After breakfast and a greeting from Chula, we headed to the park. Our hike through the park to the beach was full of lots of photo stops. We saw a sloth, baby iguanas, a toucan and several types of lizards. After about a 40 minute walk I started to smell the ocean. The closer we got the louder the waves sounded. When we finally reached the beach the water was amazing and I couldn’t wait to get in. It looked calm without rough waves that you find at many beaches in Costa Rica (hence the good surfing) so I went right in. The temperature was perfect, not too cold and so refreshing. We all enjoyed some time swimming and then in the distance we spotted the monkeys. They have a habit of visiting the park each day around lunch time so they can steal food. We quickly grabbed our cameras and got to work snapping photos. I kept thinking how many monkey pictures do I really need? But the answer was always, as many as I can get. I learned that you have to be careful around them and its not safe to snack in their presence. They get a little pushy and expect you to share. At one point one of them came down to see what he could steal from our backpacks. Luckily we had already zipped them up but it didn’t stop him. Unfortunately, he reached into the side pocket of John Earl’s backpack and stole some medicine. He quickly ran up the tree with the medicine and proceeded to rip open the package. Luckily he decided that he would rather have a cookie when John Earl rattled the cookie package. Upon seeing the cookie he dropped the medicine and took the cookie. Roxie rushed in and grabbed the medicine. I’m glad he chose the cookie because I was worried about him. They are quite inquisitive and have no fear. He later came back and stole my garbage bag. He took it up the tree and piece by piece threw my trash down. After holding on to the bag for a while he finally dropped it for a pringle. I think they might just be trained extortionist. They have learned to steal what they can and then trade it for something better. After hours of monkey fun we had to leave for lunch but intended on returning for another swim afterwards. As we left for lunch we had smiles on our faces and also the satisfaction that Scott finally got to see lots and lots of monkeys. So far he has seen Capuchin and Howler.
As we ate lunch the skies started getting gray and the rain came. We never got to go back in the park for another swim but it was ok since we had such a good morning. We headed back to the hotel and when we pulled into the parking lot we noticed a troop of Squirrel Monkeys hanging out. They didn’t hang around long and headed into the trees farther away from us. The hotel staff said they would be back since each evening they come and crossed the street on the monkey bridge they made for them. The bridge is actually a thick cable stretched across the road so they can across and not get hit by cars or electrocuted. The bridge project has helped double the Squirrel Monkey population in Manuel Antonio, the only place they live in Costa Rica, in the lat couple of years. We went back to our rooms to change to wait for the monkeys to return and while I was in my room I looked out and saw them on the roof of the rooms across the way. There were several of them eating mangoes they were picking from the trees. They moved around from tree to tree and headed closer to the monkey bridge. I went out to the road to wait for them and could see them in the trees but they never came to cross so we went to dinner. I’m sure as soon as we left they decided to make their move. It was a great way to end our day. We got to see three species of monkey so far and I got to say “I told you so” to my husband. He now knows that indeed there are lots of monkeys in Manuel Antonio and Costa Rica. Thanks John Earl for working that out. I have a sneaking suspicion that you might be a monkey whisperer.