Around Manuel Antonio
Excursions and Tours Around Manual Antonio Costa Rica
Manual Antonio National Park
The entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park is located at the southern end of Playa Espadilla and within the park there are three other beaches: Playa Espadilla Sur, Playa Manual Antonio and Playa Escondida. This is the most visited National Park in Costa Rica and all of the four beaches mentioned are fabulous, with Playa Manuel Antonio being exceptionally beautiful and pristine; some call it the best white sand beach in Costa Rica. Between the beaches there are small secluded coves, palm lined shaded areas and endless ocean views, and there are coral reefs just offshore for snorkeling.
The national park encompasses Punta Catedral which used to be an island but due to years of sediment build-up it can now be reached on foot. Close to the beaches and near the cliffs which rise up from the ocean is the wet forest zone where there are hiking trails with great views. A walk through the park will reveal a great diversity of flowers, plants and small animals. This park is home to a healthy population of Spider monkeys, White-faced capuchins and howler monkeys. Sloths, scarlet macaws and more than 300 species of birds and mammals have been identified here. On the small islands adjacent to Manuel Antonio there are nesting sites for a variety of sea birds such as Frigate birds and Pelicans.
The Park operates from 8am to 4 pm, and has drinking water and restrooms. Maps are available for those who want to enjoy the extensive trail system. No Costa Rica holiday is complete without a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.
Manuel Antonio Canopy Tours
Everyone has heard of canopy tours in Costa Rica, but some are better than others. In Manuel Antonio the canopy experience is among the best available due to the extraordinary lushness and diversity in this region. Take the time to compare different tour operators or ask for recommendations from the local tourist office, your hotel or your vacation rental manger. Professional tours operators are well educated about Costa Rica flora and fauna and the tours are based on a wildlife educational experience as much as the thrill of flying along a zipline like a Toucan. This tour is an excellent combination of learning and adventure with safety aspects highlighted. In Manuel Antonio the equipment used for ziplining is pretty much state of the art.
Rainforest canopy tours in Costa Rica begin with a walk through tropical rainforest jungle to a designated spot where you ascend to an elevated platform and then glide over the jungle canopy on suspension cables. A knowledgeable and bilingual guide will take you from one canopy station to another. If all this sounds a bit too much, you can always just trek along and skip the zipline. Indeed a popular option is to do a half-day zipline tour combined with a casual stroll with a qualified nature guide.
Damas Island Mangrove Kayaking Tour
Visiting the Damas Island estuary gives you an opportunity to see first hand the mangroves and tidal waters and all the wildlife that this ecosystem attracts. This protected inland waterway is an important component for the whole natural ecosystem of the region. Expert guides will show you how to paddle the kayak which in these calm waters is easy and enjoyable. The flora and fauna is stunning. This tour is recommended highly as a relaxing day out for a naturalist at heart.
There is also an option to go by boat and just sit back and relax and enjoy the brief given by the naturalist guide. This option is more pleasurable for those who do not wish to worry about paddling. There will be many wildlife sightings to keep you occupied. This tour is suitable for all ages and includes round-trip transportation and all equipment.
Manuel Antonio White Water Rafting
From May to December the Naranjo River offers thrill seekers a real white water challenge, but this is only recommended for those who are really physically fit and those who have had previous experience with Class III and IV rapids. The guides on these trips have been trained overseas, and safety kayakers work with the teams on navigating through all the rocky corners and turns. Starting high up in the hills above the Pacific Ocean your group and an experienced guide set about navigating through the steep gorges and white water for about 7 miles, all full on with a high octane adrenaline rush. Not for the faint hearted. From the start of the wet season and especially from late August to November the water levels can go up a lot from one day to the next, enough to challenge the most experienced rafters. You may not get much of a chance to take in the scenery, save that for another trip!
Manuel Antonio Horseback Riding
Most horseback riding tours are conducted by families who run ranches and who are knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna especially in the Manuel Antonio region. Options include half day trips to waterfalls, rides at sunset on the beach, or into private biological reserves. Most tours are operated year round. Horseback tours are ideal for enjoying the scenery and observing the natural environment. Riders will also get a feel of the local culture and way of life, with traditional Tico breakfast and lunch being served on most trips.
The Rainmaker Conservation Project in Parrita
About 12 miles north of Manuel Antonio 'The Rainmaker' project is a privately owned rainforest reserve which is famous for being the habitat for about half of all the wildlife species in Costa Rica. With a preservation area of over 1500 acres this rainforest conservation project has a dedicated team of expert nature guides who will provide high quality information about the flora and fauna in this reserve. The conservation project is at the forefront of Costa Rica’s efforts to save and protect ecologically fragile rainforests. Expect to see exotic plants, birds, monkeys, butterflies, different kinds of frogs and snakes and more. Walk on suspension bridges and along wildlife tracks as you listen to interesting facts about all what is around you by a trained guide. Different tours within the project are available, from canopy tours to river walks, bird watching morning tours and reptile night tours. A visit to the Rainmaker Project is a must for anyone planning to have a Costa Rica Holiday based in Manuel Antonio.
Fincas Naturales Wildlife Refuge
Fincas Naturales Wildlife Refuge is located in front of the Si Como No Resort Hotel near the top of the hill as you drive towards Manuel Antonio National Park from Quepos. This is a 25-acre wildlife refuge which includes a butterfly garden within a botanical garden and a small crocodile farm. Its proximity to central Manuel Antonio makes this tour an ideal choice for those who want a short and easy excursion.
Manuel Antonio Rafting on the Savegre River
Savegre River provides a gentle river rafting option suitable for the whole family. The tour includes a full day trip with class 2 and 3 rapids, and plenty of time to take in the scenery and enjoy the wildlife, perfect for those looking for a soft adventure.
OTHER TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
Titi Canopy Tour has 12 long soaring cables of 1400 ft; see heaps of monkeys; 5 minutes from Quepos; the most economical canopy tour in the area; options include moon lit night tours and all with a perfect safety record.
Catamarán Sailing Island Adventure takes you down the coast of the Manuel Antonio park system, passing islands with high cliff faces. Sightings of dolphins, humpback whales and sea turtles are common in these waters, so sailing adventures are often combined with marine wildlife viewing. A full range of beverages are offered on these sailing tours. The crew are bilingual and very qualified.
Rappelling Waterfall Canyons in Manuel Antonio means rappelling down an 85 feet waterfall. Not for the faint hearted, however you can choose your level of difficulty. You climb up three sections to reach the top or stop at any of the three stop-off points. As with most Manuel Antonio tours, modern equipment is used and high safety standards apply.
Rainforest Hikes with Tram Rides involves traveling to Jaco Beach, where the rainforest aerial tram is located. This is a new facility founded within 220 acres of rainforest. Enjoy a pleasant tram ride with wonderful scenery, with an option to hike on nature trails. The tour also includes a snake exhibition, a heliconias gallery and a medicinal plants garden within the same rainforest.
Catamaran Tour to Tortuga Island has been around for some time using the super yacht, the Manta Ray. Enjoy sailing around seven islands in the Gulf of Nicoya and Tortuga Island, combined with a great beach, snorkeling, banana boat rides and food.
ATV Guided Tours will take you through cattle farms and small communities while exploring the scenic hills behind Quepos and Manuel Antonio; ask your guide for many other options as to where to go and what to see.