September 2017

AdventureCultureScenery

Costa Rica Wild Life

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Known for it’s diversity in Wild Life, Costa Rica did not disappoint on our latest trip there.  We were lucky enough to see all three types of Monkeys that live in the national park, Manuel Antonio, and thanks to our guide, much much more.

Manuel Antonio National Park

We nearly missed getting to visit this amazing park but since Hurricane Irma pushed back our return trip we got a couple of extra days in CR.  The first thing you need to be wary of is that the locals will be very much in your face while trying to get to this park.  There are many places to park if you have a vehicle, most of which are just local pieces of land that someone is trying to charge you for.  Near the park entrance there are a few open spot, but they may be hard to find.  Make sure you get as close as you can though because it could be a long walk just to the entrance.

Park Fees

Bring cash to purchase your tickets.  You can use a credit card or debit card, but expect to pay up to $10 in fees as a result.  They may also ask for your passport, so make sure to bring that as well.  Don’t fall for one of the locals trying to sell you their ticket.  Often, the park has free days for locals, otherwise locals get tickets highly discounted.  They won’t let a foreigner in with a local pass.

Park Guides

The guides are everywhere.  You’ll know who they are, because they all have telescopes with them.  The closer you get to the park, the cheaper they get.  For us, during rainy season, they were very much ready to negotiate as well.  We decided to try out the park on our own and quickly realized we were going to miss most everything that way.  We saw other groups of people looking at creatures we couldn’t even see with our naked eye.  Fortunately, one of the guides was on his way out of the park and eager to find more people to show around.  After a few minutes, we negotiated a very reasonable rate and he showed up things we would have just walked by.

So what about the animals?

Just a few of the animals we saw and were able to capture on film include, White Faced Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Sea Snake, Rainbow Cricket, Sloth, Racoon, Iguanas, Cutter Ants and so many more.  If you have any questions about any of these species, please leave a comment below.


Everywhere else?

Costa Rica is mainly a rain forest, so you don’t have to go to a park to see the local wildlife.  Much of what we saw in Manuel Antonio, we saw from our hotel room, on hikes, or just driving down the street.  The Scarlet Macaw were everywhere, always seen in pairs or threesomes.  White-faced monkeys were often spotted as well.  Also, while driving from San Juan you can stop at crocodile bridge and see dozens of crocs.  That alone made us shy to doing any type of river tour.

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Costa Rica in the Rainy Season?

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After booking our trip to Costa Rica, we quickly realized we had booked it during the wrong time of the year.  Apparently, we were going there right in the middle of rainy season.  This was going to be a horrible trip, but everything was booked and all we could do make the most of it.  As it turned out, this was probably one of the best times for us to visit and provided us with everything we wanted in the trip.

Costa Rica is known to have a very wet rainy season that spans from May to mid-November.  It is quite common for it to rain for days during this time of year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will rain all day long.  Here are some of the benefits we found to going to Costa Rica during the rainy season.

Privacy

Just the phrase, “Rainy Season” is enough to scare most tourists away.  Hotels are often empty or near empty.  Our trip left us alone in our resort with no one to bother us.  This isn’t true for all places, but you can be assured that even the more popular resorts and hotels won’t be fully booked.  If you’re looking for a romantic getaway then this is a great time to visit during the rainy season.  We have never experienced such relaxation on a vacation before.  This is one trip that didn’t require another vacation when we got home to de-stress.

Discounts Galore

The lack of tourists mean lots of discounts.  Hotels and resort are often 50% cheaper, or more.  Staying at a five star resort like Zephyr Palace, wouldn’t have been an option for us during Costa Rica’s “summer” (Nov-Apr).  We were also able to rent a 4×4 vehicle for only $5/day (plus the required insurance).  While shopping, vendors were also more inclined to negotiate their prices due to the lack of customers.

The Rain!

Believe it or not, the rain is actually an advantage.  Costa Rica is a beautiful country, but without rain, the trees and plants start to die like anywhere else.  Being so close to the equator, summer weather in CR is hot, very hot.  This also causes some of the touristy attractions such as rivers and waterfalls to dry up.  Hiking to waterfalls is always a fun adventure that we love to do, so I’m happy to report that viewing any of the many waterfalls in CR during rainy season is a definite must.


So how did the weather actually fare in mid-September?  It rained nearly every day we were there, with the exception of a couple of days, but the rain didn’t start till the afternoon.  It was dark around 5:30, with rain starting anywhere from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  Sometimes it only rained for a couple of hours and a couple of times it rained through the night.  As a result, we went to bed earlier than normal, for us, and were usually ready to tackle the day by 6:00 AM, which is extremely unusual for us.  The beaches were amazing in the morning and the sun was in full power.  Unfortunately, we never got to see the sun actually set on the horizon.  We got close, but in the last 15 minutes every day, the sun went behind clouds prior to making it to the horizon.

Overall, don’t let “rainy season” deter you from visiting Costa Rica.  We will not hesitate to go back the same time of year any time.