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Trip Report: Bosque del Cabo, Manuel Antonio & Alajuela

Trip Report: Bosque del Cabo, Manuel Antonio & Alajuela

Old May 30th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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Trip Report: Bosque del Cabo, Manuel Antonio & Alajuela

Bosque del Cabo, 05/17 to 05/22. The days tend to blur so I can't really break this up as a day by day report. Sorry if I write too much! I flew AA from Tampa to Miami to San Jose, no delays, arrived at 10:30am. One of the taxi drivers preferred to carry my bags to the Sansa terminal rather than drive which was fine with me, cost was $2. Had a 2 hour wait for my flight to Puerto Jimenez. Though I hate the Sansa planes, the flight went smoothly and we arrived after about an hour. Kevin aka zappatonas was there waiting for me & one other passenger. He was delighted that I knew his nickname as mono azul from here had told me he would. We stopped at a little store for some drinks and then took off for the pretty bumpy 1 hour drive to Bosque del Cabo.

As soon as I arrived I knew I would love it, even more so when they took me to my cabina, Lapa, which is beautiful. It has a porch plus a wooden deck peering out to the ocean. Not minutes after I changed into
shorts I could hear branches crashing and watched about 10 spider monkeys from the deck. For the rest of my stay, if I wasn't hiking or eating I was on that deck, just watching the macaws & various other birds fly by, the butterflies, the squirrels, iguanas, the ocean etc.

I hadn't seen much written about Lapa but I was so taken with it. One night all guests left except myself & another couple so I went and explored all the other cabinas except Mariposa. They are all lovely but of
course I am partial and felt Lapa was the best !

I went to the bar every night between 6-7pm, they have some appetizers out and it is nice to order some daiquiris and see what everyone else did that day. All meals were excellent and you definitely eat well
here; the only thing I didn't care for was the French toast. There is coffee available all day and they also put out cookies in the afternoon. I usually had 2 daiquiris a day plus 3 sodas a day, after 5 days my tab
was $60. You can buy bottles of water or fill them up at the filter which comes out very, very slow. Maybe it isn't recommended, I don't know, but I drank so much water I just filled it up from my bathroom tap and had no problems whatsoever.

I would highly recommend hiking shoes! Mine looked similar to tennis shoes but with better traction and I can definitely say I needed it. Because of the rain at night many trails were very muddy and a little
slippery. I did almost all the trails, sometimes twice. The Titi trail was interesting, there is a new trail
leading off of it that I did not try. The Pacific trail is great going down, forever coming back up; make sure you check the tides so you don't get all the way down there at high tide.

The Zapatero trail I ending up scaring myself on. The night before at the bar talk had been about peccaries and people who had been chased by groups of them. So of course on the trail, hearing noises, all I could
think about was those damn peccaries. I grabbed a big stick (like that was going to help) and hoofed it thru that trail in 45 minutes flat (it's supposed to be a 1 hr to 1 hr hike). I had a good laugh with the kitchen & wait staff the next morning telling them about me jogging thru that trail armed with my stick. One note
on this trail, it is very dense and was the hottest one I went on so take extra water.

My favourite walk was a short one, and I took it several times a day. Follow the signs for the Creek trail and continue on the path to the Tropical Garden, passing over the new suspension bridge. I saw many
poison dart frogs on this trail as well. The Tropical Garden is huge and beautifully laid out. One of the houses, Teca I think, and the 2 garden cabins are back here. At the top of the hill, to the right, is a large open air 2-story bldg. You can have a seat here and just enjoy the gardens. There are also bathrooms, good to know after too much coffee! To the left of this bldg, down the hill is a small pond where I always found monkeys around in the trees, sometimes 3 types at once (capuchins, howlers & spiders). Be careful of all the fruit dropping, I had to convince myself they were dropping it, not aiming it. I also saw a green vine snake back here and a coati, among others.

I found my Columbia shorts & shirts were the quickest drying clothes I brought, others took a few days. Bring some plastic bags for your wet clothes and muddy shoes. I'm also glad I brought a small 4 inch
candle. After dinner it's pitch black but I enjoyed sitting on my porch or deck with the candle for some light. I didn't end up going on any guided hikes, no particular reason just never seemed to get around to it. A couple of people I spoke with though said they enjoyed theirs a lot.

BdC is a beautiful place & I loved
the small, intimate atmosphere, wonderful friendly people & the incredible diversity of wildlife. I have definite plans to go back.

Next, Manuel Antonio & Sarchi/Alajuela.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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Tully Thanks sooo much for the report. We leave Thurs, I will post a report when we get back, Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I hope to be as lucky seeing all the birds etc.. Toni
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Old May 30th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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Yikes ! Almost felt like I was there hoofing it through the jungle with you !!! ( Peccaries ..... ) Cant wait for the rest ..... Faith .
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:25 PM
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LOL, Tully! I, too, can picture your panic. I would've done the same thing! Now you didn't have to tell us that! Your honesty brought a smile. . . Isn't BdC a beautiful place? How did you like the showers? I could've stayed in there all day!
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Welcome home Tully! BdC was so hard to leave, wish I were there now.

Spent the weekend at our cabin, 5:30 AM wake up call from the birds, the first thing out of my mouth was - wish we had some howler monkeys!

Looking forward to the rest of your report.

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Old May 31st, 2005, 03:59 PM
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Manuel Antonio, Alajuela & Sarchi

05/22 The flight from PJ to San Jose was smooth, if a little irritating. There we were, flying right over Quepos, where I had to go all the way back to San Jose to catch a flight to! I would've jumped out real fast if they'd given me the chance. Some luck was with me tho', on arriving in SJO I had a 2 hr layover. I asked at the counter if there was an earlier flt, he looked up my name & told me I could take the next plane which started boarding right then. Sansa has vans that will take you/pick you up to Manuel Antonio for $5. My hotel was again Costa Verde with a big difference from last time - I couldn't get a studio plus room and to me it made a big diiference. My room (B9) & view were fine, I just missed the ocean view. My room wasn't ready so I took the bus to Quepos to Pali to get some groceries. The bus fare is now 105
colones, still about a quarter. Stupid blonde moment-directly across from Pali there is a bus stop which I waited at for 25 minutes only to find it was not the stop for buses back to MA. At that point I just grabbed a taxi & checked in. Relaxed by the pool or on the deck for the rest of the day, dinner at La Cantina.

05/23 Up early as usual for my canyoning tour with Dream Forest, cost was $70.00. One other couple went with myself & the 2 guys from the company. The road is a pretty bumpy 45 minute drive, so of course we stopped at the Bumpy Road Café for breakfast (fruit). On arrival at the waterfalls, we were told due to the heavy rains, we couldn't take the trail up, we were going to go up thru the water. Although they were there to lend a hand, we all slipped several times on the rocks, not to mention the knee-high water was very very strong. We finally reached the top, all a little shaky, they said the 2 further falls were too strong so we'd just do this one several times. Extremely quick instructions were given. I slipped several times rappelling down but by the 2nd time managed to make it down reasonably gracefully. At this point we had to climb down again thru the rocks & water and again slipped several times. At the end we had to jump off a rock into the water below, about 15-20 ft. Just as I went to jump, my feet slipped & I landed hard in the water on my back, luckily didn't wind myself or hit my head on the rock face. Stopped at the Café again
for a nice lunch, casados, then back to MA. Although I did have a lot of fun, I probably would not do it again with this particular company and have hesitations over recommending it. I just felt that the safety factor was lacking and too much could've gone wrong. I still ended up with a couple gashes on my legs & very heavy bruising from all the slipping on the rocks. Spent the rest of the day wandering around the CV trails & property, dinner at Anaconda.

05/24 Today was my tour with Finca Valmy. Just like last year, with a different company, I was the only
person. Valentin was my guide and it was well worth the $65. My horse, Princessa, was very good until we came across 2 horses that had gotten loose & tagged along with us. At that point she wanted to keep running beside them & not listening to anything I had to say about it! But we still had fun. Went thru a beautiful stream and had great views. Valentin was very good about pointing out trees, plants, flowers, birds etc. After the ride, he took me around and pointed out different fruits & plants in the garden, the star fruit was the best. Then we drove a few minutes to a lovely house with pool & gift shop and had a
wonderful lunch. Back at CV, a ton of squirrel monkeys came thru around 5:30, I couldn't stop watching them play. For dinner, I decided to try something different instead of eating right around CV all the time, so I went to Barba Roja. The restaurant itself & service were great, but the meal was the worst I've had in a long time. Not bad, just incredibly bland. The rice, shrimp and even garlic butter had simply no taste whatsoever.

05/25 Did Canopy Safari, had the same great time as last year. Noticed that a majority of the guides were the same from last time. Cost is $65 and the breakfast they serve is wonderful. The drive there is about an hour but the road seems to be in a little better shape, though still pretty bumpy! Back at CV, relaxing on my balcony, feet on the railing. Felt a short, sharp jolt but just thought someone had slammed a door maybe - come to find out 2 days later it was a small quake! There's a new Farmacia right across from Marlin's down at the beach, I had a caught a head cold unfortunately. $15 for 8 doses of some type of
medicine but it worked. I brought all kinds of meds with me but cold medicine wasn't one of them! Dinner at Marlin's, great for people watching.

05/26 Up early to spend the day at the park. Did the Punta Catedral trail again & again was unwowed by the view, plus they have taken down the viewing stand for some reason. Saw 2 agouti's chasing each other around like cats, was hilarious. I tried to pause a lot to stay in between all the groups, otherwise everyone comes rushing up, crowding around. Laid on the beach & cooled down in the wonderful water, then watched as a coati charged on the beach stealing someone's lunch sack. Lots of capuchins around & heard
the howlers but never saw them. Took a trail I missed last time, I believe it's called Mirador. I liked the
view from this one much more, you could see all the way down the south coast, stunning. Unlike last year where I saw several, I only saw one sloth this trip. Luckily I found him when no one else was around & only 10 ft up from the ground. Dinner at Anaconda again, with squirrel monkeys coming by late at 8:30 right by the tables.

05/27 Sansa pick-up for the flight back to SJO. I'd arranged thru Zamar Adventures
(http://www.emotionguaranteed.com) at Orquideas Inn for a driver so I could see some more of the area. Carlos was there promptly to meet me at 8:30 & we set off towards Sarchi. One the way he showed me where people bungee jump off a bridge, no thanks! Stopped at several shops at Sarchi to get souvenirs and he took me to a place where I could watch them painting, simply incredible how easily they do it. Also went by the church which used to be painted pink (I think) but is now a pretty lime colour with
yellowish trim. Onward to Grecia where we went inside the beautiful church there as well. From there we went to Zoo Ave where I paid for Carlos to come in with me. I've mixed emotions on this place. They did have a nice selection of animals, especially birds but many of the cages seemed crammed full of plants & trees with no real purpose or relation to the animal it held, plus it made it hard to see many animals & birds. I am sure money is an issue here so I can't be too hard on it though and they do take in only abandoned or injured animals, so. We finally arrived at Orquideas about 2pm, the tour with Carlos was only $55 which I thought was more than reasonable. Carlos is a very friendly guide & I really enjoyed driving around with
him seeing areas I missed last time. A nice friendly welcome awaited myself & made my way to a lovely room, I think it was a Mountain View deluxe or something like that, price was $80 with tax and had a great view. Walked around the trails they have for a while and played with Orquideas's (the dog) puppies and Mama, the cat. One of the girls there took Honey, the macaw, out of her cage & let her wander around for
a while. Dinner was delicious with a nice view looking out over the pool.

05/28 Back to reality Orquideas arranged for a driver to the airport, took about 15 minutes and cost was $10. Long lines at the tax line & security but they both went very quickly. Back thru Miami and then
home, no delays.

Sorry for the length, I get into way too much detail I know!

Some thoughts.....if I had to do it over again, I could've spent my whole time at BdC, I enjoyed it that much. Even in green season, MA was very busy (I thought) and kind of hard to get used to after the silence of BdC. They are building on ugly, tall condo bldg to the right of Tulemar. I can't believe such an ugly, view-blocking bldg was allowed but I'm sure money talks. Another bldg is just starting construction to the left of COSI. Taxi fares seemed to vary widely in MA, of the 4 I took, 2 of the longest were the cheapest.

Orquideas Inn is a beautiful place to stay close to the airport and their breakfast is pretty darn good! Everyone I encountered were friendly and seemed to honestly enjoy the people staying there.

I had no problems traveling solo, other than the dozen times I was asked where my husband was and why I didn't have one, lol.

Judging from the amount of people I saw, green/rainy season doesn't necessarily mean low season anymore. And in fact, the only time it ever rained was at night. One storm that rolled thru my 2nd night at BdC seemed almost biblical and was fantastic to watch.

I will post some pics soon.


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Old May 31st, 2005, 04:52 PM
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Wow--Tully, you tell it well! You're so right--I believe the days are gone when green season meant few tourists. I really enjoy all the detail. Keep it coming!
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 03:22 AM
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Wow ! Glad you were not hurt !!! Great report , too bad about Barba Roja , in the past it was super , our meal in November was not very good , but we thought it was because the new owner had just opened 2 days earlier ..... Hopefully she gets it back on track ! I love your detail , and that viewing deck on the punta looks a little scary as well !!!!! Great stuff ! Faith
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 03:48 PM
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Fun to read your report; your "run" through the trail brought back a memory from when we were on the Punta Catedril trail I believe. It got very dark and started to pour. At that point the howlers really started to howl and we had never heard them before. No one else was on the trail...I never saw our teenager move so fast in his life! We slipped and he managed to fall at one point and get covered with mud. We now lol but didn't then!
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 05:37 PM
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Wow, Tully, you're a tougher girl than I am! That rapelling sounds like a nightmare. No wonder you wouldn't feel comfortable recommending it to anyone else. Surely it could be done a little more safely. Glad your injuries weren't any worse!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Great report Tully! Very detailed and enjoyable as well. I'm going to print it out for our trip. I too had to laugh at the peccary story. I didn't know those things would chase you? I will definitely try to be prepared for that adventure when I'm there in Nov. lol! Also thanks for the info on your drink tab at BdC. My hubby and I would probably drink about the same amount each and it was nice to be able to get an idea of an approximate budget. Glad you had a great time.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:25 AM
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I agree with that building in M.A. , scary looking ..... Makes me so sad , this rampant development , I am afraid it will eventually be ruined if some control is not taken . The change in 10 years is amazing ......
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Tully, thanks for the great report. I had been waiting to hear back from you regarding the canyoning tour. From what you describe, I think I'll skip it and just do the canopy safari.

Last time I was in MA, I did a guided hike and saw lots of wildlife, especially since the guide had a spotter. This time I'm returning with a friend, and was hoping to do the trails by ourselves. Do you think this is worth it? (It sounds like you're experienced on these trails.) Someone recommended that we find a guide at the entrance who will hike the trails with us. I just don't want to do the whole big group tour thing. Thoughts?

Thanks! Carol
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 02:02 PM
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I am very sorry to hear about the construction around Tulemar in MA. We are leaving in a week and will be spending four nights there. Will this obstruct our view of the ocean This is my family's first trip to Costa Rica and I am wondering if we should bypass Ma. I keep reading about how crowded it has become. I would appreciate anyone's comments.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:05 PM
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Thanks everyone for the kind comments, I know I get a little too much into detail!

fuzzynavel - don't forget to factor in tips as well. They're not required but much appreciated & they all work so hard to make your stay a good one. I don't know if peccararies will just chase you, but if you come around a blind corner and startle a bunch of them and then stand your ground, they might. I've heard they really stink so you smell them a ways away and they make a clicking noise when they're pissed. I guess at that point, run!

Carol - you're welcome, was thinking about that post you asked about just today. I think going with a guide is 50/50. You get to see a lot more things, but you're also stuck in a herd. The first time I went I had a guide, but after that just go back by myself, walk very very slow and just try to adjust my eyes looking everywhere. If you could get a guide that would take just you, that would be ideal! Have a fab time.

nancygol - no, don't worry it won't block your view, Tulemar is below this bldg and off to the side. The condo is right on the road whereas most places in MA are either up or down off the road, that is why that condo blocks so much of the view. You will still have a wonderful time and I've always heard great things of Tulemar.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:07 PM
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and I forgot, my pics....sorry they are not very good, I tried to substitute by taking a lot of them! Hopefully this link works, you do not need to sign in to watch the slideshow.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...23_37399669108
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 05:55 AM
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Well now, darn! I had my mind made up that I was going to request the Congo cabina and then you had to go and show me the beautiful view from Lapa . The only thing that proves is that I can't go wrong. What great pictures! Perfect thing to take my mind away from work for a minute on this gloomy Friday in Atlanta.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 05:59 AM
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A couple other things, tully, if you don't mind. Did you have to request the stop for drinks on your way into BdC or was that something they just did? Also, could you have laundry done at BdC or did they have some type of laundry service? Thanks again!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Don't worry fuzzynavel, they all had great views and as you can see from my pics Congo's is great too. The store we stopped at was maybe 2 minutes after we left the airport and I don't think we asked, he just rolled to a stop & asked if we wanted anything. Kevin is most agreeable, we even stopped at every little creek we passed over on our way to BdC so the other passenger could take pics. To the best I can remember, I think there was mention of laundry in the book in each of the rooms, I think it said something like it had to be early am & you would get it the next day; I'm guessing it has to go back to PJ to be done. Already wishing I was back there!
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