You may not already know it, but Costa Rica is a fantastic vacation destination. Costa Rica is the most politically stable country in all of Latin American and is very Americanized. Many Costa Ricans are bilingual, making travel much easier. And, of course, the country boasts some of the most gorgeous attractions you could ever imagine! Volcanoes, acres and acres of lush rainforest, fantastic waves for surfing and gorgeous white and black sand beaches. Its pretty much paradise!
There is a ton to do in Costa Rica, so it helps to know where to go! One of my favorite cities in Costa Rica is Quepos. It is just a tiny little town, but there are a ton of great restaurants, places to stay, and things to do. And the city is right next to one of the most gorgeous national parks in all of Central America; the Manuel Antonio National Park.
<what to Expect
In the Manuel Antonio National Park, there are tons of trails through the rainforests and gorgeous beaches. In a single day I saw an incredible variety of wildlife. If you stay in the park long enough and keep your eyes open, you will be amazed at what you can see! There are incredible giant shiny blue butterflies, and there are disgustingly cool giant spiders with equally large webs who feast on bugs such as the butterflies. There are tiny crabs with giant red claws and huge iguanas that live in trees right on the beach. The iguanas don’t seem to care about the dozens of beach-going tourists. I also saw some monkeys, a coati (it is a little bit like a raccoon), and a three toed sloth!
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I fell in love with the park, so much so that I just had to see more! The next day, we signed up for a Safari Mangrove Tour of the park. How it works is you get on a small boat that holds about fifteen people. There are bilingual guides who take you deep into parts of the park that you can’t really get into if you are just walking through the trails. Because of this, you get to see a ton of animals! I think a lot of them hide back there to stay farther from the tourists (although in general none of the animals we saw even seemed to care that we were there). It is so fun because you can kind of sneak up on the animals and get really close! We saw crocodiles, (yikes!) the back end of an anteater, and a ton of monkeys! There were loud, scary howler monkeys as well as smaller squirrel monkeys. The squirrel monkeys actually even came right down onto boat! It was such a great tour and an amazing experience!
Tips for Visiting
I absolutely recommend going to the Manuel Antonio National Park and going on the Safari Mangrove Tour! It was one of the coolest things I have ever gotten to do! But here is a little bit of advice if you plan on going. First of all, bring your camcorder! I didn’t because I was worried it would get wet, but my camera was fine, and I wished I would have brought my camcorder, too. It is quite wet on the boats though, although they do keep them really clean. Costa Rica is just a wet place. So you might want to wear a swimsuit or bring a poncho.
Water inevitably gets in the bottom of the boat, so I would recommend flip flops. Also, they don’t have anywhere to lock away your stuff, so don’t bring a ton with you. You never have to leave your things, though, so you do not have to worry about them being stolen. Those are some things I wish I would have known about before I went on the Safari Mangrove Tour, so I just wanted to pass them along. There are a ton of amazing things to do in Costa Rica, but this was one of my personal favorites!