Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Our final adventure began at 6am, we needed to catch an 8am ferry back to Puntarenas. Siri, did her best to send us astray & to a different ferry terminal. This would be a somewhat coastal drive to Manuel Antonio. The sun was shining, the ocean to my right, windows down & the tunes blaring. I was looking forward to a stop outside of Tarcoles, where these huge crocodiles just sit under the bridge. You can park the car, make sure you lock it & head over to the bridge. There was 12 of the biggest feckers I'd ever seen. If you fell in there, you wouldn't be coming out, I can tell you that much. I watched as some people hung over the bridge to get a selfie, madness, in fairness. As we drove on, the most amazing thing happened, two red & blue macaws flew over the windshield of the car. It was the most beautiful sight, the colours were exceptional. To see them in their natural habitat was truly fantastic.

We arrived into Manuel Antonio in the afternoon. The posh part is higher up on the hill. That's where all the restaurants are as well. We were staying at an Airbnb, right next to the entrance to the National Park & right next to the beach. We really wanted to go to the pristine beaches inside the park but it was a $16 entrance fee and a 40min hike in the heat. When I look back now, I am sorry that I didn't do it because the local beach is packed with people. The streets are lined from the beach to the entrance of the national park with people trying to sell you everything you could possibly want, coconuts, ice cream, sandals, hats, t-shirts, wraps, tattoos, hair extensions, water, sandwich, necklaces, towels, beach ball, parking & passes to the park. The beach awaits us, chairs, umbrellas, parasailing, jet skis, kayaks & boogie boards. We end up renting some chairs for $10 when this guy comes along offering to get us Mojito, Nachos, Lemonade & of course I get suckered in. He saw me coming as I paid $16 for cheese nachos & $8 for a lemonade, I tell you that was the last cent he got off me. He tried again the next day. I spend my day reading "Devil in the white city", this is about a serial killer around the time of the Chicago World Fair. He killed possibly more than 200 people yet nobody knows much about this man named Mudgett or his pseudonym Holmes, yet everyone has heard of Jack the Ripper. The books chapters alternate between the world fair & the serial killer, I was so captivated reading how this killer murdered innocent women & children, I ended up skipping to the chapters I wanted. So, here I am tanning on the beach, massages happening on my left, parasailing on my right & I'm there enthralled by a serial killer in the late 1800's.

We woke up on our last day to go find the secret beach. Up on the hill & down a back road is a hidden beach called Playa Biesanz. It is used mostly by locals & has been taken off the road signs to make it harder for tourists to find. You leave your car on the side of the road & hope your mirrors are there when you come back. There is a tiny opening in a ditch and down those steps lies the beach. Was it paradise like the locals claim? Not really, the water is full to the brim with rocks, it is impossible to swim in, i mean every square inch had rocks, the beach is small & had about 40 teenagers on a summer camp trip, screaming their heads off. You'd nearly get used to that but to not be able to cool down without breaking a toe or knee cap was the hard part. The Gaelic Football was on the same day, I had bought a GAAGO pass and was hoping to stream in on the beach with my dongle. Kerry V Dublin, I caught about 2 seconds of every 30 seconds of footage. I gave up & tried Weeshie on Radio Kerry, the signal would not complete, basically, computer says no. After 3hrs of baking on the beach, we packed up & headed back to the car & almost stepped on a scorpion. A mother with about a million babies on her back, it might have been the mankiest thing I've ever seen. So on we went to the airport in San Jose. We shall see you again someday.

Playa Biesanz