It was such a tease to be by the Pacific Ocean for a full day and two nights and not be able to go to it until Sunday. It was a pretty long walk to the beach, since we were at the edge of a cliff and all, and we had to go through the rainforest to get there, so we didn’t attempt to do it Saturday since we were so busy. It was definitely different from Puerto Viejo, where we just ran across the little street and we were on the beach. I woke up at 8:45 Sunday and was determined to spend all day at the beach. We ate breakfast at the same restaurant – French toast, fruit and orange juice, looking out over the ocean, and it was amazing.
We had to check out of our room first, but somehow, the three of us managed to lose our room key. We thought maybe the boys took it, but they didn’t, and we tore apart our room and luggage looking for the key and never found it. How on earth we managed to lose our key when we used it to get into the room the night before, I have no idea. They didn’t charge it for us, though, and so we checked out, grabbed straw mats and headed for the beach.
It was maybe a 15 minute walk, but we saw a few iguanas and an animal that I have no idea what it is, but it looked kind of like a hairless cat with a long snout. The signs in Manuel Antonio were so amusing – it reminded us we were still in the rainforest.
The beach was disappointingly touristy. They had a bunch of lounge chairs that were rented out to tourists and there was a street market next to the beach that was obviously a tourist trap. Vendors kept walking by us on the beach and asking if we wanted drinks, but the drinks were all insanely expensive, as can be expected. We laid out our mats semi-away from all the tourist stuff and I went in the ocean.
I’ve never been to the Pacific, and it was pretty different than any beach I’ve ever been to. It reminded me much more of Cape Cod than the Puerto Viejo beach did. The Manuel Antonio beach was really rocky and the surf was pretty rough, but it was just much more wild than the Caribbean side. Besides the obvious fact that there was a rainforest right next to the ocean, the water was a little colder and the rip currents were much more intense. I only went out to maybe my waist but the waves were already burying me and the rip tide was coming from multiple directions. It would have been a sweet place for surfing, and a lot of people had their boards, but none of the guys took surf lessons this time.
It was really cloudy and not very warm (for Costa Rica, anyway) so I decided not to put on a lot of sunscreen. I knew it was stupid at the time, but now I know it was incredibly stupid – my whole body is bright red. Awesome. I didn’t really lay out all that much, though – I was in the ocean and walking around for a lot of the time. We walked down to the entrance to the Manuel Antonio National Park. It was 10 dollars to get into the park and go to the four beaches inside it, but we chose to go to the public beach right outside the actual park. I’m guessing the park beaches were a little prettier and much less touristy, but I was content with just beach and ocean. It was a lot less touristy near the entrance to the park, and I saw a guy selling coconuts and wanted one. They were awesome.
He had a machete and used it to cut the tops off the coconuts and then inserted a straw into the hole. It was only a dollar – 500 colones – so I bought one and drank coconut milk while walking on the beach. I had never tasted it before, not straight out of a coconut. It was really refreshing and not at all what I was expecting. It didn’t taste like coconut at all. it was more like water that was slightly tangy and had a little bit of a bite. After I was done, we played catch with the coconut in the water – since it was hollow, it floated. It was just a completely relaxing afternoon, exactly what I wanted.
Elise, Janelle and I had set our mats down with the boys, and they decided to take a walk down the beach. They still weren’t back over 2 hours later, and we needed to go back to the hotel and get all our stuff and shower before the bus took us home. We didn’t know what to do, so we waited there, walked down the beach two separate times looking for them, and finally took all their valuables with us. I wrote a note in the sand that just said, “We have your stuff, see you at the hotel.” We were a little peeved they didn’t come back since we wanted to check out the street market but couldn’t do anything while we had to watch all their stuff, and we didn’t end up being able to shop after all since the boys just decided to disappear.
But I mean, we got to spend a full day at the beach, which was absolutely amazing. We had one last meal at the hotel restaurant and headed home, and that was our weekend. We came back to the house, ordered Pizza Hut again (we’re living on Pizza Hut, oddly enough, whenever the cafeteria isn’t open) and just chilled out last night. The boys came over again and were reading Cosmo, and we had another bat in the house (I think it might have been the same one, it was in the exact same place) but it was a really low-key night.
We had one class today, this morning, and then a company visit to Baxter. It was in Cartago, which was like two hours away, so once again we spent most of our day on the bus. The visit was all right. We got to see the factory where they make IVs and other medical equipment, and the whole place smelled like a hospital.
We’re going whitewater rafting tomorrow. We’ll have a lot of free time this week, so a few of us were maybe thinking about going bungee jumping Wednesday, but I also want to go into the city and shop, so I’ll have to see how much time I have. I can’t believe it’s my last week here!