Booked the Mangrove Tour as well as the Manuel Antonio Park tour with Manuel Antonio Expeditions and we were extremely pleased with both tours. Juan picked the 4 of us up from our bungalow in a late model air-conditioned van for the ride to the Mangrove Tour. He introduced himself as well as the various other groups of people taking part in the tour. Along the way to the mangrove, he explained the vast palm oil production in Costa Rica, even stopping to pick up one of the oily seeds for us to see.
The mangrove tour boat driver was excellent, deftly navigating to get us close to what we were trying to see. Juan identified the many birds, plants and snakes that we saw and allowed time and a good vantage point for photos. He explained the unique ecosystem of the mangrove and pointed out things we would never have seen on our own. While he is obviously knowledgeable, he also has a great sense of humor.
At one point in the tour, three tour boats congregated at a place where white-faced capuchin monkeys could be seen. Some of the other tours had mashed bananas they fed to the monkeys but I was pleased to learn that MA Expeditions will not feed them. Juan explained that monkeys do not normally eat bananas and that it is definitely not in their best interest to be fed. He also noted that they are wild animals and have been known to bite the tourists who so eagerly want them to sit on their heads or eat out of their hands. We watched the monkeys on another boat baring their teeth seeming to demand their bananas! They are so cute but definitely have some sharp teeth in there!
At the end of the delightful tour, we went back to the home of Pablo, one of the other tour group owners, where the 8 of us in our group had a delicious home-cooked meal of mahi mahi, rice, beans, plantains, avocado & salad. It was a very delicious and personal touch!
The next morning, we met Juan again en route to Manuel Antonio National Park for our 3 hour walking tour there. (Remember that the park is closed on Mondays.) He showed us where to park and got the entrance tickets for the group. The group size was manageable (about 12). The trail through the park is fairly crowded with tour groups as well as folks heading to the beaches (you have to walk a fair distance through the park to get to any of the beaches) but it did not spoil things at all. Juan had a spotting scope and was great at finding various insects, lizards, birds and animals for us to view. He provided a wealth of information - I found the sloth info fascinating! It was quite hot but there was usually available shade.
About half way through or more, we stopped at a picnic table at one of the beaches and Juan provided cut fresh pineapple, juice and cookies for a refreshing break. By the end of the tour, it was very hot and I was dragging but the awesome sights continued to the very end. The beaches in the park are gorgeous (though one was closed due to a crocodile sighting!) We paid for both tours at the end in cash. (we used US dollars)
When we had only a limited view of a toucan during the park tour, Juan offered to meet us later that afternoon to take us to a place where we could see both the fiery billed aracari and the chestnut mandible toucan. He also said if we had a SUV, he could take us swimming in a waterfall. Three of us took him up on the offer and it was a real experience! The road was terrifying for me - one track very rough, steep gravel road with sheer drops at some points BUT the waterfall was gorgeous and swimming beneath it was heavenly. On the way back, we did indeed see both types of toucans on our own private tour. Juan is clearly very proud of his business & his country as well he should be. I can't recommend the group highly enough!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.