Jan. 29: Parting Ways with Yuki and Manuel Antonio National Park

January 29th (day 90), found Danielle and I awaking, once again, on the beach of Dominical, this time with Yuki parked beside us. Danielle and I got up and made breakfast, and packed up our camp. Yuki awoke shortly after and we chatted about what our plans were for the day. Danielle and I decided that because we didn't actually visit Corcovado National Park, we would instead make a consolation visit to Manuel Antonio National Park – close-ish to Jaco – where Danielle had visited with her family before. Yuki was to head to San Jose, to pick up his parents who were joining him on his trip for a bit. After chatting for a bit and saying our goodbyes, we parted ways with Yuki, and headed north to Manuel Antonio.

It only took about an hour for us to arrive at the National Park, so we were able to find parking and get in fairly early, however, being one of, or perhaps even the most popular National Park in the country, it was already busy. Because of how busy Manuel Antonio gets, many travelers of my type don't particularly love the park. Nonetheless, Danielle and I had a good time, hiking most of the park's trails, and spotting a fair amount of wildlife including a deer, a bat, various types of monkeys (one nasty Capuchin actually attacked an innocent Danielle, luckily no harm done), and most notably, a few sloths. After hiking throughout the park, we chilled out on the beach, reading and swimming.

We exited the park in the early afternoon and had originally planned to camp in the private parking lot in the town, but found that it was so busy and right beside a bar, we figured we would find somewhere else. After driving a bit looking for places to stay in the nearby town of Quepos, we parked at a potential spot and made dinner. After eating dinner, for a reason that somewhat escapes me, we decided to keep pushing north to stay in, or close to, Jaco. Although I can't remember exactly why we decided to leave Quepos so late in the day, my guess is that we didn't love the potential camp spot and wanted to get closer to our intended destination for the next day, the port town of Punta Arenas.

Danielle and I drove about an hour and a half towards Jaco, with the intention of staying in Playa Hermosa (a different Playa Hermosa than the previously mentioned one closer to Liberia Airport and Playa del Coco), a much smaller beach town just south of Jaco. Ideally we didn't want to spend another night in Jaco, due to the town sucking so bad. We arrived in Hermosa after the sun had just set and pulled up at a potential camp spot, which also didn't seem super rad. I decided that we may as well drive some down the beach-side road and see what we could find, hopefully finding something a bit more secluded. As we drove down the dirt road, Danielle raised the concern that we were getting quite far away from town, but not far enough away that we wouldn't be completely secluded. This being a valid safety concern we considered turning around, until coming across the Hotel Tramonto – a somewhat out-of-place 4-star hotel neighbouring a farm house and field. While the hotel was far out of our price-range, almost directly across from it, but also just out of sight, was a nice pull out beneath the palms and beside the sea. I was stoked on our find, so we backed in, set up our beds, and then walked over to the hotel's restaurant where we indulged in a bowl of ice cream and a smoothie while borrowing the hotel's wifi. After dessert, we walked back to Bilbo and had a much better sleep than what we had the last time we stayed in Jaco itself.

The first animal we spotted in the park.

Not a great photo, but this is the first sloth I was actually able to get a good look at.

Danielle and I accidentally sat on a log on the beach beneath a troop of sleeping capuchin's. Soon, they attacked.

The attacker. This is blurry due to being right before the attack.

The attacker, post-attack.

This small bat was hanging beneath these leaves a few metres off the trail. I only spotted him because I saw a tour guide pointing him out. This image is cropped in quite a bit in order to actually see the bat.

And here the bat is without nearly as much cropping.