What are the monkeys of Manuel Antonio? 

Costa Rica has four native species of monkeys: the well-known Panamanian white-faced capuchin, the rare Central American squirrel monkey, the breathtaking Geoffroy’s spider monkey, and the loud Yellow Mantled howlers.

monkeys in Manuel Antonio

This post aims to talk a little about these amazing monkeys in the Manuel Antonio National Park and region. They are extremely interesting creatures and deserve a bit of research even before you do the tours with us, and we tell you in person everything there is to know and a couple more things.

You will find them in forested areas, although Howler Monkeys sometimes live by the roads. Capuchins can be seen everywhere in the country, around hotels and restaurants, trying to grab whatever they can.

In this article, you will find:



Watching monkeys in Manuel Antonio:

There are very few things like watching monkeys in the wild. Maybe it is the human-like behavior of some of their movements and expressions. Perhaps the mystery they hold before our eyes, the unseen intelligence their eyes reflect. And maybe the reasons are unimportant, but the experience itself is everything.

When you are on tour, it’s quite easy. Tour guides usually know where to find them; but if you are by yourself or on the grounds of a hotel surrounded b rainforest, how to know where the monkeys are? 

Easy! Use your senses!

The first one is hearing: All monkeys have communication among themselves, and some of them are ridiculously loud, like the Howlers; however, once you learn t recognize the low bark of the white-faced or the kissing-like screeches of the Spider monkeys, it is easier to find where they may be. In terms of the Howlers, there is some bad news: Their sound travels miles, so they may be very far away when you hear them howl.

The sight, of course, is the best, and there is one unavoidable way to find where they are: Branches moving violently.

The Spider Monkeys, of course, are great acrobats, and you will see them jumping long distances one after the other.

Squirrel monkeys are tiny and numerous; you will distinguish them because of their number.

Howler Monkeys are usually the slowest of them all, and you will always find them chewing new leaves at the top branches.

And Capuchin White-Faced Monkeys are everywhere you look, usually as they travel in larger groups! And can be territorial and quite hostile. (Sometimes you find a scout monkey or a lonely old male by itself, but usually all of these form troops) Fortunately, they are pretty small, never mind how much they bounce and throw branches. We are so much bigger that there is hardly anything to fear.

And there is one solid rule when watching monkeys in the wild and on top of your head: Don’t look up with your mouth open!

One of their weapons… yes! Pee! So, beware!


We will talk a little about each here, but remember that the best is to experience these fantastic animals in person.


Mantled Howler Monkeys

The Howler Monkey is the loudest animal in the Neotropics and the American continent.

These monkeys are native to Central and South America. Howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio have lengthy guard hairs on the sides of their black bodies. While their bodies are covered in fur, their faces are furless, and they have a bare pad on the underside of their tails. Infant-mantled howler monkeys range in hue from silver to golden brown and change color at one year. Mantled howler monkeys live in the woods of Costa Rica, southern Mexico, southern Guatemala, Colombia, and Ecuador.

Mantled howler monkeys dwell in groups of 10 to 20 individuals, each led by a dominant male. This powerful guy will mate with a large number of females. Mantled howler monkeys spend most of their time in trees, sleeping on horizontal tree branches.

The way these monkeys communicate has given them their name. They emit loud roaring, snarling, growling, and woofing cries. They generally howl between dusk and morning, although they will also howl if disturbed. Mantled howler monkeys are herbivores with diets that include the following items:

Their diets consist of leaves, flowers, and sometimes fruits.


The Central American Squirrel Monkey

Squirrel monkeys in Manuel Antonio are tiny, clever, and inquisitive. These monkeys have an orange coat that covers their back, hands, and feet, as well as white and black faces. They also have dark rims around their eyes, noses, and lips. Their shoulders, hips, and tails are olive in hue, while their bellies are white, lending to their distinguishing look. On the other hand, Squirrel monkeys have black crowns on their heads and black points on the ends of their tails. They are omnivores who live in groups of 40 or more.

Squirrel monkeys of Central America may be found in the Central Pacific, Costa Rica, and western Panama. They generally live in lowland woodlands near the Pacific coast. The Central American squirrel monkey may be found in Costa Rica, Central South Pacific and in North Western Panama.

They generally live in lowland humid rainforests in the Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National parks. These monkeys travel in groups of 20 to 75 individuals, with the majority of groups having around 40 members.

The troops are made up of a few adult males and more adult females and newborns. Squirrel monkeys can travel up to three kilometers each day to forage. The troop does not divide into smaller groups and spends months sleeping in the same trees. Unlike many other monkey species, they do not have strong female hierarchies. Males often get along nicely and create dominance hierarchies only during the preseason.

Their diet usually includes:  Flowers, Nectar, Bats, Insects, Spiders, Fruit, Leaves, Bark, Birds, small lizards, and frogs.




Panamanian White-Faced Capuchin


Panamanian white-faced capuchins live in the rainforests of Central America, and males leave their natal groups while females do not.

These are medium-sized New World monkeys. White-faced capuchins are primarily black with pink and white faces, as their name suggests. And while they live in Costa Rica, you also find them in Panama, Honduras, and Nicaragua forests. The capuchins inhabit various types of forests but prefer areas with abundant water sources. Panamanian white-faced capuchins are highly intelligent and trainable to assist paraplegic persons. These monkeys use tools as weapons, reach hard-to-get-at foods, and even rub plants over their bodies as herbal medicines.

Panamanian white-faced capuchins live in troops that can be as large as 40 members. The majority of this group consists of related females. The rest of the members are unrelated and infants. Female Panamanian white-faced capuchins typically remain in their natal group. At the same time, males will leave their natal troops when they are four years old. Males will also change troops every four years. These monkeys make loud calls like barkcoughcoughs to communicate warnings. They also use facial expressions and scents to communicate.

Panamanian white-faced capuchins are omnivores, and their diets consist of the following: Fruit, insects, flowers, leaves, seeds, beetle larvae, butterflies and moth, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and their larvae, birds, birds eggs, frogs, lizards, crabs, molluscs, squirrels, parrots, and baby coatis




Geoffroy’s spider monkey

Spider monkeys get their name from their long, thin, “spider leg-like” limbs. Their prehensile tail serves as a fifth limb, having evolved to allow them to grip and manipulate items.

The adaptability and power of this tail are best seen during suspensory feeding when the monkeys dangle from a tree limb around which they have coiled their tail while looking for food. The monkeys’ long, hook-like fingers allow them to swing from tree to tree beneath the forest canopy with ease, without the assistance of a vestigial thumb that nature has reduced a functionless stub. Like other monkeys and apes, Geoffroy’s spider monkeys have opposable large toes on their feet that allow them to grip onto branches readily.

This is another medium-sized monkey from the New World. The fur of this spider monkey species ranges in color from orange to rusty, brown, or black. They have black hands and feet, as well as pale mask-like features. Furthermore, their arms are nearly twice as long as their legs, and they have a powerful prehensile tail that can support their entire weight.

Geoffroy’s spider monkeys are strong climbers that can hang over tree branches thanks to their long, robust, and hook-like fingers.
Geoffroy’s spider monkeys may be found in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, and southern and eastern Mexico. These monkeys dwell in groups of 20 to 42 individuals. During the foraging season, these units usually break into smaller groupings.


These monkeys are herbivorous, and their diets consist of Fruits, leaves, Flowers, Bark, Insects, Honey, Seeds, and Buds.



Contributors. “howler monkey | Definition, Size, Diet, Habitat, & Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 6 Oct. 2022. Web. 11 Oct. 2022. <https://www.britannica.com/animal/howler-monkey>

Janet F. Murray. “4 Monkeys in Costa Rica.” AZ Animals. 24 Sept. 2022. Web. 11 Oct. 2022. <https://a-z-animals.com/blog/monkeys-in-costa-rica/>

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top