stop in at maxi's and ask for Sherman. He's got a good boat and knows the reefs like the back of his hand. after 2 hours we had enough fish we had a cook out and fed 8 ppl. Raw 2 hour old sashimi grade yellow fin tuna!
After finding my secret little beach (well I am sure it is not that secret if you actually take the time to search for it), I rode through the town. The town is a speck. It barely exists. The main road lines the beach; here you will find a few stores and restaurants. As soon as you go one road due west of there it is drastically different. Small houses and churches are specks on the roads. From the school grounds kids will yell hi to you and want to chat. It gets almost swamp like in one part of town where I took this photo. Small rivers flow through town that require you to hone upon your navigational skills in order to cross. I circled around one side of this river forever in attempts to get my bike across. Eventually, I did. The end of my dreadfully boring story.
So how I was mentioning nobody was around, I was feeling rather tempted to strip off my swimsuit and dive into the water, swim up to the fishing boats, and take one out for a ride. Mind you I didn't actually do this because I am a good girl *cough cough* - It was already blazing hot at 8 am and I had just biked an hour down a bumpy old road. My palms were raw. All I wanted to do was sleep under a coconut tree. So indeed I did, even if just for 5 minutes. I couldn't lie there any longer because my scrumptious buttocks were being eaten alive by the starving sand flies.
Rent a bike and stroll along the sandy beach. Although most bike rentals are pretty cruddy (that is an understatement as they are all POS's), at least they have tires thick enough to pedal through the sand easily. I reached the beach about 8 AM. Yeah, call me nuts, I left Puerto Viejo around 7 and it took me an hour to get there (with stops on the way). So needless to say there was nobody around. And this is the main beach in town; you would have at least expected to see one lone soul out and about. That's just it about Manzanillo - it is tiny - so don't expect to encounter many people even later during the day.
Kayaks are available from the lodge, loaded up on the van and taken down to the sea. When we got there the sea was a little too rough for us inexperienced kayakers, so we decided to paddle up stream instead.
We werwe incrediblt lucky to come across a sloth hanging on a branch right down by the water's edge, drinking. Sloths spend most of their lives in the tree tops, and normally get all the water they need from the moisture in their food. They susually only descend to the ground to defecate once a week. We were so close we could have touched him as he slowly made his way up the branch again. What an amzing experience.
Almonds and Corals Lodge, as well as the village of Manzanillo, are actually inside the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Park.
From the lodge a guide took us up through the forest and back down to the Caribbean. Underfoot can be damp and dirty in the forest, and we did have to do a little wading along the beach. For those who did not have waterproof walking boots, the lodge hired out (free of charge) wellington boots.
Driving through the village from the lodge, we picked up a gentleman who looked at little like the village simpleton or a tramp. I assumed we were just giving him a lift home, but he turned out to be our guide. I can safely say that he is one of the BEST guides we've EVER had! Let that be a lesson Grete, never judge a book by its covers!
A few years ago the Green Iguana was classed as an endangered species. The local indigenous people wanted to make sure the reptile did not die out, and made this small enclosure where the iguana would be able to reproduce in captivity. The guide would explain the life cycle of the iguana and we saw many animals in various stages of their lives.
Afterwards we were taken on a small jungle walk where he would explain the medicinal uses of various plants - an absolutely fascinating insight into a dying tradition. We have so much to learn from these indigenous peoples.
Monkeys, frogs, sloth, butterflies, iguanas, snakes, birds - we saw it all.
The wildlife is generally shy, but with a little luck - and a good guide - you may be able to spot something in the bushes / trees.