In Manuel Antonio the public beach is definitely more convenient because of all the options that are readily available. However the beaches in the national park are much nicer. You have to carry everything you may want to have into the park with you and it is a bit of a trek to get to the beaches themselves. But you may run into some wild life along the walk and when you get to the beach, they are quite perfect. The sand is soft and the active water is clear and warm. The amount of people varies throughout the day but it is never overrun. The only real danger are the monkeys that hover over you, (watching you like a hawk) so they can go through your bag and find your food.
When you walk around Manuel Antonio National Park you see tons of wild life. Nothing really big and scary. (Though the sounds of the howler monkey are). Costa Rica actually represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide and is one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world.
You see monkeys of all kinds, deer, a wide variety of insects and tropical birds, and (something I became obsessed with) sloths. For the most part there is an understanding when you enter the forest that is, you do not bother the animals and they do not bother you. Of course the monkeys that inhabit the beach choose to ignore this because they want your food but most of the other animals survive because of this rule. The photos below are some of the animals I saw.
Three Toed sloth
As I said before I was obsessed
Giant Grasshopper (Tropidacris cristata)
The following photo was taken of the elusive howler monkey. It is very rare to see this animal running on the ground but I was lucky enough to have it run right by me. Of course my camera did have trouble focusing because the forest was so dark and the monkey himself was black, so most of my photos were blurry. But the last photo I took, I thought was in focus until I looked at it. Keep in mind that I wanted to include the photo below in this post because I want to remind anyone out there that even in the most perfect situations, sometimes all you get are balls.
Nature Air is one of the best ways to get around Costa Rica. But being at some of the airports you begin to believe that they may have had a former life as something illegal.
The area that surrounded the airport looked like this.
Flying across Costa Rica I was really able to under the land; From the rough terrain of the mountains to the lush forests to how big the palm oil plantations are getting. Though flying in the little planes were a relatively scary experience I was able to understand that the 3 hour drive from the airport to the hotel would have been much worse.
The ever expanding palm oil plantations
Costa Rica, in my mind, always seemed like one of those places that were so foreign or unusual. When I was growing up I never knew a lot of people who went there and those who did go seemed much more rugged than me. But recently I have been curious about Costa Rica. I decided to go on a quick trip with a friend and soon found out that much of the country is still underdeveloped. Of course there are high traffic tourist areas that have all-inclusive resorts where many people do not actually leave the resorts, but that was not what I was looking for.
We decided to go to an area called Manuel Antonio that was in the Southwest region of Costa Rica. This area is still continuing to develop but also has a really wonderful foundation of hotels, restaurants, cafes, and other things to do. It was extremely relaxing and even though I was only there for five days it felt a lot longer.
I stayed at the Gaia Hotel. I was able to get an amazing rate that was a lot cheaper than what was advertised. Every room is a suite of some kind (1 or 2 bedrooms) and many look over the forest that surrounds the area.
Even if you do not have a view of the forest that borders the ocean, the restaurant at Gaia is on the top floor and provides a wonderful forest view that extends into the ocean below. The restaurant (which actually had some of the best food) also is key during the heat of the night because there is a breeze that blows through. Overall the hotel provided a wonderful experience.
Below is a list of all the restaurants and experiences I found in the Manuel Antonio area and liked.
Spa holis or Holis Wellness Center Manuel Antonio
-Attended an aerial yoga class. It was super cheap and my body felt great afterwards.
Phone Number: +506-2777-0939
-Super safe ziplining. Great staff and fun experience. Definitely do the superman line!
Address: Centre Commercial La Garza, Office 01, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number: +506 2777 7181
Basically on the side of a mountain which they classify as “downtown Quepos”. Built around an abandoned U.S. military cargo plane which is pretty cool. Casual and easy.
Phone Number: 011-506-2777-1710
Perfect place to pick up a sandwich, coffee, or afternoon snack. The food and dessert was great with a great view of the ocean. One place that reminded me of New York.
Navigating your way through any art fair is a little like a trout swimming upstream. You get overwhelmed and tired but you realize you must push through in order to get to the finish. When I go to these things I have to mentally prepare myself for the crowds and gallery art talk that goes hand-in-hand. Luckily for me, yesterday when I arrived at the Armory show there were not a lot of people so I was able to see some of the best pieces without any of the aggregation.
Jules de Balincourt
US As In You Me And Them, 2009, Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 82x55in
I’ve been watching Balincourt’s rise for some time. I don’t know why but his work always gives me a rough Williamsburg hipster wearing plaid shirts vibe (if that makes sense).
Head No.5, 2013, Stainless Steel with PVD coating, 110 kg, 70.47 x 50.39 x 51.18 in
When I saw this sculpture all I could think is that it would attract finger prints – but with the shape of the curves and structure, I don’t think anyone could not be attracted to this Brancusi-esque piece.
I was unaware of Kahlhamer before yesterday, but this piece had a wonderful surreal quality that I could not ignore.
Adinkra Sasa, 2003, found aluminum and copper wire, 192x216in
El Anatsui is a Ghanaian sculptor who uses everyday objects like liquor bottle caps and crumpled pieces of metal sourced from local alcohol recycling stations to create fabric like sculpture that seem to be reminiscent of intricate patch work quilts that are frozen in place. When viewed up close his massively scaled sculptures are astonishing as a result of the immense detail of their meticulous fabrication.
Composition no. 18 (orange avec plumage), 2015, Textile, 72.5×84.625in
In person this tactile piece was really interesting. Each rectangle would ruffle like feathers of a bird when a person would walk by.
The Last Sight of Icarus and A Shout Within a Storm
Kaino’s work often addresses ideas about the construction of history, memory and received knowledge. For his site-specific sculpture, The Last Sight of Icarus for the Amory show, he constructed hundreds of cinderblocks cast in paraffin wax that bisected the gallery booth. For A Shout Within a Storm Kaino created a suspended mobile, constructed of more than 100 copper-plated steel arrows, that appears to change form as the viewer changes position.
85 Two People in the Water, 2013, Glass Installation
This piece is created by multiple 2D drawings on glass layered to create a 3D image. This technique creates a deep image that appears to be holographic. It’s hard to tell from the image below but Xia style borders the line between painting and sculpture.
The Frameworks of Absence, 2006
The walls of the Ronald Feldman booth is covered by Brandon Ballengee’s salon wall hanging of his continued provocative series about extinct species, The Frameworks of Absence. Brandon is known for not only being an artists but also a biologist and environmental activist. His series displays altered prints by John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, John Gould, J.G. Keulemans, Ernst Haeckel, Louis Agassiz Fuertes is hung in chronological order from 1660 to 2014. While you can tell instantly that this series is deep in meaning as well as emotionally for Ballengee, the execution is also flawless.
khalys, 2014, and somerline, 2014, Both Plexiglass
Berta Fischer’s Plexiglass sculptures consume the James Fuentes booth this year. The neon-hued and reflective fluid sculptures are instantaneously intriguing because of the light that bounces off of them and onto the sea of people walking past. The bended and twisted movements of forms that are created within the sculptures seem to be more natural to a moving piece of mylar rather than a extraordinary fixed position plastic sculpture.
I have a continued fascination with Darina Karpov’s work. Here abstractions are like being inside of an object that is undetermined organic matter. I love how intricate her designs are but because of the colors and tones she uses they are straightforward and not overwhelming.
Brandt is best known for his Lakes and Reservoirs photographs that were developed by soaking his prints in water he collected from the lake he took the photo of. In his Water & Polaroid series, he applies a similar process to multi layered duraclear and duratrans prints and then places them in an LED lightbox. While Brandt’s brightly colored photos are already alluring, the lightbox makes the colors even more brilliant.
The Nipple I Never Knew, 2015, Oil on canvas, 48x72inches
Definitely the oddest title I came across. Beautiful detail in this mirror image piece. (I’m always a sucker for anything with dogs).
St. Louis Rams (Hands Up), 2015, Charcoal on mounted paper, 65x120in
My obsession with Robert Longo’s work continues. Though with this piece you either have to be a Rams fan or a football fan that doesn’t mind having a really expensive charcoal drawing of a Rams player on your wall.
Light Ballet, 1969, Chrome, glass and electric light bulbs
If you missed the Zero exhibition at the Guggenheim last year a piece of the show is featured at the Pier 92 Modern Art side of the Armory show. The Light Ballet by Otto Piene is wonderfully ethereal. Light and shadows continuously play a magical dance on the walls of a small specially built cylindrical room dazzling each viewer as they pass by.
In 2003 I went to Venice and saw a painting by a Brazilian artist named, Beatriz Milhazes. I was shocked by its unconventional beauty. I had never seen anything like it before. The composition seemed to capture what i had always thought of Brazil to be- a beautiful tropical paradise with rough uneasy edges.
Now, 11 years later, on my recent trip to Miami I attended the Milhazes retrospective at the Perez Museum. For me to see the work of an artist who I believed could get to this level was inspiring. Standing in a room surrounded by Milhazes’ work, I believe that it is just as powerful now as the first day I saw it.
Below are the images I took at the show. (Some paintings are followed by detailed images).
To read more of my take on Beatriz Milhazes’ work click here