Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations, a place where beach and ecotourism come together as a perfect combination, and one which is able to offer all the services and comforts expected by the discerning traveller.
The Manuel Antonio National Park is still the most visited in Costa Rica, number one for its beautiful stretch of coast where the sea meets spectacular beaches, and an exuberant jungle alive with plants and animals.
With over 1983 hectares of protected land, Manuel Antonio is one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, but it nevertheless plays shelter to an amazing biodiversity. This includes more than 100 species of mammal, amongst which are three of the four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, and more than 180 species of bird such as the Fiery-billed Aracari (a kind of Toucan), and the Mangrove Hummingbird.
The park is made up of primary rainforest which can be explored on foot following marked paths which wind their way through the forest floor and lead to viewpoints with incredible views over the coast and Pacific Ocean beyond. The park is also equipped with specially adapted routes which comply with international rules for people with reduced mobility.
The national park is open from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon and it has a limited daily capacity for visitors to avoid overcrowding. The best time to visit the park is first thing in the morning or just after breakfast. It tends to get particularly busy during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
If your plan is to get as much as possible from you visit to Manuel Antonio National Park then you’ll want to spend a whole day there. Bear in mind that there are no restaurants or shops within the park itself, so you’ll have to plan ahead and make sure your backpack is suitably stocked with food, drink, and refreshments.
Manuel Antonio’s ongoing popularity as a tourist area is also down to its attractiveness as a family destination, where nature can be enjoyed up close through activities such as:
Trip on board a catamaran equipped with a slide.
Family trip in catamaran of 4-5 hours duration which gives you the chance to enjoy unique views of the the tropical rainforest coast of Manuel Antonio from the sea. This activity is always one of the most popular as it includes the opportunity to snorkel the reefs, and launch yourself into the sea straight from the slide on board your catamaran.
Horseriding along the beach
If you are a horse lover, then a route on horseback along the beaches of Manuel Antonio will be the trip for you. This tour is a great way to experience the local ecosystem and enjoy a special connection with nature.
The Rainmaker Reserve
This tour is an excellent option for fans of trekking and nature lovers.
The Rainmaker Reserve is a private property consisting of 1200 hectares of forest among which nestle a series of hanging rope bridges connected by platforms through the trees.
A three hour excursion along paths in the forest takes in the hanging bridges and the chance to swim in the pools of the Río Seco.
In the course of the walk you will be able glimpse local fauna including native animals such as the Chameleon, a number of different bird species, the venomous Eyelash Viper, and the famous sloth.
Tour Around the Isla Damas Mangrove Channels
The excursion to the mangrove swaps of Isla Damas is one of the not-to-be-missed days out if you visit Manuel Antonio.
A boat trip through the Isla Dama mangrove swamps is a unique experience, navigating you first hand through the flora and fauna of the mangrove, and a good option to get up close if you are travelling with children or for adults with reduced mobility.
Imagine enjoying a bird’s eye view looking down from 17 carefully constructed platforms set high above the topical rainforest canopy. A unique eco-adventure experience that takes in 17 platforms, 9 zip lines, two abseils, a hanging rope bridge, and a Tarzan swing!
From the months of July to November and then from December to March it is possible to take a Whale-watching tour from Manuel Antonio to observe hump-backed whales in their natural environment, which migrate to this region of the Pacific for calving season.
One of the most magical experiences that Manuel Antonio has to offer is its magnificent sunset, which always stands out amongst the memories that the guests of the Mariposa Hotel take away with them. We pride ourselves on having one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean in the world.
Manuel Antonio is still, after all these years, one of the most beautiful destinations in the whole of Costa Rica, a place where the extreme natural beauty of the rainforest can be experienced in all its splendour.