Costa Rica: Day 9 Manuel Antonio

Panic ensued this morning when Sarah thought she had lost her credit card. She had to have our awesome driver Felix pull her suitcase off the bus and we pretty much dumped the contents of it out in the parking lot. I had to get the room keys back from reception so I could check again if she had dropped it there. Not in the room and she couldn’t find it in any of her bags. Eventually we were both sitting on the pavement going to through each piece of clothing systematically. Our trip manager Gustavo was sitting with us flipping through a deck of “Never Have I Ever” cards, which we had been using on the trip as an ice breaker. We found the card eventually–it was in the shirt pocket of the plaid button up she had worn to dinner the night before–and had learned a few interesting facts about Gustavo by the time we got packed back up and were on the bus.

Fun fact about me, I have a moderate to sever coffee addiction. I love my morning coffee and I usually don’t let much get between it and me. The first Spanish phrase I learned when starting this trip was how to order coffee with milk–I already knew how to order a beer which means I now had my essentials covered! I also had been systematically teaching the group to order for me if I was away from the table when the waiter came by with coffee. A very successful move. So, on the list of “things on this trip I was really excited about,” the trip to the coffee plantation was defiantly one of them.

Best. Coffee. Ever.

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In addition to learning about coffee we also got to try our hands at pressing sugar cane.

We learned about producing coffee–the full process from seedling to cup–and even got to go pick some coffee cherries from what I am sure is the grove reserved for tourists who don’t know what they are doing. After a final explanation of roasting techniques, we got to the best part: tasting! And let’s be honest, I tasted a lot. Conveniently, when asked what they would like as a gift from my trip, my parents and older brother all answered coffee. So it was a one stop shopping trip as I picked out a bag of coffee for each (mild roast) and one for myself (dark roast). I then settled back with even more coffee to wait until it was time to depart.

We found a gluten free restaurant for lunch but it took so long to get our orders that we ended up eating on the bus anyway. But no worries, I was adapting to the new beach vibe as we hit the pacific coast and all the surf towns along it. Besides, I got to enjoy my beer in the sun while we waited for our orders to be ready.

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Having a beer while we waited for our lunches. 

Before getting into Manuel Antonio, we went on a crocodile safari. Yay more boats! But if we though it was just going to be just cursing around looking at crocodiles form a distance, we were seriously mistaken. We got really close, and I mean way closer than you generally wanted to be in an open boat that sits that low in the water.

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What you can’t see that this is probably a foot away from the side of our boat.

But if I thought I was too close for comfort, that was nothing compared with the guy who jumped OUT OF THE BOAT to HAND FEED chicken to the crocs. It was really amazingly cool to watch. A seriously unexpected highlight of the trip!

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Tempting the crocs closer with some chicken.

We got into Manuel Antonio late in the afternoon. Dinner was at the hotel and we spent the rest of the evening either in the pool or at the bar playing billiards. One of our group, Meghan, was going to be traveling further in Latin America after the trip and so was practicing her Spanish that night by not speaking English. She and I had a long conversation with her speaking Spanish and me answering in English. So maybe my Spanish is a little better than just asking for beer and coffee.

Beach day tomorrow!

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