Back from a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park which is located on the western Pacific side of Costa Rica and is purported to be one of the most beautiful spots in the country and most visited park. We were lucky as it was not crowded at all. Perhaps the poor weather put folks off!
We actually had a good and dry drive down. It is about 4.5 hours on a lovely but windy and harrowing road through the mountains to get to the beach. Lots of orchards and plantation style houses plus roadside fruit stands offering wonderful mangos, pineapples and more. We caught a first glimpse of the ocean at Tarcoles and continued onwards along the coast road with occasional brief views of water. There are many large villas tucked away on the hill areas all focused on the views but there seems little to do in the area other than enjoy watching the ocean to one side and mountains to the other.
The road was quite well maintained until we got past Jaco and hit some scary bridges. There were three of them but one has been replaced with the other two being currently built (thank goodness). The bridges looked like old railroad ones and were one lane only with traffic creeping across what looked like metal bars with pieces of metal plate and wood across. Huge trucks and a barrage of buses and cars were crossing and the bits of metal flapped and looked loose. To add to the interesting crossing, below were strong flowing rivers that probably contained crocodiles (I had my eyes shut so couldn’t see those). This is a picture of one bridge!
We stopped at one river (with a good bridge) and were able to see about 15 huge crocs just basking in the sun below us. Another couple of pictures may show how many there were. They looked to be about 12-14 feet long – not sure if that comes through in these pictures though.
The coastal road took about two hours and we finally arrived in Quepos and then our hotel (on the road between Quepos and the national park) early afternoon. We stayed at the Hotel Mono Azul or Blue Monkey which we discovered is owned by a really nice American family. They have a nice restaurant and the kids were happy to discover great pizzas.