A Day in Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica has a number of options for viewing wildlife. One of its best known, and said to be one of its most popular attractions, is Manuel Antonio National Park. Located on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio National Park gets thousands of visitors annually and has four lush beaches, a number of hiking trails, forests, and several inhabitants on land and in the water. It’s a pretty bio-diverse location.

If you like sloths, monkeys, lizards, iguanas, and birds, then this is the best place to see them!

If you want to visit Manuel Antonio National Park, go early. When my media group went to see the park, our guide told us that there is limited amount of daily visitors permitted in the park. You have to pay an admission fee to enter the park, and it’s open every day except Mondays. If I remember right, we got there before 9 a.m., and a line was already forming.

Another good tip from our guide was to, well, get a guide. Park guides are certified – in having been extensively educated about the park – and often can stop and point out the various wildlife that you might not see at first yourself. It’s said you can rent a guide at the park or possibly book a reservation in advance through your hotel. Of course, you can go on your own and just take in the views. And if a crows stops at a certain section, it’s a good indication they’ve spotted something.

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After walking through one of the trails from the entrance, we headed down to one of the beach areas. It’s a bit of a trek down a hill, but along the route, there is a changing room/shower area. At the beach area, there are picnic tables or just random sections for putting your items down. But as a note, watch your stuff. Not just because of the obvious reasons, but there are some creatures that be curious about what you’ve got. There a few different species of monkeys here, one of them being a white-heard capuchin. My group spotted a few of them wandering around the beach area. Let them be, but note that they seemingly are curious.

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In heading to the beach, I got to go into the water for a while. I’m not a strong swimmer but I had a bit of time in the water. The waves can be a bit strong — you can come across riptides —  so I just ended up letting them just me back toward the beach. There are also rocks underwater the water, too, but so watch where you step.

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In heading back, we went on a different trail where we spotted other creatures like this land crab that’s a bright reddish color. This one below was pretty camera shy.

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In all, Manuel Antonio National Park is worth a visit!

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