The road to the park ended with a final push through the aggressive and annoying local, officially “authorized” national park tour guides.  Standing in the middle of the road, they tried to coerce us into the best parking spot five bucks could buy.   A push of the button, and the window was down.  Greetings in Spanish threw them a little, and when I said that I wanted to move on down the road and have a look around, they weren’t too pleased.

A few minutes later we figured things out a little and parked at the end of the hiking trail.  The sun was high and blazing hot at ten in the morning as we walked past stalls selling tourist-demanded beachy attire and tie-dyed stuff, along with some shells and Pura Vida this and that.  The gate to the park was closed.  People stood by it waiting to be allowed in, as the park allows so many visitors at a time to walk through the tropical lowland broad-leaf forest.

We were hoping to see lots of wildlife.  Manuel Antonio National Park is reputed to offer many a life-list critter.  More than anything, we wanted to see sloths.  For me, they live a dream existence:  slow and easy, and needing only to come down from the treetops once a week to take a poop and pee.

The gate opened to the words of “only 20 are allowed in right now.”  He said that in Espanol, which is likely why there wasn’t a big push.  We squeezed on through and paid our ten dollar entry fee.

Five minutes into the walk, we had our sloth sighting:

Two-toed Sloth

The sloth played around in the canopy, and then started moving down towards the ground:

“Holy shit!  I think he’s coming down to take a dump!”

Next thing we know, the sloth didn’t live up to it’s “lazy bear” Spanish translation.  It was moving fast in the direction of terra firma.

Gotta Go!

Before long he was off the vine and disappeared from my vantage point.  I figured I’d let him dump out in peace.

We walked on.  Three hours later, as we ended our hike, we recounted seeing five sloths.  In fact, at one point, as a gob of humans gawked at a sloth, I passed on by saying, “Ah…another sloth.”

independent writer

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