Continued from Part 1 of “Manuel Antonio National Park”
The hostel was hysterical. Javi and Andy, my new companions, were set up in one room and the owner put me in the “VIP Room” next to them. I really have no idea what VIP means in Costa Rica, but something got lost in translation. Basically, it’s a closet with a twin sized bed. There is a window without window panes and a small ceiling fan that I was informed by a fellow guest, “sounded like two cats fucking”. Through sheer architectural genius the room was also missing electrical outlets. Despite my initial shock, I embraced the opportunity to rough it with my new friends.
We dropped off our belongings in our rooms and put on our bathing suits before heading out to grab a bite on the beach. At dinner we made our introductions, and I quickly learned that the two were not lovers, but in fact childhood friends. Javi was born in San Jose and had spent a portion of his childhood in Costa Rica before moving to the states. Andy had a similar experience, except he was originally from Colombia. We ate at a quaint oceanfront restaurant with Bob Marley tunes playing in the background; we drank Imperial and chatted through sunset then headed down to the beach for a nighttime swim.
Inhibitions set aside; we innocently stripped down and jumped into the turbulent Pacific. Why does it seem like I always end up skinny dipping when I travel… Despite my numerous trips to California over the years, I can’t say I’ve ever dipped so much as a toe in the Pacific until that moment. It felt wonderful.
The waves were quite the force compared to my native Gulf of Mexico, and I reveled in the phosphorescent waters. We spent what felt like hours jumping around in the waves bodysurfing and fighting the rip currents. Exhausted, we made our way back to the hostel for some well deserved tequila shots… these are my kind of guys.
While Andy Skyped his boyfriend back in NY, Javi and I proceeded to chat the night away and put back north of 10 shots each before stumbling back to our rooms. I entered my VIP suite, flipped on my VIP fan, laughed at the raucous coming from ceiling and promptly passed out. Best night of sleep of I’ve ever had—in a screen enclosed closet, on a three inch thick mattress that’s a foot shorter than I am.
The next morning, I woke up feeling sticky… then it hit me that I would be using the “shared bathrooms” in my very near future. The experience wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but the water was cold as hell—something I can’t seem to get used to. After my icy public shower, I met up with the boys for our $4 breakfast of mammoth proportions—no tip, no tax- love this country. We walked the quarter mile or so to the entrance of the park, and made our way through some of the most beautiful tropical forests and scenery I have ever seen. While some of the trails were closed due to storm damage, we still took the entire day sauntering from beach to beach. I had such a wonderful time with these two jersey boys—they could literally have their own reality show on Bravo.
After a couple days in Manuel Antonio, Javi and I singlehandedly drank the hostel out of tequila. With our mission accomplished, they invited me to join them back in San Jose where I could meet some of Javi’s family and crash at his grandma’s pad. I couldn’t believe my luck, more local interaction!