Two boats, three buses and a border crossing later, we arrived in Puerto Viejo (“Old Harbour”) on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Puerto Viejo is a small seaside settlement, famous for partying, surfing and relaxation.
One day we went on a gorgeous 15km bike ride along the coastal road to the sleepy village of Manzanillo. We rode alongside pretty beaches and through thick lush jungle teeming with life. As we rounded the final bend we were greeted with an incredible roar; a group of howler monkeys were fighting and playing in the trees above us. It felt like we were in Jurassic Park.
After a brief night in the capital San Jose, we bussed over to the Pacific coast to visit Manuel Antonio National Park. Combining beach and forest Manuel Antonio is pretty special. The first half of the day was spent navigating trails and scanning the trees for wildlife. We saw capuchin (‘white face’) monkeys swing in the canopy, three-toed sloths asleep on branches and coatis (similar to racoons) fighting on the beach. We also walked up a path leading up to the top of a cliff with expansive views over the ocean and some of the park’s other beautiful beaches
The rest of the day was spent relaxing on a jungle-backed beach occasionally dipping into the turquoise water and trying not to get sucked into the riptides. We didn’t think we needed to worry when not in the water but a big wave caught us by surprise and soaked us and all of our stuff. This was then shortly followed by a couple of coatis trying to steal our picnic so we quickly made a move for home.
Next stop: Monteverde