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Trip Report--MA July 24-August 2. Really long!!

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Trip Report--MA July 24-August 2. Really long!!

Just got back from MA on Tuesday night with my wife and 11 and 15 yo daughters and will try to work on this TR today and tomorrow between work items. But I wanted to post asap because 1) I will remember more and 2) I wanted to help all my friends on TA who have helped me so many times before. So here goes...

Arrival/Day 1--We left home in Louisville early Sunday morning for 7:20 am flight to Atlanta, short layover there and on the 9:51 Delta to SJO, arriving 11:55 am. Flights were on time, and painless. We had already booked into Los Altos, which happened kind of unintentionally but was a fortunate, serendipitous turn of events. After asking in the TA forums, I had tried to get us into Tulemar Bungelows but they were booked. Tulemar Dave, however, offered up Los Altos instead, and once I started to look into it, I was sold. Basically this came down to a matter of practicality--for the same (top end) price, I could book a room at a resort like Parador, Si Como No, Arenas Del Mar, etc and have all 4 of us in basically one room (and mutual complaining about snoring, clothes thrown everywhere, bathroom clutter, etc.) or get a 3 bedroom, spacious luxury apartment in a great location with a nice restaurant (Karola's), decent pool, private beach with rainforest trail to it, etc. A no-brainer for me...and when we walked in for the first time, I knew what we were getting but the gasps of delight from my wife and kids just confirmed it for me!

We had also arranged for transportation through Road Advisor and he and his wife were just a delight to work with, and were there promptly when we got through customs waiting for us. We then had a great drive down talking with them, learning more about the country and MA, and of course a stop at the Tarcoles bridge to see the impressive crocs below. Never had a 2 1/2 hour drive go by so fast (though my wife subsequently told me I talked too much through it!). We also enjoyed some fresh coconut milk (they hacked the coconuts open in front of us--that's fresh!) along the way. After we arrived at Los Altos, having our first chance to meet Jonder and the rest of the attentive staff including the wonderfully nice Cesar who manned the gatehouse (and who always cheerfully pointed out the perezosos and congos--sloths and howler monkeys--that often hung around the entrance and restaurant area). These were very friendly and helpful people, so typical of the wonderful nice Ticos we met everywhere during our trip, all of whom seemed genuinely glad to see us visiting.

A quick refreshing dip in the pool after unpacking, and off for dinner at Agua Azul just up the road. A nice meal, good shrimp and ridiculously big "big a-s" burgers, and first taste of a cold Imperial...off and running! Back to the apartment (can't be called a room at Los Altos!) for a good night sleep (and generally reliable wifi).

Day 2--Since it was Monday, and the park was closed, and we had already decided to do an activity day/off day routine for our trip, we took advantage of this as our first off day. We booked a morning tour to the park for Tuesday through the front desk. They use Priss Tours at Los Altos. I had read much in the weeks leading up to the trip on the forum about which tour companies and individual guides are the best, but I had also read that it makes sense to go with the operators that your hotel uses since they have a vested interest in making you happy, so that is what we did (for the most part). I will comment on each operator as I get to the activity descriptions...

We enjoyed our first free breakfast down at Karola's...I had the gallo pinto and scrambled eggs pretty much everyday, with fresh fruit (pineapple, melon, papaya, sometimes apple) and great coffee. My wife and older daughter also got the banana bread several mornings, but 11 yo had to have the french toast everyday (so not quite a free breakfast, but keep the kids happy and mom and dad are happy too!).

Goofed around the pool/whirlpools for a while--you could sit in the hot tub closest to the edge and watch a procession of leaf cutter ants silhouetted against the ocean, pretty cool--then took a walk down the steep path to the hotel beach (had already been warned about walk back up so arranged for ride back up beforehand with front desk, always easy and willing to help). The walk down really made me realize where I was...thick jungle with exotic looking broad leafed plants, vines, palms, huge stands of bamboo as thick as pvc pipes, bizarre yet beautiful flowers, sensitivity plants everywhere...soo cool. The beach was what I expected and had read--somewhat small (esp. at high tide), rocky, but quite beautiful and very quiet and secluded. After getting the necessary ride back up, we went back and grabbed lunch at Karola's (my wife really liked the Asian beef salad over rice noodles, ordered it like 4 days).

After lunch I decided to walk for a while myself toward the park and beaches, intending to just barely start down the big hill. But once I got going, I just kind of kept going, especially when I started to see the views of the beach and rocky islands off of Playa Espadilla. I ended up walking all the way down to the beach across from Marlin's, and then forced myself to walk back all the way up to the hotel. Of course I could have taken a cab, or the bus, but it was all still so new and novel, I wanted to take it all in and walk back up. It was hot and long, but the pool felt really good when I got back!

Dinner that night at Victoria's. the Italian/pizza restaurant within walking distance of Los Altos, surprisingly good thin crust pizza, we took a bunch back to Los Altos and ate it again the next night. The American owner came up to our table and introduced himself, we must have looked so obviously gringo he couldn't help himself!

Day 3--Wake up for 7:30 pick up for guided MA park tour. It is true that you go to bed early and wake up early in MA, except for a 15 year old! Always a bit grumpy in the morning, but we got it together and made it on the van, along with another two people from Los ALtos and a few from other hotels already in the van. Drive down, wait while guide buys tickets and gathers us up, and in we go. I will say that while the tour guide was knowledgeable and professional, he wasn't the most friendly person, and did not seem to realy enjoy the back and forth banter and questions about his area that so many Ticos obvioulsy do. He wasn't unpleasant by any means, just not exactly what I would call a people person. Also, in general, the park and tours at that time are a bit of a zoo (I cannot imagine what it must be like during high season!). You have a bunch of people trying to crowd around a guide and look through his telescope, and take pictures through it, while lots of other groups try to do the same thing. It ends up being pretty crowded on small trails, and people end up cutting in front of your telescope view or camera view trying to keep up and get through. Just a bit of a scene...and when you can see something, like a sloth, lots of people end up crowding around to see. We ended up seeing this sloth that must have been jacked up on Cafe Britt because he was moving all around the trees and putting on quite a show...they usually don't do that so much (I heard they sleep 20 hours a day). But we did end up seeing crabs, huge grasshoppers, lizards, butterflies, orb spiders, sleeping tree frogs, iguanas and jesus christ lizards, lots of sloths, a far away sleeping howler monkey, and then when we got down to the beach area, a coatimundi and a racoon, which was boldly and methodically going from beach bag to beach bag trying to steal food (nothing like our skittish KY raccoons!). But no active monkeys,,,yet. About two minutes later, there they were--a small pack of whitefaced (capuchin), or carra blanca, monkeys, right down in front of us in some sea grape trees. This was our first of many monkey encounters, and we were hynotized. Our life now complete, we walked along both Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio, noting how beautiful Playa Manuel Antonio in particular was, and then reached the park exit. The tide was up, so you needed to cross the flooded channel to exit, which you can do on foot or there are locals with small rowboats to ferry you across for a small tip. After watching me take two steps in and go up to my hips, my wife and daughters decide to support the local economy. I am already wet, so move up a bit to where it is only thigh deep and wade across. Unbeknowst to me at the time, I had managed to dunk the bottom of my backpack and inadvertantly submerge my Nikon binoculars. But we left the park, and wife and older daughter wanted to go back to hotel and younger daughter and myself decided to come back (which you can do with your admission ticket). We went back to Los Altos together, had lunch and my younger daughter Lilly and myself took the bus back down by the park. We just wanted to go back to beach #3, so the easiest way to do this was to go in through the exit, which we did. We walked the short distance to beach #3 (playa Manuel Antonio) and found a nice spot by a sea grape tree, under which a Tico family was relaxing. My daughter had a great time swimming and looking on the rocks on the right side of the beach for snails and crabs, I swam a bit (while keeping my eye on my stuff) and sunbathed.

After about an hour, I heard some commotion nearby and another group of white faced monkeys appeared, quickly moving into the sea grape tree next to us. This was great, until one of the Tico men decided to give a monkey a piece of fruit, and another monkey came toward him for some and he then made an aggressive move back to the monkey, kind of like a fake start towards it. Then a bit of unpleasant hell broke loose, with the monkeys leaping around and running at people baring their teeth aggressively the whole time. I pulled my daughter away until things calmed down a bit (a German man walked up to me and said "you see what happens when they feed the monkeys"), and they eventually moved off. We had had about enough of the beach anyway, so we packed up our stuff to go, still with this slightly disturbing image in our minds. However, as we were walking off the beach we saw a couple of people looking up in a tree, and we joined them to see what they were looking at. We saw a mother white faced monkey, with a little baby clinging to her back, grooming another monkey lying on the branch in front of her. It was as if God himself had said, "I'm sorry you had to see those people messing with those monkeys, so to make up for it I'm going to show you these beautiful peaceful monkeys with a baby grooming each other." Nice...and then as we were walking back down Playa Espadilla Sur toward the exit, a family looking up in the trees beckoned us over and showed us a group of 5-6 Howler Monkeys swinging and making a general ruckus in the trees just above. So in general my daughter and I left feeling like we saw better views of monkeys by ourselves on the beach afterwards than during our guided morning tour, but the tour was still great for seeing other things like sloths and coatis.

After a nice shower (did I mention Los Altos has these great huge rain-type ceiling showerheads?) and cold Imperial, we re-heated some of the pizza for dinner and I then discovered my binoculars were wet and not working properly...damn, I wish I had been a bit more careful leaving the park. I said I will try to figure something out in morning, since we had another off day.

Day 4--slept in a bit (that would be until about 7:30), messed around on the ipad and checked work emails, and then went with wife and younger daughter to breakfast (love that gallo pinto!). Afterwards, brought binoculars down to the front desk to see if they had any ideas, as I really did not want to be without binoculars. They found a tiny screwdriver and helped me take them apart and dry them off (as mucha s possible in constantly damp rainforest), but they did not seem to be working still and I held out little hope that they would be usable. So I asked them about where I could find another pair to purchase, they said Quepos is the only hope and suggested an optical store there. So, off in a cab to Quepos around noon time to pick some up. I arrived at the store--only glasses, no binoculars. After going to a few more stores and pharmacies looking for a pair, someone suggested a place called Asoproquepos that had diving and fishing equipment. But by this time it is noon, and as I was not told, most stores close between 12 and 1 for lunch. So the store is closed, but I see someone inside and determine through gestures that they do have binoculars. With an hour to kill, I walked around Quepos and eventually went up on the sea wall and looked at some surfers on the beach. Finally, 1:00 came and I went back to the store. They had 2 pair of binoculars, I bought the bigger pair (not as much as I thought they might be, but they were pretty cheap Chinese made). Took the bus back to MA.

We walked to the market (Super Joseth) from the hotel, an easy walk, and bought some beverages, snack food and various items. Gringo food is really expensive in this store, probably should have taken the hint and not bought so much crap.

I then took another walk down the path toward the beach

Dinner at Barba Roja right next door to Los Altos...it had just recently come under new management, so I couldn't really get a solid recommendation on it, but we tried it anyway. It was pretty good, though I had a shrimp dish with beautiful big shrimp in a sauce that were not peeled. I was thinking "what is the deal with this?" I have to basically reach into the sauce, take each shrimp and peel it by hand, getting sauce all over my hands and everywhere. I had never seen cooked, unpeeled shrimp served in a sauce before (until two nights later, more on that) .

Day 5--Activity day, we had booked a ziplining trip the day before to Midworld, the new guys in town with new double line equipment and the renowned "superman" line. For myself and my tow daughters anyway, my wife is petrified of heights and no amount of convincing could get her to agree to zipline. So she gets the day off to herself, and I get a unique bonding experience with the girls. They pick us up at a decent hour, allowing 11 yo and myself to grab breakfast beforehand though of course 15 yo gets as much sleep as she can. About a half hour ride to the remote farm where Midworld is located, passing through the huge African Palm oil plantations around Quepos and also some teak plantations. We arrive, and after some equipment fitting and orientation, into the truck to go up to the top.

Really a beautiful tropical forest, many bromeliads and orchids on the trees, lots of leaf cutter ants and some of the stinging ants that look like a bee (fuzzy with black and yellow markings--more on those later). Not a lot of other wildlife, but I keep joking that if I were an animal, the last place I would want to be would be anywhere near a bunch of screaming, whooping zipliners.

The experience was top notch--great lines and new equipment and platforms, very good and attentive guides, a good photographer along to chronicle--and when we were done, one of the best meals of the trip, a simple grilled chicken with gallo pinto, slaw salad and fried plantains, but boy was it good. And a slushy, frozen ice tea with peach--awesome!

We and a couple of others had chosen to pay the extra $40 apiece (!) to do the superman line, which they do last. So our group got back in the truck and went up to where the superman line starts. For this one, they put you in a full body type harness, and you lie down on a sloped table and they affix the harness to two overhead zip line "slings", so you hang down facing forward. For my daughters, they added these sealed PVC tube weights with what I would assume is sand in them to add weight for faster descent. Apparently this was unnecessary for me...

This was really cool, you fly along headfirst like a straight pencil through this v-shaped slot, and then out over this open forest canopy, all the while going about 50mph. It lasts like a minute, so you can really look around and enjoy it. It is really pricey, but we loved it. We also paid $10 each for the a disk with the photographer's shots of us on it. Some really great pictures, so worth the money IMHO. All in all, Midworld was a ton of fun. I know they are the new kids on the block, vs Titi and Canopy, and I haven't done those others before, but this was great.

Back to Los Altos around 3 or so, my wife was supposed to go to a spa but she ended up laying around and doing some shopping. I did my daily walk with camera and (new) binoculars down the path to the beach, and finally had an encounter with some squirrel (titi) monkeys. They were not too close to me, but no mistaking them. Took some video footage as well, but hard to see them. Now have completed monkey grand slam of white faced, howler and squirrel! Also got a beautiful sunset and some nice photos later on.

We were totally beat by our days worth of activity, so we opted to have dinner at the hotel at Karola's. I had a really tasty grilled rare piece of tuna, so fresh, with great mango pineapple sauce. Wife and older daughter had steaks they liked, younger daughter continues to eat nothing but chicken fingers, but again, if they are happy...

Day 6--Off day. Not the nicest day, a bit of rain earlier and pretty overcast. We lazed about and had a late breakfast. My wife wanted to go down to Playa Manuel Antonio (Beach #3) to see if it was as nice as I had described, but the day was not so good for the beach, so we did a bit of souvenir shopping instead (they had actually been kind of doing this all along). We went to the T shirt shop right across from the entrance to Los Altos, next to Sancho's, my wife and kids like the Costa Rican dirt t-shirts they sold there (don't ask me). Then we waited about 10 minutes for the bus, a cab came along and I told him we were waiting for the bus, and he said, tip only, no fare to go to public beach. So my wife had enough waiting for the bus and in we go. Down to the beach area, we had lunch at Marlin's (they liked their food, I was still pretty full from breakfast so just ordered the seafood soup, but didn't like it so well). Then we went into the souvenir stores next door and down the block, they seemed not so nice to me (charged a lot of money for what seemed like cheap stuff, and too much pot parafanalia lying about that I had to explain awkwardly to my younger daughter). We walked on the beach a bit, then back to Los Altos. Took my walk (seemed to be clearing a bit) and Cesar at the gate had told me the congo (howler) monkeys had been running all around the hotel entrance and restaurant/pool area (he said they are actually a resident pack). Sure enough I went down the path a bit and looked up in the trees to my right and saw about 5 of them resting in the branches, including one (maybe the male group leader?) in front just lying on a branch eyeing me the whole time. I went down a bit further and saw a very cool large red headed crested woodpecker that landed on a tree right in front of me, got some pretty good pictures (I will post photos or a link to them separately).

That night we decided to do the night tour/hike at the preserve across from Si Como No. It was 5:30 to about 7:30, with the objective of seeing frogs, mainly. Older daughter, however, was wantling to stay in room and do facebook and computer stuff, so in interest of peace we let her stay behind and my wife and younger daughter walked just up the hill to Si Como No, looked around there for a few minutes (seemed very nice, my daughter wanted to use the kid's pool with waterslide) and then went across the street. Put on some insect repellent (did I mention that we had little problems with bugs in general, and really none with mosquitoes?) and were then handed flashlights and given a little intro about what animals, and specifically what frog species, we might see. I had actually brought two diferent very good headlamps from home, mainly because i knew we were going to do a night hike, but like an idiot I left them in the room (bring them all the way from home, and then forget them...aaarggh!). This was doubly unfortunate because the flashlights they give you really suck...dull, yellowy light that doesn't really help much. But that was about the only bad thing about the tour. The guide, a woman named Nancy, was very good, patient and observant and found us lots of things. You start out by going into an area where they have some crocodiles and smaller caimans in fenced in pools--we could see their eyes glowing from the flashlights before we even saw them. But it didn't really feel right seeing any animals in this beautiful country in a pen or cage...too many to see that are free.

After the croc area you go into the "aquatic garden" and that is where you see-and really hear--all the frogs. Nancy located many varieties for us--gladiator, hourglass, bullfrog, glass, and of course the red-eyed tree frog--and even found a small frog eating snake that she picked up to show us. The only down side was they warned us not to lean on the metal railings because of stinging and biting bugs, but I mangaed to do so and apparently right on top of one of those fuzzy bee/ants, which stung (or bit?) the crap out of my arm. Hurt for about 10 minutes, but they had specifically warned us about those!

Finished up, now dark and almost 8:30 by the time we are back and talking dinner. We bascially did nothing for dinner, I wasn't that hungry still so we all just ate garbage food we had bought earlier (doritos and cookies, cheese and ice cream--don't tell anyone!) and went to bed pretty early. We had made reservations ealier in the day for a day of whitewater rafting on the Rio Savegre, and had a fairly early pick up.

Day 7--Los Altos had arranged the rafting trip with Unique Tours (again, I was not familiar with them, vs H2O or Quepoa), again I deferred to their recommendation. The crew arrived promptly, and it was just the four of us in a raft with our guide, Michael, and we were meeting up with one more person who was going solo in a duckie. Ezekiel also went with us in a kayak. We had some time to kill waiting for the single to arrive (he was driving in from somewhere a ways away), so we stopped in a park in Quepos where they told us the locals go to see the sunsets, it was quite pretty. We then piled in the van, off through the palm oil plantations again, until we reached a campling area and kind of a resort. We were still waiting for the single to arrive, so they took us down a path to an area where they said was a wild animal rehab facility where they brought injured wild animals. My wife had mentioned that she really wanted to see Scarlet Macaws (we used to own an amazon parrot before we had kids), so I think they took us there partly to show her one, and partly to kill time. They had a peccary pacing back and forth in a muddy cage (whom my daughter promptly named Stanley), some white faced monkeys running loose on top of and around the cages, two scarlet macaws in a cage, two amazon parrots in a cage, a keel billed toucan in a cage, and a spider monkey (first time I saw one of those) in a cage. Again, like the alligators the night before, I found it slightly depressing to see these caged animals, even if I knew they were injured. It also stunk to high heaven down there!

Back up the hill, and our single arrived, so we went to the put in and got helmets, preservers, paddles and the intro speech from Michael, and off we went.

This trip was simply awesome, so much fun for us as a family. Our guide, Michael, was a 29 (I think) year old Tico who has been guiding for 14 years, and he was just great. Not only was a very competent and fit riverman, but he was a bird lover who knew all about them, and lots of other animals as well. He was also so great with my younger daughter--on the van ride in, he stopped to pick some cinnamon and lemongrass leaves for us to smell, and grabbed a couple of palm fronds. He then wove the fronds into two little grass hopper figures for my 11 year old, which just melted her, She still has them by her bed! An awesome trip down--plenty of smallish class III rapids, he stopped to show us a rainbow boa curled up in a tree over the river (he said it had been there for a week digesting a meal), but maybe the best part was a stop at a catarata (waterfall) that was straight out of a Nat Geo issue--absolutely beautiful, everything you would picture a jungle waterfall to be, and so refreshing and fun to swim and splash in. Michael spread out a blanket, and cut some fresh pineapple and mango--so good and so sweet--with some cookies and it was idyllic. We threw some of the little bits of cookie into the pools and watched the little fish (I think he said they were baby machaka?) fight over them. Oh, he also took some of the clay from the riverbank and painted our faces with them, and we got great pictures of us in the waterfalls looking like Quepoas (ok, maybe not). Just an absolute blast, a real family bonding experience and perhaps the high point of our whole trip. I cannot say enough nice things about Michael and Unique Tours, they were the best.

So much so that we knew we had one more activity in our two days left we wanted to do, namely kayaking on the Damas estuaries, and we asked them if they did those trips, and specifically if Michael did. They told us of course, and we asked if they could take us on Monday, our last full day, and they could.

When we arrived back at Los ALtos, I told them how great they were, and asked who the hotel uses for the Damas kayaking trips. They told us they use Priss, and for the first time I asked if we could use someone other that their preferred operator. I was a bit apprehensive abvout this, but they could not have been nicer and told us of course they would be happy to book us with Unique on Monday.

Oh when we got back to the hotel, we had an unbelievably picturesque sunset! A few pictures of those, and we showered up and headed off for dinner at Raphaels Terazzas. This was ok, not great, but not bad either. Again, I ordered a shrimp dish and got unpeeled shrimp in the middle of rice and sauce (what is the deal with that?!?). It was the typical expensive bill however, I will say in general the food in MA was ok but not so great when you look at what you are paying for it. But I understand that this is a very popular, high priced resort, and that is waht the market will bear. The food was not bad anywhere, mind you, just not quite worth the $80-$100 we paid every night for it.

We crashed early after a really fun day, hoping again to make it to the park beach on Sunday, our last full free day (we were scheduled to kayak on Monday and leave early Tuesday).

Day 8--Alas, it was not to be. This was our only really bad weather day, pretty much a steady on and off rain all day long. So this was a lot of lying around and reading, and a bit of cabin fever by end of day. I coulndn't even do my daily walk down the beach path. We decided to go back to Victoria's for the pizza again, it was as good as it was the first time. Went to sleep hoping that tomorrow, our last full day and kayak trip, would be better weather, especially since our pick up was not until 2:30 (you kayak when the tide is high, which was around 3 pm).

Day 9--Now this is more like it! Woke early to a bluebird sky, just crystal clear, the only day you could really see the headlands (Jaco area, maybe?) northwest of the property. Took an early morning walk down the beach path, and was greeted by a group of white faced monkeys leaping about...so fun to watch. At one point they jumped down into some trees and flushed out a large bird, it looked like a hawk or soem kind of raptor but it flew right by me. I swear it was a dusty brown/tan color with orange markings, but no pictures.

It was so nice I went and hung out down by the pool for a while getting some sun and listening to music, then met family for breakfast at the restaurant. We all decided to go back down to the public beach (of course, park was closed so chance to return to beach #3 was gone), it was really nice and sunny and my kids did some shelling (found some nice shells, including whole cowries, and sea glass) while I laid in the sun. We all got pretty hot, so I went to the local guy who pushes a sno cone cart up and down the beach (we saw him the first time as we left the park on Monday). He shaves ice off a big block he keeps in the cart, and then pours these various fruit flavored syrups on the ice for a very refreshing treat. However, I have never in my life seen so many bees as there were hovering around him and his bottles of syrup. I asked him as I was ordering three of them (and ducking and bobbing from the bees) if they ever stung him, so he turns and grabs one off a bottle by the wings, and presses it up against the palm of his hand. I stings him in the heel of his hand (I see the stinger come out in his skin), and he just brushes it away and looks at me and smiles. "No hurt", he says. I gave him an extra 1000 colones for that trick!

After pretty much frying myself in the tropical sun, we went back up to meet the van for the kayaking trip. Michael and Andres from unique arrived, along with driver Flaco again), and off we went for a short 12 minute drive to put in right under the old bridge they are demlishing by the new highway outside of Quepos. I went in a double with Andres, so I could take pictures, my younger daughter went with her boyfriend Michael, and my older daughter and wife were in singles. We put in, still hot bright sunlight, and right under the bridge immediately saw a very cool owl peering down at us (looked like a barn owl, almost). Got some pictures and off we went. The beginning is kayaking in the very broad river, flat water but not a lot to see on the banks except cane grass. We did see some tiger herons, green herons, a roseatte spoonbill, and some whistling ducks, and then went by a mud bar with a 10 or so foot croc hanging out sunning. Just as we went by about 20 feet away, he slipped quietly into the water, a slightly unnerving feeling when you are 6 inches above the water in a kayak! It was pretty quiet and mellow, actually a bit less than I had hoped, but then we reached an area with black, red and pineapple mangroves which was very cool. They kept looking for boas on the roots, but none to be found, but many mangrove crabs scuttling about on them.

We eventually turned up a smaller, really quiet little canal with had not only mangroves but lots of coconut palms lining the sides, jutting out of the brackish water at high tide. As we eased our way down the small estuary, Michael, in front with Lilly in the kayak, began yelling "Benge, benge, benge" and suddenly I saw he was calling to a family of white faced monkey right in the trees above us. When I tell you they came down right to the boats, I really mean it. One of them came down about a foot over me, and Michael told Lilly to hold her hand out (but no food) and one came right up to them as well. It was really cool, of course by this point we were getting pretty jaded about seeing monkeys, so I was just hoping when we put out in the jungle aminute or two later to have some fresh fruit and water that they would not folow us and harass us as we tried to eat. No worries, they stayed away and we enjoyed some of the best pineapple (never had anything but a great pineapple in CR) and mango I ever head. Back in the boats, put out and back to Los Altos to pack.

We had one final meal down at Karola's (mahi mahi was excellent) and then balled up all the nasty, damp sweaty clothing and bathing suits, threw 'em in our bags and went to sleep.

Day 9--Woke early to finish final packing, etc, and enjoy one more gallo pinto and eggs (or for Lilly, french toast) breakfast. Our friend Road Advisor arrived promptly to pick us up for the trip to the SJO airport, and after thanking, tipping and saying goodbye to our friends at Los Altos, we piled in for the trip back home. Luis was again a pleasure to drive with (we didn't realize it was a holiday, but Luis pointed out all the people making walking pilgrimmages to church) and he even slowed to try and spot a couple of last chance scarlet macaws for my wife, but it was not to be.

Flight left SJO about 40 minutes late, so it really made our connection in Atlanta a stressful one, but we ran to the gate and made it, home and in bed by midnight.

Now back at my desk thinking about Costa Rica and missing the pura vida...

I will try to post pictures and or/videos soon, sorry to be so ridiculously long winded!

Simi Valley...
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11. Re: Trip Report--MA July 24-August 2. Really long!!

Great trip report, thanks! We leave in 2 weeks and looking forward to visiting some of the places you mentioned in MA!

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12. Re: Trip Report--MA July 24-August 2. Really long!!

I just read your entire trip report and it was very helpful!!!!! We leave for our forst trip to costa rica next week and we are so excited!!!

Chicago, Illinois
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13. Re: Trip Report--MA July 24-August 2. Really long!!

Ran across this post nearly a year late but I have to say I was completely entertained! Sure hope you're making a living writing, Eagleybeagley, or you may have missed your calling :) A lot of this info was very helpful to us on our trip to MA... thanks!

14. Re: Trip Report--MA July 24-August 2. Really long!!

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