Breakfast at our hotel "Villa Romantica" was really good with lots of choice!
Seven of us took the 8am local bus to Manuel Antonio. We hired a guide and went for a good two hour exploration through the park.
Of course we saw monkeys: the white faced monkey and the howler monkey.
The white faced monkey is very smart and we were warned not to leave clothes and bags unattended at the beach because the monkeys will open the bags and take out money etc.
The howler monkey makes a real howling wind sound.
We saw two and three-toed sloths. You don´t have to count the toes, because threes are grey and twos are brown. The sloths have a very slow metabolism. They eat probably once a week and do not move from their spot in the tree for days on end.
We saw a spider that makes a very strong web that catches a hummingbird. It was the same spider that we saw at Tortuguero catch a butterfly.
Our guide showed us a hole in the ground that was the entrance to a leaf cutter ant colony. The colony can be as big as 10 meters around and it can go 2 and a half meters deep.
They are very organized. The Queen Ant lies about 35,000 eggs a day! Talk about a baby factory!
There are workers, farmers, and army ants. The workers and farmers are very small. The farmers cut a leaf and carry the leaf "home". We have seen them before. What we learned today is that the army ants are large. They respond to vibration. Our guide blew into the hole and 30 seconds later the army ants came out to defend the colony!
They have very sharp and strong mandibles. They can carry 150 times their own weight.
Our guide picked up an army ant and held a stick very close to the ant. The ant attached the mandibles to the stick and held it for 5 seconds before the stick fell to the ground. The stick was at least 3000 times the weight of the ant.
We also saw a huge bamboo tree. They grow very fast - almost 30 cm. a day.
Again we learned some very interesting things about the animal world here in Costa Rica.
It was very very hot and by that time we were ready for the beach!.
The water of the Pacific was warm. It was fantastic to just play in the waves. We were in a bay which made it easier to be in the water without being swept away by the current.
There were land iguanas on the beach. They were not at all afraid of humans and walked freely among the sunbathers!
When we were cooled down we walked back to the "strip" where all the restaurants and souvenir stands are. We took the bus back to the hotel. A shower was minimal because the water pressure was almost nil.
A walk into town brought us to this internet cafe which is air conditioned and now we can let you know again that we are alive and doing very well.
Tomorrow is kayaking in the morning in the mangrove swamp and a catamaran cruise in the afternoon with snorkling and hopefully see some dolphins.
Eke and Brian.