Manuel Antonio Flora and Fauna
The Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is situated in a Humid Tropical Forest life zone. It protects primary and secondary forests, mangroves, beach vegetation and marine resources.
The most characteristic species of flora in the primary forest are the “guacimo Colorado”, bully tree, cedar, locust “sura”, black locust a tree in danger of extinction, cow tree, “madrono”, “cenizaro” and silk cotton tree.
The mangrove swamp which covers 18 hectares (44.5 acres) is composed of three species: red mangrove, button wood mangrove and white mangrove. The beach vegetation consists mainly of manzanillo, which produces a milky extract, latex and poisonous berries; almond, tree May-flower and coconut. Within the wildlife, some of the most common but impressive species are the raccoon, white-nosed coatees, agouti’s, the two-toed sloth, white-faced capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys (a subspecies of the park, which is in danger of extinction due to the destruction of its habitat and its exploitation as mascot). In this area you can also observe birds such as the “tucancillo” ( Fiery-billed Aracari), Brown Pelican, Laughing Falcon, Black-collared Hawk, Green Kingfisher and the Northern Jacana. Iguanas, snakes and thousands of insects also abound.
In addition to the flora and fauna, one of the main features of this area is the overwhelming beauty of the following attractions:
Playa Espadilla Sur: Extends between the northern limit of the park and Punta Catedral (Cathedral Point). During low tide it has a long wide beach, great for strolling or sun bathing. And although the surf can be quite strong. It poses no real danger to swimmers.
Playa Escondida: Is a small beach that can be found south of the administration buildings. Because one has to wade through some areas bounded by steep cliffs, accessibility to the beach depends on the tides. Please inquire with the park guards as to when and whether you should enter.
Punta Catedral: Is an interesting geological phenomena. It once was an island, and with the accumulation of sediments, over time, it united with the continental land mass forming a sandy strip called a “tombolo”. The interior boasts primary and secondary-growth forest and excellent lookout points from which to view the various islands off the coast, Playa Blanca (White Beach), and the exquisite turquoise sea.
So that you and the other visitors enjoy your day in the park, follow these recommendations to further enrich your experience with this marvellous world.
- If you need help or have questions, please ask the rangers; they are pleased and prepared to help you.
- All the living things, plants and animals alike, share this planet with you. Please respect them.
- Enjoy the peace and natural sounds of the forest. Do not play radios or make loud noises which could disturb the tranquility found here.
- Please keep to the trails. The signs are there for the benefit of all, do not deface or destroy them.
- This area is a natural preserve. We invite you to observe, enjoy and take as many pictures as you like. But please do not remove plants, animals, stones or other materials as souvenirs.
- Please collect your garbage and deposit it in the appropriate containers.
- Do not feed the wildlife. They can suffer serious health problems if they eat people food.
- In spite of its biological diversity, many animals living in Costa Rica are hard to observe because of their migratory or reproductive habitat because they are nocturnal or because the forest is too dense to see them clearly. Move quietly and sharpen your observation skills in order to better appreciate the riches of the area.
- All protected wildlife areas have rules which regulate the protection of resources and the activities of visitors. This park operates under these rules for public use and it is the obligation of all visitors to respect them.