Manuel Antonio & Playa Dominical with Kids - Costa Rica, Part 4
Our last day in Manuel Antonio
started with probably the best experience on their entire trip. The previous
night our landlord told us to put a banana on our balcony early in the morning
and this way the monkeys will come in. So I woke up at 6 am, put the banana on
the edge of the balcony and waited. For a while nothing happened but then
around 7 am I heard loud sounds and saw lots of action in the tree branches
around me and all of a sudden about ten titi monkeys jumped right on the
They started fighting for the banana, one would take a piece
of it and run off to eat it and them come back, and they were jumping around just a few feet away from me. Everyone else woke up too and we put
out another banana and then a another one and also a mango (which was no so
popular with the monkeys, go figure). So for about 30 minutes we watched as a
dozen of monkey was running around our terrace.
And then, all of a sudden the
titi monkeys were gone and we saw two of the white face monkeys approaching.
When they got close to us, they climbed on top of each other and started making
scary faces for us.
We didn’t know if they are just doing it to be funny but
later on our guide in the park told us that they were trying to scare us off as
they thought we were competing for their food. So by climbing on top of each
other they wanted to look larger and scarier…I guess they had a point. And then
we ran out of bananas and the show was over L
That morning we had pre-arranged
to tour Manuel Antonio park with a local guide named Johan Chaves. I found
Johan on Trip Advisor and he was very responsive to my questions before we left
so we arranged to meet at 8:30. Johan is a great guide and he came well
prepared with a powerful Leica telescope and high-end binoculars. But the park
itself was a bit of a let-down especially after the monkey show we saw in our
house that morning.
The park is rather small (the
main trail length is 2 km long) and very crowded. It looked more like a busy
city street than a national park. There were very few animals we saw and even
though we had to see through the telescope because they were so far away. The
kids quickly lost interest and it was very hot and humid so after about an hour
we all needed a break. Luckily, there are three small white-sand beaches inside
the park so we spent some time at one of them. There are no facilities, no food
or chairs or umbrellas but it felt good to let the kids run around and sit on
the sand a bit. And also, there were bold racoons trying to steal any type of
food people brought in from right in front of them so they provided huge
entertainment for the kids.
We did see a few sloths
(including a mother/baby pair who our guide said he had never seen before),
lots of reptiles and insects and a few iguanas but I have to admit it was not
at all what I had imagined. So after a few hours we were ready to go.
lunch at a small restaurant by the beach and then, after we’ve had a bit too
much time together and the kids were getting kind of whiny, our group split up.
Some went zip lining, some stayed at the beach and we drove off to Dominical
where we were supposed to meet a surf instructor who would teach us to SUP
(stand-up paddle), something I had wanted to do for a while.
Unfortunately, we never managed
to connect with the instructor an since we had already made the one-hour drive
we decided to stay anyway. Playa Dominical is a small beach community of mostly
surfers and I could not help but feel we have miraculously landed in a 60s
Super relaxed, full of run-down motels and hostels (but it did
not feel unsafe at all), surfers, dreadlocks, interesting characters walking on
the beach, it was almost surreal. The beach was dark sand and stones and the
water was rough but we enjoyed splashing in the shallow end, watching the
sunset and the surfers and just being on vacation.
We ended the day with the
best fish tacos (one of the few great things we ate on this trip) at a small
beach restaurant owned by a US expat. That is what vacations are meant to be.