Manuel Antonio National Park Part 2

I know you are just waiting on the edge of your seat after yesterday’s post, so here ya go!

When we left off, Shaun and I had decided to hike the Punta Cathedral Trail. This outcrop of land was once an island, but over time silt has built up, and connected it to the land. It’s created a perfect little loop for a trail that boasts amazing views of both of the major beaches in the park.

As we left for the hike, the park had started to fill up, but people were mostly milling around the beach. The hiking trail was the perfect way to get away from the crowds. Now to say this was a rustic hiking trail is a little bit of a stretch. It was an amazingly maintained gravel walkway with stairs, and bridges. Very unusual for Costa Rica, but I wasn’t complaining. We wandered deeper into the trail, being as quiet as possible. Every time we heard something we would stop, and peer into the jungle, hoping to sneak a peak at some sort of fantastic creature.

Shaun hiking up the very well maintained trail

Shaun hiking up the very well maintained trail

We didn’t have to go far before we saw our first little animal, but we had no idea what they were called. They were small little rodents, with hind legs like a rabbit. We looked at the map we had been given at the entrance, and noticed a picture of one, but the caption just said Costa Rica. So, we just called them Costa Rica’s from there on out. We ended up seeing them all over during our hike. (I literally just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what they are called, turns out, they are Agouti’s! Knowledge is Power!)

Our "Costa Rica" or Agouti.

Our “Costa Rica” or Agouti.

About 25 minutes in, we noticed a couple stopped ahead of us looking into the trees. It didn’t take long to realize what they were looking at, a family of about six monkeys were playing around in the trees right about them. We crept towards them, and started snapping photos.

I swear I probably stood there in awe for over 15 minutes. These monkeys just went about their business, completely unperturbed by our presence. They wandered around like we weren’t even there. It was totally one of those surreal moments that I’ll never forget. I later told Shaun, that no longer how long we are in this country, I will always turn into the biggest “tourista” whenever I see monkeys. I can’t not take a zillion photos of them. They are so fascinating! As a result of this affliction, you will now be subjected to the best monkey photo’s we took. I probably have 60 more on my camera, I have no shame.

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After tearing myself away from my Monkey friends, we carried along the trail, stopping at the viewpoints along the way to look out over the cliffs. The views were insane. Huge ocean, huge beach, so much tropical beauty

As we continued along, I snapped photo’s of some of the crazy trees that I saw. I was mesmerized by how they twist, and grow around each other. Everywhere I turned there were feats of nature that I didn’t know where possible. As a result, you will not be subjected to numerous photos of foliage of trees. At least I know my Mom will appreciate these!

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Shaun also laughed as I stopped, and desperately tried to take a good photo of a raccoon. Obviously, I could just go outside at home, and find those everywhere, but this one had red in its tail, and they probably speak Spanish. Totally different!

See the tail! Different then at home!

See the tail! Different then at home!

Although the terrain was easy, there were lots of stairs, and we had both worked up a good jungle sweat by the end. Once we got to the end of the trail, it was deemed that a dip in the ocean was extremely necessary. We set up our stuff, and took turns jumping in. Although the beach is relatively safe to leave your stuff on, we had lots of camera stuff with us, and didn’t want to risk it. Plus, you have to be really careful with the bold wildlife. By the time the hike was over, the monkeys and raccoons were out in full force. They will blatently walk right up to your bag, open the zipper, and take out your food. Shaun just wasn’t willing to risk having his PB&J’s swiped, so we played it safe.

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After a couple swimming sessions, and some lounging in the sun, we decided to call it a day. It was lunchtime, and I was also itching for a coffee. We left the park, making a quick pit stop just outside the gates for a Pipa.

It was a great day, and I certainly felt like we got our money’s worth. If you are visiting the park, make sure to bring lots of water, and food as there is nowhere to buy anything once you are inside. The park does have bathrooms and showers though, so you could easily spend the entire day there if you wanted.

All in all, a raging success, and a must visit for anyone visiting Costa Rica!

Have you ever seen a Monkey?

Pura Vida!


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