Costa Rica: Catarata de Cortés, Tarcoles crocodiles, Manuel Antonio National Park


We left the Arenal area and set to drive for a good while under the sun, for a change.

We stopped by the side of the road as Vlad spotted monkeys in a tree, spider monkeys.

Spider monkey
Spider monkey

Spider monkeys
Spider monkeys

We made quite a detour to see the Catarata de Cortés, the prettiest waterfall I ever saw.

Catarata de Cortés
Catarata de Cortés

In its vicinity there was a little pool of water where no tourist was, that was populated by lizards, one of which was really big, grey, and crested from head to tail, possibly a basilisk.

Basilisk
Basilisk

We didn’t stay long as there was driving to do, but Vlad took a dip. On the road again, we quickly saw the change of vegetation and scenery as we were driving south. Less forest, more plaines.

Sloth sign
Sloth sign

Guanacaste tree and horses
Guanacaste tree and horses

We were in Tarcoles, our next stop, around 4 p.m. This place is famous for its long bridge under which many crocodiles rest.

Crocodiles on the sand
Crocodiles on the sand

Crocodile
Crocodile

Crocodile immersed
Crocodile immersed

We even saw an iguana.

Iguana
Iguana

We had a little more than two hours of daylight and hit the road again to reach a place between Quepos and Manuel Antonio. We arrived a bit after dark which comes a half hour after sunset. And then there was thunder and rain.

Fast forward to next day, a rainy day, but the one day we could visit the Manuel Antonio National Park. In a tree right next to our room there was a howler monkey.

Howler monkey
Howler monkey

We were advised to take a guided tour as only a guide could show us animals on this rainy day, but we didn’t feel like being with a guide and preferred being on our own, taking our time. We didn’t regret that choice. We saw so many animals!

A deer, a toucan, woodpeckers, a bird big as a pigeon with a red chest and a striped tail, butterflies, dragonflies, an urubu (red-headed vulture), hermit crabs, crabs, spider monkeys, a bird of prey which was all black, a female capuchin carrying her baby and which let us follow her for a while in the forest –a most magical experience!– and finally, a female sloth.

A deer
A deer

Toucan
Toucan

Woodpecker silhouette
Woodpecker silhouette

Hermit crab on grey sand
Hermit crab on grey sand

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

Black vulture
Black vulture

Halloween crab
Halloween crab

Capuchin monkeys, mother & young
Capuchin monkeys, mother & young

Capuchin monkeys, mother & young
Capuchin monkeys, mother & young

Pale-billed woodpecker
Pale-billed woodpecker

Three-toed sloth
Three-toed sloth

Three-toed sloth
Three-toed sloth

The Park also had lovely beaches. Vlad went in the water (I forgot my gear). As I was on the sand, I saw two raccoons.

Heart-shaped rock on beach
Heart-shaped rock on beach

Manuel Antonio beach
Manuel Antonio beach

Espadilla beach, Manuel Antonio
Espadilla beach, Manuel Antonio

Espadilla beach, Manuel Antonio
Espadilla beach, Manuel Antonio

Racoons
Racoons

The park closed at 4 p.m. It was still raining. We rewarded ourselves with drinks and a late lunch of snacks. I chose a mango rita, the most delicious cocktail I ever tasted.

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