Not really!. Let’s talk a little about the tour to give you a better idea.
The tour starts early in the morning, departing from los Sueños. We usually take an ice box with sodas, fruit juice and water bottles. The tour guide we choose for this particular experience is a nature expert. It must be, as this, primarily, is a tropical rainforest tour.
We drive all the way to the region of Quepos (About an hour and a half from Los Sueños) and already in the area, we go straight to the National Park where we stop for restrooms. Sometimes it happens that there is a line to get in and there is a bit of waiting time there.
Manuel Antonio is the smallest National Park in Costa Rica, and as an interesting coincidence the most visited. And there are reasons for it! It is simply beautiful, with great rainforests, amazing views, very visible wildlife, white sanded beaches with warm and calmed ocean waters and, clean restrooms, changing rooms and showers.
The tour starts the minute you go across the line into the Park, and sometimes even before, as now and then, at the very entrance, you can see a sloth or the monkeys (There are three species in the area) up on the nearby trees. There is a gravel road that takes you to the very beach, on a twenty minutes’ walk if you don’t stop anywhere. But as participants will be doing this on a tour, most likely they will be stopping to see and learn about all the mighty creatures that live in this eco-system. Tour Guides usually carry powerful binoculars and even, sometimes, telescopes to see everything perfectly. (This walk then turns to be a one to two hours walk). The walk is all flat, although as it is done around 9:00 a.m. and temperature can rise to 90’s in a quite humid environment. (Important for participants to know about this).
The walk takes you to what’s been called the “Third Beach”. This is a white sanded paradise! Water is warm and the surf depicts a lagoon, with regular movements but no real waves. By then, a dip in the ocean seems to be indispensable and well deserved!
However, occasionally participants may decide to stay under the shade, and there are a bunch of picnic tables to do so. And every now and then they don’t even have to walk to see wildlife really close! Monkeys, sloths, coatimundis, agoutis, raccoons, iguanas, boas and other wonders.
Usually the tour guide will give an hour or two to enjoy this part of the tour and then, gather everyone to come back to the bus and go for lunch, which is typically done in one of the restaurants of the area.
It happens, now and then that participants stay around much longer, taking video and/or pictures and the tour takes longer than expected, but usually it will be back in Los Sueños around 4 to 5 pm.
One of the low points that is important to know about this particular National Park is that, as we stated at the beginning, it’s extremely popular and can be a bit crowded at times. And this, is key for winners to know about! As, it may happen that they will have to wait at the entrance or in the bathroom’s areas.
Now… The question remains… Who is this tour for?… Basically there is one solid answer to this question: For nature lovers. Those who don’t mind walking and sweating a bit in order to see and learn about the magnificent rainforest, its correlations and its wildlife.
What to take? Hiking shoes or at least comfortable closed shoes, bathing suit, towel, fresh clothes, sun screen and bug repellent.