From the National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama
Jan 27, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Manuel Antonio National Park
It is our first day on National Geographic Sea Lion, on a voyage that will explore two Central American countries in eight days of cruising. Both countries are small but unique in their own ways, culturally, historically and biologically. Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica could not have been a better place for the first outing of the trip.
Blessedly saved from development with its boundaries, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest in Costa Rica. The national park was created in 1972, at a time when the area was poised for massive tourist development. Today the park protects a small but beautiful remnant of the tropical forest that once covered the region, as well some sandy beaches and rocky headlands supporting a wide variety of marine life.
We started our nature explorations early in the morning and soon we spotted a three-toed sloth, still wet from the rains of last night. Slowly, it was moving toward an open branch up on the tree, to dry out with the help of the sun. Not that far away we found a troop of white-faced capuchin monkeys along the trail. They stayed up in the tree, very quietly searching for animals to hunt: caterpillar, spiders, birds, lizards. Some females were carrying their offspring on their backs.
Happy with our nature walks, we went back to the ship, enjoyed lunch and a little bit of rest in our cabins afterwards. One of the naturalists gave a talk about the history of Costa Rica while we kept cruising south to our afternoon outing, a Zodiac cruise up the Agujitas River on the Osa Peninsula. In this beautiful rain forest we got the see the howler monkeys and different colorful birds. But the highlight for all of us was to see two scarlet macaws in flight, and a crocodile close to the Zodiac!
That has been a very nice way to start our natural history voyage on National Geographic Sea Lion.