumped right into the water – me in a swimsuit, danny in his underpants. casual.

manuel antonio national parklook! it’s a beach!
manuel antonio national parkbut the BEST thing of the day was un-photographed at this cove.
manuel antonio national park we were swimming around with a bunch of peeps and all of a sudden a duo of prankster monkeys came out of a tree and went straight for the backpack of an eastern european girl who was too busy bikini modeling on a rock (zero shame) to secure her stuff to a tree. well, the monkey snatched her stuff and she went ballistic. she started screaming at the monkey, throwing things up into the tree and then grabbed a stick that she was waving around like a psycho. good thing all of us were in the ocean, because it was pee-your-pants hilarious to watch. and the best part? the monkey then started throwing her stuff down back at her and she’d scramble to collect it. you just can’t make this shit up.

manuel antonio national parkand this is a picture of a really blurry iguana sitting on a rock. 


overall, we had a good time accepting it for what it was, can say we saw a slot and the extreme heat and perspiration made me feel like i was exercising.
all wins.

1 Comment

  • Reply December 21, 2015

    Lisa Drewes

    Love reading your blog. My family and I were in the same part (Dominical & Manuel Antonio) of Costa Rica this past January. Glad I’m not the only one that needed to take a shower multiple times of day, just to cool down. Hope you continue to journal your trip for us armchair travelers.

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