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5 BEST Night Tours in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

5 BEST Night Tours in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is home to some of the area’s most diverse wildlife – a lot that you can only see at night. 

We’ve traveled and lived all across Costa Rica and visiting this rainforest is one of our favorite things to do. In fact, this is one of the most popular places in the country to take night tours. Accompanied by a helpful guide, these tours around Manuel Antonio are designed to show you some of the jungle’s most exciting reptiles and amphibians. 

There’s nothing as exciting (and terrifying!) as seeing a viper or poisonous tree frog in its natural habitat! So keep reading to find out our favorite tours for a memorable night adventure in Costa Rica!

Our Top Choice for a Night Tour in Manuel Antonio

If you’re ready to book a night tour now and don’t have time to read further, don’t worry! Our FAVORITE tour is this Night Jungle Tour with Dinner. We were paired up with a guide who was a master at finding all the little creatures hiding in the dark, so it’s basically guaranteed you’ll see something exciting. Our group saw baby hummingbirds in a nest along with lots of frogs and snakes. Plus, the stars were amazing and after the jungle hike, we were treated to a delicious Costa Rican dinner.

The highly-rated tour (it has close to 500 positive reviews!) is only $59 USD including round-trip transport and the yummy meal. Plus, there’s FREE cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour starts.

About Manuel Antonio National Park

blue jeans poison dart frog on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park , Costa Rica
Cute, but poisonous!
A red eyed tree frog in Costa rica on a Manuel Antonio National Park night tour Costa Rica
We were being watched!

Exploring this national park is an incredible experience no matter when you can go. We have a whole guide on things to know before visiting Manuel Antonio National Park to help plan your visit!

It’s possible to visit from San Jose on a day trip, but then you can’t see the rainforest at night! And we think the most enchanting time to visit is once the sun goes down. Just after dusk, the wildlife wakes up, and we saw all kinds of critters we would’ve missed in the daytime! On a good night, you can spot everything from frogs and snakes to sloths and owls. 

If you do need help figuring out how to get here for a night tour, we walk through all the logistics of getting to Manuel Antonio from San Jose in this detailed blog!

Living in Costa Rica, we love walking through the pitch-black jungle to see all the different animals that make up the ecosystem. BUT – I was a little hesitant to do it alone. So that’s where a night tour comes in! To see this captivating park at night, here are five incredible tours to choose from. 

The BEST Night Tours in Manuel Antonio 

1. Manuel Antonio Herping Tour (Reptile & Amphibian)

A lizard sits on a plant on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park , Costa Rica (2)
I would have missed this if it wasn’t for our guide
Frog sits in a tree in Manuel Antonio National Park at night Costa Rica
So tiny!

If your goal of visiting Manuel Antonio at night is to see as much wildlife as possible, this reptile and amphibian tour is made for you! I’ve never considered myself someone who loved snakes and frogs, but this tour gave me a new appreciation for all the animals in the forest’s ecosystem. 

When you sign up for this tour, you’ll be led around the forest by a keen guide like, Danny, whose goal is to help you see as many animals as possible during your trek through the jungle. We loved his enthusiasm because it seemed like he was super excited to go on this herping tour – even though he’d probably been in the jungle hundreds of times before! (By the way “herping” is just a fancy way of saying looking for amphibians or reptiles).

This tour caps at six people, which we think is a good size so you have company, but aren’t scaring all the animals away! Each of us got a super powerful flashlight and the tour includes all the photos your guide takes with his special spotting scope – it’s much better quality than a phone camera! We especially loved being able to see all the vipers and colorful tree frogs that call the forest home and have the photos as a memento of what we saw. 

I also appreciated that this tour was easy to join with spots available the next day – we grabbed a spot last minute! If you’re staying at a hotel in Manuel Antonio or Quepos, round-trip transportation is also included in the tour price of $69 USD.

2. Night Jungle Tour with Dinner (Rainmaker Park)

A green snake on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park Costa rica
Hope you’re not afraid of snakes!
A frog on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica
A fun little frog saying hello

If you can take this three-hour night jungle tour with Roy, you’re in for a real adventure! He’s a master at finding every frog or snake in the jungle, so you’re basically guaranteed to see something exciting on your walk. 

During this tour, expect to see all sorts of nocturnal critters. Our group was lucky enough to spot baby hummingbirds in a nest, lots of frogs and snakes, leaf-cutter ants, and a few very big spiders that I didn’t get too close to! Also, with no light pollution, the stars were AMAZING. Plus, there weren’t many mosquitos – our guide said the bats get them all!

After our hike through the jungle, we were treated to a typical Costa Rican meal for dinner including chicken, rice, beans, veggies, and pineapple. It was made by local cooks and it was so good. We did a lot of walking on this tour, so it was nice to enjoy a meal together before heading back to our hotel for the night.

This tour is easily one of the top-rated tours in Manuel Antonio with HUNDREDS of 5-star reviews you can check here. We aren’t the only ones who loved it! Tickets cost $59 USD per person.

3. Manuel Antonio Jungle Night Tour with pick up included

A tarantula on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park , Costa Rica
That’s a big spider!
A huge lizard on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica
Whoa, so cool!

You could easily spend hours trekking through the vast Manuel Antonio National Park, but sometimes, you don’t have the time. If that’s the case, this 2-hour night tour is your best bet. It includes transport from hotels in the nearby area and is also the cheapest tour on our list, so it’s perfect if you’re traveling on a budget.

Like other tours of the rainforest, this one starts just after sunset. It includes two hours to explore the jungle with your expert guide, who’s almost superhumanly skilled at spotting tiny spiders and frogs. 

There’s a good chance when you book this tour you’ll be with Fabio. He’s especially great at pointing out insects and amphibians we would have overlooked on our own! Plus, he and the rest of his team make you feel safe as you walk among the wildlife at night. 

This tour is $38 USD and only takes a maximum of 8-12 people each night, so you need to book early to reserve your spot. We especially love this experience because it’s easy to combine with other evening activities. You’ll be dropped back at your hotel early enough that you can take a shower and head out for a late dinner back in Quepos. 

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Related Read: Check out our recommendations for more of the best tours in Manuel Antonio including ziplining, rafting, and a fantastic chocolate and coffee tour!

4. Jungle Night Tour Manuel Antonio

Two red eyed tree frogs in Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica at night
Cuties!
Bugs on a leaf in Manuel Antonio National Park at night, Costa Rica
That’s a lot of bugs!

The concept of trekking around a jungle at night can be (understandably) scary. If this is your first night tour tour and you’re feeling a little nervous, I get it! I was nervous on my first night tour in Manuel Antonio, but having a compassionate guide can make all the difference. 

That’s the exact level of care you’ll have when you take this jungle night tour. We have to give a special shoutout to Francisco, who makes his guests feel incredibly safe as he shows them all kinds of snakes, frogs, and kinkajous in their natural habitat. 

He’s also super talented at his job and clearly knows the area well. He does his best to find the animals or insects your group wants to see. 

From dropoff to pickup, this tour takes around 2.5 hours. It’s a memorable way to spend your evening in Costa Rica. We like this tour because the trek is pretty smooth, but make sure you come dressed for the mud and rain showers – our guide told us it’s a rainforest after all! 

Hundreds of people have shown their love online for this tour (check the reviews here!) and once you go, you’ll see why it’s such a well-rated experience. Tickets cost $55 USD per person.

5. All-Inclusive Jungle Night Tour

An insect on a night tour in Manuel Antonio National Park at night, Costa Rica
Look at those antennae!
blue jeans poison dart frog at night in Manuel Antonio National Park , Costa Rica
They’re so small!

If you’ve never gone trekking in a jungle before, knowing what to bring can be a little confusing. However, if you go as part of this all-inclusive night tour, planning is a breeze. The tour company takes care of everything, so all you really need to do is show up and enjoy yourself. 

For starters, if you visit May through December, you’ll get a pair of rain boots to wear on your excursion. January to April is the forest’s dry season, so you won’t need them as much then. We especially loved this added bonus from the tour company because, while we wanted to go on this trek, we didn’t want to ruin our shoes in the process!

Once you’re suited up, you’ll be part of a small group or you can upgrade to a private tour. The company intentionally keeps groups small so guides like Mop can help you learn about the wildlife that is most interesting to you. In fact, all of the tour guides you could be paired with are certified by the Costa Rican Tourism Board, so you can be sure the information you’re getting is legit. 

Like other tours of the area, this one also provides round-trip dropoff and pickup in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio areas. This tour starts at $59 USD, but you can upgrade to a private tour for an extra $20 USD per person or there’s a cool tour that’s especially for nature photographers.

Related Read: If you’re flying into or out of San Jose, check out the best tours and day trips from San Jose for more bucket list ideas!

Other Must-Do Activities While You’re in Manuel Antonio

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while ATVing in Costa Rica
You can tell by our faces we loved it!

If you’re planning to do a few tours in Manuel Antonio, check out our shortlist of the top 4 activities in Manuel Antonio town:

  • Coffee and chocolate tour – Coffee and chocolate are two of my favorite things. So, it should come as no surprise I just had to join this top-rated coffee and chocolate tour in Manuel Antonio! The tour teaches you about the historical importance of cacao as well as the entire process of making chocolate. It’s a fantastic experience!
  • Ziplining – Did you know that Manuel Antonio is home to the longest twin zip line in Costa Rica? Well, on this ziplining tour, you’ll get to zoom through the treetops on a tandem zipline over 4,300 feet long! You can race your friends and enjoy the experience together, which is incredible!
  • ATV tourThis ATV tour is so much fun and takes you into the jungle to explore at high speed and then refresh in a natural waterfall. You’ll get wet and dirty but have a fantastic time! A traditional Costa Rica lunch is also included.

Where to Stay in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

After your night tour, you’ll need somewhere to sleep! There are tons of different hotels to choose from when deciding where to stay in Manuel Antonio. Our top picks are below!

Parador Resort and Spa – $$$

Those who enjoy staying in a beautiful hotel and don’t mind paying for it, have to check out Parador Resort and Spa. This place does tick a lot of boxes! It’s only a short walk to the beach, has fantastic panoramic views thanks to its elevated location, and has two infinity pools.

The hotel is surrounded by rainforest, so there’s tons of wildlife around too. It’s more around the $350 USD+ per night mark, but is great for a luxury getaway! You can check availability and book here on Booking.com.

Hotel Villas Lirio – $$

For the medium-budget traveler, my top choice is Hotel Villas Lirio (pictured above.) This gorgeous hotel is reasonably priced but has some very luxurious features such as an outdoor pool, tropical manicured gardens, an included breakfast, and a restaurant. 

The hotel is also located in the heart of Manuel Antonio and is only meters from the main road where the bus down to the beach and national park goes (it’s a 1-minute drive or a short walk). With rooms under $150 USD even in peak season, be sure to book it in advance as it is often fully booked. You can book Hotel Villas Lirio online here on Booking.com.

Selina – $

One of the best budget-friendly places to stay in Manuel Antonio is Selina. Selina has hostels all over Costa Rica and the world. They always offer an ideal place to stay with clean rooms, a great bar, and a social atmosphere. In Manuel Antonio, Selina is no different, and the hostel comes with a huge pool, restaurant and bar, private rooms, and dorm rooms. 

 Rates begin at $57 USD per night. You can book Selina here on Hostelworld or here on Booking.com.

Getting Around Costa Rica

Bailey with our rental car near Rio Celeste Costa Rica
Our rental car!

How you choose to get around Costa Rica is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your holiday here! How you do it depends on your budget, travel style, and comfort level. 

Renting a Car

Without a doubt, the number one way to explore Costa Rica is in a rental car. We book rental cars on the Discover Cars website as we have had good experiences with them in the past.

One of the things you need to watch for when renting a car in Costa Rica is the mandatory insurance that the government requires you to have. There are a lot of very cheap rentals that don’t include this mandatory insurance (TPL) in the original booking price, but there are also ones that do. To avoid additional surprise charges when you pick up your rental car, be sure to rent a car that includes the mandatory insurance when you book.

Thankfully, on Discover Cars it’s easy to tell apart the companies that include the mandatory insurance and those that don’t. The trick is you can’t pick any car on their website. In the picture below, you can see this rental car, with pick up in Jaco, includes the TPL. That means the mandatory insurance is included in the price. Any cover you get above that is extra.

Of course, I still suggest getting the full coverage offered by Discover Cars, which covers you even more.

You can browse cars on Discover Cars here.

TPL Cover Costa Rica
TPL Cover Costa Rica

Book Shuttles

If renting a car isn’t in your budget, you don’t feel comfortable driving in Costa Rica, or you just don’t like driving, shuttles are the next best option. There are hundreds of shuttle routes available all over the country, and they are very affordable.

Shuttles in Costa Rica are specifically for tourists and often include pick up and drop off at your selected hotels and airports. The drivers also speak some English, and the vehicles have air conditioning. You’ll also be guaranteed a seat when you book a shuttle (which isn’t the case with the public bus system.)

To get the best price, use the website Bookaway. They compare all the offers and prices of shuttle companies in Costa Rica so you get the best price! Honestly, we have saved so much money using Bookaway! 

You can search for shuttles online on Bookaway here.

Public Bus

Lastly, you can use the public bus system. On short journeys, such as from San Jose to La Fortuna or Uvita to Manuel Antonio, this system is great. However, the longer the journey the more hassle and time spent on a bus. It’s undoubtedly best to save the public bus in Costa Rica for short and straightforward trips!  

The public buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around Costa Rica, but they are not always very reliable and schedules often change without notice and delays are to be expected. The buses can also be very crowded and hot – so just be prepared!

It’s also good to speak some Spanish if you plan on riding the public bus since most drivers and ticket booth operators don’t speak English.

Pura Vida!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on a cruise in Manuel Antonio
Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, this list of the best night tours in Manuel Antonio National Park has you ready to book your own jungle adventure. While Costa Rica has a ton of wildlife, a lot of the most amazing creatures don’t come out until nighttime. I didn’t want to go trekking through the jungle on my own, so these night tours were a great way to get me out of my comfort zone with an expert guide to help find cool critters!

Whether you are spending a few days around Manuel Antonio or it’s your main destination, let us help you plan your dream Costa Rican trip. Have a look around our blog for ideas and inspiration or check out these articles I think you might like below:

25 Best Things to do in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (More than the National Park!)

Best Activities for One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica

4 BEST Sunset Cruises in Tamarindo +What to KNOW Before You Book