Costa Rica – Parque Manuel Antonio

From Costa Rica’s Central Valley we drive south then east on the Pacific Coast to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. It’s a small park but very beautiful and supposed to be full of wildlife.

On our first day here the park is closed so we head to the beach. For about $10USD we get a parking spot right on the beach plus our own beach chairs and umbrella for the day. The beach chairs are nice but they’ve seen better days; every time I get up or sit down another piece of plastic falls off of mine.

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We have dinner at El Avion, an old cargo plane parked up over the beach and converted into a restaurant.

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It’s a great place to watch the sun set.

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Next morning we spot some wildlife even before leaving the our hotel/casino, there is an agouti scurrying around the grounds.

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Since the park is so small they limit the number of people allowed in at any one time. We have to wait maybe 15 minutes at the gate for people to leave before we can enter.

There are several trails through the park, none very long so it’s easy to go everywhere. First wildlife sighting in the park is this little tree frog, I have been hoping to see one of these in Costa Rica.

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Next is the famous Costa Rican Laughing Deer.

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Lots of giant land crabs lurking in the jungle.

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There are several beaches in the park. It seems like most of the people come here for the beaches rather than hiking around the park. Probably because this is the start of Semana Santa (Easter Week) when everyone abandons the cities and heads for the beaches. This one is the closest to the entrance and the most crowded, but still not bad. It’s a perfect day for the beach.

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There are monkeys everywhere in the park but it never gets old watching them frolic in the trees.

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On another trail up to the high point of the park

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Then down to another beach. These raccoons were begging for food from everyone who passed by.

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Another agouti. They’re hard to spot because they blend in so well but every once in awhile we would see one scurrying through the jungle.

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Another stunning beach, less crowded as it’s farther from the entrance.

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Plenty of monkeys here as well.

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Next day we drove back towards Liberia, crossing the famous Crocodile Bridge. For some reason dozens of huge crocodiles hang out in the water here by the highway bridge. Given all the concessions at the end of the bridge I suspect there’s somebody throwing chickens off the bridge every once in awhile to keep them here. Everybody parks off the end of the bridge then walks out to see the crocodiles. No big fences or anything, just a standard highway railing not even waist high.

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