The Jungle of Manuel Antonio National Park
Few things in this world compare to the beauty of a sight that you will see for the first and only time. Although you won’t always be able to capture the exact way a wave crashes, a tree sways, or birds playfully soar above you in spontaneous joy – you will be able to recall a glimpse of the emotions you felt in those instances.
“Naturally, the most joyous moments always stand out.”
This path leads you into the middle of the rainforest.
As my friend Alex and I walked through Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica I was overwhelmed with the sights and sounds that surrounded you in all different directions. It’s almost unnerving – how you can vividly hear a monkey swinging from tree to tree whilst watching a bird furiously flap its wings in the canopy above you – not knowing which one you’ll be closer to in just a few short seconds.
“But this is where I’m supposed to be, and this is why I love nature.”
As you walk on this path, you can’t help but give in to the sights, sounds, and overall feel of nature around you. Every step I took broke down the walls the cities of North America had built around me. Each flower I passed made me forget those buildings, flashing lights, and over-exuberant pieces of architecture society has surrounded around us. Everything is so different here that it makes the “real” world seem fake because it’s so monotonous.
Flowers bloomed up & down the entire trail.
The pizza parlors are various and many in America – but they are hardly different. How often do you see hundreds of types of flowers, trees, and species in just one minute of walking? This is true, natural diversity.
As these thoughts pass through my mind, the idea of walking seems to cease to exist for me. I don’t mean in the physical sense, but more in a mindful sense. Walking seems to become a meditation when you’re surrounded with this much nature.
The howler monkeys lounged in the trees speaking to each other.
As we heard a sound from our distant right, we looked up and saw a few monkeys perched on trees. I almost laughed aloud; This is not an uncommon occurrence in a forest by any means, but it is a quite remarkable one. This monkey was watching another one and, motioning with his hand, was telling another monkey to come over to him. It was almost as if he was saying, “come over here, man!”
The trails were gnarly with trees hanging in every direction.
After a while, your neck starts to hurt because you’re looking up so much. All the while, we were still walking down the trail – not even knowing where our final destination was at yet. Time seems to lose meaning when you are following a path like that.
Here’s a close up of one of the lively trees.
In some parts, trees had fallen down and blocked the path. However, it just added to the ambience to the whole place. It didn’t hinder us in the least.
The iguanas were massive…sometimes spanning 4-5 feet in length!
This little guy was enjoying the sunlight just like us!
Watch your step or you may step on an angry crab & get pinched…
The wildlife here is simply stunning. Who would expect to find crabs in a forest? I’ve always thought they just lived on the beach! All types of lizards and iguanas have homes all over the place. I probably spotted the latter every one or two minutes during the hike.
This spiky little devil enjoyed its buffet of tropical plants.
It wasn’t uncommon to see ant scattered across the jungle floor in organized lines.
You really have to watch your step with these makeshift stairs.
About an hour into the hike, makeshift stairs of all different kinds (some stone, others cement, and the rest simply logs) appeared along the trail to help in climbing.
I still had no idea where exactly we were climbing to. It seemed like a good enough climb though, so we set out with vigor – energized in part just because of all the creatures we were seeing.
Lava rocks lined the entire coastline & protected many forms of wildlife.
I usually know when I’m reaching my destination when trees start opening up and it is possible to see more of the sky than you usually do. I started to catch glimpses of the ocean too. It stood out as a cool, vivid blue against the warm green color of all the different leaves and flowers.
After such a big excursion, you finally arrive to look at this gorgeous view!
At the end, it takes a few seconds to really gather where you are at. The path leads up to a small platform that has been built for sightseeing. The view that overlooks the ocean and a beautiful, breathtaking and jagged peninsula leaves you lost for words. I’ve rarely seen landscapes this beautiful in my life. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Have you ever been to Costa Rica?