Located 132 kilometers from San Jose is a 682-hectare national park with diverse wildlife and a lush forest. Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio National Park receives in excess of 150,000 visitors every year.
The expanse of Manuel Antonio national park is surrounded by stunning beaches, a dense tropical rainforest and coral reefs, which provide a platform for an array of activities for all. The diverse wildlife that call the park home include the Central American Squirrel monkey, white-faced monkey, Geoffrey’s Spider Monkey and the Mantled Howler monkey, trogons, sloths, including the two and three-toed variety, brown pelicans, sea turtles, silky anteater ,iguanas, and poison dart frogs are all common sights on the trails. Manuel Antonio National Parks and Biological Reserves have rivers and lagoons that feature crocodiles such as the American crocodile and Spectacled Caiman and bull sharks. The biological reserves are among the most preserved and are eco-conservationists, environmentalists, nature and wildlife lovers’ paradise where you can sight endangered species in their natural habitat.
Some of the activities you may enjoy at the Manuel National Park and Biological Reserves range from observing the wildlife, hiking on the well marked trails, swimming in the beaches, or take a dip in the waterfall’s pristine pools, or enjoy the opportunity of a fun filled picnic. The picnic areas are amazing because they provide up-close, fascinating views of monkeys, squirrels and other wildlife as you enjoy a meal packed by one of the local gourmet shops.
Cathedral Point is a land bridge that separates the two beaches that are part of the national park. On the beaches, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio, one can catch sight of the millions of crabs and turtles that adorn the sandy beaches. Lose yourself and have fun in the sun and sand as you watch the waves crashing against the cliffs on either side of the lagoon.
There is bus service between the Quepos main terminal and Manuel National Park every half hour at a cost of less than $0.40. Taxis are also plentiful, inexpensive and readily available throughout the area. Manuel National Park fees are $10 per person, while for children under 12 it is free.
Other attractions of Manuel Antonio include sports fishing tours, restaurants, whale watching, dolphin tours, white water rafting (for beginners or experience rafters), and canopy tours with thrilling zip line rides.