Sloths (and Monkeys too)

I am going to try to write this entry now for the second time.

Yesterday we went to the Manuel Antonio National Park, we had to get up really early and meet our driver at 7:30 in the morning to bring us down there. We were very excited about our first excursion in Costa Rican and looking forward to seeing all of the animals that inhabit the area. Once our driver got us down to the park we met our guide for the morning, Ricardo. It turned out that booking the smaller private tour was the best investment.

Ricardo started out by walking down the path and setting up his scope pointing at a tree. Both Greg and I were confused because all we saw was a tree, we had no idea that the branch that was jutting out from the tree was actually a rare and beautiful bird. This is when we realized that we were going to have a great tour and see tons of animals. As we walked into the part Ricardo explained the path we were going to take and then asked us if there was anything we really wanted to see. Greg of course has been looking forward to seeing sloths and monkeys so he let Ricardo know. Ricardo said that he would do his best but that yesterday there were no sloths spotted in the area.

We walk with Ricardo and he talks about primary and secondary forests and the plant and wildlife of the area. He stops at irregular intervals and sets up his scope and spots things that we would have never seen with out his expertise. Over there was a crab, on that tree was an iguana, over there another bird. He talks to the animals too, he stops and hears a Tucan, he replies back to the Tucan, it calls back. He is trying to lure it out of the trees so that we can see it, but as he does this people begin to gather around us. I resist the temptation to shoo them away but soon Ricardo finds it hard to resist that same temptation. Unfortunately, because of all the extra noise in the area the Tucan retreats and that is one of Ricardo’s only failed attempts at getting the nature to obey him.

As we continue walking about twenty minutes in Ricardo spots something in the trees, he stops and sets up his scope, he admits that he had a good feeling and as Greg peers through the scope he sees on of the 8 sloths that we will eventually see on the tour. They really are quite cute although I assume that the claws would hurt you if you got too close. After taking some amazing pictures we continue. There is an iguana, some creepy looking bugs on the tree (I admit I forgot the name) and then he hears in the woods a howler monkey, again he makes an attempt to talk to the animals to lure them out but he is not successful again because of the extra people who begin to surround us. We do spot the trees swinging and hear the loud bellow of the howler monkey as he retreats.

But have no fear, we did get to see an entire group of white faced monkeys a little bit further down the trail, first there was just one and then there were twenty white faced monkeys climbing the trees and all around. It really was a surreal sight, we were truly one with nature as the monkeys didn’t even care we were there. They continued looking for food and climbing as if there wasn’t a group of 30 people in their space.

As we continue down the path you can hear the ocean, and then you can see the beach. As we turn the corner Ricardo points and we see a beautiful deer on the beach, he is walking among the people and then he walks up to a three year old girl and licks her hand. It is the second surreal sight in as many minutes and it is only disrupted by the mothers screams as she notices her daughter being licked by a deer.

We take a quick break and then continue onto the tour. We see tons more animals including the Jesus Christ lizard that can run on water. I am shocked at what we see and how little I would have seen if we didn’t have the best guide in the world.

It really made us both realize that nature surrounds us and if we don’t pay attention we will miss the beauty of everyday.

I am posting pictures on the travel blog because I am having trouble posting them on here.

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