Sunday, January 13, 2013

Isla Magotes & the Beaches of Manuel Antonio

The iconic Isla Magotes proudly sits in the Pacific and watches over the  beaches of  Manuel Antonio and Parque Nacional.

This uninhabited island is a protected sanctuary for birds. The rocky island jumps up from the Pacific. In 1519 ( over 100 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock) Ponce de Leon "discovered" Quepos and Manuel Antonio. He was looking for the infamous "Fountain of Youth". I actually believe he may have found it!  The nearby Nicoya  region in Costa Rica is known as a "Blue Zone" by National Geographic. Blue Zones are areas in the world where people live long lives, often  into their 100's.

There are several beaches in Manuel Antonio. The main beach stretches from The National Park ( a protected preserve) to the horse shoe bay of "Playitas". The main beach is long (1.5 km) with dramatic tides.

On the main beach there are concessions where you can rent chairs and umbrellas.  We rented a chair and umbrella everyday. Even though it is  9 degrees above the equator, Costa Ricans call  January, February and March summer. It's the warmest time of year, and there is less rain.  Strong sun block is recommended, you can burn sitting in the shade!

The jungle stretches from the mountains and empties into the Pacific. Wildlife preserves, thick rain forests and the National Park ensures that there is an abundance of wild life and biodiversity. We saw three different breeds of monkeys, two different breeds of sloths and countless birds in the jungle and on the beach.

The waves are wild. Surfing is big in Manuel Antonio and there are many small surf schools. Other recreational activities are: para sailing, sailing, and  horseback riding.  There are stores, small hotels and restaurants near the beach.

Sunsets are amazing over the Pacific. I am use to seeing the sun rise over the Atlantic. So, it was nice to spend a few late afternoons on the beach and watch the sun sink into the warm waters of the Pacific, and watch nature paint the sky red.....Pura Vida.....

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