Manuel Antonio National Park is considered a staple for many nature enthusiasts with thousands of people visiting every year. Due to its widespread notoriety in the wildlife tourism industry, it has exploded in the recent years.
It started in 1972 when the owner of the property tried to build a resort on what would soon be Manuel Antonio National Park. The locals, who had been enjoying the area’s forest and beaches for generations, protested this, and a legal document to turn the property into a national park was created. The story isn’t exactly clear how the park got its name, but one of the more credible ones say that one of the local families was scouting the property only to find a single man with no family or anything, living there who inspired the name. Others say the name comes from a deceased conquistador, but we will never know.
The park is well known for its many diverse flora and fauna species, including the deadly Manchineel fruit, the white-faced Capuchin monkey, the venomous Fer de Lance snake, and even the tiny leafcutter ants. Tourists both come for the animals and the beautiful scenery, with long trail hikes, mangrove bridges, and at the very end, a large white-sand beach with tide pools, rock formations, and endless opportunities for beach combing. It is recommended to hire a guide to come with you, as creatures that might have been spotted will go unseen to untrained eyes. We would’ve never seen the two- or three-toed Sloths sleeping high up in the treetops nor the tiny little tent making bat hiding under the leaves of a large bush.
KK here! My favorite animals that we saw in Manuel Antonio were the tent making bats. The tent making bats are little bats that live up to their name, by making little tents under leaves. They bite littles holes in the leaf and then clamping on with their feet. They weren’t the white kind they were just plain old brown, but they were irresistibly cute! They were sleeping but we were so close that I could’ve touched them if there weren’t parents, park guards, and multiple diseases that they carry. *sniff sniff*
Karalaral here! My favorite animal from the park was the Fer de lance (snake). The Fer de lance is one of the most dangerous snakes in Central America, as it can inject an average of 105mg of venom in one bite. It causes more human deaths than any other North American reptile. Its name means “spearhead” in French, though its official name is Terciopelo (Bothrops asper). It is not endangered and because of its widespread territory paired with its proximity to humankind and its defensive behavior, it is responsible for the most snakebites within its range. Together with its terrifying reputation, size, venom and large fangs, it has earned itself the title of “Ultimate Pit-Viper”.
We’re in southern Costa Rica poised for Panama. We’re looking at crossing the ditch (Panama Canal) in early/mid July and then figuring out where to go from there. Glad you are all with us and hope you enjoy this great story from the cruising kids of LF2SF.
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