TripAdvisorâ€™s eagerly awaited 2014 Travelersâ€™ Choice Awards are out, and Costa Rica has once again received accolades for its spectacular beaches. Â Trusted for their honest reviews posted by travelers for travelers, the website published its ranking of the Worldâ€™s Top 25 Beaches, and Manuel Antonio made the cut! Often described by visitors as a â€śtropical paradise,â€ť it isnâ€™t hard to see why this central Pacific gem is one of the most popular beach vacation destinations among Costa Ricaâ€™s varied choices.
Manuel Antonio ranks among top 25 beaches in the world
According to traveler reviews at TripAdvisor, Brazilâ€™s Baia de Soncho Beach is the planetâ€™s top beach, followed by Playa Flamenco in Puerto Rico and Sicilyâ€™s secluded Rabbit Beach. Other contenders for the top 25 spots included Lanikai Beach on Hawaiiâ€™s Kailua, Spainâ€™s Cathedral Beach and Cala Mariolu in Italy. Our very own Playa Manuel Antonio made the list at number 23, and was praised for its aquamarine waters, abundant wildlife and family-friendly national park, where visitors can swim in warm Pacific waters while watching capuchin monkeys swinging from the trees, just feet from the shoreline!
Â National Park a haven for primates, sloths, birds and other wildlife
Though poised for wide scale tourist development, the town of Manuel Antonio has managed to protect its precious natural resources, and rather than exploiting its jungles and pristine beaches, the government designated its coastline and adjacent ocean, rocky isles, and miles of verdant rainforest as a national park. More than 250 species of birds have been identified in Manuel Antonio National Park, which harbors two and three-toed sloths, three different kinds of monkey, and more iguanas and lizards than you can shake a stick at. Biodiversity extends to the parkâ€™s waters, where coral reefs, pelagic seabirds and migrating whales can be seen. Open from Tuesdays through Sundays, the parkâ€™s white-sand beaches, including Playa Manuel Antonio, lure sun-lovers from the world over.
Things to do and places to stay in Manuel Antonio
Brimming with nature and adventure activities for vacationers of all ages, the skyâ€™s the limit in this popular beach destination.Â Local tour operators offer heart-pounding canyoning and whitewater rafting tours, ATV trips, and zip-line tours in addition to peaceful excursions to the mangrove estuaries of Damas Island.Â Parasailing and Jet Ski tours around the parkâ€™s dramatic ocean borders are also on offer. Some of Costa Ricaâ€™s best sport fishing is another prime enticement, as neighboring Quepos offers half and full-day charters where anglers can snag tuna, mahi mahi and hard-fighting sailfish. Whether seeking a luxury ocean view villa in Manuel Antonio or a budget-friendly hostel, thereâ€™s no shortage of options in this Pacific hamlet. And with its convenient location just 120 miles from San Jose, you can have your toes in the sand within three hours of landing at SJO (if you plan to drive).