Padres: Part 2

2 01 2011

Proof of a good time!

We decided long before Miguel’s parents arrived that we were going to take them to the the beach for Christmas.  It just seemed right to have a nice dinner and a beautifully relaxing Christmas on the beach.  So, when we arrived and saw the awe and excitement written on Carol and Chico’s faces, we were thrilled!  Manuel Antonio is an amazing place.  There is a lot to do, a lot to see, and it is quite simply, beautiful.

Loving Life. Christmas Eve Together.

We stayed at a quaint hotel called Verde Mar which was right on the beach.  Once we brought our bags in to the room, we went to work on planning out our 3 days of adventure.  After planning a nice Christmas dinner, spa day, zip-lining, national park walking, a catamaran-snorkeling trip, and a little time for surfing, we headed out to the beach.

Miguel and I surfed while Carol and Chico took in the beautiful beach.  It was so good to be at one of our favorite places with family. Seeing family fall in love with Costa Rica helps affirm our feelings, and honestly, it magnified our love of Manuel Antonio.

Our first full day in Manuel Antonio was Christmas Day, and we had no intentions on letting the day pass without taking full advantage of it.  Carol and I made plans at the Spa.  Carol wanted a massage and I went for a manicure and pedicure.  The guys had plans of their own.  They went zip-lining in the forest.  Both activities were exactly what we wanted them to be, memorable!

he enjoyed going upside down...

father and his son

After our afternoon activities, we returned to the beach to play in the ocean and sun-bathe.  Later in the evening we had reservations for a sunset dinner at a place called Claro Que Si.  Dinner was meant to be really special because it was Christmas after all, and we wanted to really go all out.  Claro Que Si delivered!  We had the Seafood Extravaganza and it was 5 courses of amazing-ness.  The sunset was breathtaking, and the company was wonderful.  It was great to spend quality time with family in a paradise-like setting.  Although it was a special night, to be completely honest, it didn’t feel like Christmas… Maybe it was because it was warm and in the distance we could hear the water on the shore.  Something about 80 degree weather didn’t put us in the Christmas frame of mind, but in the end it didn’t matter… love was around and isn’t that the heart of Christmas anyway?

View from the dinner table

Christmas dinner at Claro Que Si

Our second full day in Manuel Antonio was reserved for the National Park and a boat tour.  Up until the National Park tour, we hadn’t seen or heard a single monkey.  Which in a place like Manuel Antionio where their motto is “still more monkeys than people”, we were shocked!  The guide on the park tour did not disappoint us.  He promised our share of monkey viewing, and even joked that he would give us our money back if we didn’t see a monkey.  We saw monkeys alright.  We saw tons of sloths, frogs, crabs, lizards (Carol definitely didn’t like the lizards crawling so close to the path), turtles, and a crazy amount of monkeys.

Everyone's favorite of the day...the 3 toed sloth. He's waving!

Funny side story: We were told that the monkeys would often jump on you and go through your bags for food while in the park.  Supposedly they could open cans of soda, purses, backpacks… you name it, if it smelled good or had food in it, they would most likely try to get it.  So, Carol and I were pretty hungry and we were eating granola bars as we walked along the path (not too smart, I realize).  We turned a corner, and realized we were surrounded by monkeys.  The monkeys started slowly approaching us… I shoved my granola bar in my pocket, hoping they wouldn’t be brave enough to dig through my pockets.  Then I looked over to my left and saw Carol wide-eyed and munching on her granola bar.  She looked over at me as a monkey slowly approached and said, “Do you think they smell my granola bar?”  I vaguely remember yelling, “Yes!  Put it away!”  Everyone quickly looked in her direction as she shoved the remaining granola bar in her pocket and speedily walked away from the greedy clutches of hungry monkeys. At the time, I think we were both too scared to laugh. 🙂

Hungry Monkey

After our close encounter and wonderful tour of the national park, we ate a quick lunch and went back to the hotel lobby to catch our ride for the Catamaran-Snorkeling trip.  Miguel and I didn’t really know what we were getting into.  We had been on a trip to Tortuga Island and went snorkeling, but this boat trip promised to be a much much larger boat.  As we drove away in the tourism bus, Miguel and I wondered out loud to each other, “What kind of trouble are we getting Carol and Chico into?”  We were soon to find out!

boat to take us to see dolphins and snorkel

The boat was HUGE.  It had two decks, a slide, an open bar, this area of netting that you could sit on and see the ocean as we rode along, and a crew of about 5 guys all willing to help.  Needless to say, we were ready for a good time!  We rode along the coastline for about an hour or so and saw tons of dolphins.  They jumped and circled the boat and everyone Oooooed and Ahhhhhed.  It was great.  The bar served any kind of fruit drink you could want with a mix of alcohol or not.  We mingled with some of the families aboard and generally just enjoyed being showed a good time.  Once we got to a nice spot on the coastline for snorkeling, the capitan pulled over and we snorkeled for about 30 minutes.  Miguel and Chico played on the slide.  Carol and I relaxed.  We ate some dinner, watched some weird Italian girls make a public display of themselves dancing on the boat, and we watched another amazing sunset from the ocean.  It was a great time and we all really enjoyed ourselves.

Ready to go!

another sunset...

Our last day in Manuel Antonio was unplanned.  Miguel and I woke up at 6 in the morning to go surfing.  The beach is great for surfing, and it is definitely something we have been trying to improve upon.  To our chagrin, surfers don’t get up that early.  Apparently all surfers have an internal alarm clock of about 7:30.  So, we walked the beach a few times, sun bathed, and got some coffee at a small breakfast place.  Once the surfers arrived, we rented two boards and played.  It was a great time.  Meanwhile, Carol and Chico drove to a breakfast spot and had pancakes and eggs and went to the souvenir shop and bought some souvenirs.  We met up a little before noon and packed our things and left for home.  Everyone agreed, we could have stayed a lot longer in Manuel Antonio.

Another side story (I realize this post is getting super long, so sorry!):  On the way to Manuel Antonio there is a popular bridge called “Crocodile Bridge”.  We stopped in hopes to see a crocodile over the side.  Little did we know we would see tons of huge crocodiles!  Chico really liked this!

lots of Crocs!

this was the biggest...he could have eaten Vanessa in one bite

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4 responses

2 01 2011
Steven Nieto

I love reading these.. truly amazing… im so jealous lol …amazing, but on another note i have been wondering what kind of camera you guys use? the pictures always come out beautifully, and I have been looking to buy myself one.

Steven

P.S.

V, Im still working on emailing you pics of the new car its just been too much fun driving it around 😉 i talked them down to 15 grand for a 2011 sonata… (something I am very proud of)

Talk to you soon

12 01 2011
mvgonzo

Steven,
Thanks we are super glad that you enjoy the blog. We made a goal to post once a week for this year…we’ll see how that goes. So far so good. Anyway, we actually use two cameras 1) Sony Cyber-shot 14.1 megapixel and 2) Pentax K-100 DSLR. We probably use the sony more because it is a point and shoot so we are able to carry it around everywhere but I would say that majority of the “best” pictures come from the Pentax. I know that I am able to take much better pictures with it because I have more control. All in all, we are super happy with both cameras! Take care and look for the second and probably third, maybe in a fourth post about Panama…
-Miguel

15 01 2011
Twanda

Happy New Year Kids!

A gorgeous Red-tailed Hawk just glided across my window view. No monkeys but plenty birds of prey here on the prairie. Warm or cold, Christmas with family is everything. Watching you both take full advantage of your adventure is better than any reality tv show because it is reality. I caught my breath when the monkey was intent on the granola bar. Thank you for sharing.

My little Canon Power Shot seems inadequate these days. I have been inspired to check out the the Sony! Finally, may I copy/paste the sunset?

Peace and Love,
Twanda

15 01 2011
mvgonzo

We do miss Colorado and the cold but it is pretty hard to complain. We don’t regret our decision one bit; we are living out a dream.

You are more than welcome to use any pictures (or anything for that matter) that we put up. It is exciting that you like it enough to even think about it!

-Miguel

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