Manuel Antonio National Park

Explore the mightiness of nature at Manuel Antonio National Park, part of the Costa Rica’s National Parks network on the Pacific coast. Immerse yourself in its lush biodiversity, dreamy beaches, and winding trails that lead to towering viewpoints. You will discover the natural and cultural richness of this iconic park, from its creation to the thrilling activities it offers. Get ready to live an unforgettable experience in the tropical paradise of Manuel Antonio.

Introduction to Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most famous and popular destinations in Costa Rica. Located on the Pacific coast, this park captivates with its beautiful white sandy beaches, its lush tropical jungle, and its abundant wildlife. Covering approximately 1,983 hectares of land and 55,000 hectares of marine area, the park offers a perfect combination of scenic beauty and unique biodiversity.

History and Creation of the Park

Manuel Antonio National Park was established in 1972 with the goal of protecting coastal ecosystems and endangered species of flora and fauna. Its significance lies in being one of the few national parks that encompass both terrestrial and marine areas in Costa Rica. Over the years, the park has been subject to conservation programs and has gained international recognition as a successful model for biodiversity protection.

Location and Access

It is situated on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the canton of Quepos, Puntarenas province, between the coordinates Costa Rica Lambert Norte: 366000 – 372000 N and 446000 – 462000 W, Sheet 3344 II, Quepos, of the National Geographic Institute. According to the Costa Rica Transversal Mercator (CRTM) projection, the PNMA is located between the coordinates: 1032000 – 1040000 N and 472000 – 488000 W, approximately 157 kilometers South of San José. The main entrance is 7 kilometers East of Quepos.
To access the park, visitors can arrive by car or public transportation from the city of Quepos, located just a few kilometers away. Once in the park, you can enjoy a variety of well-marked trails and paths that allow you to explore its natural beauty.

Geographical Features

Manuel Antonio National Park boasts diverse geography that combines hills covered with tropical jungle, white sandy beaches, and impressive rock formations. Its coastal location provides panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and a refreshing breeze. Additionally, the park harbors several mangroves and estuaries that are home to a rich marine life.

Dreamy Beaches

The park’s beaches are true natural gems. They stand out for their white and soft sand, crystal-clear waters, and lush vegetation surrounding them. The most popular beaches in the park include Espadilla Sur, Manuel Antonio, and Playita, each with its own charm and opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the natural beauty.

Trails and Panoramic Viewpoints

The park features an extensive network of well-maintained trails that meander through its tropical jungle and offer breathtaking panoramic views. The trails allow visitors to explore the diversity of flora and fauna in the park while immersing themselves in an unparalleled natural environment. Additionally, there are several strategically located viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the coast, the ocean, and the surroundings, providing a unique visual experience.

Mangroves and Marine Life

The park is home to mangroves and estuaries, which are vital habitats for a variety of marine species and birds. Mangroves act as nurseries and shelters for numerous species, offering the opportunity to observe marine life up close in its natural habitat. Visitors can embark on boat or kayak tours to explore the mangroves and discover the fascinating biodiversity found there.


The park is internationally recognized for its exceptional biodiversity. It harbors a wide variety of flora and fauna species, many of which are endemic and endangered. Exploring the park provides the opportunity to witness the wonder of nature in its fullest expression.

Flora of the Park

The park is filled with a diversity of plant species, from mighty tropical trees to delicate orchids. In the forested areas, trees like the beach almond and guácimo can be found, providing food and shelter to a variety of animals. Additionally, epiphytic plants, such as tree ferns and bromeliads, adorn the trees with their unique beauty.

Fauna of the Park

The fauna of Manuel Antonio National Park is equally impressive. Visitors can spot capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and howler monkeys as they move through the trees. It is also possible to observe sloths, toucans, macaws, iguanas, and a variety of snakes and butterflies. The abundance of wildlife offers visitors the opportunity to have close encounters and unforgettable experiences.

Activities and Experiences

Manuel Antonio National Park offers a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

Birdwatching and Wildlife Observation

The park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with a large number of species that can be spotted in their natural habitat. Guided tours also allow wildlife observation in action, from playful monkeys to reptiles and vibrant butterflies. Expert guides help identify and understand the different species, providing an enriching experience.

Beaches and Water Activities

The beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio offer the opportunity to relax under the tropical sun, swim in crystal-clear waters, and enjoy exciting water activities. Visitors can snorkel to explore coral reefs and admire marine diversity, or enjoy water sports such as paddleboarding and kayaking.

Hiking and Trail Exploration

The park features a network of trails that allow visitors to venture into the tropical jungle and discover its hidden beauty. From easy walks to more challenging routes, there are options for all levels of fitness. During the hike, serene waterfalls, exotic flora, and surprising fauna can be encountered.

Dolphin and Whale Watching

In the waters near the park, playful dolphins can be found, and at certain times of the year, migratory humpback whales can also be spotted. Boat tours offer the opportunity to witness these magnificent animals in their natural environment, creating unforgettable memories.

Infrastructure and Services

Manuel Antonio National Park offers a variety of services to ensure a comfortable and safe experience for visitors.

Trails and Signage

The park’s trails are well-marked and feature educational information about the flora and fauna found along them. This allows visitors to learn about the environment while exploring.

Picnic and Rest Areas

The park has designated areas for picnics and rest, where visitors can enjoy a snack or simply relax surrounded by nature.

Tour Guide Services

For those wishing to have a more enriching experience, professional tour guide services are offered. These expert guides provide detailed information about the park’s flora, fauna, and history, offering a unique perspective during the visit.

Sanitary Facilities and Security

The park has clean and well-maintained sanitary facilities, as well as security measures to ensure the well-being of visitors. It is recommended to follow safety guidelines and respect the park’s rules to maintain a safe environment and preserve its natural beauty.

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