A day In Manuel Antonio National Park

The next stop on the Costa Rican adventure is Manuel Antonio National Park, situated right on the coast around 2.5hrs south of the capital, San Jose. We visited Manuel Antonio on our way to the final part of our stay in Costa Rica (on the Osa Peninsula, having already visiting Arenal, La Fortuna and Tortuguero) and so only spent one night in our lodge – where as always there was lots of wildlife to discover.

Visiting Manuel Antonio is controlled and you have to pay to enter and follow set paths. The entrance cost at the time of writing (2022) is $18, and the park is open from 7am to 4pm every day except for Tuesdays, when it is closed.

We managed to explore the nature, beaches and butterflies of the park on our visit in a full day which combined guided and independent exploring – including joining a 2.5hr naturalist guide lead walk.

Approaching the entrance to the Park

Within the park you can choose to walk any of the well marked walking paths independently, or with a guide. There are 4 trails to follow, El Manglar Trail (Mangrove Trail), Catarata Estacional Trail (Waterfall Trail), Miradores Trail (Viewpoints Trail) and the Peresozo Trail (Sloth Trail). We followed along a couple of the trails and saw lots of wildlife, all quite tame.

This included basilisk lizards, white faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, white nosed coati, baby green iguanas, male and female large black iguanas, an agouti and various spiders.

Capuchin Monkey

Following the Peresozo Trail (Sloth Trail) also ends up on the most famous beach of the park, Manuel Antonio Beach. Our walk included a stop at this beautiful white sandy bay where it was safe to swim in the Pacific waters – but not safe to leave your possessions unattended because of the lizards, racoons and agoutis. You also need to watch out for the monkeys, as they can often come close the humans looking to steal your food. Please also resist feeding the monkeys as human food and bacteria on our hands can make the monkeys really sick.

A sloth on the trail ❤
Manuel Antonio Beach

After finishing our walk, we then also headed to the Butterfly Garden for an hour or so. Again you can do guided walks, but we didn’t feel the need to this time. If butterflies aren’t your thing, then you could also do an evening frog and reptile tour.

Another delicate butterfly

After all of that walking and exploring we were exhausted, so followed it up with a spa treatment at the hotel to relax after a long day. A relaxing massage was definitely the perfect end to a day at Manuel Antonio.

End of day jungle massage

Thanks for reading about our trip to Manuel Antonio. I hope this post was helpful if you’re planning a visit to Costa Rica. Stay safe and happy travelling everyone!


  1. I can’t decide whether I liked all of the beautiful scenery and wildlife at this national park or the idea of a massage after the visit. Hopefully, I will get to find out one day. Thank you for sharing your trip with us, and now I know what an agouti is – I Googled it.

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    1. Hehe the massage was a definite highlight that’s for sure. They are such odd little creatures, they’re like giant rats or huge guinea pigs really!! Thanks so much for reading and have a lovely weekend 🙂

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  2. Your wildlife photos are stunning! I think I’ve said this before, but it is such a treat to see animals in their natural habitats. I love what I have seen of Costa Rica in your posts; if I wasn’t so terrified of snakes, I would probably visit. Great post, Han!

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    1. Aw thank you so much – it was a beautiful country that’s for sure. And I have to give my Dad credit for a fair few of the photos, the post is a joint effort!! 🙂 Hehe I actually only saw 2 snakes so I think you’d be OK! Thanks so much for reading and have a great weekend x

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  3. Loved visiting this park on a trip to Costa Rica. So much wildlife and then those beaches! It was very crowded when we went a few years ago now. Looks like it was a bit quieter for you. Also thought the tours were a great way to see the park and the guides are so knowledgeable and know where to look for the animals 🙂

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    1. Ah I’m so glad you have visited too Linda, it’s really a beautiful country isn’t it 🙂 I agree the guides are the best way to see the wildlife – I don’t think I’d have spotted anything without them!!! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

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    1. Oh definitely, we were so lucky Corna – and just had the best time. The massage was heavenly with just the sounds of the rainforest to distract me! Thanks so much for reading and have a lovely weekend 🙂

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  4. How beautiful! I’m not sure I would have loved the butterfly garden even though all the butterflies in your pictures look gorgeous! I would be afraid to hurt them I think! Thank for sharing your beautiful adventures!

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  5. A great place to view rainforest wildlife. When I was there years ago with my son, the entrance went through a river that, in high tide, you had to wade across, carrying your pack over your head, or take a boat (you paid the boatman). I have heard they since changed the entry.!

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