Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park may be the smallest national park in Costa Rica (only 1730 acres), but it is the 2nd most visited national park in the country. There are good reasons for this fact: great beaches, abundance of wildlife and plants, beautiful trails, coral reefs, and as they like to say – “Still more monkeys than people!” No trip to Costa Rica is complete without a day or 2 in Manuel Antonio National Park.

Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see 3 species of monkeys. In addition there are over 200 species of birds, 110 mammals, 4 turtles and 60 different fish, 2 & 3 toed sloths, and green and black iguanas!

Add to that, rain forest with short easy hiking trails next to what some call the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. You will find great snorkeling in the coral reefs and rocky coves with an abundance of aquatic life. There are primary and secondary forest as well as mangrove forests and 12 islands! The Manuel Antonio sunsets are spectacular and not to be missed.

Manuel Antonio activities include swimming, snorkeling, diving, nature hikes, bird-watching, wildlife watching, horseback riding, and kayaking. The snorkeling is best from December through April and best at Biesanz Beach.

Manuel Antonio National Park is approximately 3 hour drive from San Jose, located at Lat: 9.3611 and Long: 84.1749.

It is usually warm at Manuel Antonio with average temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s F. The dry season is December – April and the wettest season is September -October. Visitors should be prepared with some rain wear for those sudden downpours. Of course, don’t forget the camera, binoculars, and sunscreen as well.

Visitors are advised to get to the park for nature hikes early in the morning (by 8:00 am). Although Costa Rica national park entrance fees do change often, plan on $10 park admission fee – open 8am-4pm Tuesday – Sunday. The fee does not include a guide. We highly recommend a guide to thoroughly get the most out of the natural flora and fauna and wildlife that you almost certainly will not see on your own.

Note: The squirrel monkey is one of the smallest monkey species in the world and on the critically endangered list. You can see the squirrel monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park and the southern Costa Rica coastline – one of only 3 places left in the world they live!

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