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Costa Rica National Parks / Central Pacific/ Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park & Beaches

Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio National ParkDistance from San José: about 157 km (98 miles) / about 3 hours
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., closed on Mondays
Date of foundation: November 15, 1972
Size: 1,625 hectares (mainland) and 55,000 hectares (sea area)
Hiking trails:

  • In Quebrada la Catarata: from the entrance on the left side until reaching the beach of Manuel Antonio
  • In Punta Catedral: surrounds the island: 1.4 km (0.9 miles)
  • In Playas Gemelas and Puerto Escondido: 1.6 km (1 mile)
  • In Mirador Punta Serrucho: 1.3 km (0.8 miles)

Manuel Antonio National Park - Titi Monkeys7 kilometers (4.4 miles) south of the village of Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park is located directly on a fine, white Pacific beach lined with palm trees. The area offers many possibilities for animal observation. Most of the hotels are located on the road between the town of Quepos and the park entrance. A public bus (about every 15 minutes) offers transportation on this route.

The Manuel Antonio National Park offers an area of about 7 km2 (2.7 square miles) on the landside, including 12 small offshore islands. Due to the small size of the park, a large amount of animals can be observed - iguanas, Capuchin monkeys, sloths and more than 350 species of birds. Well maintained hiking trails of different lengths cross the park. Thanks to the seaside location, a visit to this national park offers a nice combination of nature and beach stay.

Amenities: Bathroom facilities, guides, hiking trails, viewpoints, swimming possible

Most of the Manuel Antonio hotels are located on the road between the town of Quepos and the beaches at the national park. An hourly public bus shuttle to the beaches of Manuel Antonio (about 15 minutes) make these hotels an ideal basis for beach lovers as well as for active people (horseback riding, visit of a spice growing farm, canoeing in the nearby river delta with good opportunities to watch crocodiles, hiking and wildlife observation in the national park, etc.)

Playa Manuel Antonio
Thanks to the white coral sand, Playa Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica. The Manuel Antonio National Park offers three more, very pretty beaches: Playa Espadilla Sur, Playa Escondido, Playa Playita.
The most famous one of all is of course Playa Manuel Antonio. It lies well protected from the waves and offers a small coral reef and a dreamlike beach.

Playa Espadilla Sur and Norte
A dreamlike white beach in the village of Manuel Antonio with turquoise water. Playa Espadilla Sur can only be accessed when entering the national park itself, Playa Espadilla Norte can be visited free of charge as it is located outside of the park.

Quepos with its numerous restaurants, bars, hotels and shops is located directly on the Pacific Ocean. In the past, this small harbor village mainly cultivated bananas; when this became impossible due to a disease attacking the plants, the community changed to the cultivation of oil palms. Its proximity to the Manuel Antonio National Park makes the village a convenient starting point for visits. Quepos also offers a small airfield (Quepos XQP).



Whitewater Rafting Savegre River
This full day adventure includes an incredible 4/wheel drive journey which takes you in to a very remote back country of the Río Savegre for a 4 hour guided Rafting trip with class II / III / IV rapids in rafts for 6 people. There are great swimming holes and a large variety of birsds and primary jungles ( egrets, toucans, osprey, parrots, kingfishers, and cormorants ). We will stop in a little village called “ Río Blanco ” for a Tico style lunch in a thatched roof restaurant with great views and a nature path. We also stop at some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area with many blooming heliconias in this shady garden of Eden. Requirements: Children over 10 + relative fit adults who can paddle & walk over rocks you need to wear river sandals or water shoes, bathing suit, sun protection, t-shirt, hat.
Time : 7:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Whitewater Rafting Naranjo River
A Class III / IV half day challence for more experienced paddlers. The Naranjo drops steeply from the mountains above Quepos, though a beautiful jungle gorge and takes you on a wild ride to sea level passing nearby farmlands and palm plantations. Water levels can rise quickly on this river upping the difficulty and adrenaline levels, so rafters should be physically fit and adventurous. Fruits, snacks midway included. Requirements : Good physical cond. ( kids over 13 years all ).
Time : 8:00 am – 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm.

Manuel Antonio Coastal Paddle
A more challeging open ocean paddle along one of Costa Rica´s most beautiful coastlines. Nearby islands are nesting sites for boobies and frigatebirds. We stop for a swin and snacks in isolated Biesanz Bay and we lunch at the end of the trip, near the National Park of Manuel Antonio. Requirements: Some experience or reasonable fitness as waves and surf are common.
Time : 8:00 am – 12:00 md / 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Guided Hike Manuel Antonio National Park
Have an experienced nature guide take you on an informative hike through the park. Our guides know where you are most likely to encounter sloths, monkeys etc. they will also provide a great deal of information on the history, flora and fauna during this easy 2 ½ hours walk. Mid tour snacks and refreshments are offered and guests may remain in the park after the tour. Requirements: None, easy walk.
Time : 7:30 am – 12:00 md.

Horseback Riding - Half Day Guided Rainforest Ride
This horseback riding tour is a halfday, through a typical Costa Rican area called Villa Nueva, where you will have a good opportunity to see the local country side and jungle. This excellent tour is 30 minutes driving from Quepos, and includes 1 ½ hours riding, also don’t forget your bathing suit to take a swim in a beautiful waterfall on the way. For birdwatchers we recommend going in the afternoon for a better chance to see toucans and some other exotic birds. Requirements: Ability to ride for 1 ½ hours approx. Easy ride.
Time : 8:00 a.m. – 13:00 p.m. /13:30 p.m. – 17:30 p.m.
Included : Transportation, guide, snacks and lunch or dinner.

Dolphin Watch Tour
Marvel At the mysterious islands with their jagged rock formation, towering cliffs and nesting grounds with numerous species of marine birds and their young. Listen to the blowholes; whistle with each surge of the waves. Help us count the varies types of dolphins, and whales that frolic just beyond the islands. Learn interesting facts about the National Park and history of Quepoa Indians. Join us and witness those unforgettable offshore sunsets, taking a moment to relax and enjoy another beautiful afternoon in paradise.
Time : 8:30 am – 12:00md or 2:00 pm – Sunset.

Damas Island Mangrove
Don’t miss Isla Damas and its wonderful wildlife just because you don’t want to kayak. Treat yourself to a tour by boatin the estuary with a guide. There is great birding and wonderful vistas on this mangrove canals. We will also stop at the island to enjoy a nice walk on the beach. Then enjoy a restaurant lunch or dinner. Excellent chance to see animals and birds. (Caimans, Sloths, Crocodiles, Boas, White face monkeys, egrets, and much more.) Specially recommended for senior citizens. Requirements: Casual dress, good for every age. Time : According with the high tide.
Included : Transportation, Lunch or Dinner, Boat, Guide.

Nauyaca Waterfalls Tours
Come with us to see the most beautiful waterfalls in the country! Cascading 25 & 40 meters into a 8 meters deep pool for swimming. The horseback tour offers you more contact with nature and a better chance of seeing wild life. Take you through the beautifull country side between Quepos and Dominical. Then our trip takes you through a majestic forest and wonderful vistas of the mountains of San Isidro. During the tour we´ll make two stops, first for breakfast in a real typical ranch, and then later in the afternoon we will return to the ranch for lunch. In this real costarrican family. At the waterfalls you will have a chance to take pictures of your guide jumping from the waterfalls to the pool. Lots of opportunities to watch many other kinds of wild life. Requirements: Relatively good shape (O.K. for kids). Recommendations: Walking shoes, mosquito repellent, hat or visor, and binoculars.
Included: Transportation, entrance fee, guide, breakfast, snacks, lunch
Time: 7:00 a.m. / 17:00 p.m.

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