One of Costa Rica’s most frequented spots is Manuel Antonio National Park. Located just 110 miles from San Jose, the park is full of biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes. Capuchin monkeys jump from branch to branch, sloths lounge within the canopies, lizards and iguanas climb the trees, and waves roll towards the beach while birds chirp in the distance- just a normal
morning in Manuel Antonio National Park.
The entrance fee to the park is just $10 (as of Summer 2015), and it is open from 7 a.
m. to 4 p.m every day of the week except Mondays.
Main Trail: a half-mile flat, sandy path that links several beaches. It is a very easy trail and the most popular with visitors. Most of the guided hikes slowly make their way along this trail.
Cathedral Point Trail: branches off to the right of the main trail and loops around Cathedral Point. The trail is steep in some sections and can be muddy and slippery in the wet season (May-Nov.)
Trampa Trail: is a short path that connects the beginning and end of Cathedral Point Trail, completing the loop.
The Playa Gemelas / Punto Escondido Trail: a mile through the forest to two other beaches of the same names.
Mirador Trail: is a more challenging climb- close to a mile long, leading to a beautiful lookout point.
The park has three beaches, each shaded by enormous coconut palms, mangrove and almond trees.
Playa Espadilla Sur: is the first and longest beach in Manuel Antonio National Park. It is the widest beach off to the right of the main trail. It is often less crowded than the other beaches and is a great place for strolling at low tide, sunbathing or relaxing under the shade.
Manuel Antonio Beach: is a popular beach among tourists and locals. Many families and school children visit this stretch of beach as it offers restrooms, picnic tables, drinking water and showers.
Playa Gemelas: typically not crowded. The strong currents and hidden rocks beneath the surface make swimming difficult, if not dangerous. There is a more secluded section of this beach accessible at low tide by walking around a small rock outcropping.
- Arrive as close to 7 a.m. as you can in order to see as many animals as possible, and snag a good spot on the beach. When more people enter the park in the afternoon, the animals attend to shy away and are harder to spot.
- Keep an eye on your belongings when you are at the beach. Sneaky monkeys and raccoons often ransack the bags of tourists looking for food.
- If you want to strive to hike the tougher trails, wear supportive shoes like hiking boots. Otherwise, sandals and flip flops are acceptable for the closer beaches.
- Plan on spending your entire afternoon in the park. Take advantage of the many trails and explore the private beaches within Manuel Antonio National Park!
This link will lead you to a website with further information about Manuel Antonio National Park, nearby hotels, and other activities in the area.
Have you been to Manuel Antonio National Park and think we missed something? Let us know your experiences, advice, and stories in the comments below!