On the Costa Rican Pacific coast, just 165 km from the bustling San José, Manuel Antonio National Park is ideally located and embodies the heart of Central American wildlife. This is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, which encases only 1,950 terrestrial hectares. This does not speak to the rich environment protected here. Impressive diversity in the ecosystem distinguishes visiting Manuel Antonio National Park from any other in Costa Rica, as four enchanting beaches guide you to the 55,000 marine hectares, which the park also guards. This treasure trove of biodiversity has been protected since 1972, only enabling its further flourishment.
You are welcomed into morning bird songs and a tender temperature, as an early start maximises your chances of observing the more introverted wildlife. Meet your professional local naturalist guide for a tour along a trail of 1,500 meters, which meanders through a jungle rich in wild flora and fauna. These well-versed hands familiarise you with colourful wildlife which could go amiss without their practised eyes. The camouflage of the ample foliage begins to transform into something even more magnificent. Tracing the treetops are booming Howler monkeys, White-faced Capuchins, and even the rare and delightful Squirrel monkey. Accompanying them, an abundance of adorable two-toed and three-toed sloths. For eager-eyed bird-watchers, a manifold of aviary life dashes a spectrum of colour amongst the greenery, from the delicate Mangrove hummingbird to the cunning Crane hawk.
During your holiday to Costa Rica, combine a journey through the coastal rainforest with a connecting visit to two of the park’s blissful beaches, both overlooking glistening crystal-clear waters. Bisecting the vast ocean and the luscious rainforest, these beaches are home to plenty more wildlife, including dozens of iguanas who frequently dart across the shore. Perhaps, once your thirst for adventure is quenched, the cooling natural shade and soft, white sands of Playa Manuel Antonio are just what you need. This crescent-shaped beach is encased by thick foliage and overlooks an expansive oceanic scenery, evoking within you a feeling of serene disconnect from the rest of the world.
Playa Manuel Antonio stretches toward the park’s centrepiece, “Punta Catedral”, a tombolo encircled by a rocky peninsula, offering stunning views from a higher vantage point. Amazing sights await you beyond the shore, as boundless, vibrant coral reefs offer astounding snorkelling opportunities. Become an undisruptive guest to the Sting Rays, Sea Horses and other thriving marine communities within the Park’s waters. For adventure travellers in need of a more action-packed encounter with these dazzling waters, surfboard rentals and lessons are offered on Playa Manuel Antonio.