Friday, Feb 6 2004 -- Manuel Antonio Park

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Friday morning, Kate and I decided to walk the mile or so down to Manuel Antonio Park and take a guided tour of part of the park. When we got down to the bottom of the hill, we were "accosted" by a guide who wanted our business, and we agreed. He carried his own telescope on a tripod. I think we agreed to each pay him $20, plus we had to buy our admissions to the park ($7 each). He also had us buy a bottle of water from a vendor on the beach near the park entrance.

The tour was quite good -- our guide spotted lizards, birds, bats, monkeys (three kinds), even insects at (sometimes) quite unbelievable distances through the trees, and then would set up his telescope so we could see, too.

After two hours or so of trudging around in the park, meeting nature up close and personal, we took the bus up the hill to the hotel. Once up there, we decided to walk up the street to find a lunch spot. Not far along, we found a likely looking spot, but couldn't figure out how to actually get IN the restaurant. We approached a couple who looked like they were staying at the hotel and asked directions to the restaurant, and they invited us along to lunch with them. This couple turned out to be Mark and JoAnne, the couple that J and G had met a couple of days earlier at the waterfall near Arenal Volcano.

Over lunch, Mark related their story of meeting bandits. They were in a rental car and stopped in a small town to ask directions. The were approached by a half dozen or so men, some of whom engaged Mark and Joanne in conversation, while one of them, it became appartent later, punctured one of the rear tires on the car.

A few miles out of town, Mark could feel the tire going, and they immediately guessed what had happened, and decided to foil the bandits' plan. Instead of stopping by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to change the tire, and thus becoming prey, they returned to town on the flat tire, and there, in the middle of town with lots of bystanders about, changed the tire. The told their story to a policeman, but he didn't seem real interested in catching anybody, so it's not clear if he was sympathetic to the bandits or just apathetic.

At any rate, Mark and Joanne escaped without further trouble, but with an interesting story.

After lunch, we returned to the hotel and took it easy. In the evening, we did a little swimming, and then decided to go to El Avion for dinner (and to hear the live music).

We retired early.

view from our porch at the Hotel Casitas Eclipse
across the street from our hotel, El Avion restaurant
beach near Manuel Antonio park, near Quepos
beach near Manuel Antonio park, near Quepos
sloth seen through scope
beach near Manuel Antonio park, near Quepos
crocodile teeth tree
crab in lair
yellow bird of paradise flower
necktie flower
swans/towels at Hotel Casitas Eclipse
sunset taken from El Avion restaurant
the band at El Avion restaurant