Catch A Glimpse Of Rainforest Wildlife At This Central American National Park

Costa Rica is famed for its wildlife and one of the most picture-perfect spots to see it is Manuel Antonio National Park which has beaches, ocean, and jungle to spot animals in. Forbes described it as "one of the world's most beautiful national parks" due to its natural diversity. If you care about the environment, Costa Rica is a great place for you to visit. It was ranked as the greenest and happiest country in the world every year from 2016-2019, according to the Happy Planet Index.

According to Costa Rica Experts, one of the best hikes in the country is the main trail in Manuel Antonio National Park which is 1.3 miles long and goes between its three beaches. This hike and the 0.9-mile steeper Punta Catedral trail are two of the best ways to see wonderful wildlife as well as stunning views. The national symbol for Costa Rica is the sloth and it lives in the trees along these pathways, alongside a host of other delightful creatures that will bring you joy to discover. Whether it is birds, dolphins, or monkeys that you're interested in, Manuel Antonio will show you creatures that you never knew existed.

Wildlife to find in Manuel Antonio National Park

The white-faced capuchin may be the most famous Costa Rican primate here, but others, such as howler, squirrel, and spider monkeys can all be seen. Other incredible mammal species that live in the park are anteaters, agoutis, peccaries, bats, kinkajous, coatis, and the occasional jaguar. There are lots of species of frogs, lizards, and snakes, as well as 335 types of birds. If you're good at identifying wildlife, then there is a species list for Manuel Antonio National Park at iNaturalist.

Guided tours are also available in the park for those who would like help spotting animals, which typically take 2 to 2.5 hours. While on the beach, look out for spinner dolphins, spotted dolphins, and humpback whales in season from June to October. There are three beaches in the park, Manuel Antonio Beach and Espadilla Sur on either side of its pretty peninsula and Escondido Beach further inside. The best place for snorkeling is Manuel Antonio Beach and you may see turtles, tropical fish, and starfish here.

Where to stay near Manuel Antonio National Park

The best way to see as much wildlife as possible is to stay for at least one night. While it is not possible to stay in the park itself, there is plenty of accommodation in Manuel Antonio town, Quepos Point, and Espadilla Beach. At the beach, many of the hotels are located at the entrance to the park and trails. As the wildlife doesn't know where the park ends, it is still possible that you will see and hear different species before you even enter the Manuel Antonio reserve.

Tulemar is the top-rated resort in Manuel Antonio according to Tripadvisor and it has private bungalows and villas in a jungle setting where birds, monkeys, and sloths can be seen. The Parador Resort & Spa is a highly-reviewed luxury eco-resort at Quepos Point which gets incredible sea views. Two of the top-ranked accommodation options near Espadilla Beach and the park entrance are the San Bada Hotel & Spa and La Posada Jungle Hotel. Both of these are located so close to the trails that you can get into the park early, beat the crowds, and see wildlife when it is most active just after dawn.