This morning we hiked to the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, along with many, many others, all gathering as soon as the park opened to avoid the crowds, oh well, we tried.
Once on the trail the crowds spread out quickly so it wasn’t bad. Right away Andres spotted a sloth in a tree next to the trail. When we reached the beach Andres said he would stay and watch our packs so George and I walked the beach, a beautiful crescent cove, the water and the sun were warm many taking advantage of a sheltered swimming spot.
As we wandered back to the trees for some shade we watched as a little white-faced Capuchin monkey made away with a sack taken from the backpack of a gentlemen who was napping right next to it. We had been warned that theft was a problem at this beach, not by humans but by the monkeys and now we witnessed their speed and skillful lifting of an unguarded lunch sack. As we neared the spot where Andres guarded our belongings there were monkeys everywhere and as we watched it appeared that one would come in a distract the unsuspecting while another would make the snatch, very clever ploy and quite successful. We managed to leave with all of our things.
We walked back toward town by way of a beach trail, crossing an inlet and then meeting the van at the end of town. The beaches outside the park were crowded with people enjoying their weekend.
In town we had lunch at a nice little restaurant near the beach and then had an hour so to explore the town. George and I headed for the beach and strolled along a promenade. Quepos wraps itself around a picturesque inlet surrounded by primary rainforest. The village center is a six-block square of restaurants, bars, hotels, bakeries, art galleries and gift shops, all fronted by the main beach and fishing fleet, mostly sport fishing. It is growing quickly yet has maintained its sleepy feel to date.
We found a Saturday Farmer’s Market at the end of the promenade which we found is actually a street when the market is not in session. An abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables were on display along with a vendor selling lobster hanging from his bicycle. Saturday is a busy day in the little town of Quepos.
When we returned to La Foresta there was just enough time for a hike on the other side of the river so Andres led us through the gardens and into the forest where we spotted a three-toed sloth, iguanas and squirrel monkeys not to mention more Capuchins who seemed to think hurling things at us from the trees was great sport. The hike ended up being longer than we anticipated and we barely made it back in time to change for dinner before meeting the rest of the group.
We left the main road and continued on a narrow dirt road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere but finally coming to the end of the road at an open-air restaurant on one side of the dirt road and tables situated along the cliff face on the other side of the road. A caution sign as we approached warned of Waiters Crossing. It was a convivial atmosphere and we ordered a couple of pitchers of their famed sangria. Just as it arrived at the table the sun began to dip and everyone abandoned their tables to watch it set into the Pacific reminiscent of the sunset scene at Key West. It was magnificent as we jockeyed for position for the best photograph. As it disappeared out of sight the patrons returned to their tables and dinner arrived in short order. It was simply delicious.