Day 6 - Manuel Antonio and Dominical
The tide was high the next morning and cut off the entrance to the park, so we had to pay a man 100 colones to take us across in his boat. He walked across in the neck-high water, pushing us across. His skin was dark and deeply cracked like old leather and he joked about being swept out to sea some day by the surf.
Again, the jungle was thick, but this time there were clearly marked trails -- sometimes too clearly laid out with cement walkways and hard rails. The first thing we noticed was the amazing iguanas everywhere, some as long as 5 feet with their tails. I was fascinated by them until I saw one running across the beach as fast as a human. Then I was terrified.
Leslie and I headed up the trails to a lookout point at the top of a bluff a kilometer away. We had be working out on the trails of Mount Tamalpias for months before in preparation of hiking in Costa Rica and had worked our way up to 12 mile hikes. The weather was a much bigger factor than we had anticipated, and after the kilometer to the top of the bluff, we were wasted. It was in the 90s and dripping with humidity and it sucked the life out of us. We made it to a cove and dove into the warm water, then laid on the beach, exhausted, watching little kids chase the iguanas around.
We made it back to the jeep by mid afternoon and began the two-hour drive south to Dominical. There were no paved roads between the park and Dominical, so we headed through rows of palm tree farms on narrow dirt paths. We inched the jeep across tiny steel bridges make of rebar, and even had to detour through a farmer's field to get around one that was washed out.
We finally arrived at Dominical and found it to be much what we expected of Jaco. The hotels were lined up on the clean beach and were cheap -- $20 got us a room with hot water and air conditioning. We spread our wet clothes on the bed, cranked up the air, and went to watch the incredible 20 foot surf just outside our door.
We watched the sun set into the surf while feasting on huge bar-be-que seafood platters under umbrellas in the tropical rain. We slept better than we had the whole trip shivering under blankets with the air conditioner on high.