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Dont forget your machete at Manzanilla Park

Omg. Steve & the Aussies would not stop joking. They keep saying Manzani**a. Steve still jokes about that to this day. We got into Puerto Viejo around noon. We spent the afternoon walking around town. We quickly realized Puerto Viejo is not just a refuge for nature, its also a haven for backpacker hippies.

Highlights: our guide Ricky is the best! Nature is the main attraction of the tour.
Cast of Characters: Me, Steve, fellow tour travelers & Ricky our guide
Logistics/ Links: we went on this tour with G Adventures. Here's some wikitravel info
When: We went over Christmas break in Dec 2008/Jan 2009. The weather was perfect! Might be nicer to see Costa Rica in February when they have turtles in Tortuguero, dunno. 
Location: Manzanillo National Park wildlife refuge. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Cost: $20 per person I think for the nature walk through Manzanilla park
Trip Report: This trip was awesome! The park is beautiful. We were told to dress appropriately. The path was very muddy. Maybe water shoes would be perfect for this. We went onto the trail. I didn't really know how long or how difficult the nature walk was gonna be. Turns out it took up most of the day. Our very knowledgable guide showed us all the plants, insects, animals (monkeys & sloths), how to survive in the rainforest by eating plants, bugs & stuff. It was very funny when we were walking along a trail, we came to a dead end. He just looked around & started swinging his machete at the bushes. We did feel like pioneers even for just a moment, lol! We struggled through a mud mountain & just trampled on bushes to find a path. This is a highly recommended, excellent adventure.

Our awesome machete-wielding guide Ricky cracking open some coconuts for us. If you're in Puerto Viejo, do ask around for his nature walk. Its a memorable experience. 

Steve munchin'

I like their street names
Not the only muddy path we needed to cross

Ricky getting some edible stuff from the palm tree. Rainforest survival. He also showed us some medicinal plants & how to prepare them. Neat!

Ricky messing with a wasp nest. He explained something to us about them but I forgot! =(

There's plants growing on plants growing on plants...

Our guide had this spider crawl over his whole head. *shudder

Check out the thorns on that! This plant does not want to be touched

We were attacked by a wild, feral jungle cat

Don't think I wanna know what makes the water brown. 

Locals swimming in the suspicious water

Nature trails
Ants carrying off bits of leaves

Pura Vida! No smoking in the forest, btw.

Its amazing how Costa Ricans have deep love & respect for the environment. I wish Filipinos were the same way. Costa Rica is quite small though, in terms of land mass & population (about 4M people) whereas Philippines has like 100M people. Maybe it will be just as easy to care for the environment when there's only so few of you. San Jose has some roads where you will see large old trees they did not cut even if the roads were widened past them.

Here's an example of the trails (or non-existent trails). There were some howler monkeys swinging across the treetops. Its a lush, beautiful rainforest.

Yeah..there's these too. These things look like they came out of the dinosaur age & never evolved. They were quite large & just disgusting!
Eyelash viper

Our guide showed us some plants that have sap you can use for tatoos. Poisonous though so don't ingest. I forgot what it looked like, cant remember if it was this one. That's what happens when your blog posts are 4yrs late.
These tree roots walk towards the sunlight. Very interesting!

End of the trail. Time to head back.

L-R: Steve, me, Kate, Dan, Shyamal, Sharon, Ricky, Lucas

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