An Amazing Tourist Destination
Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest but one of the most popular day-tripper spots in Costa Rica. Created in 1972, the park is located in the province of Puntareanason, Central Pacific Coast. In order to go to the park, tourists can take the route from the capital San Jose to Quepos and then, to the park in Manuel Antonio.
The main attraction of the park is probably the presence of a diverse wildlife. The most common animal of this park is monkey. Howler monkeys, capuchins, and squirrel monkeys, an endangered species, can be found there. The park also has a variety of reptiles, more than 350 kinds of birds of almost every color and shape imaginable, and animals like armadillos, raccoons, coatis, peccaries, agoutis, sloths, caiman, ocelots, etc. You can watch them if strolling down one of the few walking trails of the park.
The park’s offshore coral reef is bustling with rich marine life. You can even have a glimpse of whales and dolphins there too.
Many visitors tend to throw foods to the monkeys but the park authorities place signs warning the visitors not to feed the monkeys. Doing so leads to the endangerment of animals. Moreover, they will develop a taste for these kinds of foods and eventually, will end up stealing the visitors’ lunch.
The park has some beautiful trails that allow the visitors to explore the place. The ‘La Trampa’ trail is located just after the entrance and it leads to two beaches called ‘Manuel Antonio’ and ‘Espadilla Sur’. Another trail called ‘Serrucho Point’ leads to a second trail called ‘Gemelos Escondido’ and a lookout that offers amazing views of ‘Escondido Beach’ below.
These well-maintained trails do not have many obstructions and are quite short in length. During the morning time, you will confront sloths hanging from the highest branches and looking like fluffy gray ball on the ‘La Trampa’ trail.
Manuel Antonio National Park Beaches
Apart from sightseeing and trekking on the trails, visitors gather on the beaches as popular picnic and swimming spots. The park has four wonderful beaches called ‘Espadilla Sur’, ‘Manuel Antonio’, ‘Playita’, and ‘Teldoro’ that appeal to people of all ages. A natural sand-made land bridge is there that divides the former two beaches. During the dry season, ‘Manuel Antonio’ and ‘Espadilla Sur’ beaches become very suitable for snorkeling, as the water turns very clear. In fact, park beaches are hot spots for swimming, surfing, and just relaxing under the sun. More about Manuel Antonio Beaches
Park Facilities and Fees
Good quality multilingual tour guides are available inside the park. Hiring a guide can be helpful as it is difficult for amateurs to spot wildlife.
Showers, toilet, and drinking water are available nearby the park. A full range of accommodations can be found in the Manuel Antonio Costa Rica village or in nearby Quepos city.
The entrance fee is $10 per person but it will be reduced to $2 if you can show a residence card.
When to Visit
Except Monday, the park is open every day from 7:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The park authorities do not allow more than 600 visitors on weekdays and 800 on holidays and weekends. So, you had better go early in the morning to avoid crowds. Here, the peak season remains from December to April. So, the best time for enjoying the park in seclusion is from May to November. In fact, the rainy season gives a green glory to all the plants but some of the paths can get extremely muddy this time.
What to Expect in a Nutshell
The Manuel Antonio National Park is a total package of fun and enjoyment. It is equally appealing to sun lovers for its beautiful beaches and nature worshippers for its abundant wildlife. People can hike on the trails, swim on the water, bask on the beaches, and refresh their mind by watching the diverse, rare wildlife.
The park’s landscape is stunning with rainforest bordered immaculate beaches and capes with views across the sea to a few islands. It is the smallest park in Costa Rica but attracts millions of visitors around the world.