After the cold and rainy weather of Arenal and Monteverde, I traded clouds for sunshine. And while I certainly enjoyed my time up north, it was nice change to see the sun and feel the heat. In truth, the area of Manuel Antonio is rather more what I thought of when I pictured Costa Rica. It was like an oasis, jungle and sparkling blue ocean.
In my time here, I went on a hike to the national park here. It was a very easy hike to the beach within the park’s limits. And while there were no real views to speak of (other than the very pretty beach at the end of the trail), the park makes up with it with all the different sorts of animals – mainly monkeys. These little guys were EVERYWHERE. They’ve become so used to humans that for the most part, they will hang out pretty close. Our group was lucky because we even got to see the very shy squirrel monkeys. These little guys were my favorite cause they were just so darn cute. One of them was even following behind us as our group as our guide talked. But on top of that we also saw different kinds of birds, crabs, frogs and even a lone sloth climbing a tree.
As we made our way to the beach, the capuchin monkeys began to make their appearance. These are probably the most well known in Costa Rica and the most notorious. As they have become so used to people (and with people comes food), they will gladly take any snacks off your hands if you aren’t watching them. I observed these critters checking out any open back that wasn’t being watched too closely. Opportunistic little things. While I was looking at the water, one even ran by me with a whole coconut! He gave me a side-eye as he passed just daring me to tell him he couldn’t have that coconut. It was hilarious.
Today, I am back in San Jose and tomorrow morning I head to the airport to head back home. It’s crazy that this trip is already over. It seems like only yesterday I was standing in line at customs, nervous at the prospect of my first solo trip. But I will say that this was a good place to start my journey. Never mind that every view I got to experience was like a post card. There was definitely enough natural beauty here to appreciate. But the people here are very warm and welcoming. And they are intensely proud of their country and love sharing it with whoever they come across. Even to the ones who couldn’t understand my broken Spanish, they still treated me with a smile and somehow we were still able to communicate. It gave me the confidence to navigate here and truly have a great time, to really experience “pura vida.”
Once I get back home, I will be immediately preparing for my next trip. I have a quick turnaround time so I will be hitting the ground running. It might be some time before I post anything. But for now, adios and pura vida! Next time, it’ll be time for me to say “Aloha!”