150km of road separate the national park Monteverde from the national park Manuel Antonio. We left in the late morning, after the zip-lining, assuming to reach Manuel Antonio in the early afternoon after several stops on the way. Things ended up going differently. The first part slowed us down as it turned out to not be paved. When we finally reached the tarred road, we rejoiced for about 15seconds before realising that someone had removed the bridge on said road and there was no crossing the river. So we had to turn around and stick to another unmarred road for a while, before finally reaching the “Interamericana Norte”, the biggest street in Northern Costa Rica. We totally expected things to get better from there, but unfortunately they only got worse. We were stuck behind truck after truck for the next two hours, averaging some 30km/h. After 3 hours driving we’d barely covered 50km. In addition it had started raining again. All desire for detours had stopped and we even had to force ourselves to stop at the famous crocodile bridge to have a look at the huge crocodiles. They didn’t look happy about the rain either.
We arrived in Manuel Antonio with the sunset. Standing on the public beach, with the little islands black against the setting sun, made it all worth wile though. Exhausted but satisified we decided to forgo cooking and treat ourselves to a nice burger from a local joint. An absolutely great decision.
The next morning we had a tour trough the national park, which showed us all the larger mammals. While having the guide definitely did help, we probably would’ve seen many of the animals also without his helping eyes. The binocular he was carrying was very useful though. In just 90min we saw seven sloths (including two babies), squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, capucin monkeys, racoons, agouti, coati, fresh water crabs and lots of insects.
One of the highlights was the squirrel eating feasting on a foot long grashopper. The details of which would’ve been invisible without our guides binoculars. The end of the tour conveniently dropped us off right at the beach, were we spent the rest of the day chilling, bathing, reading and chasing away monkeys in regular intervals. In particular the capucin monkeys have learned how to open zippers to retrieve whatever tempts them from your backpack.. Much care is needed.
In the evening we set off for another night tour, just as the rain set in. After waiting it out for a bit, the rain got less and we started looking for more frogs. Fascinatingly enough (or possibly not, if you’re familiar with biology) the frogs at the beach are quite different from the frogs in the higher mountains of Monteverde. We did see a red-eyed tree frog, which had only a little resemblance with the ones we’d seen before. We also got to see a baby red-eyed tree frog, which is completely yellow and doesn’t have the red eyes yet. We saw the bull frog and its impressive size several times and a large amount of curious insects creeping through the night. But we also saw larger animals, such as a bunch of deer and some more kinkanjous, even though we saw those only briefly.
Again, neither the tarantula nor the poisonous snakes made an appearance and even though our guide seemed disappointed, we weren’t all that sad to not have been attacked. When we asked our guide what the most impressive thing was that he had seen in the park, he mentioned that he’d been attacked by a boa constrictor falling from a tree once. Luckily this was shortly before the night tour ended and we were already leaving the forest.. without having been attacked.