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Costa Rican wildlife at Manuel Antonio National Park

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Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest national park in Costa Rica – and yet an idyllic refuge for more than 184 species of birds and 109 species of mammals.

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Manuel Antonio National Park is where you’ll find Costa Rica’s indigenous fauna such as the two- and three-toed sloth, the capuchin monkey, the raccoon, the white-faced monkey, the howler monkey, as well as numerous iguanas, lizards, and multi-hued insects.

As soon as you arrive at the park, hire Mario Brenes, a guide from Costa Rica Jade Tours – and you’ll better understand why this park is the most visited in Costa Rica.

To put it simply, Mario Brenes is a Costa Rican treasure. With ten years of experience as a naturalist guide, Mario knows an incredible amount about Costa Rican flora and fauna – and to walk with him through Manuel Antonio National Park is to see a whole new world that might otherwise go unnoticed by untrained eyes.

Intelligent and well-educated, Mario is passionate about the natural world and its conservation – and to spend an afternoon with him and his Swarovski telescope is to be closer to an Edenic world, unspoiled by Homo sapiens.

Apart from the flora and fauna, there are two pristine, white sand beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park, lined with lush forest.

Manuel Antonio National Park is where you sink into a reverie about leaving behind your life in the States and settling full-time into Costa Rica’s sylvan charms.