I may not have dressed up for Halloween, but it was scary how much I enjoyed my escape from the city. I was able to finally breathe some fresh air.. well, 152% humidity and straight heat make it hard to breathe at all, but still counts. It was a short trip to Manuel Antonio National Park, but alas, duty calls and I regretfully had to tear myself away and head back to the city. On Saturday I caught an early bus to Quepos (the town a few miles from the park), which is only three hours out of San Jose and I got there in time to enjoy the beach before the storms rolled in for the night, and let me tell you, these Pacific Ocean beaches are pure magic. Seriously. You know those computer screensavers and wallpapers that have unrealistically perfect palm trees and white sand beaches under a beautifully sunny sky? That’s basically Manuel Antonio in a nutshell. This was my day: swim in the warm ocean water then dry off under the sun, get way too hot 3 minutes later, go back into the water, repeat. It’s honestly a foolproof formula. There are also a few short hikes that overlook the beaches and despite sweating at least five gallons on one tiny trail alone, it is absolutely worth it. And you can just go swimming after to cool off, so win-win.
The park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, which I 100% recommend a tour guide for because I wouldn’t have seen 95% of the animals without one. That leftover 5% is for the cappuccino monkeys- those mischievous little devils come out of nowhere and even know how to unzip your bag to steal food, which is simultaneously annoying and extraordinarily impressive. Our guide spent 2 hours pointing out everything from 7 foot iguanas in the trees to howler monkeys hiding in the leaves. Somehow they are able to see 3 inch grasshoppers or baby bats from 50 feet away, even if they are camouflaged- it’s seriously impressive. On the tour I was hands down most giddy about the perezoso sightings; translation: sloths. My love for these majestic creatures runs deep and I feel like my life is nearly complete now that I’ve seen one (my life will be completely complete when I am able to hold one and then that will become the most magical moment of my life). Plus, the highly scientific and reputable research-based source, Buzzfeed, solidifies the indisputable fact that the sloth is my spirit animal (your turn, you know you want to click this). Now without being too prejudice of the beautiful sloth family, I have to say that I have a slight preference for two-toed sloths over three-toed (there is a much bigger difference than just the number of toes, google it), but sloths are sloths are sloths and I’m happy we spotted the three-toed one at all. Fact: Sloths only weigh around 10 pounds because their bones are hollow which makes it easy to climb trees but also makes them really slow. Fact: It takes them a month to digest food and they only climb down their tree once a week to relieve themselves. Fact: They are excellent swimmers. Fact: I could go on all day about sloths..
Popular consensus has it that Manuel Antonio is one of the top things to do while in Costa Rica and it’s easy to see why. I loved it, even if it was a little too busy and touristy for my taste (but that’s nearly unavoidable on any of the Pacific beaches), and I can’t wait to go back! Mostly for the sloths..