Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkManuel Antonio Park Costa Rica is the jewel of the Pacific Coast that is home to one of the top beaches in the world located within the Manuel Antonio National Park. It is one of the smallest parks in Costa Rica but it is the most visited due to its varied fauna with 109 species of mammals and 184 of birds.  It’s popular because of its expansive white sand beaches flanked by an evergreen forest that grows right up to the high tide line. The town of Manuel Antonio is small but host several hideaway hotels and luxury vacation rentals. In this small town, you can enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies from the “feria” (weekly market), have a five star meal at many of the restaurants, hire a private chef to cook for you or mix in with the locals and join them eating a “casado” (typical Costa Rican meal) at any of the “sodas”(little local restaurants).  Whether you are a wildlife lover, adventure seeker or you just want to be a beach bum, the array of activities is endless and you can book several tours to help you enjoy your tropical paradise vacation. The region is a treasure for biodiversity, attracting nature buffs, eco-travelers and adventure-seekers alike.

Weather (When to Go)

You will be able to see wildlife and hike the trails any time of the year. However, there are a few things to keep in mind about visiting this national park.  The weather at Manuel Antonio is hot and humid with temperatures in the 90’s and high humidity. This area experiences typical tropical weather so you have the normal dry season from roughly beginning of December – end of April and rainy season from beginning of May to end of November.

It is very crowded the end of December thru the end of April. This is high season and this park gets very crowded Weekends and holidays (New Years, Christmas and Holy Week) are very busy. July is also a busy month.  The best time to visit and skip the crowds is September thru November.  However, these months are the peak rainy months.

What to Wear and Bring

  • Bring your swimsuit (there are changing stations) if you don’t want to wear it in, towels, water, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • If you’re visiting in rainy season, make sure you have a waterproof backpack or backpack cover.
  • You can walk the trails with flip flops but hiking sandals are the best if you want to hike and go in the water.
  • You don’t need to wear long hiking pants or shirts, the trails are nicely made with platforms. I suggest wearing shorts and a tank top because it’s so hot there. Just make sure to use mosquito repellent.
  • For photographers or wildlife lovers, bring binoculars or a camera with good zoom lens (at least 250 mm) for photographing wildlife.

Getting to Manuel Antonio National Park

By Air

Local carriers, Nature Air and Sansa, fly between San Jose and Quepos several times a day, with departures and arrivals from many popular tourist locations.

By Bus

Direct buses from San Jose depart from the Tracopa Station at Plaza Viquez in San Jose.  The fare is $8 and departs at 6:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  This is a 3 hour bus ride.

By Collective Shuttle Bus

Private shuttle companies, Interbus and Grayline, offer door-to-door service between major tourist destinations and Manuel Antonio. Air-conditioned buses seat 10 to 15 passengers and have a bilingual driver. There are both morning and afternoon departures for Manuel Antonio for $45 per person, each way.

By Car

Travel time between San Jose and Manuel Antonio is roughly three hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Expect to pay around $5 in tolls in Costa Rican currency.

Getting Around in Manuel National Park

To get around Manuel Antonio, you’ll follow a hilly two-mile main stretch of paved road that starts in Quepos and ends at the Manuel Antonio National Park.  Quepos – the closest town to Manuel Antonio – is a small, walk-able commercial hub with a bus station, marina, restaurants, banks and shopping. The route from there to the park is lined with a series of hotels and restaurants that ends in the very small beach-side town of Manuel Antonio – also walk-able.

By Bus

The public bus is the easiest way to get around, it’s cheap, comes around every 30 minutes and drives between Quepos and Manuel Antonio on the main road, but then again taxis aren’t too difficult to find either.  Public buses run between Quepos and Manuel Antonio carrying passengers to Manuel Antonio National Park and  back. The trip takes roughly 25 minutes and has several stops en route. Buses run from 5:45 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Buses depart every half hour or so and cost about 65 cents each way.

By Bike or Scooter

Several hotels and roadside stands offer bicycle rentals for around $15 per day. Both are inexpensive, but the road between Quepos and Manuel Antonio is extremely steep and hilly; a challenging ride for even experienced bicyclists.

By Taxi

There are plenty of taxis on hand for visitors without a car. Official red taxis have a bright yellow sign on the side and are always equipped with a meter, but that doesn’t mean they’ll always use it. Make sure you negotiate taxi fare before you get in to ensure you get the best deal.

Area Attractions

Damas Island Mangroves, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkDamas Island Mangroves

Twice a day the tide floods the Damas Island estuary forming a series of canals that weave through the tangle of trees and fallen logs that make-up the mangrove forest. Capuchin monkeys hide among the branches of the trees, swinging, scratching, playing and eating. Nearby, boa constrictors camouflage among the branches while hungry American crocodiles float idly beneath. Herons and other waterfowl perch on the dead logs of fallen trees and deep in the canopies hide the world’s smallest anteater, the pygmy anteater. You can book 2-hour boat and kayak tours to Damas Island through a number of eco-tour operators in town. Excursions include transportation, beverages and a bilingual naturalist guide.

Playa Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkPlaya Manuel Antonio

One of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches, Playa Manuel Antonio frequently hosts parties and festivals, and it is an ideal destination for avid surfers.  This beach is host to tidal pools and offers the opportunity to go snorkeling. Rated as one of the top ten most beautiful beaches in the world, Playa Manuel Antonio is a half mile long with white sands and bordered by deep green mangroves and palms. Also known as one of the best swimming beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Manuel Antonio can get busy early in the day – be sure to arrive before 10 am to secure your spot for the day.

Kids Saving the Rainforest, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkKids Saving the Rainforest

Since 1999, Kids Saving the Rainforest has been rescuing and rehabilitated rainforest animals that are injured or orphaned in the wild. They treat over 130 animals a year and are one of the most well-respected wildlife centers in Costa Rica. KSTR made international news earlier this year after performing the world’s first ever C-section in an effort to save a mother sloth and her baby.  You can tour the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife sanctuary to learn more about this organization’s amazing work and of course to see some creatures close up. Some of the animals you might see on the tour are several types of monkeys, including spider monkeys, white-faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tamarins, marmosets, as well as sloths, kinkajous, and parrots.

Playa Biesanz, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkPlaya Biesanz (Biesanz Beach)

Playa Biesanz is a deep cove with sparkling turquoise water and peaceful jungle surrounds. It’s a favorite beach among the locals, and on weekends, you’re likely to see families stocked up for the day with bags full of food and maybe even hammocks. The best part about Playa Biesanz is that, while many of the beaches in the Manuel Antonio area have rougher water, Biesanz has calm water that is perfect for swimming. This makes it a great place to bring children.

La Iguana Chocolate, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkLa Iguana Chocolate

One of the most delicious tours near Manuel Antonio is the La Iguana Chocolate tour. The Salazar Garcia family has been farming a four hectare (10 acre) plot in the mountains of Mastatal for nearly 30 years and recently started focusing on cacao. They grow some of the finest bean-to-bar organic chocolate, flavoring it with fruits and spices that come straight from the farm.

 

 

Things to Do

Costa Rica Jade Tours, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkCosta Rica Jade Tours

Costa Rica Jade Tours is a local tour company in beautiful Manuel Antonio. They offer the best activities and tours to help make all your vacation dreams come true. Let them help you discover the most exciting adventures and exotic treasures from this spectacular land. You may never want to leave!  For more information call +506 2777 0932, or visit them on the web at Costa Rica Jade Tours.

Amigos Del Rio, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkAmigos Del Rio

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica or Kayaking along the Manuel Antonio’s coast will make your Costa Rica family vacation unforgettable! Enjoy all the water sports that Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica has to offer you. From world class whitewater rafting at just 30 minutes from the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, in Savegre and Naranjo rivers to Ocean Kayaking along the beautiful Quepos coast line or Mangrove Kayaking at the Damas Island estuary.  For more information call +506 2777 0082, or visit them on the web at Amigos Del Rio.

Dante's Watersports, Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica, best Costa Rica beaches, top beaches in the world, world's best beaches, things to do in Manuel Antonio, best hotels in Manuel Antonio National Park, best restaurants in Manuel Antonio National ParkDante’s Water Sports

They offer surf lessons School for all ages, paddle board tours, beach tours, kayaking, and SUP.  The surf school offering lessons ideal for all ages and experience levels. They are centrally located at MA beach. For more information call +506 2777 4000, or visit them on the web at Dante’s Water Sports.

42 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Oh wow, Leahrae…you have once again outdone yourself with this article. I love it!! I have visited Costa Rica before and I sure wished I had this article in my back pocket. One thing for sure is this – I will be going again and will most definitely be using your article as my guide. You have covered just about everything and I am a happy camper!
    Thanks so much.
    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations Michelle, and I am glad you found the information useful for your next trip to Costa Rica.

      Reply
  2. tiffany lewis

    wow!well it looks like i found my site to come to when i start making money and take my boys on our first ever trip!your website is really great seriously it’s inspiring you have so many great things to offer and so much helpful information i will definitely be in touch

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I’m so glad Tiffany. I would love to help you plan your dream vacation when you are ready and I know that I could help you save some money for it as well. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  3. Kenny

    Hi what a great site, so informative, personally I love going to Thailand but after seeing some of the reviews on your site I might decide to go somewhere else next year. Thanks for sharing.
    Kenny

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh there are so many wonderful places to visit for sure. And Costa Rica is just absolutely beautiful and definitely worth a vacation to. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Bradley

    Love the amount of information provided! from the attractions around the locale area to the choice of clothing to take. Definitely one to read if going on holiday.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Bradley, and for visiting Beach Travel Destinations!

      Reply
  5. Lotta

    Looks like a stunning place to visit! Thanks for the very informative post, it literally covered everything you need to know 🙂 my top things to do would be visiting the KSTR and La Iguana Chocolate tour. Will be adding this to my bucket list 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Lotta, and thank you for stopping by and visiting Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica. I am glad you enjoyed 🙂

      Reply
  6. Mitala

    This is such a breath-taking destination. I surely must visit someday!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Breath taking it is! Thanks for stopping by Mitala.

      Reply
  7. Dan

    What an informative article about Manuel Antonio Park Costa Roca!
    You have tackled all the travel information needed for a great travel.
    It looks like Costa Rica is a beautiful place to visit to.
    I would love to go there in the future.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will have to start planning Dan! I think that you would have a wonderful time. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions for you, and thank you for stopping by and learning about Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica.

      Reply
  8. Eric

    Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica looks amazing and the wildlife sounds like it would be a thrill to go and see. My main concern is the humidity and rain since you have said that the best time to go is far too crowded. One other area I have forgotten to ask about before is how bad are the allergens in these types of tropical climates? It took me over 20 years to get used to things where I am from and I really don’t want to go somewhere nice to only have to struggle to find a way to breathe.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Eric, and great question. Because Costa Rica about seven months of rain, and three months of very windy weather allergens flourish in tropical country like Costa Rica. So you will find that the allergens might be a bit higher than what you are looking for. This is definitely something to take into consideration. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  9. Chris

    I think I just found another place to add to my bucketlist to travel to!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Chris! Great beach destination! Thanks for stopping by Beach Travel Destinations 🙂

      Reply
  10. Benji

    Once again another beautiful location! I love reading these posts. A quick question regarding the Damas Island Mangroves; so when the tide ISN’T in, is it just regular forest, or would you be able to tell that it is often submerged? I’d really love to see that up close.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, when the tide is not in, you cannot go thru the “canals” which are made by the tides. You have to plan your trip to the Damasx Island Mangroves when the tide is in. But, it is in twice a day, so I think it can be easily done any day that fits the vacation schedule. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me comments.

      Reply
  11. Blanka

    Wow! This is a wonderful and very inspiring article! I love how you described Manuel Antonio Park and the video is beautiful too. Also, Playa Manuel Antonio looks like heaven on earth. I’ve never been to Costa Rica but I put it on my bucket list now. Thanks for sharing this valuable information about that beautiful place.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Blanka! If you love beaches and beautiful destinations, than Costa Rica is a must on the bucket list for sure. Thanks for visiting Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica!

      Reply
  12. Kris G.

    This looks like a very nice place to visit! My husband and I love to travel to different places and explore natures wonder! This can be added to our bucket list for sure! Thanks for sharing and will surely check back in here.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Kris. Definitely fits your type of vacation 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed, and thank you for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  13. Maran

    Hi! Sounds great to me. More than the trip I’m more concerned about the budget. Is it suitable for an economic travel?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Probably not going to be too economical, but this is a destination of a lifetime 🙂 You should consider it!
      !

      Reply
  14. kuu

    Another amazing post Leahrae. Keep up the good work because I enjoying reading them.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  15. Ahmed Aly

    Thanks for your amazing article , I love to travel now i think Costa Rica will be my next destination , I’m glad to find your website and will keep my eyes on it .

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Aly! I am glad you enjoyed reading about Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica. Please let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  16. Daniella

    WOW, I didn’t know that Costa Rica was so beautiful! My son has recently finished college and now he wants to discover the world:) He plans to travel to Costa Rica in December with some of his friends, and he is really excited about it, which I understand:). I will show him this article. It will give him some good ideas of where to spend times. Just a question, you surely know what is like to be a mom:) We all worry sometimes, don’t we? Is the park protected or everyone can touch the animals? I don’t want to be paranoid, but we never know. Is there a medical center near the park?

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Daniella, and thanks for visiting Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica. I totally understand about the worry that just comes with being a mom. Yes, there are plenty of medical facilities there in the park should he need it. They have also taken great precautions to make sure that visitors are safe. He will have a wonderful time!

      Reply
  17. Mick Krug

    Great park in Costa Rica with a great beach. My wife has relatives living in Costa Rica so it is a place that we would want to visit. Very nice video. There is so much to do there and the price is reasonable as well. Costa is a gem in Central America.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are right Mick about it being a gem in Central America. Beautiful and also plenty to do. Thanks for visiting Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica.

      Reply
  18. chris

    Costa Rica is one of m favourite destinations, I will definitely be going back there and with your suggestion on what to do when I go back is a big help, thanks for sharing this information.
    this is a great post, so keep more coming.

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Chris and I am glad you found my review helpful. I agree that Costa Rica is one of those places that you just keep going back to. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  19. Carole

    Hi Leahrae, I find your site as I am looking to book a trip to Costa Rica for the Holidays. That will help me a lot in my preparation. Do you think that around Christmas it is a good time to go to Costa Rica?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Carole, you will find Christmas to be a great time. The water may be a bit cold, but there is so much more to Costa Rica, especially Manuel Antonio, that you will have a wonderful time. Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  20. Rob

    Thanks for making my mouth water! 🙂 The closest I’ve been to anything like that is San Juan Puerto Rico. I’ve heard about Costa Rica and have always had a desire to go there. The rain forest in Puerto Rico was awesome. I love that you laid everything out about what to do and where to go. Awesome stuff! It’s on my list! Thanks for sharing 😉

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Rob! I am glad you enjoyed reading and learning about Manuel Antonio Park, Costa Rica! Very similar in beauty to Puerto Rico. Both are beautiful destinations for sure.

      Reply
  21. Robert M Doyle

    I love this post. There are so many wonderful things about Costa Rica. Rich coast. Rich in many ways! I like your map. Really helps out the average person with geography to help place the location.

    Kids Saving the Rain Forest is a great idea! Excellent place to take a family. I want to go.

    There is also a great fruit festival in Costa Rica every year. Have you heard of it? Would love to go to that, but everything costs money.

    Thanks again for sharing this valuable info.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Robert, and you are right. Costa Rica is wonderful destination…. so rich in many ways. I had not heard of the fruit festival…being a fruit love, I can see myself going to this. Thanks for visiting Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica.

      Reply

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