Manuel Antonio National Park

December 18th, 2009

Manuel Antonio National Park is a small biological reserve within an area that caters to different activities, like agriculture, the raising of cattle and high tourist development. Located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, in the province of Puntarenas.

It was established on November 15th, 1972 and has 683 hectares (16.24 Km2 – 4,014 acres) of land and 55000 hectares of sea.


The area that currently constitutes the park was originally acquired by foreigners that did not allow the locals to access the park. This situation motivated the implementation of a pro – park National Committee that persuaded the national and local authorities to declare the area a National Park.

Part of the forest is in process of regeneration, since in the past it suffered deforestation of a variety of selective trees for timber purposes. Another important attraction is the very humid tropical forest where endangered species of flora and fauna can be found.

Several short trails, all of them are easily accessible and well maintained; provide the best opportunity in Costa Rica to see the beach and rain forest in one place.

The trails tend to follow the coastline supplying beautiful views and easy access to four beaches, Manuel Antonio beach, Espadilla Sur beach, Puerto Escondido beach and Playitas beach. All of them safe for swimming and great for snorkeling and diving.

Located in the wildlife area called “very humid tropical forest”, mangroves beach, vegetation, marine environments, islands and lagoon, conform one of the most riches places in the country.

The flora that can be found within the primary forest are the Guacimo Colorado( Luehea seemannii ), Cedro amargo ( Cedrela odorata ), Guapinol ( Hymenaea courbaril ), Sura ( Terminalia oblonda ), Black Guapinol( Cynometra hemitomophylla ), Cenizaro tree ( Samanea saman ), and many different species. The mangrove consists of three species: Manglar Colorado tree (Rhizophora mangle), White Mangle tree (Lagunculario racemosa), and Black Mangle tree (Avicennia germinans). On the beach, there is a poisonous tree that has a milky substance and poisonous fruits, Manzanillo tree (Hippomane mancinella), beware! The Almond tree (Terminalia catappa), Savanna Oak tree (Tabebuia rosea ), and the Coconut conform the flora.

You can watch several species of fauna like­: Raccoons ( Procyon cancrivorus), Coatis ( Nasua narica ), Agoutis ( Dasyprocta punctata ), White tail deer ( Odocoileus virginianus), Two toed Sloth ( Choloepus huffmanni), Three- Toed Sloth ( Bradypus variegates ), White faced Monkeys ( Cebus capucinus ), Squirrell Monkeys ( Saimiri oerstedii), Howler Monkeys ( Alouatta palliata), and Spider Monkey ( Ateles geoffroyi ), most of them in endangered.


Species of birds like Toucans, Pelicans, Pigeons, Guacos, Green King Fishers, Fishing Sparrow Hawks and other species like Iguanas, Garrobos, Snakes, Insects, Whales, Dolphins  and so many different species.

Entrance: $ 10 per person

Hours: 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, Closed on Monday.



Why are they so slow?

  • Their gestation period is 11 months, born even with formed teeth and eyes wide opened.
  • They can reach 15 inches and can weight from 9 to 20 pounds, apt for reproduction at the age of 3 years.
  • Each Sloth lives along on top of the trees and will only go down to fulfill its needs every week .They feed on almond and Guarumo tree leaves have four kinds of stomach. Their digestion takes four weeks approximate.
  • They go that slow for their need to save all possible energy as the leaves they feed on provide them with very few calories.
  • Their long nails are the best weapon, they are not aggressive animals.
  • There are five Sloth species and they only live in the tropical forest , two types in Costa Rica : Two toed sloth – Three toed sloth.
  • They are so pretty that they look like stuffed animals , so now you know : When you come down to Manuel Antonio be attentive at the top of the trees or maybe you get lucky and the sloth finds you first.

Written by Memo

(Pictures by Randall Ortega Sanchez)

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