“Beware of the white faced monkeys. They work together with the raccoons to steal your things.”
I rolled my eyes. Yeah, right. How can there be such a thing as interspecies cahoots? What we witnessed was just that at Manuel Antonio National Park.
They get you when you are at your most vulnerable. Sleeping sunbathers in the pristine beach cove are always the first ones to get their bags rifled through. We waited patiently as 2-3 raccoons came skulking out of the forest like ninjas of the tropics, taking advantage of their snoozing victims.
The first raccoon skillfully allows himself into a backpack, a big butt and striped tail gleefully wagging out of the opening. With the stifled laughs and loud giggles, the sunbathing tourist quickly woke up and shooed them away, Kindle above the head in attack mode.
You have to be on your toes here.
The second victim was not so lucky. A lively crew of young white faced monkeys hadn’t gotten their first lift of the morning and gathered on low hanging branches to preen themselves. What happened next was nothing short of a zoo. People from all over the beach came running with their cameras in tow, oohing and ahhing in between clicks. A full blown model shoot was on its way and the monkeys put on a show that would have given Cute Overload a run for their money.
The thing is, the diversion works. One unfortunate soul turned his back away from his picnic bag. With lightning speed the racoons ran in and struck swiftly with purpose.
Several bags of potato chips were nabbed in a hit and run job. The branches erupted in loud monkey chatter and screeches were heard as a monkey and a raccoon fought over a bag of cheetos. A small Black Friday-esque warzone emerged with wild eyed monkeys and raccoons fighting for and pulling on one of two bags of potato chips.
The bag of chips exploded and orange puffs rained from the sky. The screeches picked up again and everyone grabbed what they could. My childhood pinata PTSD came to the forefront as monkeys and raccoons gathered and ran with puffs hanging out of their mouths, stuffed in their cheeks, and in their hands. We were one step closer to rainforest anarchy. One lucky raccoon even got to keep an entire bag to himself and ran into the forest to cover his tracks.
Shaun and I kept shaking our heads as the monkeys stuffed the chips into their mouths as quickly as they could.
“They’re going to get fat at this rate.”
“Or cancer. Good lord.”
And while most people go to see wildlife in its natural habitat, this was one hell of a show. There is no shortage of things to see at this national park.
I smiled at Shaun. “I like collecting memories like these. So absurd.”
What was one of your favorite wildlife experiences? What shenanigans did they get into?
Disclosure: We were guests of the Costa Rican Tourism Board via the Gift of Happiness Sweepstakes but all opinions are our own.