Manuel Antonio National Park - Sloths, Monkeys, Toucans....tick! (& get a guide!)

Published: July 27th 2015
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Mandibled ToucanMandibled ToucanMandibled Toucan

Lucky us!!!!!

Los Últimos días..

Following our speedboat to Jaco, a we were driven two hours south to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Upon arrival we headed straight to the beach for a seafood platter, why not! It was a long beach, and once we had found a spot away from the slightly concerning crocodile warning signs, we were happy chilling out and playing in the immense waves. Big kids at heart, it's awesome how much fun the ocean can be!

Manuel Antonio has an odd layout because right by the park entrance there are shops and restaurants, which we were told were overpriced and more for convenience. The majority of good eateries and amenities such as ATMs or shops were on "the road to Quepos". We only went to Quepos itself to purchase bus tickets, but other than that we stopped off on the "road to Quepos" many times for some delicious dinners and cocktails. It was easy to get a public bus up and down said road for next to nothing. On our first evening we dined at a lovely place called El Patio - a Latino restaurant where I tried "arepas con Cuerdo" and "Patacones" for the first
Love love love.Love love love.Love love love.

time, and both were rather delicious.

Animal Spotting:

It was an early Monday morning start, but a Monday morning like no other! Our guide Freddy met us at our hotel at 07.45 and drove us five minutes down the road to Manuel Antonio National Park itself. We informed him we desperately wanted to see Sloths and Toucans, and of course he could not promise anything! Freddy collected his giant telescope and we approached the entrance - immediately he halted us, having heard a toucan and then he spotted it up in the trees! Our luck was in!.. before we even entered the was going to be a good day.

One thing that astounded me was Freddy's ability to spot tiny, well camouflaged animals. Even when he pointed them out to us they were hard to see with the naked eye. That's why the use of the guide and the telescope is invaluable. Ironically my iPhone completely trumped the expensive camera I had, as Freddy took a photo on my phone through the telescopic lens!

We spent three hours with Freddy and saw many wonderful creatures in their natural habitat, including a highlight for me, the sloths. I just think they are so odd and hilarious! One of the sloths was having a good old belly scratch, and responded to a human whistle, as it is similar to their mating call. I've left a list of all the animals I was lucky enough to see at the bottom of this blog, and there are photos of many of them attached. I can't recommend getting a guide enough.

We stayed inside the National Park for longer once Freddy had left us, which was lovely as we were on the beach...aside from my least favourite animal, the raccoon. Not quite the relaxing beach experience we'd had the day before. Tourists had food and the raccoons were not afraid to go and get it. Simple enough, don't take food, but still I felt uncomfortable with them around.

We walked the cathedral trail up and around the peninsula of the park which was nice and we were all on animal watch but of course we were not as good as Freddy. We were very hungry by the time we left as we hadn't wanted to open any snacks inside the park, so we went to a nearby backpackers place for a late lunch. We left our belongings at the hotel and headed back to the (non raccoon) beach for a nice afternoon in the sun and getting battered by the waves again!

Tuesday was a relaxed morning - organizing the return of Fiona's wallet. Incredibly it was going to make its way from our hotel in Montezuma (Amor Del Mar) to our hotel by boat and bus. A remarkable tale of restoring faith in humanity! Her wallet travelled across the country completely intact with nothing removed!

We went into Quepos town to have a little look. Essentially it is just a few souvenir shops and food places. In the afternoon we were picked up by Planet Dolphin for a boat trip. We headed out into the ocean on a catamaran sitting on the netted deck over the water. It was fairly cloudy but nice. Our luck had run out in terms of our dolphin search, so we went near the national park land and snorkeled. We had another look for dolphins but they didn't want to come and play. As the sun was setting, the sails went up and we tucked into tuna skewers for dinner. Shame about the dolphins but it gave us a nice afternoon none the less.

El fin...

The final few precious hours on the beach and playing in the waves... again! Mid morning, we took a taxi to Quepos with the hilarious "Roger" who was more than twice our age and wanted to come and dance with us in San Jose all night long! The bus to to San Jose took about three and a half hours, the last half hour being in San Jose traffic.

We spent our last night at the Apartotel which was very nice. The staff were all very helpful, except for their knowledge of the local eateries! We approached them with the idea of a fantastic Costa Rican dinner for our last night in the country....I don't know if it's due to lack of appealing eateries in the sprawl that is San Jose or not, but dinner at "Princess Mariscos" was quite comical, not a place I would visit again. We tried our best to find somewhere to go out dancing with Latin music and that was also quite hard! Our options were student areas that didn't have a great reputation or places that were just classed as a bit dodgy! We decided against it and we're glad we hadn't dedicated much time to San Jose itself on our trip.

And so that was that....Costa Rican adventures had to come to an end! Fantastic holiday! Not quite the end stop, back to NYC!


List of Animals seen in Manuel Antonio National Park:

Violeta Crown Wood Nymph

Mandibled Toucan

Jesus Christ Lizard

Humming Bird



Stick bird - Cammon Potoo

Three Toed Sloth

Squirrel Monkey

White Faced Monkey

Tropical Land Crab

Fire Bill Aracari Toucan

Howler Monkey


Planet Dolphin -

Manuel Antonio Hotel (Jungle Beach Hotel) -

El Patio -

Agua Azul (restaurant) -

El Avion -

Raphael's Terraza -

Apartotel San Jose -

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


La vista! La vista!
La vista!

In certain months, whales cross this way

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