This was the first day in a week that we were able to see blue skies and no rain!
After breakfast we checked out from El Sano Banano and made the drive to Paquera to catch the ferry to Puntarenas so we could drive to Manuel Antonio. The ferry dock was a bit confusing. There was a building that housed a café and a ticket booth however there was nobody selling tickets and none of the employees seemed to speak English. After wandering about with some other tourists trying to figure out where to buy tickets someone finally showed up at the ticket booth. There was a girl collecting money for the local school so I put a few hundred colonies in her collection box and then headed to the cafe to grab a few cervezas fpr the ferry ride. It took about 30 minutes to load the ferry with the cars and passengers and the boat ride to Puntarenas took about an hour and 15 minutes. The inside of the ferry was air-conditiooned but was still hot. It was cooler outside and there was a nice breeze.
After we unloaded in Puntarenas we weren’t sure which way to go so we just followed all the other tourists in their cars. Puntarenas is on a long, skinny peninsula and had a combination of nice and run down neighborhoods. We then made our way onto the main highway going south towards out destination of Manuel Antonio.
We were traveling south in a caravan with about 5 other tourists vehicles from the ferry when were we all flagged over at a police checkpoint. They came to each car and asked for passport, license and paperwork and told us to drive slower and to be careful on the roads. The road to Manuel Antonio is for the most part in good shape although there were a few bad spots. There are several one lane bridges that required you or the cars going in the opposite direction to yield but it all seemed to be pretty orderly. South of Jaco the highway took us through long rows of what might have been banana or pineapple trees.
We finally get to Quepos and then drive to Manuel Antonio. The road out of Quepos to MA is steep and pretty windy and you really need to watch out for the busses and trucks that come barreling down in the other direction. There is no shoulder on the road and I wouldn’t recommend walking. We had a few ideas on where we wanted to stay so we continued on the road to see what the town had to offer before deciding on a hotel. When we get into Manuel Antonio I was disappointed to find that the place was completely packed with tourists. We made our way through the traffic to the end of the road and turned around and ended up driving back to the Hotel La Colina which was recommended by someone we met in Montezuma.
At the reception they told us that they had one standard room left for $40/night but they were having trouble with the hot water heater so there might not be hot water at times.. After a long drive, we were tired and hungry so we decided to take the room figuring that it was a bargain and that we could live with the hot water problem but it turned out that there was no hot water in our room during our entire stay We dropped our bags off in the room and got back in the car to find a place to eat.
We drove back up the road and wanted have some lunch at El Avion (I’ll tell you more about it later) but they were not open until 4pm so we kept on going into the village at Manuel Antonio. It was still pretty crowded when we got there so we had to pay 1000 colonies (about $2) to park the car and we decided to eat at the Marlin Restaurant. The Marlin had a good crowd and large deck area that was right across from the beach and a good spot to do some people watching but the food turned out to be somewhat expensive and disappointing.
We then went back to the hotel to take a dip in the pool. The pool is divided into two small parts with a waterfall and a swim up bar. We had a few margaritas before going back to our room to clean up and head out for dinner.
We decided on going back to El Avion for dinner. El Avion is a cliff side restaurant that features a bar located inside an entire Fairchild C-123 cargo plane that was left over from the United States’ secret war against the communist Sandinista government in Nicaragua during the mid 1980’s. The food at EL Avion was good and more reasonably priced compared to the lunch we had earlier. After dinner we were pretty tired so we went back to the hotel and hit the sack.
Tags: ferry, manuel antonio, montezuma, Travel