After our time in Arenal, we moved to the sunny, hot, and beautiful Caribbean. It took us nearly 6 hours to drive to get to Manzanillo. It is located just before the border with Panamá. We had booked a rental property that didn't work for us, and ended up looking for a place to stay when it was already dark. I will say, it was quite an adventure. We finally found a hotel in Cocles. The next morning we made the best out of our situation and decided to explore the beach near the hotel. It was right by the beach, but not a swimming type of beach. Instead the kids were able to see lots of crabs, fish and snails on the rocky shore.
We found beautiful spiders!
By far my favorite part of our stay in Villas del Caribe in Cocles was looking at, and hearing the howler monkeys. I was able to sit on the bench above and watch them in the trees. They woke us up at around 4 or 5 in the morning.
Side story: I was standing right next to the bench zooming with my camera. After a while, I realized, a bit too late, that I was also standing on top of an ant hill. What else can I say? I still have the bite marks the angry ants left on my feet!
Lessons learned: 1. While in Costa Rica, it is important to watch where one stands!
2. Ant bites are worst than mosquito bites!
My left foot twelve days after the bites.
We visited the Jaguar Rescue Center located about two blocks from the hotel, At this center volunteers from all over the world come to study the animals, and help guiding tours, taking care of animals, and getting them ready to be released. Please visit their website to find our more about their wonderful work, tours, and volunteer opportunities.Our tour guide was a young lady from Barcelona. She had come to visit Puerto Viejo, and never left. She was passionate about the work everyone does at the center. We also had the opportunity to meet Encar the founder who so kindly showed us how she takes care of the baby monkeys. She even invited Big Sister to go back and volunteer as soon as she was old enough.
Above, the kids were looking at a red-eyed tree frog. Although nocturnal, this frog decided to move in the morning giving me the rare opportunity to see all of its colors.
This baby howler monkey stole my heart. It has a special bond with the people that take care of her, including our tour guide, and the founder.
Many of the animals were roaming free. If they were able to leave, the center was happy for them. If they were not, they were well taken care off, and encourage to seek their freedom.
If the kids are still interested, I would sign up with them to volunteer as soon as they are old enough.