Manuel Antonio National Park is part of Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Conservation Area. It is located on the country’s Pacific coast, just outside of the city of Quepos. It is around 132 kilometers away from the national capital of San Jose. Established in 1972, it is the smallest Costa Rican National park with just 683 hectares. However, it is the most accessible to reach, making it the most popular and most visited, with 150,000 visitors every year, amongst all of Costa Rica’s national parks. Due to its popularity, there are many resorts and hotels to choose from as well.
The park has a lowland forest that is home to different species of monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. Rare and endangered animals such as the squirrel monkeys and colorful little crabs are also found here in Manuel Antonio National Park.
However, the top draws of this park are the wonderful beaches surrounded by the rainforest. Spend a few days and one can explore the North Espadilla Beach, South Espadilla Beach, Manuel Antonio Beach, Puerto Escondido Beach, and Playitas Beach. All of them are safe for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing. The coral reefs are well-preserved and divers are rewarded with amazing underwater sights. The two most popular beaches, the South Espadilla Beach and Manuel Antonio Beach, are separated by a thin strip of land. This thin strip of land connects the former island of Cathedral Point to the coast.
Costa Rica’s climate is pleasant all year round especially in the coastal areas. There is a feeling that it is always spring no matter when you go. Going to Manuel Antonio National Park is easy. From the capital of San Jose, one can take a plane and will arrive at the park in twenty minutes. Direct buses and cars from San Jose are found in the Coca Cola Bus Terminal. Travel by land will take a little more than three hours.