Don’t get me wrong: I love farms. That’s where food comes from. But after three weeks volunteering at a raw vegan farm in Costa Rica’s southern jungle, I needed to get back to the world of cheese, coffee and cooked foods. You might say I was on the hunt for a destination where I could “retox” my freshly cleansed system. I wanted a location with some tourist infrastructure; somewhere with the opportunity to mingle with other travelers, frolic in the ocean and sample a few tasty culinary options. I opted for the Pacific coast, in the Manuel Antonio area.
In the last week of the Costa Rican leg of my journey, I dined on delicious and cheap home cooked meals (comida tipica). For example, five bucks got me a delectable grilled chicken Casado at Soda Sanchez in downtown Quepos. As an Internet-junkie, dipping into Café Milagro for free WiFi and a chocolate-caramel iced latte (made with 100% Costa Rica coffee) was a perfect pick-me-up after an afternoon at the beach. And because my thirst for adventure is always larger than my budget, I opted to lay my head at Vista Serena Backpackers hostel. I elected for a $15/night shared room with air conditioning and kitchen access. Watching sunsets from gently swinging hammocks was stellar, and the owner, Conrad, went out of his way to ensure guests had a relaxing stay.
But the top “not-to-be-missed” adventure was a stroll through the areas namesake: the much-celebrated Manuel Antonio National Park where monkeys, toucans, sloths and other exotic jungle creatures are the main characters in a ecological theatrical production where we humans, quickly become a wide-eyed audience.
In this second video episode of my 2011 journey, I introduce you to local guide and naturalist Henry Pizarro Espinoza, and we learn a bit more about Manuel Antonio park, what else to do in the area and why now is the best time to visit!