Manuel Antonio National Park-Costa Rica

Adventure guide, Rey, breezes by our table during the cocktail hour.

“Make sure to bring your phones tomorrow. Trust me,” he smiles, before moving to the next table.

Being firm instruction followers, we pack our phones in our daypack as we prepare for our day at Manuel Antonio National Park.

Our skift lands on one of Manuel Antonio’s beaches. This is one of the advantages of being an Uncruise guest. We don’t have to use the main park entrance like everyone else. We are also able to arrive at the park early, before the crowds begin.

We’re happy, because we haven’t had an activity with Rey yet. With an eagle eye, charming personality, vast knowledge, and impressive scope, we are certain to have an amazing day.

Manuel Antonio National Park is a popular tourist attraction in Costa Rica. The grounds and paths are meticulously maintained.

So far, during our activities, we encounter very few people other than fellow Uncruise guests.

Being thrust into the crowds at a major tourist attraction , is a bit of a jolt.

We discover why Rey told us to bring our phones. Once he focuses his scope on an animal, we can use our phones to take fantastic, up close, shots of the wildlife.

Rey wastes no time, and spots two rare animals in our first hour or two in the park.

A helmet lizard,

and a stick bird.

The stick bird is resting high in a tree, and so perfectly blends into the environment, I start to wonder if Rey has super powers.

Although he spots several sloths, they are all hiding their faces.

Finally, Rey finds a happy little guy peeking over a branch.

Sloth sighting = my trip is now made.

Rey spends the morning telling us all sorts of great information about the wildlife, like how the bats cut perfect little holes into leaves.


There are a lot of monkeys in Manuel Antonio. They are not shy. They jump and climb around, very close to visitors.

Being an immense lover of wildlife, it is a glorious morning for me (you can read the story about my shirt here).

picture courtesy of Uncruise Adventures

Manuel Antonio with Rey as our guide, and seeing all of the animals, was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

We spend the afternoon hanging out on one of Manuel Antonio’s beaches.

The water is rougher than anticipated, and though I’m barely up to my waist, a large, late crashing wave, completely wipes me out.

picture taken just moments before my sunglasses are swept away

It takes me a few minutes to realize that something is missing. My sunglasses, my prescription sunglasses, are not on my face. I frantically search around, but alas, Manuel Antonio has taken them out to sea. I’d like to think that there is a near-sighted turtle out there that now has perfect vision.

Our day at Manuel Antonio National Park was memorable. The park is beautiful and brimming with wildlife. It’s large, so even though there were tons of people, the park disperses the crowds well.

Rey, our guide, was part of our Uncruise ship, but if you visit the park as part of a trip to Costa Rica, you can hire guides through many tour companies or book one through the park’s website. I’d highly recommend booking a guide. They can spot wildlife high up in the trees or back in a twist of jungle vines, that you’d probably never spot. Most of the guides provided by the park also have special telescopes for viewing animals and getting great pictures, which is well worth the expense.

Back on the ship, we are treated to a colorful sunset.  I love how the clouds playfully dot across the sky. After spending time with scurrying lizards, smiling sloths, and mischievous monkeys, it appears to be an appropriate ending to our Manuel Antonio day.

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  1. Kate and Kris

    August 30, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Stunning photos! The wildlife in Costa Rica looks amazing.


      September 3, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks. The wildlife during the whole trip was amazing. As it’s one of my favorite things to see while on a trip I was in heaven.

  2. Kamara

    September 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    What a wonderful experience! Costa Rica is high on my list – the nature there just looks so lush and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!


      September 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Definitely visit Costa Rica. They have such a commitment to conserving nature and wildlife and that creates so much natural beauty to see.

  3. Ruth | Tanama Tales

    September 1, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    You almost snuggled with the wildlife. You saw so many species. I went to the park long time ago and saw a lot. And, I loved every minute of it. The stick bird is cool. Those monkeys are mean. I saw them stealing food from the people who left things unattended on the beach.


      September 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      The nice part about being with Uncruise was that they had monkey watchers for our stuff while we swam and chilled out on the beach. It is an amazing park. The stick bird was so cool. Rey said they are extremely rare to see, so we felt extra special.

  4. Corinne

    September 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    What an adventure! I love seeing animals in their natural habitats and you can’t get any more natural than that! So captivating. (And love your t-shirt, too!)


      September 3, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      I love seeing them in their natural habitats too as opposed to a zoo. It was a super fun park to visit.

  5. Jill

    September 3, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Sorry about the glasses but it looks like a fantastic trip anyways! Fantastic photos! The more I hear about the Uncruises the more I want to go on one. Maybe someday!


      September 3, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks. I finally was able to get a new pair of glasses, and floating bands too, just in case I ever swim in them again. We loved Uncruise. The guides were fantastic, and I loved being able to have real adventures each day. We’re hoping to do their Alaska cruise in 2019. They are pricey, but definitely worth the cost.

  6. Kaylie

    September 3, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I would love to see a sloth. This looks like a fantastic place to see wildlife.


      September 3, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      I think if you are visiting Costa Rica is best guarantee to see wildlife. I enjoyed seeing all of the other animals, but what I really wanted to see was a sloth.

  7. Kaylie

    September 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    I would love to see a sloth. This looks like a fantastic place to see wildlife. Costa Rica is on my list for 2018.

  8. Edith

    September 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    This brought back such great memories of our visit to Manuel Antonio! This has been one of my favorite parks ever because of the abundance of wildlife. The monkeys and sloths were my favorite part. I remember being so fascinated to see sloths were really as slow as int he movie Zootopia haha! Glad this was a great experience for you too. #weekendwanderlust


      September 3, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Thanks! I love sloths so much and as this was near the end of the trip I was staring to fear I wouldn’t see one. Thanks to Manuel Antonio for being such a great park.

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