Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio Park Experience

2015 Student Field Reporter Project:  EcoTeach has enlisted the help of several students to share their 2015 Costa Rica experiences with us. Over the coming months we will regularly feature their posts, photos, and reflections – letting them tell their amazing stories of Costa Rica and it’s impact on their lives!  

Reporter:  Alice, Eckstein Middle School

Gravel crunches beneath my sneakered feet as I walk to the trailhead of one of Manuel Antonio National Park’s many nature walks.  It is early in the morning – about nine – but I am already sweating.  The level of humidity is almost unbearable and it is crazy hot.  As we wait in line for our tickets, we scramble to find shade; shielding us from the sun but not doing much for the humidity.  Soon we are off – we mosey down a wide gravel trail, our guides pointing out different wildlife living in the dense brush on either side of the trail.  We see a hummingbird, a big spider, a few lizards, three monkeybats sleeping up in a tree, and many termite nests.  Later, we veer off the main path so we can explore the “Sloth Trail.”  This walk is across a wooden bridge, surrounded on all sides by dense, green, rain forest.  Here, we find many land crabs (bright red and blue crabs that scuttle around on the ground) and a mama three-toed sloth and her baby.  We also see many white faced and howler monkeys.

The beach where we swam and ate lunch.

The beach where we swam and ate lunch.

We stop for lunch at a small and quiet, beautiful beach and swim in the warm ocean water.  Everyone screams after every wave, getting carried along with it.  About an hour later, a group of eight of us depart on an extra hike to see two viewpoints.  This is my favorite part of the day.  The hike is short, but is up many flights of steep stairs.  Looking out at the view, everything looks so quiet and calm.  The blue water seems to stretch on forever, and there are no boats or clutter along the horizon.  Both the views are truly amazing.  There are large rock islands and the coast is scattered with palm trees and gorgeous rain forest.  On our way back, we skip a flight of stairs by swinging past it on a vine hanging out of one of the surrounding trees.  While leaving the park, we see more white faced monkeys, iguanas, a baby sloth climbing up a vine, and a deer.  Going to Manuel Antonio National Park with my EcoTeach group was so fun, and I learned a lot about the local wildlife and environment in Costa Rica.