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I can’t remember the last time we had seen each other, probably the summer after our high school graduation. When a friend from high school messaged me on facebook a few weeks ago I didn’t really know what to think. She invited us to come stay with her and her boyfriend in Costa Rica, which lets be honest is not a hard invitation to accept.
We got to her place in a rain storm after 9 hours of buses. Thankfully they looked past how smelly, wet and tired we were and let us stay. Spending the next two days lounging around her apartment, making the best of a stormy beach day and watching movies (in english!) we caught up on the last few years and even found time to buy me a replacement bathing suit. Turns out Costa Rican bathing suits are cut similarly to those in Brazil. You get the picture.
Just as we were relaxing in the comforts of a real apartment we got the exciting yet somewhat bittersweet news, we could whitewater kayak in Panama – if we got there in two days. Dying to get in some whitewater we quickly altered our travel plans and set off early the next morning for Manuel Antonio, our last “must do” in Costa Rica.
We’ve been to a lot of beaches on this trip, both on the Pacific and the Caribbean but none that had monkeys on them. If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I want to see monkeys almost everywhere we go, so when we entered Manuel Antonio National Park my eyes immediately drifted upwards. From what everyone said about this place I expected it to be a zoo of tropical Costa Rican creatures.
Unfortunately there were no monkeys waiting for us to enter the park, which was shall we say perturbing. Plodding ahead towards the beach I kept my eyes peeled for shaking trees. “Seriously.” Danny said. “Haven’t you seen enough monkeys already.” The best response to a question like that is always silence so I ignored him and continued to scan the tree tops. Within meters of the beach we finally spotted them- an entire clan of capuchin monkeys. (Not sure if monkeys travel in clans, but it sounds good so lets go with it!) Clamoring through the trees playing with each other and eating leaves the monkeys seemed unphased by the crowd of humans near by, virtually ignoring us. Enthralled by them I continued to watch them play along the branches until Danny eventually pulled me on to the beach and the monkeys moved on. Not for long though. From the water we spotted the clan’s return and within seconds a “cheeky fellow” had grabbed another beach goers grocery bag and was making off with it into the trees. This is what I had waited to see- the famous thieving monkeys of Manuel Antonio. Wave after wave, like an aerial assault this monkey tried to grab things from beach goers, grocery bags, fruit, even clothing. Ever vigilant, I fastened our bags together with carabiners creating what I called a “monkey proof” design. Unfortunately it was never tested, apparently thieving monkeys do not want cookies covered in chocolate. Their loss.
For the $10 entrance fee into Manuel Antonio we saw: capuchin monkeys, a cayman (like a crocodile), tucans, a huge bird eating snake, coatis and agouti. Pretty good if you ask me. In my intense focus on seeing monkeys we somehow missed the sloth that everyone else saw, but really sloths aren’t as cool as monkeys so thats ok!