Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica [The Americas – #chronicles 2022]

Manuel Antonio…. The place where I started to really relax. And the place where I changed half my plans about the next few months. It was a beautiful adventure. I was only supposed to stay for 3 days and ended up staying for 7.

I met incredible people, saw sloths up close, a ridiculous amount of animals, baby turtles being released into the sea and was able to try surfing again. It also allowed me to get some headspace and rethink my travel plans.

In Manuel Antonio I stayed at Planet B hostel which was an absolute dream of a hostel. They had foster puppies, a chicken, activities ran by volunteers, free breakfast and a really good vibe created by all the guests staying there.

The initial idea was to stay for 3 nights and then go to Santa Teresa and up that coast… but everything I wanted to do in that coast I could do in Manuel Antonio, so I decided to avoid countless hours of rough travelling cross country and just stay put.

On the first day I immediately had to take my clothes to a local “lavanderia” (the hostel was not offering laundry service anymore but they try to support locals by asking the guests to use local services). It was really hot and humid and I was in a very bad mood after getting lost twice! Walking around in extreme humidity and heat, up and down hills is no joke.

As I’m complaining to myself (being the privileged little white woman that I am), I suddenly notice something on the side of the street… something greyish… moving very slowly. It was a sloth!!!! On the floor.!!! Right there. I couldn’t believe it. One of my dreams was to see a sloth up close and there it was. I’ll never complain about doing the laundry again! Lol

On my second day I went to Manuel Antonio National Park with Alex, a local guide who helped me identify and find loads of animals; Monkeys, sloths, lizards, spiders, iguanas, different birds… we saw it all! Thank you Alex!!

Following that, we had a couple of really bad rainy days which allowed me to rethink my plans for the next few months (not sharing what they are until it’s booked).

One of the nights we went to a local bar where they were having Karaoke and let me tell you… Karaoke in Costa Rica is a whole different experience! I loved it!

Having left Manuel Antonio, there’s a few special people I want to say thank you to: Dolina, Lies and Wihan.

Dolina for the hours and hours of chit chat and for being just like me when it comes to organising cupboards (lol). I don’t know what the future holds for you but somehow I know it will be good. It will be more than good, it will be fantastic. Seeing the way you care for others and always give 100% to whatever you do gives me this feeling that whatever happens you will be ok.

To Lies, for showing me (again), why I want to continue to work with young people. I will really miss your energy, enthusiasm and cheeky sassiness. If you ever read this, I hope you know that you are one of the most promising young girls I’ve ever met. You have within you such a pure combination for youthfulness, courage and trustwortiness that is very rare to find. Follow all those dreams of yours, continue to move forward and keep looking for all those things you want to do. They’re all possible, and if someone can do it, that someone is you. Thank you for the surf lessons, thank you for the chats, thank you for the time.

To Wihan, for being my company during that early morning meeting, and for showing an honest interest in everything I told you about my work and my volunteering adventures. Your ‘groundedness’ is such a calming trait, and I was very lucky to experience it first hand. Thank you.

Published by Mariana Vieira da Rocha

"I think it's perfectly acceptable and rather admirable to be moderately delusional"

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