Location: Manuel Antonio

This morning we finally had a chance to sleep in, but only until 8:00 am. We changed things up for breakfast and ate pancakes and syrup paired with orange juice and coffee. Everyone climbed onto our beloved bus after changing into our swimsuits. The bus ride was thankfully only a few minutes to the Manuel Antonio National Park entrance. We met up with our guide, William, to trek through the rain forest and reach the beach on the other side. With his telescope on his shoulder, William led us into the dense jungle. On our way to the beach, we got the opportunity to see different types of sloths and monkeys as well as bats, grasshoppers, frogs, spiders, and crabs. None of us could figure out how our guide was spotting so many animals deep in the trees.

After our jungle hike, everyone was ready to cool off in the water. It turned out to be warmer than we expected, but refreshing nonetheless. We swam in the ocean for a while, then laid on the beach eating the sandwiches we made this morning. We were pretty worn out at that point, so all of us took a quick nap only to wake up to people screaming because of the raccoons scurrying around the beach looking for food. After they were chased away, we went back into the water and took some fun pictures to remember our beach day. As we were just about to get out and leave, Grace unexpectedly got stung by a jellyfish. She’s all good now, though! The group walked back through the rain forest and rushed back to the hotel so we could jump in the pool to get the sand off. A few of us hung out at the hotel pool for a while and then got a snack of fresh fruit and carrot cake to hold us over until dinner. We also heard the loudest clap of thunder any of us had ever experienced. While waiting for dinner, we played card games like Capitalism, James Bond, and Mao. For dinner, most of us had chicken fingers or pasta since rice and beans have usually been the only option. Tomorrow we have an early morning of whitewater rafting, so stay tuned for that!

– Kate Muldoon