|Playa Manuel Antonio|
Nico, Monica and I left the car at the entrance to the park, hemmed and hawed about hiring a guide - in the end deciding not to. Most of the trails are closed for maintenance, so the main path, which leads to the most popular beach was fairly peopled. Still, we saw sloths and fiery-billed aracari, and a golden naped woodpecker on a leafless tree. There was a turtle beneath a culvert - one of the few remaining pools of fresh water in this dry season. A troop of howler monkeys moved noisily overhead. Blue morpho butterflies fluttered down the path. Passing conversations were in Spanish, German, Russian, English and others.
When we'd had enough, the rest left me to go to the municipal beach where there would be food and beer and musicians. I opted to walk the trail out onto Cathedral point instead. I took it slowly, watching for birds, though it was the middle of the day and everything was on siesta. But the views were magnificent - waves over rocky islands and frigate birds riding the wind. I saw a couple of agoutis - like slender capybara quietly going about their business. And a pair of beautiful hawks cruising among the vultures. A small deer walked past me on the path, sniffing at me suspiciously.