Adventure guide, Rey, breezes by our table during the cocktail hour.
“Make sure to bring your phones tomorrow. Trust me,” he smiles, before moving to the next table.
Being firm instruction followers, we pack our phones in our daypack as we prepare for our day at Manuel Antonio National Park.
Our skift lands on one of Manuel Antonio’s beaches. This is one of the advantages of being an Uncruise guest. We don’t have to use the main park entrance like everyone else. We are also able to arrive at the park early, before the crowds begin.
We’re happy, because we haven’t had an activity with Rey yet. With an eagle eye, charming personality, vast knowledge, and impressive scope, we are certain to have an amazing day.
Manuel Antonio National Park is a popular tourist attraction in Costa Rica. The grounds and paths are meticulously maintained.
So far, during our activities, we encounter very few people other than fellow Uncruise guests.
Being thrust into the crowds at a major tourist attraction , is a bit of a jolt.
We discover why Rey told us to bring our phones. Once he focuses his scope on an animal, we can use our phones to take fantastic, up close, shots of the wildlife.
Rey wastes no time, and spots two rare animals in our first hour or two in the park.
A helmet lizard,
and a stick bird.
The stick bird is resting high in a tree, and so perfectly blends into the environment, I start to wonder if Rey has super powers.
Although he spots several sloths, they are all hiding their faces.
Finally, Rey finds a happy little guy peeking over a branch.
Sloth sighting = my trip is now made.
Rey spends the morning telling us all sorts of great information about the wildlife, like how the bats cut perfect little holes into leaves.
There are a lot of monkeys in Manuel Antonio. They are not shy. They jump and climb around, very close to visitors.
Being an immense lover of wildlife, it is a glorious morning for me (you can read the story about my shirt here).
Manuel Antonio with Rey as our guide, and seeing all of the animals, was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
We spend the afternoon hanging out on one of Manuel Antonio’s beaches.
The water is rougher than anticipated, and though I’m barely up to my waist, a large, late crashing wave, completely wipes me out.
It takes me a few minutes to realize that something is missing. My sunglasses, my prescription sunglasses, are not on my face. I frantically search around, but alas, Manuel Antonio has taken them out to sea. I’d like to think that there is a near-sighted turtle out there that now has perfect vision.
Our day at Manuel Antonio National Park was memorable. The park is beautiful and brimming with wildlife. It’s large, so even though there were tons of people, the park disperses the crowds well.
Rey, our guide, was part of our Uncruise ship, but if you visit the park as part of a trip to Costa Rica, you can hire guides through many tour companies or book one through the park’s website. I’d highly recommend booking a guide. They can spot wildlife high up in the trees or back in a twist of jungle vines, that you’d probably never spot. Most of the guides provided by the park also have special telescopes for viewing animals and getting great pictures, which is well worth the expense.
Back on the ship, we are treated to a colorful sunset. I love how the clouds playfully dot across the sky. After spending time with scurrying lizards, smiling sloths, and mischievous monkeys, it appears to be an appropriate ending to our Manuel Antonio day.
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