A guide to Manuel Antonio Park

Manuel Antonio is a vibrant village surrounded by lush jungle and pristine white sand beaches and it is also one of the most beautiful natural park in the world. Well, I must say that I totally agree, we liked it so much that we came back, because this wasn’t our first visit. You might wonder what makes this park so special? Well, that is the huge number of animals you can spot here, like wild sloths, snakes, frogs, monkeys and much more wildlife.

Even though this is the smallest National Park in the country, the stunning nature and cute animals continue to attract visitors from all over the world. In this blog post I will share plenty of information to help you explore the marvellous land of Manuel Antonio.

One of the main reasons people are so attracted by it is the variety of wildlife they will spot during the visit. This is literally Heaven for nature lovers and photographers because here they have a high chance to spot white faced capuchin and titi monkeys, free roaming lizards, scarlet macaws, toucans and even sloths. This is the place where you’ll be greeted by nature at every turn.

This is one of the most biodiverse places in Costa Rica and I’m pretty sure in the world. A place with animals being wild, free and protected. A beautiful hike in the tropical forest surrounded by monkeys, slots, reptiles and then to spend a day on a paradisiac beach, is a dream come true. Even though it’s more and more visited there are still many hidden spots in the national park where you can escape the crowds.

ABOUT MANUEL ANTONIO

Located in the Central Pacific region and is basically one 6 km long vibrant road on a hilly area between the charming city of Quepos and the protected Manuel Antonio National Park. All along the coast you´ll find a variety of accommodations, bars and restaurants serving everything from local cuisine to falafel, burgers and seafood.

best time to visit

The weather is perfect all year round, it’s consistently sunny, with average temperatures of 27°C. Costa Rica has two seasons : the dry season and rainy season. The dry season takes place from mid December to April and this is also the peak season when tourism its highest. If you love hot weather then you should come between the end of February and May and in early May, the average highs are around 29°C.

The rainy season is between May to the end of July. But don’t get too scared because the downpour doesn’t last long and it also has a good side, as the hotel rates are lower and the rainforest is also full of life during this time. The peak rainy season is from August to November and even if it doesn’t rain every day, you might not be able to enjoy all the outdoor activities. Anyway is matter of luck too.

It’s very important to know that they allow only a certain amount of people inside the park, but even if we purchased the tickets the day we entered the Park, we never had troubles to find one. The entrance tickets can only be purchased online via a tour and the prices are around 60-100 $ or direct at the entrance of the national park. Your passport number is required for the registry at the national park.

tickets & opening hours

The park is open from 7 AM to 4 PM every day except Tuesdays. Try to be careful of the scammers if you don´t have a parking spot yet. The price per day is 7$.

Manuel Antonio guided tour

I highly recommend hiring a naturalist guide because he will help you to spot many more animals than you will do it by yourself. Having a guide with you, will help you to learn more about the birds and animals you encounter and be able to spot more than you with their trained eye. The guide will also have a monocular, giving you a better close-up view.

You will find many guides lined up outside the park every morning, but you should be careful if you pick one because not all of them have knowledge about nature.

restaurants in Manuel Antonio Park

There is one restaurant inside the park, but if you decide to eat at the park restaurant prepare yourself mentally because the crazy monkeys will come to seal your food. We had many laughs running from the monkeys around the restaurant. The employees are tired of scaring them every day, but when you like animals and you don’t spend every day with monkeys, you find it kind of fun.

If you don´t want to eat at the restaurant, they allowed a list of foods inside the park. The rule is that nothing sweet will generally be allowed into the park. They check your bag at the entrance. Foods that you can’t bring with you inside the park are candy, chocolates, cookies and anything with a strong smell that might attract the animals to your bags. All prohibited items are confiscated and thrown in the trash.

wildlife
The ones who greed you at the entrance at the beach

Manuel Antonio Beach is a dazzling and unique beach and by unique I’m not talking only about the jungle scenery that changes into a beach, but I’m talking about that here you´ll spend your beach day with monkeys, iguanas, slots and many other animals that may come around. How cool is that, right?

ENJOY THE BEACHES

When we visited Costa Rica 5 years ago, at this beach were raccoons too, but they took them to another place because they were very naughty and stealing food from tourists bags. I saw how they did it and we had the laugh of our lives. I have to admit that I was very disappointed not to see them, because I came back with so much illusion to spend a fun time with monkeys and raccoons, but I know that wherever they took them, the raccoons are fine.

Within the park, there are a few separate beaches to explore. There is not too much distance between each beach, so you can reach them pretty easy. Here are the names of some of the most popular:

  • Playa Espadilla
  • Playa Espadilla Sur
  • Playa Manuel Antonio
  • Playa Biesanz
  • Playa la Macha

All the beaches inside the park are protected and you can reach them only if you enter the park. Some people come here only for the beaches (many of them have seen the park already) and they pay the ticket only to spend a day at this awesome beaches. Well, I would do the same thing if I would be living close to such an awesome place. You don’t have to walk too much from the entrance and mostly if you have seen already the park. The walk from the entrance to the first beach is around 25 minutes.

If the raccoons would haven been still here I would have told you to be careful with your belongings because they and the monkeys were making teams to steal your stuff. The beaches are safe but with all that, be precocious with your belongings as anywhere in the world. We have never had any problem, but is good to be careful.

pura vida
Playa Manuel Antonio

But this amazing park has so much more to offer. Beside the stunning nature and wildlife to admire, the park is a perfect mix of staying active and relaxing. It’s your choice what would you like to do more. After we visited the park and enjoyed the beaches we opted for some fun activities like whale watching and snorkelling.

best things to do in Manuel Antonio Park

Manuel Antonio is a convenient jumping off point for many fun activities. I will share with you some of the many activities that you can’t miss:

  • mangrove boat or kayak tours
  • zip lining
  • hiking
  • whitewater rafting
  • sunset cruises
  • whale watching
Manuel Antonio

We had the best time exploring Manuel Antonio Park. Spending time with cute, crazy monkeys, slots and surrounded by the beautiful jungle was magical, but with all the activities and clear blue waters that the park has to offer, it was enough for us 1 day. 

We love Costa Rica and is one of our favourite country to visit and for sure we´ll come back again and again. I mean, how not to be in love with such a perfect destination for nature lovers and adventurers.

It might be small but it has so many things to do and see, like breathtaking landscapes, plenty of unforgettable experiences, wildlife and enough outdoor activities to keep you busy for weeks. We had a lot fun in Manuel Antonio with all the attracting activities, combined with its stunning scenery. There’s no doubt that this is one of the best place we’ve ever visited.

If you enjoyed this blog, just leave your thoughts in the comment area. Also, stay tuned for the upcoming blogs with more things to do in the Costa Rica.

With love, Maddie ♡

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