As well as being renowned for its biodiversity, Costa Rica also has some stunning beaches. Some are superb for surfing apparently although our time on the beach has been spent a little less energetically it has to be said. To be fair, quite a few of the beaches have rip currents making swimming a little dangerous.

L: Sunset on Tamarindo beach; R: Santa Theresa

Perhaps we were a little too relaxed on some beaches, however, for example at Santa Theresa we’d made ourselves very comfortable at the top of the beach quite far from the water and were quite happy relaxing, aka having a snooze (well why not?). Unfortunately we didn’t keep an eye on the tide coming in and before we knew it, the water had come right up and we got more than a little wet! Whoops!

Manuel Antonio National Park: iguanas and sloth

On balance, our favourite beaches in Costa Rica were in Manuel Antonio. An added bonus here was the fact that you can combine nature watching with beach time as three of the area’s four beaches are actually inside the national park boundaries. So while you are soaking up some rays, why not do some sloth spotting or have a closer look at an iguana?

However, have a care: you may find that there are some less pleasant beach-chums around, namely some of the monkeys. On one beach we came across a particularly aggressive cappuchin monkey who had no fear and was after everyone’s bags in search of easy to obtain food. It seemed that no one was safe and you needed eyes in the back of your head.

Unfortunately like many others, Peter had a bit of a nasty encounter with him but luckily came away unscathed (well apart from a bit of a dent to his pride) unlike his poncho that the aggressive little thief had ripped to shreds. Very annoying and more than a little scary.

Cahuita National Park: raccoon and iguana

Leaving Manuel Antonio and the Pacific Coast behind us, we moved across the country to the Caribbean coast and, in particular, to Cahuita and its national park. Again, like Manuel Antonio this (free to enter – donation only) national park also contained some pretty beaches although here we were too busy wandering along the full 8.6km trail through the park to sunbathe.

Cahuita National Park, M: Spider monkey; R: Cappuchin monkey (non aggressive)

Although it was a completely flat trail, the terrain changed quite a bit and it was highly enjoyable: again, we had the opportunity to see iguanas, different types of monkeys (fortunately non aggressive ones), raccoons, crabs etc – there were also sloths
apparently hanging around but we failed to spot any ourselves on that particular day. But it was a lovely walk and a good day out on our last full day in Costa Rica.


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