Wednesday some of the folks went zip-lining but I went off exploring. And I'm a beach person - I wanted to grab some more time there. We were up in the hills a couple miles from the beach, so I walked. The area isn't a packed area like our resorts, but a lot of interesting-looking restaurants and bars line the road.
Note to travelers: the national beer of Costa Rica, Imperial, SUCKS. Tasteless with a nasty metallic back taste. Bleh! Bleh!
There is some hope, though, and micro-brews are beginning to get a foothold there. At the end of the week, my sister and I found a nearby bar run by an American ex-pat that had a few on tap.
Can't remember what they were, though. Except one was a coffee IPA that wasn't particularly hoppy and had the mouth feel of a stout.
Despite lack of sidewalks and occasionally scary drivers, a nice walk down. I took the bus back. It costs about 70 cents (315 colones, I think - I just handed him a $1 bill and he handed me Costa Rican change) and it was hot and humid and a bloody steep walk in some places.
A note about the public beach (as opposed to the ones in Manuel Antonio Park itself) - people are hustling to make a living and you will be offered, repeatedly, all sorts of things, most of them made in Nicaragua. You have to get hardened to just shaking your head and not engaging them. And things there are very expensive - more so than if we had gone to, say, the Outer Banks, as far as food and drinks. Which is how we saved money by having a chef and by buying all our hard alcohol from the duty-free shop at the airport in Miami. Sometimes it seemed like there were more sales-people on the beach than swimmers. But I feel sorry for the locals - American and European tourists have driven their costs up, but there are only so many jobs in the area and they pay poorly. So they try to sell tourists cheap stuff for not cheap prices.
Thursday was Manuel Antonio Park itself. We scrounged up a tour guide cheap and he spotted some things for us: both kinds of sloths, howler monkeys, two kinds of tropical bats, Halloween crabs, helmeted iguanas. I didn't get many good pics there. I only had my cell phone rather than a camera. The guide did take a pic of one of the sloths through his telescope for me, and I got one of the iguana.
The beaches in the park itself are also spectacular. And full of monkeys and racoons determined to take your stuff and completely unafraid of you.
The others headed back but I hung around the beaches for a while, swimming, admiring the green and flowers, and poking around in tide pools.
Then I went off to explore and almost got myself in trouble. I'm overweight and out of shape and it was hot and humid under the tropical canopy and I decided to take a trail that involved a whole bunch of up. Very up. By the time I got to the overlook I was having chills, meaning heat exhaustion.
I never did spot the birds I was trying to find in the canopy, but I took it easy coming back and just admired the fact that in Costa Rica if it isn't green it's blooming.
That night I stayed vertical just long enough to eat dinner and then headed for bed. The one complaint I had about the villa is that the mattresses are old inner spring and you can tell it - they need replaced. But that affected me all of about 10 seconds every night and this was no exception.
Friday was a putter day and arrival day for more guests, including one who flew in from China: 36 hours one-way to act as usher. My sister and I walked up to do some souvenir shopping, then lazed around the pool until time for the rehearsal dinner.
Saturday was the same for those without specific wedding jobs, and then, finally, they were Mr. and Mrs.
Then Sunday it was back on the road home, leaving the bride and groom and a few of the new guests to continue sunning, dirt biking, rappelling through waterfalls, zip-lining, and all the other stuff that most excellent vacation spot offers. I rolled back into WV Monday afternoon, having had the most fabulous vacation of my life.