Day 7 |
Oct 27, 2011

Quepos, Costa Rica

By Maria Patricia Silva Rodriguez, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 09°30’N, 84°10’W
Weather: Humid and incredible warm with a clear blue sky and no wind
Air Temperature: 30°C to 35°C

At 6.45 am I started my visit in Costa Rica, the day was already hot when we disembarked in the small port town of Quepos. It was only a two-minute ride from the Silver Explorer to the floating pier. From the port we started our tour this morning through the town. Quepos was a nice and colorful little, sea-level village with houses, a school, a church, a soccer field and a population of 14,000. As the bus climbed up the steep sides of the bay on the way to Manuel Antonio National Park, our guide pointed out different species of trees and plants. To reach the entrance of the park took 15 minutes in a bus with our local guides Rony and Hernan.

Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio National Park, in Spanish the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, is a small National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Established in 1972 with an area enumerating 4,014 acres (16.24 km2) (the smallest of any Costa Rican national park), it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well-known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes as one of the world's 12 most beautiful national parks.

The park only allows 600 visitors at a time within its boundaries. In the park we walked through lush forest, stopping to identify many different species of birds like summer tanager, kingbirds, kiskidaes, warblers, black vultures, toucans and hummingbirds. The path was gorgeous, and together with all the beautiful birds we heard the sound made by the monkeys until we were able to see them very well. In one of the trees very high up we saw a group of eight howler monkeys. The group was having some leaves and fruit and the youngest were just resting on the branches. We had plenty of time to take thousands of pictures.

Continuing our walk, we had more surprises! I was lucky to spot a three-toed sloth hanging in a tree. The animal was a little far but we didn’t realize that on the other side, very close to us, another sloth was watching our group. Everybody was so happy to see them and of course take hundreds of pictures.

After this “feast” of sloths, we walked all the way to one of the beaches. Four beaches are contained within the limits of the park: Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Teldoro, and Playita. The first is separated from the second by a "tombolo", or natural land bridge formed by sand accumulations. Both Manuel Antonio and Espadilla Sur contain tidal pools and offer the possibility of snorkeling.

After doing a quick stop at the beach, we had the opportunity to see a capuchin monkey stealing things from a bag left by one of the swimmers in the beach. The monkey took the digital camera out and ran all the way to the top of the tree until he realized that it was not food!! He then dropped the camera to the sand. We had a lot of fun watching the owner of the camera running out from the sea.

We spent time photographing hermit crabs, iguanas and more howler monkeys back along the road, while our guide pointed out Blue Morpho butterflies, a very dangerous looking palm with a trunk covered in long spines (Bactris gasipaes) and a number of succulent bromeliads.

The park was an amazing and unique place for everybody. When we were out we had some time for refreshments and wonderful fresh fruits. Once on the bus we made our way back to the port, and Zodiacs were waiting at the pier to take us back to the Silver Explorer for lunch.

After lunch guests could return to the town for a short visit or stay onboard relaxing at the spa and beauty salon to be ready for the Captain’s Farewell Dinner in the evening.

At 17.30 hrs we gathered in The Theatre to watch a final recap and a photo DVD made by the onboard videographer Lou Davidson. She made an incredible film of the voyage and the pictures combined with the music were amazing.

Time to be ready for the last Farewell Cocktail Party at 19.00 hosted by the Captain Adam Boczek and followed by a delightful dinner. Tomorrow is our last day in Puerto Caldera and I preparing myself for the next adventure.