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Journal #5: Manuel Antonio

This is from a journal I wrote on December 19, 2021.

Yesterday we ventured out of our Jaco home. Two hours and two buses South of Jaco along the coast lies Manuel Antonio: a hilly coastal town with whiter sand, clearer water, and a more prominent presence of street vendors. Or, in this case, beach vendors.

Manuel Antonio, Monkey, Beach Art, Costa Rica, Digital Nomad,

As we stepped off the small bus and onto the sand, the first thing we noticed were EZ-ups lining the shore from one end of the bay to the other. Then it started...

"Kayak! You like kayak?"
"Surf lessons. Hey! You and your wife take a lesson!"
"Tent and chairs! Get your tent and chairs here!"

It was incessant. We bobbed and weaved till we broke through at the water's edge, ready to get a fresh breath and a view. But out on the water ripped jet skiers, banana-boaters, surfers, para-sailers, and booze-cruisers.

Not exactly the relaxing escape we were picturing, but entertaining at the least.

We lingered for a short moment then Brett suggested we ditch the beach for the national park (what we came to Manuel Antonio for).


There were so many vendors outside the gate to the park trying to convince clueless tourists that in order to get into the park today, they needed to buy their tickets from them. One guy told us that we wouldn't be able to get tickets at the gate and insisted that we pay him $60 to take us into the park and be our personal guide for the day. Not today, buddy. We walked past all the blabbering and were able to buy our tickets at the gate for $16 apiece.

This park is unlike any national park I've ever seen. Lush, jungle forest meets serene, picturesque beach coves to create a dream world where monkeys, sloths, pelicans, toucans, hermit crabs, and iguanas roam protected and free.

We were greeted at the gate by several white-faced monkeys. Some were running right next to us. Some literally hung out above us. And one was trying to wrangle a TV off its wall mount.

We spend around 2 hours inside. We walked the trails, dipped in the ocean, dreamed about owning the yacht parked just off-shore, and stalked a few of those tour guides to try and get a glimpse of a sloth. We did end up seeing one, which is honestly a pretty underwhelming experience. You just stare at a motionless blob high up in the canopy. But hey! We can say we saw a sloth!

After the park shenanigans, we headed straight for the bar.

Exhausted from the bus rides and exploring, we settled into a perfect spot on a second-floor patio, perfectly shielded from the vendors below. I ordered a Mahi-Mahi sando and an Imperial Light. We ate and drank, speaking less than ten words to each other—the entire time soft-smiling and swaying to the beat of Bob Marley.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

My boyfriend and I started our digital nomad journey in December 2021. We're just starting out and want to share all the ups and downs with you!

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