Manuel Antonio National Park
Costa Rica has a large number of protected National Parks that are popular with both tourists and locals. One of the distinctions of Manuel Antonio National Park is that it’s located right on the beach, and just minutes from Quepos, Puntarenas. There’s plenty to do in the park, from walking tours, to water sports, and also animal watching. Visitors head here for the great beaches and hiking trails where they can see lush plant life and different types of animals.
The park is situated on the southern coast of Costa Rica. It’s part of the Central Pacific Conservation Area where plant and animal species are protected without fear of building development. This park encompasses over 1983 hectares of land and had its name first established in 1972.
There aren’t too many parks around the world that can boast having great sandy beaches. You can stand on the beach, yet see the mountains and forests lingering in the background. There are also some beautiful coral reefs.
When you arrive at the park, you will find the Visitor Centre, which was designed by well-known architects and provides information to tourists who are new to the area. Here you will find guides who can provide tours through the park and offer information about the many different types of animals and plants found there. Besides sea life the park is home to nearly 184 species of different types of birds, and nearly 109 species of different types of mammals. You’ll be able to see birds animals here that you don’t see in the US, such as monkeys, sloths, and toucans.
If you decide to try one of the many trails at the Park, there are over eight to choose from. Waterfall, Lookout, and Beach Espadilla are popular trails where you can see plenty of breathtaking sites. There is an approximately one hour walk that begins at Esapadilla, and ends at the top of Punta Catedral. The lookout at the top of this route is spectacular and is perfect for many photo opportunities.
After a good hike through the forest many people like to relax on one of four beaches inside the park. It will be a difficult choice between Espadilla Sur, Manuel Antonio, Playita, or Teloro, because each beach is very beautiful. These beaches have soft pale sand where the family can wind down at the end of a long day. Tidal pools add to the landscape. Some of these beaches have lifeguards to ensure the safety of water activities. The beaches with tidal pools have snorkeling programs where you can get super close to sea life. You can also try scuba diving, sea kayaking, and mountain biking. There is lodging nearby for those who wish to visit for a while, as well as plenty of restaurants and other facilities.
When you visit Costa Rica you’ll want to include a trip to one of Costa Rica’s top national parks, such as Manuel Antonio, to experience the beauty and nature that this country has to offer.