Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Manuel Antonio

June 8

Manual Antonio

Oh. My. Goodness. Manual Antonio National Park was absolutely breathtaking. It was so much more than a beach. I believe our guide told us it was mentioned in Traveler’s Magazine (?? or some mag) as being one of the top 10 beaches in the world. My pictures do not do it justice. Not only was it beautiful, but the wildlife was amazing. We saw a sloth on the walk to the park. Once in, I did a hike with another one of the professors. We saw raccoons, white-faced monkeys, hermit crabs, amazing views, and a male alpha howler monkey eating leaves immediately over our trail. When we got back to the beach, a group of white – faced monkeys made their way by our area. They were scavenging for food, ornery little things. We saw one with a tiny baby on her back-so cool—but she moved too fast for me to capture a picture. There was also a huge iguana and a couple smaller ones near our area. At one time, we had monkeys soaring tree to tree above and next to us, while four raccoons total were looking under dead branches and making their way to our things while we were busy taking pictures of monkeys. It was as if they had orchestrated our beach area take over—with the monkeys playing the roles as distractors while the raccoons moved in for the loot. All the while, a couple of iguanas were being their stoic selves and watching the show. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

The water was different here too. No matter how far up we were on the beach, occasionally the tide would sweep up there and soak everything. I saw some unsuspecting people get their towels and other belongings drenched. I love open water swimming, thanks to the two triathlons I did 9 years ago. However, I wasn’t going to even attempt to go out far here. I would just float on my back some, but the current would pull me out and I would have to swim back in. It seems like when I have been in Mexico, I have to work to swim out, and then the current washed me back in. The waves were great, but not as big as those in the Strawberry Fields triathlon in 2004, thank goodness. However, shortly before we left, I caught a big one and went on a wild ride. It involved crashing into someone else, holding on to my swimsuit bottoms desperately, slamming into the ground where my hand holding my swimsuit hit me in the stomach and probably left a bruise. Before I could regroup, I was pulled back out and slammed back into the shore area. Fun! I had sand everywhere you could imagine, but thankfully never lost my top or bottom! So, I went back out to try and get some of the sand out of my hair and crevices and realized I was coughing up sand. I must have gotten much more down my nose than I realized. So, yet another first I experienced on this trip but not a pleasant one. Gag.
(added later—yes, I have a bruise on my stomach and another on my leg. Ouch.)

The day ended by our walking another route back to town that included more beautiful views and a very short boat ride for 60 cents. We had lunch in town, and even though it rained, we could still see the beach, we stayed dry, and we had live reggae music to listen too—in Spanish. Fun times! 

Spray of water caught on camera. The waves were pretty violent looking.

Howler monkey hanging from a branch eating leaves

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