|Tarantula - Mastatal night hike|
Thursday morning we said farewell to Mastatal and headed westward down the road towards Parrita and the coastal plain. Cruising through miles and miles of oil palms (a major crop on the Pacific side of Costa Rica - oil from the fruits are processed at factories along the coast), we entered the more heavily developed Pacific coastal zone and headed south to Quepos and Manuel Antonio. We spent most of the day in Manuel Antonio - Costa Rica's most popular national park - which was indeed very popular as it was filled with both international and domestic visitors taking advantage of the Semana Santa holiday! We had a guided nature hike in the morning, featuring many wildlife sightings (including bats, sloths, and monkeys!) followed by some downtime to enjoy the beach during the afternoon.
|At Manuel Antonio National Park|
We spent Thursday and Friday nights at Hacienda Baru, a wildlife refuge about a half hour south of Manuel Antonio; Friday we headed north again for a tour of the mangrove ecosystem on the coast. Boarding a small covered boat, we wended our way through a network of canals lined with several species of mangrove. We wrapped up our stay on the coast Saturday morning with a visit from Jack Ewing, the founder and proprietor of Hacienda Baru before heading north to San Jose and the flight home!
|Jack Ewing discussing the history of Hacienda Baru|