Manuel Antonio National Park is a natural conservation area located on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the Quepos canton, Puntarenas province. The park is located about 157 km south of the city of San José, capital of Costa Rica and 7 km south of the city of Quepos, between Damas and Matapalo. It was established on November 15, 1972 with an area of 1,983 ha in the land part and 55,000 ha in the marine part, dedicated to conservation, research and ecological tourism oriented towards environmental education.
Manuel Antonio was selected by Forbes Magazine in 2011 among the list of the 12 most beautiful parks in the world.
Manuel Antônio Park has 683 ha, has the most varied and beautiful landscapes. It is surrounded by a lush, very humid tropical forest and on its paths you can observe white face monkeys, anteaters, sloth animals, tramplings, raccoons, iguanas and many species of birds, as well as the squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii citrinellus), endemic to Manuel Antônio, that is, who is only found in that part of the world, which is increasingly threatened, with only 1,500 individuals remaining, according to the most recent census.
The Park also protects 12 islands that represent excellent refuges for several species of seabirds. It also has excellent beaches: Espadilla Sul, Manuel Antônio and Porto Escondido. There is also a 14-hectare pond and a mangrove. Ponta Catedral, which joins Manuel Antônio and Espadilla Sul beaches, is a place of great natural beauty. As for visitor services, they offer: information, park rangers, paths, sanitary services, drinking water, signage and various natural viewpoints.
The park is closed on Mondays.
1,953 terrestrial and 25,634 marine hectares
Open to the public from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday
From San José, take Route 27 to Caldera. After the last toll booth in Pozón, take the exit towards Tárcoles – Jacó (route 34). Continue for about 104 km until you reach Quepos centro. The Park is located about 7 km at the end of the Manuel Antonio village.
Length: 784 meters long. Travel time: approximately 45 min. Difficulty: universal access.
The region where the Manuel Antonio National Park is located was populated by the Quepoa indigenous community, the name that gave rise to the city of Quepos. With the arrival of the settlers, the lands became a crop area that was later acquired by the United Fruit Company, until in 1972, under pressure from the Costa Rican people, it was acquired by the State, remaining under its protection and creating the park under Law 5100. It is currently administered by the Central Pacific Conservation Area (ACOPAC), the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET).
This park has one of the most impressive landscapes in Costa Rica and in the world, it has several inlets with multiple white sand beaches and exuberant foliage in the middle of great mountains and forests that reach the beaches, it is located in the forest life zone tropical humid.
It has a great terrestrial and marine biodiversity with wonderful coral reefs.
Due to its excellent climate and scenic beauty, it is visited by a large amount of national and international tourism, for which it is currently developing an adequate infrastructure, with an emphasis on harmony with nature, of quality but camouflaged with it to reduce the visual impact. and under strict environmental protection standards, works designed by the renowned bioclimatic architects Ibo Bonilla and Rafael Víquez, among which are the Visitor Center, the Park Ranger House, viewpoints and support infrastructure and the Trails Master Plan that includes trails : Punta Catedral, Cascada, Mirador, Espadilla Beach, Manuel Antonio Beach, Congos, Twin Beaches, Puerto Escondido, Manglar and Lazy Path, with universal accessibility facilities, rest areas, panoramic viewpoints and scientific interpretation.
In the vicinity of the Park there are all kinds of commerce with facilities at all levels for tourism including typical regional and international food, as well as accommodation for all tastes and economic conditions.
Protects primary forest parks, secondary forest, mangroves, beach vegetation, marine environments, islands and a 14-hectare lagoon, the most characteristic flora species within the primary forest are the guácimo colorado, the pilón, the cedar maría, the guapinol white, the surá, the black guapinol, a timber tree in danger of extinction, the milky, the cenízaro and the ceiba.
The mangrove that covers approximately 18 ha, is made up of three species, red mangrove, white mangrove and black mangrove, in the beach vegetation the manzanillo stands out, a tree that has a milky substance and poisonous fruits, the almond tree, the savanna oak and the coconut.
Manuel Antonio has a rich variety of fauna. Approximately 352 species of birds, 109 species of mammals and a large number of marine fauna have been recorded.
Among the most outstanding mammals, two species of raccoon can be mentioned, Procyon lotor and Procyon cancrivorus; the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); the pizote (Nasua narica); guatuza (Dasyprocta punctata); two species of sloth: two-toed (Bradypus variegatus) and three-toed (Choloepus hoffmanni); three species of monkey: white-faced (Cebus capucinus), the marmoset or squirrel (Saimiri oerstedii), an endemic subspecies of the park that is in danger of extinction due to the destruction of its habitat and its use as a pet; and the howler or howler monkey (Alouatta palliata).
In the area, it is common to observe bird species such as the toucan (Pteroglossus frantzii), the pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), the guaco (Herpetotheres cachinnans), the crabbing hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus), the green kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) and the chirín coca (Aramides cajaneus). It is possible to observe iguanas, garrobos, snakes and countless insects.
There is also an exuberant marine fauna such as moray eel, stingrays, angelfish, urchins and starfish.
Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Costa Rica, thanks to its easy access, ease and variety of services including all kinds of meals and accommodations and its great variety of flora and fauna in such a small place, the park is among the most visited in the country.
Among the great attractions are the beaches surrounded by the tropical zone. Because of this, the park attracts swimmers, canoeists, ecotourists, and animal watchers. Manuel Antonio beach was rated in 2013 as the best beach in Central America according to the «Travelers Choice 2013» of the Tripadvisor website.2
An important aspect of conservation, and due to the ease with which mammals such as the coatis, raccoons and primates have contact with tourists, is to follow the instruction “PLEASE DO NOT FEED ANIMALS”, since they suffer from deformations to the time of pregnancy.
Manuel Antonio diagram
- Playa Manuel Antonio
- Punta Catedral
- Playa Espadilla Sur
- Puerto Escondido
- Playa Espadilla Norte
- Punta Serrucho
- Desembocadura del Río Naranjo
- Playa Rey
- Islas Olocuitas (la más grande), Gemelas (dos pequeñas islas inmediatamente al norte de Olocuitas) y Verde (al noroeste de Gemelas)
- Punta Quepos
- Isla Toro Amarillo
- Isla Mogote
- Ciudad y puerto de Quepos.
Testimonials from those who visited
We saw practically no animals, but it was worth the visit to be able to go to the beaches that are inside the park.
Great place for those who love nature. There are both woods to observe animals and vegetation, as well as the part of the beaches that are beautiful.
We saw sloth, birds, deer and the country’s symbol moth (all with the help of a guide).
Watch out for monkeys that can steal something from your backpack.
Light trail, well signposted, full of animals. Lush forest and you can even reach several beaches. It has shower points and toilets.
Walk through the park with animal watching. But many groups which make noise driving them away.
We visited the park in April and clearly the forest “call for” rain. The cataract (waterfall) was without water and we saw few animals. I don’t think the price asked by the guides is worth it! Nice beaches, with monkeys and sloths (sloth) in the vicinity which gives some charm to the place. Very touristic place with a “very normal” natural beauty in the Costa Rican context.
Accompanied by a guide and viewing equipment, we had the opportunity for 2 hours to listen and observe the most diverse animals, apes, iguanas, birds, that exist in the park.
Beautiful park, very well maintained. I paid 16 dollars in high season and it was super worth it, beautiful beaches and good for swimming. Walk a little long but not very difficult to do. Many animals to see.