One of Costa Rica’s premier tourist destinations, Manuel Antonio National Park combines natural primary and secondary forests, exuberant wildlife, and pristine beaches in one amazing location on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, only seven kilometers south of Quepos. Manuel Antonio’s distinctive Cathedral Point takes center stage in the many breathtaking vistas that punctuate the winding drive between Quepos and the National Park entrance. Cathedral Point was once actually an island, but thousands of years of geological action connected it to the mainland with a natural land bridge.
With the establishment of ManuelAntonio National Park in 1972, the people of Costa Rica decided to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country’s smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled.
Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. This beaches are the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent too. The forest is home for sloths, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys and millions of colorful little crabs. And the trail that winds around Punta Catedral affords some spectacular views. The park is easy to reach, south of the town of Quepos, and is near a good selection of hotels and restaurants. Visiting the park, one is treated to an abundant diversity of wildlife.
Cathedral Point, with its forest topped cliffs was once an island, but is now connected to the coast by a thin strip of island. This land bridge now forms the spine separating the parks two most popular beaches, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio. The southern facing beach, Playa Manuel Antonio, is a picturesque half mile long, white sand crescent bisecting deep green foliage to one side and a private, secluded cove to the other. Standing with your feet dug into the sand and watching the wave crash against the rocks on either side of the lagoon, it is easy to believe that you are a thousand miles from anywhere.
Include: Full insurance, A/C and comfortable transportation, experienced driver, naturalist tour guide, entrance fees, lunch a la carte, cold beverages on the car and beach break to swim.
What to bring: Camera, sandals or hiking shoes, swimsuit, sunblock, rain coat or poncho, hat, towel.
Tour lenght: between 7 and 9 hours from Jaco, Puntarenas and San Jose and about 5 hours from hotels in Manuel Antonio or Quepos areas.