August 17, 2008 - Costa Rica

The second morning, we meet Raul at the resort again and head south...
...past palm plantations...

...through no-stoplight towns...

Turn off the dirt road, wait 20 minutes in line for our tuen on a one-lane bridge...

And it is a rather impressive bridge. They've built the other lane several times, but it keeps washing away every rainly season.

More palm plantations...

More palm plantations... What do they do with them all?

The collect the bunches and make palm oil for soap, perfume, etc.

After a couple of hours, we arrive at Quepos, most prominent "city" in southwest Costa Rica and gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park.
(See p.798 in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.)

It is a relatively touristy area - as far as remote Costa Rica gets touristy. There are several trinket stands, but no one is pushy.
"Pura Vida, chicos!"

Quepos epitomizes Costa Rican rainforests.
The jungle goes right up on the beach, straight to the water (and occasionally into the water).

We enter Manuel Antonio and are immediately surrounded by lush vegetation and ample wildlife.

A crab crawls up a paradise flower, hundreds of yards from the beach.
Raul explains that many species of crab in C.R. are mountain crabs.

A species of paca, this one a non-noctorunal version of the spotted agouti from the day before.

Our first sloth!

A three-toed guy hangs out in the trees about 50' above us, just a few hundred feet from the entrance to the park.

Another one!
They are everywhere. We had to see 8-12 different sloths, some 2-toed, some 3.
For the record, 2-toed sloths have three toes. They just have only 2 fingers.

Another one lounges around...

They sleep 16+ hours/day.

More three-toers...

We saw a few two-toers, but I may not have saved one of the pictures.
They're so tranquil to watch.

Cute face.

This little guy has a cute face, too.
We don't get to see them out and about in the daytime much in the US, but this one hangs around the populated beaches around lunchtime.

Later: more Quepos and Manuel Antonio