Costa Rica Day 6 (Manuel Antonio)
Bright and early (well dark and early, the sun rises around 05:50) I head to the bus station to catch my ride for Quepos. It’s about a three hour trip from which I completely planned to just catch an Uber to Manuel Antonio. Well let me tell you, while Uber may be popular enough around San José and other large cities, there aren’t any in Quepos.
Normally not a problem, but I had gone ahead and planned my expenses for the last two days so I didn’t end up going home loaded with Costa Rican Colonés. This became a problem cause now I was gonna have to take a taxi, which are expensive even by American standards, so full of anxiety I go pull out another 20,000 colonés (about $35) just to be safe.
If only I asked the ticket saleswoman at the bus station first… There’s a bus that runs every 12-15 minutes between Quepos and Manuel Antonio that costs 335 colonés (about $0.60).
End of the day I made it to Manuel Antonio, and chock this up to a learning experience for anyone who listens to me and might end up in Quepos on day.
Now the park was beautiful, I saw many animals I had previously only seen at the rescue ranch and some I didn’t even see there. Despite being beautiful, it’s also a major tourist hotspot. This can be good, because it help the Costa Rican economy and the national park can continue protecting the environment and animals. It’s bad however, because where there’s tourists, there’s destruction.
In the first 15 minutes there I saw a family walk up to a water recharge station, fill their bottles, and walk away, water still pouring out. Not one even pretended like they were going to turn the faucet off. After getting to the beach, I saw a man surface from the water holding a piece of coral stating he was going to take it and turn it into “a necklace or something.” Now this coral was bleached, and long dead, that’s not the point. When you walk around with coral jewelry, you create demand for coral jewelry. And not everyone is going to wait for it to die naturally.
This is the same reason in Costa Rica it is illegal to take a “selfie” with a wild animal (yet what did I see all over the beach as people fed the monkies? Animal selfies.) People see these pictures and decide they want one as a pet, they capture an animal (or pay someone who could care less for the animals welfare to do it) and imprison the animal usually driving it to the point of insanity from boredom. Not to mention to health issues most wild animals suffer due to people simply not knowing what to feed them (take it from the Toucan Rescue Ranch, some of these animals have such a complex diet they literally aren’t worth trying to keep as pets.)
A lot of this destructive tourism is a result of Instagram and other social medias. People see a beautiful staged picture with thousands of likes, and want to post something similar to get the same amount of liked for that sweet dopamine rush. It’s something I often contemplate as I take and share photos. I always hope my photos will inspire people to love the planet and take care of it, to keep these places wild and beautiful. But when I see people walk onto a beach, in a national park, feed a wild monkey a silce of deli meat, snap a selfie, and then leave the beach.. it’s disheartening.
Anyways, enough of a rant. Needless to say, I don’t really feel like sharing a photo with this post. If you take anything away from this.. don’t be discouraged from traveling and experiencing all the wonders of the world.. just respect the Earth and everything on her. Be mindful. Give a damn.
Thanks for reading,