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Costa Rica 2013

Manuel Antonio

COSTA RICA | Sunday, 9 June 2013 | Views [378]

View from one of the restaurants at Costaverde. My room is directly under the restaurant.

View from one of the restaurants at Costaverde. My room is directly under the restaurant.

Saturday started early again at 4:30am but I had much less anxiety about the trip to Manuel Antonio. It was the same bus that I took to Domincal last weekend. I got up and ready and walked to the first bus stop, the correct road this time. The bus wasn't as early this time and after it arrived there were already 6 of us waiting so after we boarded the bus took off without stopping and waiting this time. We made it into San Isidro and I was able to easy navigate to the correct bus station and got my ticket. We boarded and left right at 7am. I looked around me and saw Carlos's friend sitting directly behind me. I also recognized some Americans that were on the bus last weekend as well.

The trip was the same as the previous week and after going through Domincal we headed north along the coast. I knew that it was 44km to Antonio Manuel from Domincal and that Quepos was just beyond that. The bus was packed and hot and I couldn't wait to get off. When I thought we were getting close I put my book away and started concentrating on the stops. I was determined not to miss my stop like I almost did the previous weekend. When we pulled into a big town and into a bus terminal I was confused. I knew in my heart I was in Quepos but couldn't figure out how I missed my stop. I got off the bus and walked around a bit. I found the ocean and a small little farmers market before finding a hotel that I thought could be googled to confirm my location. I texted Dan and he did confirm I was in Quepos. I was dumbfounded how I missed my stop. Donald had told me that the bus would take me to Antonio Manuel. As I walked around I found some signs pointing in the right direction and that the town was 7km away. I decided since I didn't really know where I needed to go I would just walk it. I bought a guanabana smoothie and set off.

The beginning of the walk was uphill and it was a hot day. As I was walking I realized that the bus I was on had not travelled on this road so I had not actually missed my stop. The walk, although uphill and difficult was beautiful. There were lots of hotels and bars and restaurnats on the 7km stretch of road and I was excited to be there. After wallking about 3 km I was soaking wet and decided to jump on a bus. As the bus went up and down a couple more hills I was glad for my decision and paying the 75 cents. At one of the stops at the bottom of the hill I could see the ocean so I jumped off. The beach there was wide and beautiful. The sun was shining and I enjoyed my stroll. There were lots of people on the beach and in the water, much different than the previous weekend. I found a beachside restaurant and decided to stop for a beer. 
While enjoying my cerveza I ended up talking to a guy from New Mexico. He wanted to go for a swim but was worried about his stuff. I agreed to watch his bag. When he came back we had some interesting conversations. First he had to explain why he had no top front teeth for a 40 year old man (never married but straight he assured me.) Apparently he lost them in a fight in his early 20's and they were being replaced but not before this trip with his family. I also got his backstory of being a substance abuse counselor that just got his masters degree despite the fact that 1) he never bought a book for school and 2) he smoked dope daily. He tried to quit once and that lasted 6 days. He talked about relationships that did nor work  because the girl had a problem with dope, not him. It was very interesting and Dominic and I hung out for awhile. There was a surfing competition going on at the end of the beach and we walked down and checked it out. Afterwards we decided to walk back up the hill so he could go back to his casa and I could find a room for the night. We walked about a kilometer before I was soaked and tired. We were by a place called Costaverde and the sign stated "more monkeys than humans." That sounded great with me and I ditched Dominic in hopes of a great room. After approaching the front desk and being told the rooms were $100 I started to leave knowing I could get a cheaper room down the street. They stopped me and said they had a simple room for $30. Sold! I put my things in the room which was pretty spacious and headed to the pool. OMG- the view was spectaculaR, even with storm cloud rolling in. The place was on a hill overlooking the ocean and the beach that I had spent the morning on. I relaxed at the pool with a few cervezas before retreating for a late afternoon siesta. 
After my nap I arranged for a white water rafting trip for the next day and then set out for dinner. The hotel had a restaurant across the street that specializes in steaks. I was sold again. Three weeks without beef and I was craving it. The special was a ribeye but I thought that might hurt me more than anyrhing after such a long beef abstinence. I decided on a shrimp and beef kabob with vegetables that was cooked over a wood burning grill. Coupled with a glass of vino, listening to the live band in the open aired restaurant on a beautiful evening, I was in love with this town. My friend Irene made me promise I wouldn't move to Costa Rica but this was the first time the thought even crossed my mind.  Despite wanting to stay up late I forced myself to go to sleep around 11 so that I could get up and see monkeys. The hotel did claim more monkeys than people and I hadn't seen a single monkey yet. And I did managed to get up and hang outside watching the ocean around 6 am. It was calm and peaceful but I always forget just how disappointing sunrises are on the west coast. I did achieve my goal of seeing a few monkeys; however I couldn't get a single picture of them.
The rafting company picked me up at 7 and took a group of us to their shop and fed us a breafast of gallo pinto y huervos. After we were done 7 of us gringos, 3 guides and a driver loaded up a van and headed out to Naranja Rio. The ride to the spot where we put the rafts in was only about 35 minutes away. The rafts were smaller than I'd been in before. In my raft with me was a couple, Anna and Robert, and our guide Diego. The rapids were a blast. Mostly 2 and 3 rapids with a few 3++.  Anna and I remained in our raft the entire time but Roberto fell out. 3 of the 4 tourists in the other raft also fell out. The rapids were a lot of fun, the scenery awesome. The entire rafting trip took about 1 hour 45 minutes. We didn't see a lot of wildlife on the trip other than a few different birds but plenty of teak trees, African palms, and Guanacaste trees (the state tree). After we were carted back to the shop they served us a lunch consisting of arroz con pollo, frijoles, and vegetables before being dropped back off at the hotel. Before booking the rafting rip I had worried that I wouldn't have enough time to do the rafting and make it back to Quepos to catch my bus. Boy was I wrong. I was back at the hotel before noon with plenty of time to chill by the pool. The guys at the front desk had told me that the bus back to San Isidrio would leave at 2:30 and I should take the 1 pm bus into Quepos. I did exactly as I was told and at 1:15 I tried to buy a ticket back to S.I. only to find out 1) the bus didn't leave until 3:30 and 2) you couldn't pre-purchase tickets. With 2 hours to spare I walked around a couple block until I spotted a bar called Wacky Wanda's. The neon signs coupled with the air conditioning signs had more than convinced me that I should give it a try. I walked into a typical bar, with football on one tv car racing on the other . The bar was half full of gringos (including an American lady celebrating her 91st birthday despite looking and acting much younger) and half Ticos. I bellied up to the bar and the first thing that caught my eye was a bumper sticker from the Broken Spoke in Austin which is about 1 km from my house. There were lots of other pictures of politicians and  celebrities, flags, license plates, etc. from the states on the wall. I ordered a cerveza and chatted with the bartender a bit. He gave me some sopa with frijoles and pork and made me feel right at home. I was sad to leave at 3 when I needed to get in line for my bus. Quepos y Antonio Manuel were wonderful towns and I hated leaving. But I boarded my bus for ride to San Isidrio. Unlike the previous bus rides were all seats are full and people are standing in the aisles, this trip was relatively empty which made it pretty tolerable. And because there were less stops we made it back in 2.5 hours instead of the 3.5 hours it took to get to Quepos. After getting off the bus I found a taxi ride back to the farm and was able to negotiate the price much more easily this time and was back at the farm in no time.
I can't believe I only have a week left on the farm and yet there is still so much I want to do.

Tags: costa rica, kda


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