“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide
After breakfast at our hotel this morning, we met up with our naturalist guide, who we hired to show us around the Manuel Antonio National Park. This park consists of 1700 acres of land mass and 135,906 acres of marine reserve. Although it is the smallest of the 20 national parks in Costa Rica, it is the most visited conservation area in the country.
Our guide, Johan, met us at our hotel, and took the public bus with us to the park. As soon as we arrived, we saw monkeys and sloths in the trees right beside the entrance. We spent about three hours with our guide and saw a number of sloths, iguanas, monkeys, and birds. After our walk ended, we traveled back to one of the beaches and spent the afternoon relaxing in the water and sunbathing.
We only decided to leave when the tide came up and there was no more beach to sit on. We walked to the exit, but the tide was so high that we had to hire a boat to take us to the other side. We both did a little shopping and then caught the bus back to our hotel.
Tonight, we are going to a pretty famous restaurant called El Avion or the plane in English. This restaurant is actually housed under some permanent tents and the starboard wing of a retired army transport plane. We are told that this specific plane was actually shot down by the Sandinista army, leading to a scandal that uncovered illegal CIA supply missions to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. We saw it on the way to the beach today. There is a real plane set up the middle of the restaurant, and the bar is supposed to be inside of it.
Tomorrow, we have opted to pay a little extra for private transportation back to San Jose. We will leave in the late afternoon and be able to stop at a local fruit stand for some samples!