Volcanos, vultures and verdure. Vamos!

Date: 18 December 2020

Location: Playa de Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

I just think haikus are so underrated. They’re like the M&S of poems: quality, yet at a price point accessible to most. For example, this is my artwork from the drive out here:

Steamy green canopies.

Roads wind around volcanoes

Beware the crocodiles

And isn’t that such an economic way to give you my first impressions of Costa Rica? It won’t stop me from going on length, however. After yesterday’s surprisingly epic trans-Atlantic flight, we gratefully passed out at the delightful SJO Airport Holiday Inn (attached to a Denny’s, of all things). The flight was a little gruelling.

Masks on no touching

Thank God for all the rom coms

How many hours left?

We’ve now driven from San José (which we are yet to actually see, though I understand that’s no loss whatsoever) to Manuel Antonio, on Costa Rica’s midwest coast. We had planned to stay at the famous surf beach of Jaco (“Haco”) but changed last minute when two trusted travelistas separately recommended Manuel Antonio as a perfect little gem. They were not wrong.

The key attraction here is the wildlife. Our hotel, and this little beach in which I’m lying, nudge up against the wildlife preserve, which sticks out on a rather phallic peninsula. (Seriously, Google it.) Sloths, monkeys and toucans abound. So far we’ve only seen the capuchin monkeys. I think they’re adorable. Jono thinks they’re pests. I’ve just seen one take sunscreen out of a Japanese girl’s bag and try to eat it, so he may have the stronger argument.

No WiFi sorry

Christmas with sloths and then

Deal with life later

My first impressions of Costa Rica is that it’s bang on brand. The people are lovely (that doesn’t mean you can walk down the beach without being harassed to go on a parasailing trip, but it does mean that when someone gives you directions you feel you can trust them). The jungle crawls right down to the beach, palm trees arching in the most Insta-friendly manner you can imagine. Nature creeps out of everything: there were monkeys on our balcony last night, vultures cry for attention and blood above, and the shimmering on the beach rocks is an army of little crabs. Everything is green. My only trip to Maui was many years ago but, with the jagged, bitten-in shoreline, the verdure and the volcanoes, I’m getting strong Hawaii vibes here. The Denny’s probably helped.

Bienvenido, let’s

enjoy siesta and surf

And my s*** Spanish

Our key purpose for these first few days is to do nothing. Nada. I’m currently horizontal on a sun lounger with a coconut so I’d say I’m nailing it.



Notes: We stayed at Parador Hotel. It has the feeling of a wealthy hacienda but is perched up alone on a peninsula in the jungle. Approx £100 a night and includes breakfast and four pools over the pacific. Could not recommend highly enough.

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