Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is the most popular National Park in Costa Rica. A combination of rain forests, sandy beaches and coral reefs create the perfect haven for wild life, including sloths, iguanas, squirrel monkeys, white face monkeys and thousands of small, colourful crabs. The beaches are ideal for swimming and excellent for snorkeling. There are many walking and hiking trails within Manuel Antonio National Park that lead to secluded beaches and spectacular views, such as those at Punta Catedral.
Manuel Antonio National Park is easy to access. South of the town of Quepos, it is located near a good selection of hotels and restaurants. Guided tours are available. The park is closed on Mondays.
Naturalist Tour Available
With the establishment of ManuelAntonio National Park in 1972, the people of Costa Rica decided to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country’s smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled.
Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. This beaches are the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent too. The forest is home for sloths, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys and millions of colorful little crabs. And the trail that winds around Punta Catedral affords some spectacular views. The park is easy to reach, south of the town of Quepos, and is near a good selection of hotels and restaurants.
Visiting the park, one is treated to an abundant diversity of wildlife. Cathedral Point, with its forest topped cliffs was once an island,but is now connected to the coast by a thin strip of island. This land bridge now forms the spine separating the parks two most popular beaches, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio.
The southern facing beach, Playa Manuel Antonio, is a picturesque half mile long, white sand crescent bisecting deep green foliage to one side and a private, secluded cove to the other.
Standing with your feet dug into the sand and watching the wave crash against the rocks on either side of the lagoon, it is easy to believe that you are a thousand miles from anywhere.
Travel to the area is easy and can be done in a number of different ways. Regularly scheduled air service is available through Sansa Airlines, the flight takes 20 minutes. It is a three and a half hour or more, drive by car or bus from San José depending on the weather and traffic.
Direct buses leave from Coca Cola bus terminal in San José three times a day. These are large, comfortable Mercedes buses.
If you are renting a car it is advisable to rent a 4X4 vehicle because certain sections of the road can be difficult.
Bus service between Quepos’ main terminal and the national park departs every half hour from 5:00 am. Until 10:00 pm. And is less than $0.40.
The Manuel Antonio National Park entrance fee is US$10 per person. Children under 12 free. Hours: 7am. to 4pm. Closed on Monday.
* Closed on Mondays *
Cost: $45 / person for a group tour
$65 / person for a private tour
Duration: 2-3 hours
Tour times: 7:00 am / 10:30 am / 1:30 pm