Manuel Antonio National Park and the nearby town of Quepos are located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The rich biodiversity of this area, coupled with a wealth of activities make this a destination that offers something for everyone. It’s easy to spend your entire holiday in this area of the country!
Manuel Antonio is the premier destination of the Central Pacific region offering a variety of small intimate hotels artistically built into a rainforest hillside between town and the popular Manuel Antonio National Park.
Manuel Antonio National Park (closed on Mondays) contains three beautiful beaches, casual forest trails, and a dense rainforest teaming with animal life. In 2011, it was named by Forbes as one of the world’s most beautiful parks.
Manuel Antonio is the smallest park in the Costa Rica, but abundant with wildlife. Capuchin, Howler, and Squirrel Monkeys are some of the most social creatures of the park. Don’t feed them, and hold on to your snacks! You can also expect to see sloths, iguanas, and hundreds of species of birds – just to name a few. Book an early morning guided tour of the park with a professional naturalist guide to avoid the crowds and increase your odds of seeing more wildlife. Naturalist guides have an eye and an ear for locating wildlife that most people miss.
The two main beaches inside the park, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio are about a 30 minute hike from the main entrance of the park. The beaches of Manuel Antonio are singularly beautiful with stunning, brightly-colored sunsets. The light sand beaches in the coastal park are popular for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, and surf lessons.
Because of environmental restrictions, the hotels in the Manuel Antonio area are not beachfront, but set cliff-side with sweeping views. Only a few Manuel Antonio hotels have direct beach access. To reach the public beaches and the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park, travelers can take the hotel or public shuttle.
Quepos: Gateway to Manuel Antonio
The town of Quepos could be described as the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park. It’s just a 15 minute drive (4 1/2 miles) from Quepos to Manuel Antonio and a 25 minute drive (7 1/2 miles) from the Quepos Domestic Airport to Manuel Antonio. Quepos has a great selection of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. The streets of Quepos are easy to walk, with a mix of local shops, markets, and cafes. It has all the amenities of a tourism-hub, yet maintains that ineffable charm of Costa Rica with an authentic laid-back feel.
Manuel Antonio Attractions
- Manuel Antonio National Park
- Rain Forest
- Multi-Sport Adventures
- Sport Fishing
- Santa Juana Mountain Village
- Damas Estuary
What To Do In Manuel Antonio
- Manuel Antonio National Park Hike
- Damas Island Estuary by Kayak
- Zip Line Canopy Safari
- Whitewater Rafting
- Coastal Sea Kayaking
- Butterfly Botanical Gardens
- Jungle Night Walk
- Santa Juana Mountain Tour
- Villa Vanilla Spice Tour
- Catamaran Cruise
- Cerro Nara Horseback Riding
Climate: Dry- December to April, Wet- May to November, Wettest- September & October
Temperature: Average high 92°, tropical weather with brief afternoon showers typical May to November.
Bring: Beach wear, hiking sandals and an appetite since there are many great local restaurants.
Don’t Miss: Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most spectacular beaches in Costa Rica. Go in the morning to avoid crowds. We highly recommend a visit to the park with a naturalist guide. Please keep in mind the park is closed on Mondays.