Manuel Antonio National Park

Our last day in Costa Rica had its ups and downs, but ended up being my favorite location we visited. The tour to Manuel Antonio National Park started out beautiful… the weather was nice, the guide was awesome, and they served us a tasty breakfast on the way to the park (which was roughly 2 hours or so from San Jose). Cars are not allowed in Manuel Antonio, so we had to park in the little town and enter on foot. It was an easy walk, but by the time we reached the park entrance, it started to rain. And rain hard. Everyone sought shelter wherever they could find it…

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But sadly the rain showed no signs of stopping, and since we didn’t want to waste away our day at a guard shack, we decided to venture out into the rain. Always ill-prepared for the weather, I had forgotten my rain jacket on the bus (good thing I remembered to pack it…sigh). There were no ponchos or coats available to purchase in the immediate area, so the guards offered me a garbage bag. I was able to put my crafty fashion skills to use, and turned it into a poncho!

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I was none too pleased to have to wear a trash bag though, so if you ever visit this park, regardless of the time of year, throw a poncho or rain jacket into your day pack! Better to have it and not need it than to end up looking like this-

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Part way through the hike into the park, the rain finally did stop, and I was able to actually enjoy the rest of the walk through the rainforest.

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The park has tons of hiking trails, but our time was limited so we only did this one and then headed to the beach! Our guides had warned us about the monkeys, and we quickly learned they weren’t kidding. There were monkeys and raccoons everywhere!!! And they are bold little critters. The had no problems being around people and seemed fairly aggressive, running straight up to people and stealing their bags and food. So listen to the guides… be careful and watch your stuff!

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They sure are cute though…

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We made it to the beach! We bought these cute colones towels at a mercado in San Jose

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The current at this beach was really strong… I am joking around in this picture and am a strong swimmer, but if you’re not, maybe don’t venture too far out from shore.

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We were trying to take cute beach pics, but at this moment, my bestie caught a raccoon trying to run off with my snorkel gear (I didn’t even have food in that bag!), and a chase ensued. We were able to save the snorkel gear, but let this serve as another reminder: keep an eye on your stuff.

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And then some more monkey photos as we were leaving the park, cause they are just too darn cute!

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On the drive back to San Jose, we saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever seen… It was nearly impossible to capture it from the back of a moving bus, but believe me, it was incredible.

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Of all the places we visited in Costa Rica, this one was my favorite and I really hope to be able to return someday. Till next time, Manuel Antonio!

Author: Natalie Bates

LA-based freelance writer | Blogger | Craft beer drinker | Rock 'n roll girlfriend | Adventurer | Lover of tattoos, red lipstick, and popcorn | World traveler | Compassionate human | Photography enthusiast | Eco warrior | Celtic babe ❤️

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