Another early start as we drove to Manuel Antonio from Jaco. There's some gorgeous vistas along the coastal road. We headed straight to Manuel Antonio national park though. From the entrance there's a main trail that takes about 20 minutes to get to the national park's beaches. There's essentially two main trails after that: one is a big loop near the beaches and another is a 40 minute round trip hike to the mirador overlooking a beach. There's also a short side trail to a really quiet beach, that's worth the stop. The beaches in the national park are stunning, with jungle backdrops, white sand and turquoise warm sea. It's like something out of the 'Lost' series. It's definitely one of our favourite parks so far in the Central America section of the trip. When the crowds came, the beaches lost their secluded atmosphere a bit though. We stayed in the park for 6 hours, but you could spread it out for a full day by bringing food supplies. The wildlife was plentiful and we saw a lot of different types of monkeys, birds, raccoons, coatis, lizards, deer. Be carful with your things - a monkey 'borrowed' my bag for half an hour and some raccoons stole a whole family's picnic.

We reckon you could swim around to the national park beaches and avoid the entrance fee if you want to be a sneak... 

Unfortunately, you can't take any alcohol into the park (and they check your bags too), so we got our 'sunset with drinks fix' at the El Avion bar along the main road (about a 10 minute drive from the national park). It's a cargo aircraft bar. You can have cocktails in the cockpit. The sunset was pretty awesome too. It's a must-do in the area. Perfect end to a perfect day.

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