If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!
[ Central America ][ Costa Rica ]

Is Manuel Antonio National Park Worth a Visit?

When planning for our trip to Costa Rica, the top of our list on things to see included — rainforest, beaches, adventure, coffee and wildlife!  It was in search of these that led us to Manuel Antonio area, primarily for the beaches and a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.

From the San Jose airport, it was roughly a 2.5 hour car rid/trip to get to the area.  We dedicated a morning for a visit to the National Park.

Our wildlife spotting started before we even reached the park.  Our driver spotted a Tucan in the tree on the side of the road!  Amanda was giddy with excitement to have seen one of these colorful birds!  It was also truly amazing that our driver was able to spot him!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!
The park opens at 7AM and we chose to arrive early to try to beat the heat and the crowds.  Upon entering, we were surrounded by lush greenery and the sounds of insects and birds creating a soft hum in the background as we made our way through the trail.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

While Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest in the country, it is one of the richest in terms of bio-diversity and mammal and bird species.  We soon heard shuffling of leaves overhead and spotted this guy, a white faced monkey!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

We learned that the monkeys are keen on eating palm fruits throughout the park.  As we would spot the orange bunches we were hoping to see a monkey in action.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

After a few trees with no success, we finally found the monkeys enjoying their breakfast.  It was fascinating to watch them hang onto the bunch and eat one handed.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

We then turned our attention to finding the insects.  For this our guide was equipped with a telescope so we could spot them more closely.  I was amazed at the skill our guide had to spot just the tiniest of insects.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

It wasn’t too long before we were spying on these guys!  Can you find all 3 spiders on this web?

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

The webs were fascinating.  We learned that of the roughly 20,000 species of spiders in Costa Rica, only a handful are poisonous.

As we continued down the path, the sightings got a bit more colorful.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

As we walked, we had to keep looking down to ensure we were not stepping on any insects.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

While most of the trails were stone and gravel, there were some areas with nice wood planks and concrete sidewalks to walk through.  This was nice to get closer to the trees for sloth spotting!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

During the hike, we made sure to keep covered with long pants and insect repellent clothing from Columbia to keep the bugs away!

We again took out the telescope to find this 2-toed sloth sleeping in the tree.  How is that comfortable?  My arms would fall asleep!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

Then it was a quick pause so we could let this guy cross the path.  These are like tall, skinny versions of raccoons I have seen in America.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

As we continued down the trail we noticed that the soil seemed to change color to our right…..

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

Turns out it was not the soil but a MASSIVE ant hill.  This was by far the largest we have ever seen.  It is incredible to think how many ants call this mound home!

Below is a map of the park.  We chose to walk the orange path, number 15.  After a little over 2 hours of walking, the trail led to the highlight of our trip…..

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

The ocean!  Look at this gorgeous cove.  It was stunning with the clear blue waters, soft white sand and lush surroundings!  It didn’t take us long to jump right in and cool off from our hike.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

There was even entertainment on the side of the beach as the monkeys played in the trees and sand around us!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

Overall we had an active morning of wildlife sightings and a relaxing time at the beach.  We would highly recommend Manuel Antonio Park during your next trip to Costa Rica.  We only dedicated one morning to the park and I think on the next trip we would spend time hiking more of the trails and exploring a larger part of the coast within the park.

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

For us, this park is certainly worth a visit!  We were happy we chose this area of the coast to explore both the wildlife and beaches.  Our tour was arranged by our hotel, Arenas del Mar Resort & Spa.  They made it incredibly simple to book the tour.  The guide and driver met us at the hotel in the morning and was very knowledgeable throughout the park.  The downside of using a guide is you have a limited number of time at the beach.  We would plan to spend a full day on our own next time and see the wildlife but also have more time at the beach!

If you are visiting the Pacific side of Costa Rica, don't miss a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park filled with wildlife and stunning beaches!

Tags:

EatWorkTravel

In constant pursuit of luxury, adventure and romance outside the office. We work hard at the office to support our luxury eating and traveling adventures inspiring others to make the most of their time off.

7 Comments

  1. Looks incredible! I love your toucan and monkey photos.
    #weekendwanderlust

  2. Beautiful pictures and what an incredible wildlife is to be seen in Costa Rica! Do you think it is fine to visit the National Park on your own (without a guide) ? Thank you!

    1. Yes, you could go on your own and enjoy a stroll through the park. The guides were able to point out wildlife that we likely would not have seen on our own and provided the telescope. We feel we saw much more having a guide for the park portion of the trip.

  3. Hey Amanda and Brian, I really liked this posting on Manuel Antonio National Park. I have been wanting to visit Costa Rica, but was hesitate because I didn’t want to rent a car. Did you have the driver for the whole trip?

    1. Hi Samantha! We did not have a car. The hotel we stayed at in the area, Arenas del Mar, offered service to/from the airport and also had a car service we could use to get into town. The rates were competitive with the area taxi so we chose to use that.

  4. Costa Rica has been on my list for a while now and Manuel Antonio is one of the must-sees in my opinion, when visiting this country!

  5. I loved this post! It’s great to have an inside look at something I’ve always wanted to do. Now Costa Rica is even higher on my list!

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published.