A local Costa Rican called New York City the concrete jungle! What a descriptive way to describe a place that is so different from this small Central American country. And yet despite their differences, they both really do have their own unique jungles!
The image today is another hand-held shot at ISO 800 where I have been experimenting with the limits of my camera. I know many photography gurus say equipment doesn’t matter, but when it comes to shooting in low light, I beg to differ! This shot on my old camera would have been impossible without use of a tripod. I have no doubt in a few years most cameras will likely have some infared function that allows them to shoot in the dark.
COSTA RICA DAY 7: MANUEL ANTONIO PARK
Most tourists that visit Costa Rica make a stop at Manuel Antonio Park, rated among the top 12 most beautiful national parks in the world by Forbes Magazine. We decided to dedicate the entire day to checking out this oasis that many locals said was brimming with animals. Our initial walk into the park was disappointing, mainly because it was a gravel road crowded with tourists and very few animals. There were some sightings of monkeys and a sloth, but they were hard to see. It also did not help that the heat and humidty were stifling. Within minutes of walking our clothes were drenched! Once we reached the end of the road where the trails really started, things started to improve.
We headed west down a nice path to a beautiful overlook of Playa Puerto Escondido. Along the way a group of white-headed Capuchins (monkey) greeted us by dropping sticks and leaves from the trees above. We didn’t mind when they came close enough to capture some great shots! There were a few lizards, a nice size iguana, and a few birds as well, but the monkeys were definitely the highlight. We then ventured down a short path to Playa Gemelas beach where I quickly stripped to my shorts and headed into the ocean for a dip. While the water was warm, it offered a nice reprieve from the humidity and heat. We also met a nice woman from Canada who had extensively traveled the world and hung with us for awhile. I asked her of all the places she has been, what topped her list? Iceland she replied, handsdown.
We then headed east to explore the other half of the park. It was more tropical with less visible wildlife. We saw a few agouti and coati, and a few small lizards and iguanas. But that was about it. The main attraction was a few lookout points of the ocean, and the ability to end our day on Playa Espadilla Sur beach before sunset. The beach is located inside the park which closes at 4:30, but some nice tourists from Belgium said there was a trail that provided an alternative “after-hours” exit to the park. So we set up tripods and shot away as the sun made its way over the horizon, rewarding us with a colorful sky. That was until a local came by to say that once the tide comes in, the only way to exit the park is by boat. Whoops!
No worries, we found the trail and made our way to the public beach for a few final shots. At this point it was after 5pm and we were dehyrated and hungry. We walked into town, got some cold drinks, munched on some nachos, and then grabbed a taxi back to our hotel. All in all it was a solid day of picture taking, but our mutual rating of the park was a “B” – not quite in the top 12 in our opinion.