A trip down memory lane...
December 2002 - Manuel Antonio Costa Rica
On the way be sure to stop and see the crocs at the bridge overlooking the Tarcoles river.
The main hub of this area is just a short 4 miles from Manuel Antonio.
Here the town, Quepos, is bustling as this area maintains a commercial fishing fleet, A palm oil harvesting company, and of course a growing tourism business. Sport fishing is obviously a big part of the tourism here, as approximately 40 sport fishing boats operate out of Quepos at different times. There are lots of restaurants, bars, gift shops, and internet cafés. One of the American owned restaurants, ‘El Gran Escape’ is favorite among the fishermen and will cook up your catch at the end of the day. We had lunch at this restaurant on the 4th. We had a cheese burger and the Tico meal of Beans and Rice with chicken. This dish was a curried rice and chicken dish with black beans on the side. The meal was excellent. One of the best meals we had during our stay.
We stayed at the Costa Verde Resort and enjoyed the fact that they had "adult only" buildings.
We were on the ground floor and had the corner wrap-around deck.
As you sit by the pool at sunset the monkeys awake and start jumping from tree to tree on their way to the bar/restaurant area where they know there will be food.
Monkey walking the rail by the pool
Sunsets were amazing!
The Costa Verde resort was on the road to Manuel Antonio National Park, and although most people would agree that the beaches are great, the real reason to go is to try and see endangered monkeys within the interior of the park. The park is about a 10 minute drive from the town of Quepos and if you go first thing in the morning (the park opens at 8am), you basically have everything to yourself.
If you're concerned about finding a guide beforehand, don't be. There are always a number of them hanging around the entrance with their telescopes. The guides were selling their services for $35US. We opted against getting one and although we probably missed a lot of stuff we did see bats, monkeys - squirrel and capuchin, sloths, lizards. If you stand near someone with a guide who is focusing his tripod on something then you can probably find it yourself. If you just pay attention and keep an eye open, you can see some interesting stuff, like the small bright red land crabs that you can see just off the main trail. On our way out we noticed some people that had started at the same time as we had (with guides) and they really didn't seem too excited about the whole thing.
We'd both recommend coming to see the park, especially early morning when you'll have enough space to yourself. You can walk the trails with sandals (not flip flops) but would recommend proper walking shoes, and beware the heat and riptides. Because of the humidity, bring water and dress lightly. There was a toilet at one of the beaches, but nothing else of note.