Manuel Antonio: best beach, rainforest and wildlife viewing all in one
Costa Rica isn't only luxury hotels, restaurants and parties; it is also one of the best places in the world to enjoy nature and be witness to an incredible amount of wildlife.
177 km south of San Jose, and 7km south of Quepos, you will find the perfect place to do just that: The Manuel Antonio National Park.
This is the second most visited national park in Costa Rica and only because the other park (Poas Volcano National Park) is the closest to San Jose. Manuel Antonio is popular because it combines the beauty of the rain forest, white sanded beaches and mangroves. It is also incredibly bio-diverse as it is home to over 100 mammal species, including the highly endangered squirrel monkey, making it one of the top wildlife viewing parks in the country.
There are countless options for a truly amazing experience. You can go on a guided hiking tour along the many trails of the park, snorkel along its beautiful coasts, or go on a super exciting canopy tour over the trees, or how about a cruise in search for dolphins?
The weather here is perfect and tropical, that is between 27° and 30°C year round, and if you want to visit it I would advise you go in January and February because that is when it rains the least.
These are the best beaches in the park:
Playa Espadilla – This white sand beach is the first one you’ll find at the park. It’s also the longest and widest with strong surf.
Playa Manuel Antonio – The most popular beach in the park with great swimming, picnic tables, drinking water, showers, and plenty of shade.
Playa Gemelas – One of the less crowded beaches due to its super strong currents with hidden rocks beneath the surface.
Playa Playitas – The perfect place for easy hikes and a dip in the crystal clear blue waters.