The beautiful micro climates of Costa Rica and the amazing variety of plants, flowers and animals they produce, are something to truly treasure and enjoy.
Around a quarter of this country is protected national forests, preserving the diverse wildlife and plant species of this vibrant and distinct ecosystem.
Manuel Antonio National Park, the smallest of the national parks, brings this diversity to all visitors within it’s 3 square mile radius. With around 109 different species of mammals and over 180 different species of birds, it lives up to being the most diverse park on our Costa Rican vacation. Located on the southern pacific side of the country, you’re immediately enthralled with the lush, dense and steamy rain forests. I have vibrant pictures of Scarlet Macaws perched on tree limbs. Our group could not stop taking pictures of the sloth we came across, eating leaves. This park is a home to the Sloth Institute. Staff members are eager to educate the public about this unique animal. Here, they are also responsible for taking in orphaned sloths and nurturing them until it is time for the sloth to be released back into the wild. At one time during the hike I was severely screeched at by a White-headed Capuchin when our group neared his perch. He kept fervently popping in and out of dense tree leaves, curiously calling out to us. I was completely awe-struck at the marvel of these rain forest animals. Secondly, the many varieties of orchids here have beautiful blooms to view everywhere you look. One of my favorites is the Angel Orchid, beautiful to see in spring.
Close to the city of Quepos lies one of the most alluring beaches I have ever set foot on. Our experience wasn’t complete without snorkeling the ocean surrounding Playa Manual Antonio. This is a park beach and was something every group or individual should enjoy as well. Towards the end of the beach lies an outcropping of rocks where our guide said the best snorkeling could be had. A wide away of tropical fish are viewed while snorkeling through colorful coral. I remember watching a manta ray effortlessly scoot out of a sunken shipwreck located in the cove amongst the volcanic rocks on the ocean floor. Schools of sturgeon fish sped past my eyes, changed direction in unison, but not before I caught glances of rainbow wrasse shoot out over the coral. I was told the best snorkeling is in the dry season, December thru March. This is because less sediment is churned up in the oceans after heavy rains, allowing for the best visibility underwater.
You simply cannot see everything this nation has to offer in a short period of time, but you can appreciate frequent glimpses of tropical animals and plants throughout your time here. Pura Vida!
Article by Phyll Chatham ( our guest – tourist )
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