22 November 2023 Quepos

In search of a ticket

Link to more images at @Kapikoy100

“Expectations are disappointments waiting to happen.”  

Susan David, PhDEmotional Agility

Why be unhappy about something
If it can be remedied?
And what is the use of being unhappy about something
If it cannot be remedied?

Shantideva – Way of the Bodhisattva

Awake at… 5:55 alarm set for 6:15

I had read that Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is small but very popular so it is best to visit first thing in the morning before the trails get too busy. I got to Quepos bus station at 6:45 am and the bus left at 6:48 am.

As the bus drew closer to it’s destination, I noticed about 20 younger females walking towards the beach. I assume it must be some sort of workshop group, yoga training perhaps. Otherwise, these are serious sun worshipers.

Exactly 20-minutes after boarding the bus, it arrived in the small town of Manuel Antonio at the southern end of Espadilla Beach where the bus turns around to go back to Quepos town. 

From here you can turn right to access the public beach or turn left onto a wide path that leads to the entrance of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. You know that you are on the right path because it is lined with stalls selling ‘tat’ which is normally defined as cheap, tasteless stuff… but this ‘tat’ is expensive.

On arrival at the entrance to the park there is a security check where you must hand over any foodstuffs and single-use plastics including water bottles. These are not allowed in the park. I had packed a banana and packet of savoury biscuits which I thought I would eat at midmorning. Now I had a choice, I could put it all in the waste bin and enter the park now, or sit and eat my makeshift snack before getting going. I chose to eat my food now washed down with water from a reusable flask. While I was eating scores of visitors arrived in groups and as individuals, some with a guide in tow with monoculars to help spot the animals in the trees. It is busy already and it’s not yet 7:30 am!

I finished my food and put the waste in the bin before approaching the ticket booth. Once there I was asked for my ticket… shouldn’t this be the other way around? It transpires that you cannot buy tickets at the park they must be purchased online in advance, sometimes days or weeks in advance depending upon the time of year. 

Book in advance!!! No one told me… my guidebook didn’t mention it, nor did the articles that I had read online. Oh, well you can’t argue with reality.

I walked back to Playa Espadilla to have a paddle in the sea as I don’t have anything else planned for today.

At the southern end of the 1 km beach, there is a creek that runs into the sea. Strategically placed nearby are signs warning of crocodiles. Nearby where the beach meets the road there is a large sign warning of riptides in the area, and there are seeming ever present Tsunami evacuation signs!

I had worn a shirt with long trousers, socks and shoes to visit Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, as protection against mosquito bites in the shady forest. But in my backpack I had shorts and flipflops. I was already wearing the cheap red ‘budgee smugglers’ that I had bought in Brazil, so it was very easy for me just to strip off on the beach.

Espadilla Beach, or Playa Espadilla Beach, had been recommended to me by Abi, the owner of the Apartamento Aliga where I am staying. It is popular with tourists and locals alike, and because it is just outside the national park, it is free to use. It is quite an organised place with sunbeds and umbrellas, jet ski hire, paragliding, food & drink kiosks, beach hawkers and the ubiquitous sound of Bob Marley!

I walked with bare feet the entire length of the beach. On my travels I passed the large group of females that I had spotted earlier from the bus. It wasn’t much past 8 am and they seemed to bepartaking in early morning ‘meditation’. All the women were silently sitting or laying individually in the shade or on the sand or in the shallow waves. Each to their own.

When I had had enough sand and sun, I headed  back down the beach to the bus stop. I put some clothes back on and sat on a rock waiting. Then I noticed my feet were covered with Fire Ants, so I had to gently brush them off and stand a little further away until the bus to Quepos arrived.

Back in town I bought some savoury and sweet pastries from the bakery for lunch and spent the afternoon busy with some computer work. However, the first job accomplished on my laptop was to book an entrance ticket to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio for 7 am in eight day’s time.

In the evening, I treated myself to dinner at Restaurante La Cuchara de la Rana just around the corner. The food was well presented and tasty, including a homemade fiery hot sauce.

Afterwards, I visited the supermarket for soda, ground coffee and some ice cream.

A long day comes to and end.

Good night.

Budget costs:

  • Bus to/fromParque Nacional Manuel Antonio € 1 
  • Pastries € 3
  • Dinner € 16
  • Supermarket soda, ground coffee, ice-cream € 9
  • Apartamento Aliga 2 booked through Booking.com € 47 self catering.

Link to more images at @Kapikoy100

Links for reference and further reading: 

In Search of… something