Picture turquoise waters sheltering stunning offshore coral reefs… White sand beaches abutted by verdant forests thick with vegetation and wildlife. Imagine smooth inland waterways providing access to unusual ecosystems… And jungle-shrouded mountain ranges boasting breathtaking views. Welcome to Manuel Antonio National Park where Costa Rica family adventure begins.
Located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, it ranks as the most popular national park in the country. Here’s a breakdown of what to do while visiting.
Hike the Park
While Manuel Antonio National Park ranks as the smallest national park in Costa Rica, the park’s biodiversity remains unmatched with more than 180 species of birds and 100 species of mammals. The best way to see wildlife? On foot.
The park contains numerous well-kept hiking trails that lead to scenic lookouts and beaches. Along the way, you stand an excellent chance of seeing animals and birds, so keep your eyes open. One of our favorite hiking destinations? The beautiful Nauyaca Waterfalls.
Meet the Locals
Local residents include two kinds of sloths: the brown-throated three-toed sloth and Hoffman’s two-toed sloth. Three out of Costa Rica’s four monkey species live here, too: the mantled howler monkey, the grey-crowned Central American squirrel monkey (a.k.a. the mono tití), and the white-headed capuchin monkey.
Besides sloths and monkeys, mammals such as white-nosed coatis (a member of the raccoon family) and deer live here. As for reptiles, you may see green iguanas, black spiny-tailed iguanas, common basilisks, and more. Amphibious creatures like frogs make their home here, too. Finally, the park represents a birder’s dream with species such as toucans, potoos, motmots, woodpeckers, tanagers, turkey vultures, parakeets, and hawks.
Tour the Kids Saving the Rainforest Sanctuary
In 1999, two nine-year-old girls founded the Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) sanctuary to rescue and rehabilitate rainforest wildlife. Today, the organization boasts many success stories and helps more than 130 animals each year. Unfortunately, not every animal that enters KSTR can return to the rainforest. So, the organization cares for them permanently.
They offer KSTR Wildlife Sanctuary tours seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and reservations are required. What will you see on a KSTR tour? Endangered mono titís, capuchins, marmosets, tamarins, parrots and more. The KSTR property includes 70 acres featuring a mountain view and primary and secondary rainforest. Proceeds from tours benefit the animals rescued, rehabilitated, and/or housed at KSTR.
Costa Rica Family Adventure
The activities listed above represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Costa Rica family adventure. Besides hiking, wildlife observation, and touring a sanctuary, other activities include beachgoing, ziplining, kayaking, river rafting, and more.
Interested in learning more about a Costa Rica vacation with kids? While Manuel Antonio marks a great place to start, our 8-Day Costa Rica Adventure will take you deep into the heart of Costa Rica. This itinerary features off-the-beaten-path adventures sure to appeal to your whole family.
At Our Whole Village, we create tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.