February 1, 2011
In Costa Rica, along the Pacific coast, near the town of Quepos is Manuel Antonio National Park. There in a small area surrounded by picturesque beaches, you may see many monkeys, sloths, colorful crabs, red-eyed green tree frogs, some bats, butterflies and various other birds and creatures.
Wildlife spotting is not always easy. A few monkeys are easy to come by but you may benefit from a guide, binoculars, and a stiff neck to keep your head looking up into the trees of Manuel Antonio National Park.
The Capuchin monkeys of Manuel Antonio National Park, also known as “white-faced monkey” or in spanish “carita blanca”, are especially abundant there. The red-backed squirrel monkeys are also called titi monkeys but are not related to the the titi monkeys of the Amazon region. There are also squirrel monkeys in the Amazon region but the “red-backed” are only found in Central America and for that reason are sometimes called the “Central American” squirrel monkey.
The night owl monkey of Manuel Antonio National Park is the nocturnal one of the group and the howler monkey will let you know with its howls that he is in the vicinity.
If you had the time there are apparently more than 100 different species of animals and over 200 species of birds to be found and who knows how many insects, amphibians and reptiles. There are about 840 bird species in all of Costa Rica. Compare that to around 530 in all of Europe.
One animal in Manuel Antonio National Park that is not so wild is the raccoon. They are waiting for any visitors to leave an item of food out on the beach so they can sneak over and steal it. They are very brave and will sometimes come and take things from people unafraid of shouting or of sticks.
The lizards, iguanas and basilisks, including the Jesus Christ Lizard, are more or less approachable and let you come close enough to get a good look but they still like to keep a little distance.