Sunday, August 19, 2012

Manual Antonio

We left Los Suenos marina on Saturday afternoon and anchored out in the bay which was very rolly and we didn't get much sleep. I wondered if I may have lost my sea legs and was actually feeling a little bit nervous about the trip. At first light (5am on Sunday morning) we headed off to our first destination, Manuel Antonio park. Manuel Antonio is the smallest conservation park in Costa Rica, but is renowned for the most amazing wildlife. We arrived at around 2pm after a 40 mile journey and were absolutely exhausted so decided not to go to shore until the next day. 

Solent anchored at Manual Antonio

Unfortunately the anchorage was also very rolly so we had another sleepless night. If you visit the park, make sure you don't go on a Monday as it is closed. We didn't realize this and on Monday morning we packed a bag, launched the dinghy and headed over to the beach. We secured the dinghy and walked up into the jungle, but after about 10 minutes we were approached by a park ranger and told that the park was closed and were escorted back to our dinghy.  

We headed back across to the park again on Tuesday morning. Arriving by sea is a very unusual way to enter the park and to purchase a ticket for ourselves and to pay the $8 per day anchoring fee, we had to literally walk the whole way through the park to the main entrance. We were told that you could only enter the park through the hotel even though we had already entered via the beach. Anyway, we followed the rules and managed to get our tickets and enter the park the correct way. Once we were officially inside the park we were able to relax and start the wild animal hunt. This place is absolutely amazing, it's like being in a zoo, but where the animals run free. 

Deadly Viper
Howler Monkey
These frogs are famous for their red eyes, but this one was sleeping
Three Toed Sloth

Sloth having lunch
After some exploring we found what looked like an old disused trail heading up the hill so we decided that heading cross country was the best way to see the wildest animals.

Walking up the trail

The view from the top of the trail
On our way back we were stopped by another couple who told us that there were some aggressive monkeys ahead. As we headed down the path we saw that ahead a group of people were blocked off by a number of vicious monkeys. Lee gallantly went to the front of the group to try to disperse the assailants, but they formed up around him jumping from tree to tree and screaming at him.

These guys didn't want to let us pass
In response Lee let out a loud roar and drew his arms up like a Gorilla. The monkeys retreated back into the trees allowing us to pass behind him while he held them at bay, but seconds later they returned and one monkey (The one with the big teeth) had taken a liking to Lee and would not take his eyes off him. He followed us and at one point I thought it was going to jump on Lee's head. I was shaking from head to toe, but managed to get a few snaps of him. When we finally got away from the monkeys one of the girls told us that this was her best experience in Costa Rica and that Lee was a hero!

 On our way back to the dinghy, I spotted a tail with huge spines. We see iguanas all day but the spines on this one's tail would make it a really big iguana, too big. I pointed it out to Lee and we followed the body until we could see the head.

It was a flippin Croc, just hanging around the beach about 3 meters from us.

We were able to get as close as we liked to this guy who was just hanging out in a small tree on the beach.
If your in Costa Rica, don't miss this place.


  1. Ha ha ha! Lee acting like an ape! Brilliant!

  2. Awesome job on the blog guys! It's all just so mind-blowing! One question though... has Serena cut her legs off coz they told her to? She looks like Sandra in that pic of her taken from the back, sitting on the beach. Missing you guys like crazy. We need a Skype-inar! X

  3. Lee the monkey whisperer!!! Have you been watching Planet of the Apes recently?? lol