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ashbourne, United Kingdom
June 2, 2010
From journal Costa Rica
April 1, 2008
From journal Magnificent Manuel Antonio
September 26, 2005
So one day at the beach, the clouds started to roll in, and on the way back to my hotel, I stopped in for a look. The farm is a few about 100 feet from the check-in building and you walk to the enclosed space through the jungle. Inside the sceen cage it was amazing. I saw hundreds of colorful butterflies. If you are still they will land on you. My favorite was the Blue Morpho, a large butterfly with bright blue wings. I was amazed at what I was seeing and didn't notice it was now starting to rain, and then it started to pour rain. I also was the only guest out here in the butterfly gazebo! But just as I was starting to fret, one of the guides rushed down from the main building with an umbrella for me. Now, that was service!
While I was waiting for the rain to quit, the guys at the front office, convinced me the Nocturnal Jungle Tour was the way to go. You never know what to expect walking the jungle at night!
So the next night I paid my $20 and joined a small group of three other Americans and we headed up the trails, armed only with flashlights.
This night we did not meet many mammals, we only saw a sloth, watching us from a high perch. However we saw snakes, frogs, and insects galore!
I soon learned if you were quiet and just waited out here in the jungle you would see all types of wildlife.
Our guide, Brian, was excellent and really knew his wildlife. He was a bit of a Costa Rican Jeff Corwin! He had no problem picking up a posinous snake or small dart frog.
We spent about two hour in the jungle and I came away with a better understanding and appriciation for what is out here. This tour runs nightly, but every night it's a different show, as it's up to Mother Nature what she wants to share with the group on that night.
TIP: Wear long pants and good walking shoes. I made the mistake of wearing shorts and flip-flops and was eaten alive by gnats and other insects.
From journal Nature's Gift - Costa Rica
September 16, 2005
In front of the park is a public beach, vendors selling handicrafts and foods. There are also some shops and restaurants here. The atmosphere is one of a fair. This is a popular spot for folks coming down for the weekend from San Jose and everyone seems to be in a party mood.
The park opens every morning at 8:00am. If you want to catch some monkey action - the earlier the better. The monkeys are most active in the morning and at dusk. During the heat of the day they tend to nap and relax. Early in the morning the beaches are not crowded, some of the perfect beaches had nobody on them. Later in the day they fill up!
The park costs $6 to enter. They also will only allow 600 visitors to enter each day. So when they reach that magic 601 mark, you are out of luck and will have to try again tommorow!
Entering the park was rustic. You had to wade across a small stream to get in. The night before it had rained and the stream was massive, it was over my waist. You can pay a boater a few coins and they will take you on a short ride over this deep water.
The park is beautifully maintained. The paths are well marked and very well groomed. The first part of the park is flat. Further into the park the paths start to get hilly and are less groomed.
The beaches in the park are pristine. They have fine white sand and the ocean here is azur.
I came for the wildlife. I saw a ton of those cute white faced monkeys swinging in the trees. I also saw hundreds of colorful red and purple crabs, amazing butterflies and some kind of wild pig ran in front of me!
You can take guided tours of the park with a nature guide. These tours are all over Quepos and the hotels around the park.
I chose to hike the park on my own. I picked a trail called Punta Catedral and it took about 30 minutes to do it round-trip. The view was spectcular. The path can be steep in places and because it rained the night before it was muddy. This is a great path to spot monkeys on and I did see a lot. It also will take you past some secluded white sand beaches.
A trail I did not hike is Punta Surrucho, which has some sea caves. I was warned this is not a good trail to hike alone, as you can hike in during low tide, get stuck there at high tide.
Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica's second smallest park, but the most popular. The views and the wildlife here make this a park worth visiting.
by Ben the Grate
April 2, 2003
Getting to the park involves either driving or taking the bus from San Jose (about $8). The express bus takes about 4-5 hours and leaves from Coca Cola Terminal around 7am. For the drivers, there is a parking area at the end of the road ($5, not very secure).
It can be confusing to find where the park entrance actually is. Walk down the steps and onto the beach, to your left. Where the rocky headland juts up to the right of a creek, you will find a trail that heads up over a short rise and down to the park entrance (not visible from the beach.)
$6 per person is charged (pay in U.S. or colones) per day for admission. Keep your ticket stub if you leave the park for lunch so you won't be charged upon return.
The park is CLOSED on Mondays! So don't go.
There is a quota of visitors to help keep the vegetation from being trampled, but it’s so generous they rarely exceed it. As this part of the country gets more rain than most of Costa Rica, expect it to be rainy any time of year.
Walk the main road past the beach and around to the second beach (Playa Tres). At the picnic area, monkeys sometimes gather for handouts (but don't feed them!). Playa Tres is one of the most beautiful beaches I've EVER seen anywhere. It's pretty small, hemmed in on both sides by jagged rocks, backed by thick rainforest, pale blonde sand, and blue water. Snorkeling is reputed to be good here, but I've always experienced poor visibility.
Passing the beach, turn left at the administrative center and stroll the park's dirt road. White-faced Capuchin monkeys tend to play in the trees near this junction.
Sendero Catarata (Waterfall Trail) is a great way to get rid of the crowds, but it is narrow, muddy, and slippery, and the small waterfall only runs in the wet season.
Playa Espedilla, at the end of a well-developed trail of about 2km, is also stunning, with far less people than Playa Tres.
The park closes for entry at 3pm. Everyone else seemed to leave by then, I just stayed at Playa Tres frolicking in the water and had the beach all to myself. I left at my leisure.
Visiting the national park midweek in rainy season will assure you more serenity, but will give you less chance of seeing monkeys, who hate the rain. Hiring a guide at the end of the road in the town of Manuel Antonio will help assure a sighting, and they bring large telescopes to bring the wildlife closer. It's nice if you have the $20 to spend.
From journal Costa Rica 101
March 29, 2001
The park is filled with a wide variety of birds, lizards, monkeys and frogs. The flora and fauna is spectacular with many very rare trees, flowers and plants. The orchids were blooming everywhere when we were there in February, which is the dry season. The park has markers by many of the plants giving information about them, which was very interesting. There were occasional bathhouses with toilets and changing rooms for the swimmers. Picnic tables and small huts that sold snacks and drinks were near the more popular swimming beaches. Be sure to take your camera because you will have many opportunities for spectacular photos. The day at the park was one I will remember always.
From journal Quepos, Off The Beaten Path
by Enrique Brener
April 30, 2005
We were told the best beach was about a hundred yards down the main trail and to the left, so we went there. The beach was beautiful, with white sand, palm trees, and a serene sea. We spent a couple of hours there, just relaxing, bathing in the sea, and taking in the sun. Every once in a while, someone would point up or to the trees, and we would see all sorts of birds, sluggish bears, and yes, monkeys! We were told not to leave our belongings unattended, as monkeys are known to come down from the trees onto the beach, rummage through knapsacks, and take food and shiny objects (watches, jewelry, etc.). We saw them venturing close, but not too close to people on the beach. We also got a lesson on camouflage when a tour guide pointed 6 feet up a tree and told us to look at the bats on the bark. Needless to say, it took a little time before we could locate them, and some people never knew where they were.
After a few hours on the beach, we decided to explore the park, so we grabbed our stuff, and started walking. There are several trails that require varying degrees of physical exertion. We took two of the trails, one moderate and one with steeper climbs (not hard by any means either). Along the trails, you can spot birds, lizards, and hear all sorts of noises which you cannot always identify or pinpoint.
We took advantage of my camera’s zoom, and I definitely recommend bringing binoculars. Also, there are guides for hire at the park entrance that take you on the trails and help you locate animals, as they usually know their usual haunting spots. They also carry a small telescope to facilitate the group’s viewing.
As far as facilities, there are bathrooms in several places in the park but not many more facilities. Take plenty of sunscreen and bottled water, as there are no places to buy food or drink within the park. Finally, remember to take all your belongings and not to leave any trash behind, so as to preserve this wonderful park.
From journal Getaway in Manuel Antonio, Cost Rica
by Nanah D
March 25, 2004
This park can be enjoyed in two hours or a whole day or weekend, as it has five different beaches within the park, all different, some with tide pools and cliffs; others for swimming. All of the parks in Costa Rica are $7 for non-residents and are good for the entire day. In Manuel Antonio, you must bring a lunch or leave the park to eat. There are various places to eat in the community of Manuel Antonio right outside of the park. There are numerous trails off the beaten track where you can be alone and walk to a river crossing or a waterfall with no one else in sight (best to tell someone where you are going, as you can get lost). If you stay in Manuel Antonio near the park, you will hear the howler monkeys at night howling out their territorial rights. It sounds somewhat like a team cheering in a football stadium, and after hearing it once, you know what it is and look forward to hearing it again.
This park is south of Quepos, a larger town, from which there are numerous other tours available such as canopy tours, surfing and many water sports. However, there are many places to stay in Manuel Antonio, with some of the places being very luxurious and in the hills overlooking the bays and park of Manuel Antonio. The park is closed on Monday for cleaning and attendance is limited to 600 people per day so one should arrive close to the 7 a.m. Opening to be sure of admittance during the dry season.
From journal Costa Rica: Nature's Sanctuary
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
May 6, 2002
You can leave and return but be sure to keep your entrance ticket. There are two good restaurants right outside the Park. My Favorite is the Argentine Grill with 6 Computers lined up on one side and free live music at night.
From journal Costa Rica - First Adventure
by unorthodox traveler
December 6, 2000
The trails wind through the forest, up to clifftops, and down to beaches..depending on the trail you take..you can walk through this forest in less than an hour or spend hours exploring these wonderful forests.
Along the trail, watch for bromeliads that cling to tree limbs, small crabs and iguanas. The place is full of white-faced monkeys as well as birds,squirrels and other creatures.
From journal Quepos...Home of Manuel Antonio Park