ME-CATION : Manuel Antonio Natural Preserve, Costa Rica

Beautiful Manuel Antonio Natural Preserves

A “Me-cation” is a short trip that you design and take where only you get to set the agenda – it caters to your own senses. If you feel like lazing all day and reading, that’s your call or if you’d rather hike a forest, or just browse some book-stores – that’s fine too! You eat only the food you choose – listening to only your favorite tunes  – and best of all – nap whenever you feel like!

Last year, I took my first me-cation searching for lighthouses at Cod Cape

This year, recently, I journeyed back to Costa Rica after 12 years.  Manuel Antonio Natural Preserves came highly recommended– plenty of natural treks, completely serene lush greenery – monkeys and butterflies make you feel like you are in enchanting forest!

When I was maybe 7, my family lived in this wonderful place called Joypahar, in Chittagong Bangladesh. Our home was a magical Bungalow with Teak flooring, in the middle of a mangrove forest.  A large banyan tree on our driveway, a rock garden, a steep drive down-hill, lots of nature trails, lots of places to get lost! Dr. Yusuf’s “next” bungalow number 7 was a downhill rock-step! I learned to ride a bike in Joypahar.

Landing in Quepos in this little plane after a 20 minute plane ride!

When I flew into Manuel Antonio last week, landing on the small airstrip via the 20 minute Air Sansa flight from San Jose, the first feeling of the place was as if magically,  I had time-traveled to Joypahar!

After settling down in my cozy hotel, went for a dip in the pool and tasted my first caiparenha – sugarcane with a twist of lemon! From the pool, the view of the Pacific stretched out far away! It was great just to sit in the pool and look out in the horizon!

View of the ocean from the infinity pool! Looks even better with a drink in hand!

A short nap and afterwards, a seafood risotto accompanied with a light Shiraz, I planned my ziplining tour for the following morning. On the way to my room, I crossed paths with a white faced monkey who looked at me, as if saying, “What are YOU doing here? “

What are YOU doing here?

Breakfast in Costa Rica, starts with freshly sliced mangoes and papayas. Then one can choose between a made-from-scratch omlette or some black bean rice and shredded chicken/beef! All of this with fresh guava juice, and a fresh assortment of breads and desserts! One can get used to this lifestyle easily.

This is where we started – up on a tree-house like structure!

We drive 45 minutes through palm forests to get to the Canopy safari ziplining tour site. After a brush with hundreds of beautiful butterflies, we started our adventure.  From treetop to treetop, about eight of us were anchored and zipped through one of the most luscious greens I have seen. Touching trees, and leaves and the sheer ecstasy of hanging upside down while flying at 120 feet above the ground or over a stream is exhilarating at the least!

Hanging from my zipline!

The best feeling was when it started to rain and we were ziplining away in the open rain – as if God had decided to send down the shower just to make things more fun and soothing at the same time.

I woke up from my nap on the beach to this view!

Next day, took a bus to the Manuel Antonio Beach and walked the beach to get to a shady spot. It was easy to fall asleep on a bench, looking up at these beautiful trees that are protecting the beach. I woke up watching a green iguana climbing a tree nearby. The tide was coming in and there were plenty of surfers enjoying the ocean. I went and played in the tides for a while and decided to go the nearby thatched roof restaurant for a caiperenha and some sautéed seafood on a toasted piece of French bread.

Seafood on a toast with my Caiperenha! Tastes great after a swim on the beach

Next day, I joined some other tourists from Texas and Mississippi in a wonderful half-day whitewater rafting trip down the Naranjo river; high-octane at times, with twists and turns around lush landscape and lots of bamboo and birds. We went under a tree where a sleeping snake hovered around our heads. Two of our fellow rafters were squealing and screeching at the snake. The snake was probably more surprised than we were at this human intervention.

Beautiful rivers thru lush forests!

The locals recommended two great restaurants to try in Quepos. I loved Kapi Kapi for its Asian-Latin fusion food; I tried a wonderful crusted Mahi with a Soy glaze; The Aqua Azul experience was just as good; I felt as if I was up on a tree house – with no windows. The rain poured down around us and we lost power for a few minutes. With the singing rain, and darkness around me, once again, I was transported back to a childhood, to Joypahar.

As we get older, we tend to look backward, to those days in our lives, that were care-free or fun; when the world had few expectations of you – and you could have uninterrupted fun.

Today, as I look back at my three me-cation days in Costa Rica, while full of adventurous fun, it also helped me re-connect with my childhood – lush green hue and music in the air, a few no-worries type of days, making life worth living.

Room with a view out to the ocean and the rainforest!

8 thoughts on “ME-CATION : Manuel Antonio Natural Preserve, Costa Rica

  1. Agree with Edna…Awesome and keep them coming. I have always told you that you missed your calling and that you should be a “Writer”. Perhaps for the Travel Channel.

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