Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
After Monteverde it was really nice to get to Manuel Antonio and the beach. I had planned to spend 4 nights here and mostly just relax and visit the popular Manuel Antonio national park.
I stayed at Selina Manuel Antonio hostel which was very good. I really liked the food there, I ate many good avocado meals and drank some good fruit drinks. The atmosphere is really nice and it was nice with a pool. The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of soap in the bathroom…
The first day in Manuel Antonio I went down to the beach. The hostel was on a hill so I had to walk down a while to reach the beach. Down by the beach and close to the national park there are restaurants and souvernir shops.
The beach was beautiful, long and wide. Even though there are many tourists in Manuel Antonio the beach didn’t get crowded with people when I was there. As you can see on the photos below there are activities like horse back riding and parasailing.
You don’t have to visit the park to see monkeys as many live by the beach…
Manuel Antonio is very hilly and my hostel was on a hill. So on my way back from the beach I tried to take a shortcut, but it was so steep and it ended up being very hard. It was so hot and I got so tired. Finally a friendly guy gave me a ride back to the main road. It was a nice view from the road though.
Manuel Antonio national park
This park is probably the most popular tourist attraction in all of Costa Rica. It lies not that far from the capital and the international airport of San Jose so it’s quite easy to get to. The park is small but there’s a lot of animals and easy it’s to see the wildlife.
Before I got to the park I had met with some other tourists that didn’t like the park because it felt more like a zoo. There were so many people everywhere and the tourists wasn’t so considerate towards the wildlife as in the other parks. Even though there were signs everywhere about not feeding the animals people were doing that and littering. When visiting myself I totally understood what they meant by a zoo.
Most of the animals are quite high up in the trees and the sloths are usually still and hard to spot, but at one time I saw a sloth moving around a lot in a tree.
Manuel Antonio is home to all of the four species of monkeys of Costa Rica and both types of sloths. I only saw two types of monkeys close up though, the white-faced monkey and the squirrel monkey. The howler monkey and spider monkey were hiding themselves really well on this day.
All over the park you see the white-faced monkey.
I really like the sloths, it’s a shame they are sleeping a lot and so high up in the trees so you barely see them though.
Another deal is it with the squirrel monkeys. They are really active and playing around. They really put up a show for a big group of tourists when I was there.
The park isn’t very big, and after walking for a while you reach the peninsula. There are beaches on both sides of the peninsula, and the one you reach right from the trail is the most popular one Playa Manuel Antonio. There are many beaches in the park actually. And if you don’t like Playa Manuel Antonio that is a bit crowded you can go to any of the others.
There are more hiking trails out on the peninsula where you have a view over the sea.
After walking around for a while I reached the other beach, Playa Espadilla Sur. I decided to stay here for a while and take a lunch break under the palm trees. I took a quick dip and then sat down to eat my fruit. You can’t bring chips in to the park and the security checks your bag before you get in. You can only bring fruit and granola bars. I guess because people use it to feed the animals, such a shame.
On the beach we got visits from iguanas, monkeys and raccoons. The monkeys and raccoons went up to people’s bags and opened them and looked for food. People in the water didn’t notice someone tried to steal their stuff. Even people lying down got their stuff stolen, mostly trash, but still. You had to keep your bag in your knee. They are quite quick too.
Manuel Antonio was the last place I decided on visiting on my trip to Costa Rica. At first my idea was to see the animals in Corcovado and get the beach life over in Santa Teresa or something. But to avoid spending more days just on transportation I decided on Manuel Antonio since the beach was supposed to be good here too. If you don’t mind that there are many other tourists I think Manuel Antonio is a good destination. You get a long white beautiful beach and you have the national park where you definitely will see animals. But you do get a more wildlife experience down in Corcovado national park.