Although often crowded, Manuel Antonio National Park is worth a visit for its combination of wildlife and beautiful beaches. Troops of white-throated capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys swing from tree branch to tree branch, and sloths (difficult to spot) nestle on tree limbs. Families will also be able to spot deer, crabs, lizards, numerous species of birds (there are more than 900 bird species in all of Costa Rica) and raccoon as you walk through the rainforest trail to the beach area. If you look carefully — especially on a guided hike — you may spot a sloth, curled up in a fuzzy ball. Playa Manuel Antonio features soft white sands and calm waters perfect for families to enjoy a day at the beach. There are restrooms near the beach with a place to wash off any sand as well. Picnic tables are also located under the trees. Be mindful of leaving bags unattended on the beach because curious monkeys are known to snatch a bag and carry it to the treetops in search of food and they will throw anything that isn’t food down from the high trees. There is a fee to enter the park and there are no lifeguards on duty at the beach.
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Monday