Manuel Antonio and Carara National Parks

Our Travel Vlog/Video

Our Travel Video

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is located on the Pacific Coast of CostaRica. It has variety of beautiful landscapes like mountains, coves and lush tropical forests descending right onto white sand beaches. It has been listed by Forbes as one of the 12 most beautiful national parks across the world. It is around 2 and half hour drive from San Jose hence more crowded than Monteverde.

The wildlife is more easy to access here compared to high altitude Monteverde Cloud Forest. We could spot the Capuchin monkey, howler monkey, spider monkey, sloth, and a huge variety of antshrike birds and toucans here. We stayed in Hotel Manuel Antonio (for 2 nights), which is at a 5 min walking distance from the entrance of the park! The beach on the National Park as well as one outside the park (in front of our hotel) were very beautiful. The sunsets were mesmerizing and picturesque. The mild waves crashing softly on miles of super soft golden and glowing sand during the sunset can make everlasting memories. This place has forests, wildlife and beaches all in one place!

Manuel Antonio beach inside the National Park.

White faced Capuchin monkey are quite a lot in number, and do entertain tourists by snatching juice bottles from unsuspecting tourists!

We were lucky to spot a pair of chestnut billed toucan just outside the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park. They usually sit on trees bearing fruits like fig tree, wild cherry tree etc. We had seen the keel billed toucan and emerald toucanet in Monteverde.

Public beach opposite to our hotel. Sunsets were very beautiful and colorful.

Howler monkey, to hear its howl take a look at our travel video above.

Manuel Antonio Beach inside the national park.

Raccoon going after tourist's belongings

Fasciated Antshrike

Spider monkey, to watch it jump take a look at our video above.

Sloth hanging from a tree

From left top clockwise: Chestnut backed Ant bird, Black hooded Antshrike male, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Yellow Green Vireo, Fasciated Antshrike, Female blackcrowned antshrike and female blackhooded antshrike

Carara National Park

We drove to Carara National Park, one and half hour drive from Manuel Antonio and just 15 km from Jaco Beach. Carara National Park is also on the pacific coast of CostaRica and is wetter than Manuel Antonio National Park. This means more lush forests and mosquitos! It is home to the largest remaining population of Scarlet Macaws.

The scarlet macaws are usually seen flying in pairs above the forest. They do sit occasionally on near by trees bearing fruits. We were lucky to spot one just outside the park entrance. This one was eating nuts wading through the branches. We spent a good amount of time enjoying this spectacle from every angle. Scarlet macaws in wild are a sight to behold!

To watch a scarlet macaw eat fruits and spread wings and fly take a look at our travel video above.

The Carara National Park protects the River Tarcoles basin. River Tarcoles is inhabited by Crocodiles. There is bridge where people stop just to view massive crocodiles swim in the river. We spotted many 12 feet long crocodiles from the bridge! The forest is also home to mammals, birds like humming birds, antshrikes, tanagers, motmots, trogons etc as well as reptiles like iguana, jesus christ lizard or Basilisk and crocodiles.

Sun bathing Iguana

A nice picnic spot at the entrance of the national park.

Wild cashew tree.

Basilisk or Jesus Christ Lizard as the guides call it. Looks like a dried leaf.

Crocodiles in river Tarcoles.

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