Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio Park, Los Altos Resort & Over-talkative Guides
I love people who are passionate about what they’re doing – I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m sure sometimes people are like, “Would you shut up about the travel industry, I don’t care what kind of bathroom products the Ritz Carlton uses.” That’s why I have this blog, I can talk endlessly about travel and get it out of my system (which is never quite possible). So, when I meet someone who’s truly passionate, I have to commend them for having that drive – not everyone finds their passions and, once they’re found, not everyone knows how to keep from over-sharing. I’m speaking specifically about our guide today, who was very nice, knowledgeable, and overly informative.
Sometimes you get a guide who tells you just enough (points to Hugo for being an excellent guide in that respect), and sometimes you get a guide who tells you the scientific name of every animal you encounter. We had the latter this afternoon. Our guide stopped to show us everything in Manuel Antonio Park, especially insects. His passion was for the creepy-crawly, and I’m going to be blunt here – once you’ve seen one stick bug, you’ve seen them all. Please don’t stop our walk to pick up a second one. And a third one. That is all.
Our walk in Manuel Antonio this morning was really great, though – we saw tons more animals and got some great photos:
We also watched the wild raccoons on Manuel Antonio beach steal granola bars and later saw one traipsing through the forest with an entire beach bag, but it’s okay because it had babies to feed:
After our walk through Manuel Antonio, we visited a nearby property that had an open-air elevator-like lift to take guests from the restaurant to the rooms. My gut instinct told me to stay the heck off of it, it looked like it was just waiting to drop unsuspecting guests to the bottom. Of course, when we reached the top, the doors were jarred and we couldn’t get out.
We were hovering a couple of hundred feet in this Costa Rican Tower of Terror when I somewhat consider hurling myself off. The rooms at the top weren’t worth seeing anyway. We hung in the air for a few excruciating minutes, calling out to those below that we’re pretty dang stuck. At that point I considered all possible fears, the worst of which being that the lift can’t hold up all six of us (there is a five person max) and hurtles back to the ground. Eventually, the hotel rep had to climb the stairs and press the button to send us back to the ground floor, where I quickly chose to climb all of the stairs. I took a video of the ghettovator for everyone:
Despite all this, I can happily say that we’ve FINALLY seen a couple more hotels that I consider worth talking about! Los Altos is a condo-style property that is perfect for families; the smallest unit has three bedrooms and it’s tastefully decorated. The other property worth mentioning, Gaia, is perfect for honeymooners looking for a boutique hotel in the area. Both of the properties have very specific audiences, and it’s best to figure out whether the Manuel Antonio area is something each guest wants to visit while in Costa Rica. It’s a beautiful area with a perfect mixture of rainforest and Pacific Ocean, but it’s quite out of the way from Arenal, for the adventure lovers (over 5 hour drive) and about a standard distance from San Jose (2 hours or so). What I’ve learned about Costa Rica, besides the fact that it’s not the country for good hair days, is that each area we’ve seen really caters to something specific. It’s best to define what you want to see and then build an itinerary around those needs.