Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica is home to one of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world. Offering a myriad many white sand beaches, mystical coves, tropical rainforests rich with diverse vegetation among the backdrop of mystical mountains. This place is paradise…and we can book your family vacation or custom tour/day trip here for an incredible experience.
Manuel Antonio National Park Facts
- Manuel Antonio National Park was nominated one of the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks by Forbes.
- The park is called Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio in Spanish.
- The park is located in the Central Pacific Conservation Area on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
- Manuel Antonio is located 80 miles from San Jose, Costa Rica’s capitol.
- The park was founded in 1972 and is the smallest national park in Costa Rica.
- This is the most visited national park in Costa Rica, for both Costa Ricans and foreigners. It used to be the second most visited until Poas Volcano had to first close its doors and then restrict the number of visitors due to a series of volcanic eruptions.
- The national park is closed on Mondays.
- Inside the national park, there are changing rooms, showers, and bathrooms.
Manuel Antonio Beach Life
The beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park are white, sandy…what dreams (and movies) are made of. There are four Manuel Antonio beaches: Playita, Espadilla Sur, Teloro and the main Manuel Antonio beach.
Beach visitors of all ages come to Manuel Antonio to enjoy the comfortable beaches, and can traverse between Manuel Antonio beach and Espadilla Sur via a natural land bridge made of sand called a “tombolo.” The traverse between Espadilla and Punta Catedral’s peak is only an hour-long hike, which makes for a great day-time activity. Tidal pools of swimmable ocean water (great for snorkeling!) can also be found in both the Manuel Antonio and Espadilla beaches. Riptides do happen, so be careful when swimming!
Want to learn more about Costa Rica’s beaches? Read our article on Breathtaking Beaches in Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio Activities
There is so much to do around Manuel Antonio National Park, besides visiting the gorgeous park. The towns of Manuel Antonio and Quepos are activity hubs with options for all ages, levels of adventure, and budgets.
Here are some suggestions of things to do in Manuel Antonio when visiting the area. We can set arrange these types of activities for your trip if you book one of our Costa Rica vacation itineraries.
Wildlife Tours: Manuel Antonio Biodiversity
The biodiversity at Manuel Antonio National Park is unsurpassed. With diverse wildlife species, including over 100 mammals and over 300 different kinds of birds, seeing wildlife while on a rainforest tour is no problem at all. Ever want to see a sloth? White-headed capuchin monkey? There’s all that and more. As you roam the forest, you’ll discover different types of iguanas, toucans (yep…parrots!), parakeets, monkeys and maybe even snakes (careful!).
You can enter the National Park with your own private naturalist guide (which can be arranged with us) or you can hire a naturalist guide right outside the park. We highly recommend you take your time to choose your guide, since there are extremely knowledgeable guides in Costa Rica, but there are also people trying to take advantage of tourist, and we do not want you to waste your money. We suggest allowing Costa Rica Escapes to set up up with a preferred naturalist guide.
Cruising the Ocean: Ocean Kayak, snorkel, and scuba tours
Even dolphins can be easily found in the waters of Manuel Antonio National Park while sea kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. There are many companies in the Manuel Antonio Area offering these kinds of tours, we highly suggest you take your time to find out the more competent one, or you can save some time if you let us plan your trip to Manuel Antonio for you.
Another very common activity in the area is sunset catamaran tours, a great addition to a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Sports Fishing from Manuel Antonio area
Just off the shores of Manuel Antonio, avid fisherman can also catch tropical fish…how does a 100-pound billfish sound?
The Marina Pez Vela in Quepos is home to fishing boats (some very luxurious fishing boats). You can book all-day fishing trips from here and experience the beauty of the Pacific Ocean.
Adventure Sports: Whitewater Rafting and Canyoning
Very close to Manuel Antonio National Park you can experience whitewater rafting with Class II-IV rapids, a must do adventure! The Savegre River and the Naranjo River are just a short drive from Quepos, and many companies in the area organize these tours.
There is also the option of enjoying some canyoning and rappelling in the area, a great opportunity to refresh yourself in the fresh waters of the central Pacific waterfalls.
Manuel Antonio Food & Lodging
Because so many people want to enjoy the paradise of Manuel Antonio National Park, finding food and lodging that will fit your taste, needs and budget can be overwhelming because there are so many options. Note: We make it easy for our travelers by taking care of much of the planning for you!
The area that surrounds the park has some of the best hotels in Costa Rica, a mix of luxurious and environmentally friendly accommodations that will simple pamper your as they take you closer to nature.
There are also charming and authentic bed and breakfasts and cabinas (medium size rooms usually equipped with a kitchenette) usually run by Costa Ricans, for the average-price-minded traveler.
There are also simple lodges and hostels for those traveling on a more limited budget.
Also, you should know that Manuel Antonio area is known for being LGTBI friendly, so there are also lodges available for these tourists.
When it comes to food, the options are even more varied. You can find everything from small “sodas” serving traditional Costa Rican food to gourmet restaurants with just a few tables that will only serve you if you have a reservation. And of course, there are plenty of bars and fast-food type restaurants serving from Mexican tacos to American burgers.
Our itineraries include recommendations for where to eat to make life easy on your trip!
Manuel Antonio Weather Patterns
The average year-round high temperature at Manuel Antonio National Park is 87°, and the average low is 70°. Not bad for a vacation! It rains just a few inches per month from January through March, 6-7 inches in April and December, and May through November see the most rainfall with roughly 15 inches of rain per month. The humidity levels are usually 80-90%. Plan your trip accordingly. Once you’ve booked your Costa Rica itinerary and plan to visit Manuel Antonio during your stay, you can get a 15-day weather forecast by clicking here.
Ready to plan your visit to Manuel Antonio National Park?
Contact us to get started on planning your custom itinerary to Manuel Antonio Natural Park with Costa Rica Escapes. Use the contact form below and we’ll help you explore your options!
John Rabenau has been working in the eco-tourism & adventure travel industry in Costa Rica since 2002. He has worked in a variety of capacities from Outdoor Educator & Principle Guide to Itinerary Design Manager & Business Owner for numerous organizations. He has grown Costa Rica Escapes into one of the most reputable Costa Rica travel agencies since its creation in 2006, hosting more than 5,000 people with custom vacation itineraries.