Nature in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica’s Outdoor Zoo

Blue Morpho Butterfly

The nature in Manuel Antonio  is what makes it a top tourist destination. One of our favorites is the variety of wildlife and biology that surround us on a daily basis. We have Toucans, Scarlett Macaws, Kisadees, Tanagers, 3 out of 4 different monkey species, iguanas, snakes, frogs, geckos, spiders, butterflies, and other insects. If the wildlife alone doesn’t do it for you, check out our Top Ten Reasons to Visit Manuel Antonio. 


Often sighted in Manuel Antonio are Scarlett Macaws- the largest parrot in the world. Adorned with bright red, yellow and blue plumage it is hard to miss them as they fly by. These birds mate for life and are often seen in flying together in large and noisy groups. The Great Kisadee has a bright yellow belly also making them hard to miss as they feed off of small insects- great news for those of us who aren’t fans of the bugs. Another commonly sighted bird is the Tanager. The adult male is all black except for its scarlett rump. And last but certainly not least, the iconic Toucan! A bright and colorful oversized beak draws attention to these playful birds. Bring your binoculars with you on your trip and you are guaranteed to see so much more than these four species.

Reptiles & Amphibians 

Costa Rica is famous for reptiles and amphibians. Manuel Antonio has many in particular. You can easily spot iguanas on your way to the beach or from walking around town. Crossing small streams and river-beds are the aptly nicknamed “Jesus-Christ Lizards” famous for darting across the water with their webbed appendages. Geckos skirt across buildings and as are as numerous as the common house fly, don’t be startled by their loud clicking noises! Jungle frogs  and toads can be spotted on your walks to the beach as well. Manuel Antonio does have a number of cool snake species too. Just remember- they are as scared of you as you may be of them. For the curious, it’s best to check out the snakes in a controlled environment like Manuel Antonio’s Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge.


Less than an hour trek through Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park and you will likely have seen or heard 3 of the four species of monkeys. The White-faced Capuchin, Titi, and Howler Monkeys call the Pacific Southwest their home. Like humans, the heat of midday in the tropics can be a lot so they are easier spotted in early morning or evening. Manuel Antonio is also home to two sloth species: the 2-Toed and 3-Toed Sloths. These lazy mammals spend their time “hanging out” in the shade of leafy canopy.


Leaf cutter ants-these guys are relentless. They scavenge pieces of green leaf from the rainforest floor and carry the pieces on their backs for amazing distances. Back and forth you can see them working non-stop. Other species of ants include bullet ants and fire ants. Just be mindful of where you step on a jungle trek and you’ll be just fine. Golden Orb Spiders are common and perfectly harmless. They produce one of the strongest webs. Their webs are 5 times stronger than silk and extremely flexible. If mass produced, the silk from the webs could create bullet-proof vests. Another beautiful insect is the Blue-Morpho. The shocking royal blue color of these butterflies is a sight to see- a brightness unrivaled by some of Costa Rica’s brightest flowers.

Manuel Antonio and Costa Rica surprises us daily with a new insect, a new bird, or a new creature to be discovered. These animals and insects are protected without cages, tanks, and bars- part of the excitement and adventure of your journey here. The variety of wildlife you will see during your stay is unfathomable. We recommend you come see for yourself!