Tourists from around the world visit Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica to view wildlife. The white-faced monkeys, or capuchin monkeys, are a huge draw. Tourists love to see them carry their babies on their backs!
Because Manuel Antonio is a protected national park with many visitors, the monkeys are no longer afraid of humans. Occasionally, the monkeys will unzip bags to remove items, or even take your snacks.
How can you help protect both your items and the wildlife?
- Food is not permitted inside the park. In Manuel Antonio park, feeding the monkeys is forbidden. However, even when outside of the park, tourists should refrain from feeding the monkeys. Typically, the monkeys eat what they would find in the wild, and so eating our food, like pizza, can result in the monkeys being very sick. It can appear cute to give them food, but over time, this can be both unhealthy and lead to animal aggression. They may become more aggressive with humans and demand food, or steal it. This can also change their living habits because they may try to migrate closer to humans for food. This is why the national park does not even permit snacks. Eat before and after your trip to the park, and let the monkeys eat what they would eat in their natural habitat.
- Do not try to take a selfie with the monkeys. This can result in monkeys becoming aggressive and scratching or biting. Enjoy the monkeys from a safe distance! Additionally, monkeys can contract diseases from people, and people can contract diseases from monkeys. If you stay a safe distance from the monkeys, you will protect them and yourself...as well as your belongings.
- Watch your bags. When you swim in the beautiful Manuel Antonio beaches, have someone stay with your possessions. Leaving the bags unattended means a monkey may try to see what is inside! If a monkey does approach you, it is better to move away than to meet the animal with aggression.
If you follow these guidelines when you visit Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, you will be helping protect wildlife while having a fun trip!