Day 2: To Manuel Antonio
Got up at 6am. Since our pickup time today was 9am, we had plenty of time to eat breakfast. The hotel's breakfast buffet had many bread stuff, fruits, not much meat, no egg at all. It turned out that you need to order eggs from the waitress. We didn't know until we saw someone else did that. The wait staff didn't speak much English, but enough to understand scrambled eggs.
There were some fruit in the breakfast buffet that we had never seen before. We decided to try one called granadilla. It is interesting how you open them. We tried cutting it with a knife. Its shell was so hard that the knife couldn't cut it at all. Dave squeezed it by accident, and the shell cracked! Inside there was white gooey stuff with lots of little black seeds. We ate them all. Andrey later told us he doesn't eat the seeds, because they are hard on the teeth, which is exactly what I felt at the time!
Image from Internet
Image from Internet
3. Wait around hotel pool before pickup time.
Andrey and Wali (another GO! Tours' driver) picked us up at 9am. Since I had several email exchanges with Andrey before, I felt like Andrey is an old friend even though we just met. And Wali is really nice too. He is very passionate about soccer. There was a championship game that night between two Costa Rican soccer teams. Wali was wearing his customized autographed jersey to support his team.
It took 3.5 hours to get to Manuel Antonio including two stops along the way. One was to see crocodiles under a bridge. The other was to see scarlet macaws.
5. Andrey said due to people dump untreated sewage into the river, which attracted shrimp, and that attracted crocodiles, you normally can see dozens of crocodiles under this bridge. I counted at least 25 that day.
10. Not far from the crocodile bridge, Wali got off the main road and drove on some dirt road to a local beach. Andrey said sometimes scarlet macaws like to hang around here. He saw two dozens last time. We only saw two that day. They were just beautiful. (Andrey later told Flavio about this. Flavio made sure we stopped here again on our transfer from Manuel Antonio to Arenal two days later. And we saw over a dozen scarlet macaws that day.)
Along the drive, Andrey also brought us some Costa Rican snack and a fruit called cas to try (very acidy, it is like eating lemon) etc. Later we had transfers done by other company (arranged by Andrey) or hotels, none of them did extra things like these. I totally understood why people loved GO! Tours and wrote excellent reviews for them.
14. Our hotel in Manuel Antonio. It was the best hotel of this trip. GO! Tours normally uses another hotel for Manuel Antonio, but it was sold out for the nights I needed, so they booked us to this fancy hotel which is right next to Manuel Antonio National Park entrance.
15. Our room.
16. The pool.
17. Before Andrey and Wali left to go back to San Jose, they dropped us off at a restaurant near our hotel. We had 'casado' for lunch. It is a typical Costa Rican meal that has rice, beans, plantains, salad and a meat (either chicken, beef or pork. We had chicken) all on one plate. You better like rice and beans if you go to Costa Rica because they eat it everyday, three meals a day!
Since Manuel Antonio National Park closed at 4pm, it was too rush to go in after our late lunch. So we decided to go to the park on Day 4 before our 12pm pickup time to go to Arenal (park opens at 7am). Andrey said the park is small, 4 hours should be enough for us to see it. So after lunch, we went to the beach.
18. Manuel Antonio beach.
19. Manuel Antonio beach.
20. Sun set around 5pm there.
22. The danger of walking under a tree. This thing fell off a tree and almost hit our head. I don't know what it is. It was hard and heavy.
(To be continued)