Located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, Manuel Antonio National Park is often considered to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. With pristine beaches, lush jungle, diverse wildlife and active adventures, it’s easy to see why both Ticos and tourists alike flock to its entrances. While it is true that this is one of the most touristy destinations in the country, it doesn’t take away form the region’s stunning appeal. Learn more about visiting Manuel Antonio National Park below!
Manuel Antonio National Park dates back to 1972. When developers discovered the real estate value of the jaw-dropping scenery, there was a push to develop. Luckily, locals stepped in and protested in favor of protecting the invaluable beaches, jungle and wildlife. The park was established, consisting of 1, 983 ha. The park now receives some 150,000+ visitors annually.
Manuel Antonio is perhaps most known for its picturesque white sand beaches and crystal-clear, turquoise waters. The four beaches within the park include Manuel Antonio, Playita, Espadilla Sur, and Escondito. Playa Manuel Antonio typically has the calmest water most suitable for swimming.
Walking and Hiking
Don’t miss going for a stroll along Manuel Antonio’s numerous walking paths through the jungle. Most of the walks are relatively easy and don’t require a guide, though you might consider hiring one if you are hoping to spot extra wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for birds, monkeys, coatis, and other wildlife. There are some 180 bird species and over 100 mammals living within the park, so you should see something! For more of a hike, there is an hour-long trek up the 236-foot Punta Cathedral, located between Playa Manuel Antonio and Espadilla Sur.
When you’re not basking in the sun on the beautiful beaches or adventuring through the jungle, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Deep sea fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are all popular. As Manuel Antonio has increased in popularity, so have the number of tour agencies offering packages and guides, thus making prices competitive.
Sleeping and Eating
There are countless hotels and restaurants to choose from just outside of the national park, ranging from budget to luxurious. Camping in the park is no longer allowed unfortunately.
Extra Park Tips
Manuel Antonio National Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 7:00am to 4:00pm. Entry is $12 for foreigners, $3 for Ticos.
Have you been to Manuel Antonio National Park? What did you think?