So this is my last post
about Costa Rica, and its taken me a little while to do it but I had to! This was my favorite day of the whole vacation. We rented a car in the morning and made the hour or so drive to Manuel Antonio National Park. Driving was a little scary because they would have these one way bridges but it wasn't like there was someone or something to tell you when to go! Last time Ryan went to Costa Rica with his friend Aaron and they stayed in Quepos which is right next to the national park so we stopped at a little breakfast place he had gone to every morning before heading into the park.
As soon as you walk in your pretty much just in the rain forest walking through paths and trails. The main path is pretty big and you don't see a ton of animals because they are a little deeper in the trees. So we decided to take this one trail that was about 2 1/2 miles long. It started out down by the beach and made its way up through the forest. Once we got onto the trail it was so pretty, we passed a few people either going the other way or in front of us but for the most part it was pretty quiet in there. Well quiet except for the rustling in the trees and bushes you would hear! Anytime we heard anything we would stop and try to find the animal making the noise. We saw some toucans, lots of other birds, and these huge disgusting rat looking things! I swear they looked just like an r.u.s (rodents of unusual size from Princess Bride!) They were running all over the floor but luckily they never got close.
Ryan looking for animals in the trees
When we were about half way through our hike something awful happened..our battery light on our camera came on. We had to conserve our picture taking which was sad because we saw some awesome stuff and there were so many things to take pictures of. We hiked around for quite a while and even saw monkeys in a few different places. Some of them were closer, some we could just kinda see up in the trees. But then when we got to the very end of our hike we hit the jackpot! At first we saw two monkey in a tree eating fruit, but they weren't that close to us. Then when we turned around the next corner there was a monkey down pretty low right next to the trail. We were so excited! As we sat there more and more monkeys started showing up. At one point I think there were about 15 monkeys! They were wrestling, swinging on the trees, some were just lounging, others grooming each other, and they were all so close. We stayed there for about 45 minutes just watching them. A few people were feeding them fruits that had fallen on the ground until a guide yelled at them. But the monkeys would just take it right out of their hands! We got some pictures, but not as many as we would have had our stupid camera not been about to die! It was so awesome just watching them, they are such amazing animals. At one point a few howler monkeys were swinging around through the trees but they stayed up high and didn't get too close. Thats a good thing though because they are much more aggressive! We had a great time at the park but our day wasn't over yet!
This older couple from Minnesota had recommended, well actually almost insisted, that we went on the Monkey Tour while we were in Quepos. We drove down this dirt road that ended at this river that lead into the ocean. We got on a boat and they took us all around in search for animals. They told us all about the mangroves and the different birds that we saw, most of which had migrated there for the winter. We even saw a crocidile swimming around! But what we were really looking for was monkeys. We saw a few but none that would get close. Then we found them!! We pulled right up into the trees and the guides had out a banana. They were explaining what they were going to do and what we should and shouldn't do to the monkeys when all the sudden one jumped right onto the boat and onto Ryan's head! It was awesome! The guide mashed a little banana into his hand and the monkey sat there eating it off his had right on top of Ryan's head! Then all the sudden there were just monkeys everywhere. The guides took a little bit of banana and smashed it into our hands to attract the monkeys. When they would come out either behind you on the boat or on your head or shoulders you were supposed to hold your hand out in front of you so that they could eat the bananas. It was the neatest thing! And then, it happened. Our camera died. I wanted to cry!! I couldn't believe the timing, we had at least gotten a few pictures but still, we would have had so many! It still makes me mad now just talking about it, so we'll just move on from that subject!! At one point I had about four monkeys on me or right behind me. One was holding my hand and licking off the banana while sitting on my shoulder, one was on my head trying to pull out my bobby pins, and the others were just trying to get in on the action! They would jump around from person to person and back and forth from the boat to the trees. They were so cute, they would go on top of the boat and jump and hit the roof because it made such a loud noise. Then all the sudden you'd see on just poke his head down to look at us. Even after the bananas were gone (we only used about half of one for all of them so they still have to find their food and because fruit is only a small part of their diets) they stayed around and played. They didn't really come out onto us after that, but they ran around on top of the boat and stayed right next to us in the trees swinging and wresting around. It was so awesome, I couldn't believe that we had monkeys sitting on our heads and holding our hands!! I was just sad that we hadn't done it earlier in the week so that we could go do it again! When we got back to our car I was fixing my hair from the monkey pulling at it (not hard though, it didn't hurt or anything!) and it was all sticky and crunchy. I had banana in my hair!! I think had it been for any other reason I would have never been able to handle having smashed banana in my hands and then in my hair! (I hate bananas, the smell makes me gag!)
We stopped at a restaurant on our way back to Los Suenos that Ryan had eaten at when he was there the first time. It was called the monkey restaurant, where they claimed there were more monkeys than people. Sadly we didn't see any there, but we had just spent the day with them so we weren't too upset about it! But there was a sloth in the tree right next to us that we sat and watched until it got too dark to see him. It was so cool that we saw one awake, they sleep for like 18-20 hours a day and usually are only out at night. It was so neat watching how he moved, especially after watching the monkeys. He was so slow and tedius. He planned out each move and only moved on arm or leg at a time. It was so fun to watch his cute smiling face while we ate dinner! The drive back was pretty scary because it was dark and there were no lights anywhere or reflectors on the street to help you see where it was turning or where there was a cliff. And yet people were still riding their bikes right along the edge and standing on the side of the street talking, but so far out that you had to kinda move over a little so you didn't hit them. It was interesting!
Sunday we enjoyed our last day there, which was luckily sunny. We laid out and swam before heading out and driving to San Jose for our flight. We had such an awesome trip, I recommend Costa Rica to anyone planning a trip anytime soon!