Jon’s dream came true today! We saw white faced monkeys from less than 1 meter away at Manuel Antonio National Park. A whole group of them came to enjoy Playa Gemela along with us. They were enjoying the sights as much as we were, it seems, and teasing each other for fun.
They’d chase each other around the trees, one pulling another’s tail. There was a particular monkey that seemed more aggressive than the others (and more likely to approach humans). He ran up behind Lucia (smacking her with his arm on his way), and stole an empty bottle from the log we placed our stuff on. Another one snuck by later and stole a banana—half the food we brought into the park to snack on! (“Way to live up to the stereotype, monkey!” said Jon)
Seeing those monkeys in arm’s distance absolutely made our day, but it wasn’t even the only wildlife sighting of today. We saw a momma sloth with her baby, small blue crabs, iguana (a large one charged us), and even a raccoon in a tree (a less exciting animal, but in an interesting environment).
We got to the park at about 10:30 am and had to wait in a few long lines to get in since they limit the number of people in the park at any given time. A line to buy tickets, a line to enter (as people exit, others can enter), and then one final line with a “bag check” before they scan your ticket to enter.
There are signs that say food isn’t allowed unless it’s for someone with a special diet (whatever that means) and that you can only bring in fruit that is already peeled/cut for individual people (whatever that means too), but it didn’t seem like anyone’s food was turned away. We saw people with coolers, plastic bags, and more with everything from liters of soda to bags of chips and all the plastic cups/cutlery too.
Tickets cost $16 USD for foreigners, or ₡1600 CRC for locals with ID (about $3 USD), no re-entry. I think the total wait time for us for all 3 lines was about an hour, but it wasn’t a pleasant wait with the sun beating down on us. Street vendors sell cold water and fresh coconuts (“if it’s not cold, it’s free” read several signs), as well as “coco loco”—fresh coconut with rum.
Sadly, I cut the bottom of my right foot on a rather sharp rock (or coral?) as soon as I got about a foot deep in the water. Not much respite after all (the water was quite nice and lukewarm though). Aside from being sandy and painful, it made the walk out of the park a bit slower, and much more annoying. Hopefully it heals by the time we make it out to Puerto Viejo next weekend!