Manuel Antonio National Park

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Today was a fabulous day. We woke up around 8am and had breakfast at our guesthouse. We then headed out to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Half a mile up the road a man stopped us and directed us into his parking lot. Saying that he was the only parking lot for the park. I told him no thank you and that I would just try to get closer. He yelled at me, “Just get out of here lady!” So I did and I found parking really close by and for free!!! In the parking lot I was approached by a guide to join a group for $20 each. I said we were going to just go it alone. When we reached the gate the park was at capacity so we had to wait in a huge line. Apparently I hadn’t gotten our tickets yet. So I went to that line and purchased our $16 per person tickets to get in. In line I met a large group from Alabama who just negotiated a guide for $10 each. So I asked if I could join them. The guide let Salome come for free. So instead of $40 it cost me $10 for a tour for the two of us.

A guide is an absolute must! You will not see anything without a guide. They spot the animals and set up a spotting scope for you to see them. We brought binoculars and we still couldn’t see the animals with them. Without a guide the entire experience is pointless. It’s just a $16 hike to the beach.

Once you reach the beach he asks for a tip and says good bye. I gave him $5 because he always made sure we got pictures. From the beach Salome and I decided to go on a hike up to crystal point. It was hot and we were melting. Half way up we decided to go back and jump in the ocean. The ocean water here is like bath water. It is not cool and refreshing. It’s warm but it’s better than being hot and sweaty.

After spending some time on the beach we got hungry and decided to head back. We did not spot a single animal on the walk back even though we knew they were there. Outside the park we got some coconuts to drink and walked to the public beach where we got empanadas and leche snow cones. All of it was $10. The empanadas being the best deal in Costa Rica at $1 each. We also ate some bananas we had in the car.

We then headed to Jaco. Where we checked into our hostel. The front desk guy was amazing! We got a discount for paying cash and he showed us to our room. We got 2 beds in a 4 bed women’s room. The two girls we are sharing the room with are amazing!!! The best roommates you can ask for. They are both intelligent, nice, and normal. They are from Southern California and extremely mature.

Salome decided to grab a couple free bikes and ride around town. Going to the market to get her lotion as her face is burnt. Then looking around at the little shops. Everything here is imported from Asia. So it’s the exact same stuff you buy in Thailand but instead of paying $5 for a tie dye tank top it’s $19 here. Same for the bracelets and wooden items. We then ran into a couple of surfer guys who we asked where to get inexpensive local food. They directed to a place down a dark alley way that was completely empty. But we were starving so we sat down and ordered two Casado plates. Salome got chicken and I got the fish. They were 3,000 crc each (we just divide everything by 500 to determine the dollar amount) and came with a juice. It was green and gritty, so I have no idea what kind of juice it was. Our food was amazing!!!! Not just oh this is good but amazing. His use of spices and seasoning made everything pop! My fish was coated with the best tasting corn batter I have ever had. And the potato salad was a yellow color with rosemary and bursting with flavor. It was so good.

After we ate we rode the bikes back to the hostel and moved my car into the covered gated area. We then jumped into the cold pool. It was so hot out and the pool water felt so good. In the pool we met a really cute but very drunk guy from Fresno. On this trip we have discovered people think Salome is around 18 and I’m in my twenties. She wears braces and looks 13 to me! And I know I do not look anywhere near as hot as I did in my twenties. I think they are looking at us through a predetermined concept. It’s unusual to see a young teen and mom traveling together. It’s extremely common to meet early twenties sisters traveling together. I only mention the drunk guy because of what he does for a living is fascinating. And I may look into starting a company doing the same thing when I get home. After him babbling on forever he then tells us he needs to use the restroom, swims across the pool from us, then pretends to pray. Salome and I decided to jump out at this point and flee to our room.

We hung out for a bit in our hot, non ac room before falling asleep. It was an amazing day. 100 times better than the day before.

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