Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

This weekend we decided to head to Manuel Antonio National Park for our one year.  We caught a morning flight Thursday morning out of Orlando direct on JetBlue and arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around noon.  Unfortunately we weren’t prepared for driving in Costa Rica, and spent nearly 5 hours getting to the La Colina hotel.  The drive was beautiful, but when you’re on a dirt road and the sun is setting, you get nervous and it’s hard to enjoy it.  On the way back, we had GPS working, thanks to this website’s free Garmin GPS format maps, and the drive took less than 2 hours.  Upon arriving at the hotel, we unloaded bags and grabbed snacks at the poolside restaurant.

The following day we took the time to explore Manuel Antonio National Park.  There are guides all around the park entrance, trying to sell walking tours.  Unless you’re completely new to wildlife spotting I wouldn’t recommend paying anyone, as there are so many guides in the park that you can easily see what they’re directing people to, plus  most of the larger wildlife is easy to spot on your own anyways.  We had time to hike almost all the trails in around 4 hours, and ended up seeing monkeys, a distant sloth, and a toucan.  The views are amazing, and the beaches aren’t all that crowded as long as you don’t go to the main beach where all the guides take everyone to.

Saturday morning we woke up early for ziplining, which Kaitlin had done and I had not.  Tons of fun!  We booked the later morning trip since the first one was full and had the entire trip to ourselves.  The drive was over an hour, down a palm tree farm which consisted of driving through several small streams without a bridge, a “sweet baby Jesus” bridge which, as you can tell by the name, was a little scary.  We spent the rest of the day finding a place for dinner with the best view and then packing for the trip home.