Day 2 |
Oct 29, 2011

Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 09º25’29”, W 084º10’17”
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temperature: 27ºC
Pressure: 1006 hPa

Early this morning the Silver Explorer dropped anchor in front of Quepos, a small town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The main attraction here is not the town itself, although it is a charming place, but the National Park that lies only 4 kilometres away. Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s smallest park at 683 hectares. Despite its size it is a fantastic place to see plants and animals. We had a remarkable guide, who, armed with an elaborate and very effective spotting scope, was capable of seeing well-camouflaged green iguanas 15 metres away and telling us all sorts of interesting things about them. The highlights for me were: howler monkeys, barkless trees, many varieties of palms, 2-toed and 3-toed sloth, frogs, and a troop of rambunctious white-faced capuchin monkeys. After a 2-hour walk around the park, including some time to go for a swim, we came out onto a beach where we ate fresh fruit before embarking the bus for a short drive back to Puerto Quepos, a picturesque sea level village with four main streets and brightly coloured plank houses. Blue and green cables stretched across sections of roads, which cut through forest, allowing arboreal animals such as sloths and monkeys to cross from one side to the other safely. Our morning ended with a Zodiac trip back to the ship.

In the afternoon, some of our guests who were on board our last cruise and are staying on for this one, went on an alternate excursion – a boat tour of the mangroves. I didn’t go on that one but I heard it was a fantastic tour. They had a very knowledgeable guide who was able to spot animals hidden high in the canopy or deep inside the forest. They saw, among many other things, the smallest anteater in the world, a sliding turtle, raccoons, crabs, flycatchers, a rail, herons, egrets, snakes and bats. The guide told them about black, red, white and pineapple mangroves (Rhizophoraceae), the international fruit company that used to economically dominate the region, and the composition of monkey troops. They visited the mangrove river delta and saw the Silver Explorer in the distance, separated from them by a white line of breakers and spray.

In the meantime, those of us that didn’t go on the mangrove tour had lunch and many went out to explore on their own the town of Quepos. We were lucky, since the locals were holding a festival and there were dancers and bands playing very cheerful music in the streets. It was a youth festival and both dancers and musicians alike were all school children.

Once we were all back on board we had a Recap & Briefing followed by the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party and Dinner. Captain Adam Boczek introduced his senior officers and welcomed everyone on board for this voyage from Costa Rica to Perú.