Costa Rica Travel Diary Day 13 – Manuel Antonio National Park

Today, we are going to Manuel Antonio National Park; our entry time slot is 9-9.40 am. No food is allowed in the park, so we stop at a café en route for breakfast and arrive at the allocated time. Once the admin is complete; tickets and ID produced, temperature taken, hands sanitised and bags checked for contraband, we are allowed in.


We follow two trails; first Sendero Perezoso (sloth trail). We don’t see any sloths – I’m beginning to think they’re mythical creatures! We do, however, spot monkeys. At first we’re excited, peering up into the trees for a closer look. but as we approach the park kiosk, we realise there are hundreds of them, absolutely everywhere. We climb an observation tower which is more like a monkey living room! And they’re certainly not shy of humans, coming over to check us out.

Monkey viewpoint takeover

We continue on a steep, circular trail round a rocky peninsula called Punta Catedral. It has a lot of steps and a lot of gaps where steps used to be. Climbing it is quite a mission in the heat and humidity. We arrive at the top to find the viewpoints all cordoned off (it has been destroyed by monkeys) and descend the steps/ex steps back to the beach. I go for a paddle to cool down but the water isn’t like the bracing sea water of Bournemouth, it’s more like stepping into a warm bath.

Manuel Antonio NP beach

The old man opts to take a third trail, while I have a leisurely stroll through the mangroves and along the beach, watching pelicans diving into the rock pools for their lunch.

Pelicans at Manuel Antonio NP beach

Then it’s back to the hotel for a much needed cool down – we have walked over 5 miles in 32 degree heat and 80% humidity.

Manuel Antonio sunset

We go for a dip in the ocean at 4 pm, that way we’re on the beach for another glorious sunset. Then we go in search of food around 7. The place is like a ghost town. The restaurants all have happy hour until 6.30 to entice day trippers to stay for dinner, but after this, everywhere is dead. We don’t fancy sitting in an empty restaurant alone, so get the car to drive into Manuel Antonio itself to the Felafel Bar. I order a felafel plate which come with hummus, pitta, salad (Costa Rican food is predominantly fried and I’ve really been craving salad) and chips (I still love fried food though).

Felafal Bar

Then it’s back to the hotel for our final night in Manuel Antonio. It’s been one of my favourite places, so I shall be sad to leave. But I’m looking forward to our next destination; Puerto Jiménez.

Manuel Antonio Beach

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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