There really is so much to do around Manuel Antonio, it is difficult to decide what to fit into a week! We chose horseriding in the hills today and it was great value! Collected at 7.30 am, we were transported to a family owned farm just outside Londres for breakfast and then onto Costa Rican saddles! I have never ridden Western-style before and actually, it is a long time since I have ridden at all but once in the saddle and excited nerves settling, I felt that I had never been away! (Health and Safety note: crash hats are available). We rode along quiet lanes to a waterfall and even had a stop to taste termites. I am not keen on eating food still living so I politely declined but others said that they tasted minty.
The pools at the waterfall were small and were better for dipping than swimming but it was a nice way to break up the ride. The river was very low, as April is at the end of the dry season. Grade 5 white water was down to a 3.
The riding was gentle, a bit of trotting with a lot of walking but my grinning was verging on insanity. I was a very, very happy girl! Back for lunch with the family and the cheapest beer at $1 for an imperial, not that I did. Costa Rica isn’t the cheapest destination in the world but it was good to see that some things could be.
We stopped off in Quepos on the way back as we wanted to get our bus tickets for the San Jose bus and we were advised to buy in advance. The bus depot is easy to find and tickets easy to book at the office. A Tracopa bus goes from Manuel Antonio to San Jose and costs only 4500 colones. Remember to ask for a ‘directo’ or you will end up stopping a lot. After this, back on the local bus to Manuel Antonio which is a 15 minute ride for 305 colones. I love local public transport as you get to be part of the locals and it is always entertaining. Something not to miss.
The 7.30 riding pick up was a late one….followed the next day by a 6 am start so up early for kayaking in the mangroves. Small problem; my partner forgot his wallet and couldn’t pay but the guide was vague but ok about this and we paid on return to the hotel, for a tip. Tips aren’t the norm in Costa Rica, it seems, so we were surprised when the guide suggested it would be appropriate. The norm in the US, but it feels odd to a Brit!
We took out a double kayak through the narrow waterways which were difficult to negotiate at times, traversing with our hands rather than paddles but it was all quite magical. White faced monkeys tumbled through the tree tops; “mind your cameras and bags,” we were warned. The tour was with safari adventures and I would recommend them, as the actual mangrove kayaking was brilliant and the guide informative. I felt, however, that the organisation needed a little tailoring. There was uncertainty in the group about who was going where and doing what and everyone who asked anything got a ‘no worries’ reply which didn’t help.