Another Return to Manuel Antonio
After an interesting and at times challenging month in Nicaragua, Ramona and I were anxious to return to our Central American home base in Costa Rica; in particular, nuestra lugar favorita (our favorite place), Manuel Antonio. In theory, we might have stayed here for the remainder of our planned time abroad, perfectly satisfied and content, before heading back to the midwest in late July/early August. However, after discussions and research, one more interesting destination in this part of the world kept surfacing to the forefront of our minds, somewhere we should visit since we were down here. Tune in for a future blog to find out more (or if you prefer, just scroll to the bottom of this page, or come ask me, since the events in this blog have obviously already happened).
Crammed in a shuttle, coding away on my laptop, we left San Juan del Sur en route for Manuel Antonio, first breaking up the long drive with a quick overnight stop at an old haunt, Tamarindo. From there, a separate shuttle the next morning launched us toward Manuel Antonio, where our friends Napoleon and Leslie picked us up in the adjacent town of Quepos. An enjoyable reunion weekend was had, as we stayed with our friends while our next accommodations became available. During said weekend, we took a day trip somewhere new to Ramona and I, Esterillos Oeste. A funny little attraction at the town’s beach is Atraccion de La Sirena, a statue out in the ocean which one can tiptoe on rocks out to for (I totally did this, sans camera though).
Nuestra Casa – “Our House”
Living above a bar with a balcony overlooking the ocean was pretty cool, but what about having that same view, but a bit deeper in the jungle? That was the aim as we checked out of Napoleon and Leslie’s, and set up shop in a “jungle room” at Hotel Villas Nicolas in the heart of Manuel Antonio. This was technically available as an Airbnb accommodation, though it featured essentially the same features as a stay at the hotel proper; a great jungle view, weekly housekeeping, and access to the onsite pool.
At this part of our journey, I was in the middle of a pretty hefty workload for my day job, and my night job (Pedlar). The one major negative of this space, besides some ants, and a cockroach in the coffee maker when we arrived (don’t ask), was the amount of road noise that permeated our room due to the proximity of the hotel campus to the main calle (street) in town. In conjunction with the commotions caused by jungle wildlife, business phone calls were challenging to say the least. When not hard at work, Ramona and I spent plenty of time reading in the hammock or in the hotel pool over lunch time, going for walks to the beach, practicing Spanish, and visiting our favorite local restaurants.
Bar Jolly Roger, a pretty good merger of American chicken wing restaurant and Tico beach establishment, basically across the street from our place. Wings with Hot Honey Garlic sauce, a lime/jalapeño cocktail, and a soccer game on the big screen…yes, please!
The Monkeys and More
I would be remiss not to mention that one of the preeminent aspects of Manuel Antonio is how central the nature is in the town itself. Specifically, there are lizards basking on rooftops, tropical birds perched on trees, and monkeys swinging in and above the streets. I can count on one hand the number of days in our months spent in this area that were absent of interesting wildlife.
I’ll mostly let the photos and videos guide the way, for an accurate glimpse at our daily experiences in this casa.
Monkeys were frequent visitors to the trees immediately surrounding our apartment’s balcony. On several occasions, I had to interrupt my work outside while we were visited by some ornery neighbors.
A few friends joined in, after the first fella roughed up the place.
Our binoculars and cameras got heavy use, as pretty much daily troops of howler or capuchin monkeys would traverse through the trees above and around our apartment, or sometimes navigating onto the balconies of adjacent hotel rooms.
Farewell to Costa Rica, for Now
During our planning stages of this adventure in years prior, Ramona and I often referred to our time we would live abroad as, “living in Costa Rica” for simplicity. As our adventure unfolded, it took us to cities and countries in the Americas we had not anticipated, but through it all, we still spent the majority of our precious time in Costa Rica.
We called it home, I miss it, and I can’t wait to return.