Week of January 31-February 7, 1996
Rafting Ethiopia's 'Grand Canyon'
Outdoor activities in Quepos, Costa Rica
Q: What would you recommend as an activity in Quepos at the Pueblo Real Resort?
Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada
A: As the gateway to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, one of Costa Rica's most popular destinations, Quepos has no shortage of outdoor activities to choose from. Plan to spend at least a day exploring the park's tropical beaches, rocky headlands, and rainforest trails. Be aware, however, that although Manuel Antonia can be a challenge to get to--cars are prohibited and you have to wade through a waist-deep estuary at the entrance--the park has been plagued recently by severe overcrowding.
As long as you're not looking for solitude, then, stretch your legs on the well-maintained trails to Espadilla del Sur, the park's northernmost beach; Cathedral Hill, a rocky promontory with sweeping views of offshore cays 300 feet below; and Playa Manuel Antonia, a beautiful beach ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Keep your eyes open along the way for white-faced monkeys, sloths, agoutis, armadillos, and raccoons. The park is also home to more than 350 bird species, 138 species of trees, and a variety of snakes, iguanas, and lizards.
Back in downtown Quepos, stop by Lynch Tourist Service for a wide range of ecoadventure tours--including snorkeling, bird-watching, hiking to a rainforest waterfall, or touring a nearby vanilla farm--for $45 each. The owner, Michael Lynch, also offers whitewater rafting trips ($75 per person), sea kayaking ($65), and scuba diving ($65). For more information, call 011-506-777-0161. Eqqus Stables, on the road to Manuel Antonio, runs guided horseback riding tours (prices vary according to group size; call 777-0001). Rio Tropicales has sea kayaking trips to the Damas Island estuary, an ideal spot for bird-watching and wildlife viewing, as well as full-day rafting trips on the Class III Savegre River. Call 777-1262 for more information and prices.