My Day at Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great place to visit in the winter. I’ve only been on the Pacific coast side. Hopefully, I can visit the Caribbean side sometime during this trip.

I told a friend in Toronto that I had visited the park and saw lots of animals, but only because my partner and I booked a tour guide. My friend got back to me and asked what animals we got to see.

I replied: 

At Manuel Antonio National Park, we saw howler monkeys and white-faced monkeys. We saw two types of sloths, three-toed and two-toed. I had no idea there was such a thing as a two-toed sloth. And it’s a meat eater, whereas the three-toed sloths are herbivores. 

We met a coatimundi, a raccoon-like animal that was hanging around the vending area deep inside the park. It looked like a big house cat or a skinny raccoon:-))

One of our tour group spotted an animal in the bush, just on a slight rise and blending in with the terrain. Our tour guide set up her telescope and we all got a close look at this rabbit-like animal. I only say rabbit-like because of the way it seemed to think it was invisible. Do you know how rabbits do that? This animal looks more like an oversized guinea pig. It’s called an Agouti. The one we saw seemed to be giving birth.

Our tour guide was impressed; she indicated that many trees grow thanks to this mammal. The Agouti is known as “Scatter Hoarders” they are forgetful, and they scatter the hoards of nuts and seed they collect throughout the forest. This, in turn, allows for new growth, trees, plants, and shrubs.

We also saw very cool lizards—some giant iguanas. A basilisk which is a type of lizard that walks on water.  

Our guide told us about fifty species of hummingbirds are native to Costa Rica, and sixteen different kinds live in the park. We only saw two, but they were in their nests. Without our guide and her finely tuned eyes, we would not have seen these birds.

The guides have very powerful telescopes for finding animals. We saw all kinds of spiders, crabs, and birds, including colorful parrots and even a toucan. 

At the end of the tour they leave you at a protected beach, hardly any waves, it’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Being prepared is my boy scout motto. I brought my mask and snorkel and an underwater camera. I caught some photos of cool-looking fish, including a blowfish. 

I highly recommend a tour with a guide if you get the chance to visit Manuel Antonio National Park.