Diverse and promising wildlife is one of the main things that attracts so many tourists to Costa Rica every year. Costa Rica has huge amounts of natural forest, but few of its national parks come as close to being able to guarantee you seeing a range of animals as Manuel Antonio. Not only does it have a huge and stunning rainforest full of life, it also has a beautiful beach, giving you the chance to both relax by the sea and hike through the forest on the same day. Manuel Antonio National Park really is a destination not to be missed.
Watch the wildlife
Manuel Antonio National Park has a truly staggering amount of wildlife: 109 species of mammals and 184 types of bird. Keep your eyes out as you walk through the many wide trails and you will be able to see all sorts of animals. Creatures like deer, which would normally stay hidden are now so used to the presence of people that they often come right up to the paths, while if you’re patient you will be able to watch monkeys and sloths in the trees above you.
While it is not obligatory to have a guide or to sign up for a tour, I would highly recommend it as a guide will definitely spot things you would miss. Many even come equipped with telescopes, giving you amazing close-up views of wildlife in the trees overhead. However, whether or not you opt to be accompanied by a guide, you will definitely have many opportunities to watch wildlife around you.
As well as the mammals, Manuel Antonio is the home to a huge range of other animals. Look up and you will see birds flying overhead, maybe even a toucan or parrot; look down and you will see lizards and tiny frogs; look amongst the trees and you will notice all sorts of animals like bats, iguanas and butterflies. Manuel Antonio’s wildlife is amazingly diverse and gives a real insight into what Costa Rican rainforests have to offer.
The most beautiful beach
Walk through Manuel Antonio’s forest and you will reach one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. Palm trees, turquoise sea, white sand and warm water; it is a true tropical paradise. As it can only be reached through the rainforest, it doesn’t tend to get too busy, leaving you free to relax and soak up the sun in perfect tranquility. Be aware of the dangers of rip currents, but also take the chance to cool off with a paddle in the clear waters, it really is an ideal place to relax.
Marvel at the monkeys
Unlike many similar destinations, Manuel Antonio doesn’t only give you the chance to watch wildlife above your head. If you make sure to be at the beach in Manuel Antonio around lunchtime, you will have the amazing experience of watching different types of monkeys leap about in the trees lining the sand as they come in search of food. While you should of course not feed the monkeys, you can watch them as they play together and climb about within touching distance. Manuel Antonio is home to three types of monkeys: howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys and white-faced capuchin monkeys, and if you stay close to the beach you will almost definitely see one or all of these beautiful species jumping about in the trees right in front of you.
Explore a tropical rainforest
Many of Costa Rica’s forests are not actual rainforests; some of them are actually called cloud forests, meaning they have a cooler climate and a different range of wildlife. However, Manuel Antonio is a true, and enormous rainforest. As you explore the trails you will be surrounded by a huge variety of trees and plants as well as the animals, and can experience another side of Costa Rica’s natural beauty. It does tend to get very hot and humid in Manuel Antonio, so you should make sure you have plenty of suncream, water and bug spray, as well as sturdy shoes to hike the trails. As long as you prepare accordingly, you will have an amazing day in this beautiful rainforest.
One of Costa Rica's most beautiful places
Manuel Antonio National Park should feature on the itinerary of anyone visiting Costa Rica. Its beautiful beach, exotic wildlife and tropical rainforests truly encapsulate what makes Costa Rica a paradise of biodiversity, and you are guaranteed to have an amazing day watching the animals and wandering on the white sand beach. Come to Manuel Antonio and see your dreams of Costa Rica come to life.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.