The most popular national park in Costa Rica, the Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited park in the country. Created in 1972 and encompassing an area of around 682 hectares, this park is among the most diverse and beautiful places in the region. Considered to be among the tiniest national parks in Costa Rica, what this park lacks in size, it makes up for in stunning natural beauty.
Home to Beautiful Beaches
Home to an amazing variety of birds and wildlife, the Manuel Antonio National Park also has some of the best beaches in the entire country that not only offer wonderful water sport activities, but also are lined with striking lush green forestation. The snorkeling here is terrific, while swimming conditions on some of the beaches in the park are fantastic. The four beaches here include; the Espadilla Sur, the Playita, the Manuel Antonio
, and the Escondido. Of these the Playa Manuel Antonio is the prettiest beach with silky white sand and a stunning offshore coral reef.
Animals of Manuel Antonio National Park
Sloths, iguanas, peccaries, armadillos, coatimundis, and scarlet macaws are just a few of the many animals that can be seen roaming in the park. However, the Manuel Antonio National Park’s most popular residents are the different monkey species that live here. From the common White-Faced Monkeys to the rare Squirrel Monkeys, this park is also the habitat of roughly 350 bird species as well as a variety of lizards and other insects.
Hiking in Manuel Antonio
One of the best trails in the Manuel Antonio National Park is the Perezoso Trail, which offers some stunning views of the park’s off shore islands, or go to the Punta Cathedral and get some magnificent vistas of the beautiful Pacific Coast. When visiting the park do hire a guide as they can be very helpful and informative, and take a trip to the small open-air natural-history museum and information center of the park.
Getting to the Park
Combining gorgeous beaches with dense lush rainforests, exotic animal and bird species and exquisite coral reefs, the Manual Antonio National Park lies in the lovely Puntarenas province
along Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast
. Easily accessible by bus or car from the capital city of San Jose
, which lies only 140 km southwest of here, this park is also easy to get to from Jaco
, which sits just 69 km to the south. Seven kilometers south of the town of Quepos
and near an excellent selection of resorts, hotels, accommodations and restaurants
, coming here promises a wonderful adventure vacation for the entire family. With as many as 150,000 visitors a year, you can also catch a short 20 minute flight here (to Quepos) via Sansa airlines or Nature Air.