Taking you on the last steps of our journey; Manuel Antonio. (see what I did there? steps? a picture of steps?) How amazing are these steps, though? #inspirationforfuturehome. Whoops, getting distracted. Back to business! Manuel Antonio is along the western coast of Costa Rica and well worth the trip. I hope you enjoy my last post about one of my best.trips.ever.
Thank you, Desafio Adventure Company for providing a nice, air-conditioned 6 hour drive from Arenal to Manuel Antonio. Well equipped with great views of the lush land and a stop at Tarcoles River to see crocodiles. What they forget to suggest is this little container of fresh mango to buy for $2 at one of our stops!
You’re welcome. #alwaysaboutfood #amIright
It ended up raining for most of the day so we didn’t feel like we were missing a day of basking in the almost unbearable, SHADE ME NOW, heat. Don’t worry, we got plenty of SHADE ME NOW sun tanning on the remaining days. #peelingforweeks
We arrive at the beautiful Hotel La Mariposa. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending. It was landscaped like something we had never seen before and THE VIEWS. UGH, the views. Take me back.
Those breakfast views too…free breakfast might I add.
And infinity pools for days…
Feeling like a celebrity in those things.
Manuel Antonio is 80% hotel and 20% beach town so there is a myriad of hotels to choose from but I would not change our choice for the world. We were walking distance from restaurants and “bars/nightclubs” and they provided easy transportation from the hotel to the beach. Win!
We didn’t know how exhausted we would be after our GO BIG OR GO HOME lifestyle the past four days so we kept our schedule open. Our first full day was spent down at the beach.
But all along the beach were signs for surf lessons. Considering we felt like we could be the next Presidents of the U.S.A after repelling down waterfalls like bosses, surfing in calm ocean waters seemed more than doable. And then we met Pablo. The drill sergeant surf guide of Costa Rica. There was a lot of “just get up, JUST GET UP, stop holding on, LET GO, ARMS OUT, tell your friend to LET GO, WHY IS IT SO HARD.”
While I felt discouraged 50 minutes out of the 60 minutes we were out there, I still wouldn’t have traded the experience (or Pablo) for a moment.
TIP: DO NOT book through a company. DO negotiate on the beach when you’re down there because we got $20 off of the usual price since surfing lessons are like Starbucks down on the beach. On every turn is another Costa Rican man looking to make a deal.
Our last excursion/last night was a catamaran boat tour/snorkeling session at sunset. Even though we were told we were too busy trying to take selfies and not busy enough looking for the fish, it was still a great end to our journey.
Tours include booze (although we didn’t have any until the end since we wanted to do a little more sight-seeing and a little less vomiting) and food! Costa Rica marinades fish like nobody else. Buy a bottle of Lizano Salsa on Amazon and you will not be disappointed. All that
selfie-taking snorkeling, works up an appetite.
It’ll end with beautiful views, yummy fruit drinks, and a breathtaking sunset. Don’t be surprised if you want to sell all of your assets and move to Costa Rica.
The rest of our free time was spent either listening to howler monkeys while sipping on guava from our hotel pool, or exploring the beach for monkeys, wolfing down snowcones to keep cool, or writing our vacation hashtag (#bestiesmoon2015; explore instagram at will) in the sand and trying to get all of it in the picture with our feet. Tip: DO bargain and invest in chairs and an umbrella on the beach because if you’re anything like myself (being called MUEY BLANCO on the beach by a local #ugh #scoff #ultrawhitegirlproblems) you’ll want to spend most of your time in the shade.
Also, DO NOT be surprised if every time you’re in town, every local that you’ve seen on the beach knows your name and you feel like you’re in a tropical episode of Cheers.
DO NOT take advice from your cab driver and go to a soda downtown and order the nachos and think they’ll be anything like TreeHouse Cafe or you will be sadly disappointed. And hungry. DO take advice from your surfing instructor and go eat at Café Agua Azul (see my gal, laura m’s trip advisory review) and DO order the tuna tostados, chicken napoleon, brownie sundae (although we didn’t try the sundae, it sure did smell good) and wash it down with blackberry mojitos.
DO eat lunch at the Falafel Bar. Ambiance is amazing with low picnic tables, cozy cushions, and views of the ocean. DO NOT be surprised if you’re too busy devouring your falafel to even care about the views. Falafel bar comes with cute jewelry to buy while you ponder the menu. DO be sad that you didn’t charge your phone before you left for lunch so that you could take a wonderful pic of this falafel sandwich (which comes with french fries in it, BTW) so that over a month later (sorry about that) you can post it on your blog. #ohtolivewithregrets.
DO NOT be surprised if you come home from vacation and dream about all the wonderful food you had in MA. #drool.
Guys, you would be so proud of us 30ish year old gals. We raged. WE RAGED. TAY TAY’s song #feelinglike22 was basically our theme song in MA. First night; Fred’s Place. DO get a bottle of Sangria, play pool, awe at Fred’s two pet bunnies, and DO try to avoid Fred, as Fred is a little tweaked out on something.
Pools are also open late night so DO NOT pass up living out your childhood dream of wishing that every hotel you’ve ever gone to in the U.S. included late night (legal) swimming.
Our next night included ladies night (which means free drinks ALL NIGHT LONG) at Byblos Resort & Casino. DO NOT be surprised if you forget that you have a tolerance of a 30 year old. DO NOT be surprised if you run in to every person that has been on your excursions the entire trip and feel like a local. DEFINITELY DO NOT be surprised when you go into the bathroom and you find this…
DO go to Zion Bar if you’ve had three FREE drinks and an unwelcomed tequila shot beforehand. DO NOT go to Zion Bar if you’re sober. If you are in the former category, DO expect to be the only group on the dance floor under the flattering light of a disco ball dancing to oldies rap. DO love their poster of Biggie Smalls and think of the days of yore when you used to listen to Big Poppa on cassette tape. DO love their chalkboard wall and honor it with your hashtag.
DO watch for cars on the road while you walk and laugh all the way back to your hotel. DO NOT be surprised if you wake up and no longer #feellike22.
~WHAT I LEARNED~
1. DO watch out for squirrel monkeys to whisk across your hotel balcony in the morning.
2. DO NOT be surprised if you wake up and realize you were sleeping with something in your bed… #Iwokeuplikethis. Also, DO NOT be surprised if after a week long throw down with nature (beetles, snakes, spiders crawling all over your luggage) that instead of running to the other side of the room, you’re like “OH HEY. Gals, come see what I woke up to today.” #nbd #femaleversionofBearGrylls?
3. Do not give up…even after 50 minutes of falling down off of your surfboard during your surf lesson. #wwbd
~WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE ENTIRE TRIP~
That I can’t wait until the next one…