Saturday, March 20, 2010

Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Currency: Colones $1.00 US = $530 Colones - US $'s accepted almost everywhere

Cost of Bus San Jose To Quepos (Collectivo) - $3550.00 Colones 5 1/2 hours
Cost of Bus San Jose To Quepos (Direct) $3750.00 Colones (Was sold out) 3 hours
Catch the bus at the Coca Cola Depot; $20.00 US cab ride from the airport (cabs take US $) 1 hour (depending on traffic)

Bus from Quepos to Manuel Antonio: $400 Colones 15 minutes - leaves from the same bus depot you get dropped off at Bus runs every 1/2 hour between 6am-11pm

All restaurants in Cost Rica add a 25% tax to your bill. No way to avoid it unless you eat at the road side stands

So I left Vancouver at 2:00pm on the 4th, landed in Newark New York at 11:30 where I had a layover until 7:30 am when my flight to San Jose Costa Rica was leaving. Unfortunately you can't stay in the secure area of the airport and you have to retrieve your bags and keep them with you until check in 3 hours before your flight. So it was me and New York's homeless hanging out at the airport.. No sleep for me. The flight to San Jose is 5 hours so I figure I can grab some sleep. This was not to be, turns out it was spring break so a ton of 18 & 19 year old's partying and a crying baby across the aisle from me.. Settled for watching the movie Precious, good movie but depressing. Am now at 20 hours of no sleep.

Decided to head straight to Manuel Antonio rather than spend the night in San Jose. I like San Jose (See previous trip post) but I didn't see the point in paying for a night just to sleep and get up and go again. So $20 US for a cab to the coca cola depot. You go into a small door in the market and around the corner to the ticket booth. The direct bus was sold out so I had to get a ticket for the 2pm collectivo (code for stops anywhere and everywhere along the road) so instead of a 3 hour ride I got the 5 1/2 hour one. Now at about 24 hours of no sleep (with time changes I lost track) but feeling pretty much like a big sack of shit at this point. Sleeping on buses is rarely a good idea unless you are with someone. I did meet a nice Canadian from Toronto who I was sitting beside but I was on the Aisle so again no sleep.. If I have to put my big pack under the bus I always wait until they have shoved it in (they give you a ticket for it) before I get on the bus. I never use the overhead bins on buses and keep my small pack by my feet. Better safe than sorry and in this case it worked for me, one of the German girls behind me (there was a pack of 10 of them) put her pack in the overhead and it was gone when we got to Quepos.

Got into Quepos at 7ish and the bus for Manuel Antonio was just pulling in. After the driver took a 15 minute break we were off. I was heading for Vista Serena Hostel which is 1/2 way between Quepos and Manuel Antonio. There are 3 other hostels within a block so I figured it was my best bet, 1 of them should have a bunk even with spring break. Turns out they had just 1 left, the expensive one $15.00 US (they take US $) for a 4 person with air conditioning. They also have 13 person dorms (no air) for $10.00 US. Sleep was good, got in a solid 12 hours even the spring breakers could not keep me awake, ah to be 18/19 again.. Okay maybe not, even then I didn't have anything in common with these folks. Nice enough but can't relate to mommy & daddy picking up the tab for everything or the bing drinking. Whoooo Hoooooo naked party :-)

The hostel was great, the people that run it are very helpful and organize tours based on what the folks in the hostel want to do. There is a grocery store just up the road (walking distance) as well as a pharmacy. It is only a 8 minute bus ride to the beach at Manuel Antonio or 8 minutes into Quepos if you want to go to the clubs. Cabs are cheap to get back a couple of bucks will get you home.

I have been to Manuel Antonio before so I didn't do any of the tourist stuff but last trip I did the zip line tour and some exploring in the park. There is lots to do and it is a beautiful area. This trip I was happy to walk on the beach and sleep in a hammock. I spent 3 days of doing nothing before heading out to my next destination, a little surf town 44km down the road called Dominical. I was working my way to Panama City and I have never gone down the Pacific side (done the Caribbean, see previous trip post) and I had heard that it was a nice place with a chill vibe (look at me talking all surfer speak) so I wanted to check it out and spend a few days hurting myself.

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