Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is among the most visited attractions in all of Costa Rica. Many people who are coming to this beautiful Central American country for the first time have it on their itinerary, and with plenty to do and see, it's easy to understand why. Located on the Pacific coast, just about 90 miles southwest of San Jose, Manuel Antonio National Park boasts amazing ocean views, picturesque beaches and exotic flora and fauna. Though development here is surely making its mark, it still figures among the most naturally beautiful areas of the country, making Manuel Antonio sightseeing a top Costa Rica vacation pursuit. Accommodations of all kinds can be found in and around the park, with the nearby town of Quepos providing the best options for budget travelers. If you are interested in a jungle tour, would like to go surfing, have sportfishing in mind, or just want to relax, the Manuel Antonio Park will provide a justifiable setting.

From mountain perches, the Costa Rica Manuel Antonio views of the sea are sure to give your camera a workout. Here, the rainforest runs down to the shore, and just on the horizon, offshore islands break the rich, green waters. The Manuel Antonio Park jungle trails access different beaches, and the park's relatively small size makes casual hiking a joy. At just around 1,680 acres, it is one of Costa Rica's smallest national parks, and besides protecting idyllic beaches, it also exists to care for the surrounding forest. Exploring the park's network of trails may reward you with sightings of howler and white faced monkeys, and bird watchers can keep their fingers crossed in hopes that they will glimpse a scarlet macaw. Sloths and coatimundis are just some of the other native creatures you can hope to spot while Manuel Antonio sightseeing. Unfortunately, past visitors have taken to feeding the park's animals, which has a negative impact, and during the peak season, it can get quite crowded here. Fortunately, attempts are being made to help meld the growing tourism market with the natural environment.

You can enjoy Manuel Antonio sightseeing on your own, but if you take a guided hike, you might see more animals, not to mention gain further insight into what you do see. Jungle hiking tours are pretty moderately-priced, and most any Manuel Antonio hotel can help you arrange one. If you are hiking on your own, you may want to take the trail to Punta Catedral, which boasts one of the park's best ocean views. The main beach in the park is Playa Manuel Antonio, and its waters can be ideal for snorkeling. Backed by rainforest, this beach's soft stretch is particularly crowded between the months of December and March, which is the high season for Manuel Antonio Costa Rica travel. Nature lovers can compliment their jungle hikes with a visit to the Fincas Naturales butterfly garden. Boasting trails of its own, it can often be combined with a guided forest walk.

A trip to Manuel Antonio National Park is ideal for visitors of all ages, though if you like it a bit less crowded, you might choose to come here during the offseason. If you are here during the high season, you might consider steering clear of the weekends, unless you like a lively atmosphere. Generally, park visitors begin to show up in the later morning hours, so getting out early can be a good way to avoid the crowds. Down near the main beach here, there is a disco bar that thrives during the busy season, so if you want peace and quite, you might look for accommodations up the hillside. Views are better the higher you go, and the loud disco will be further away. After working up an appetite while Manuel Antonio sightseeing, you can head to one of the many area restaurants. Most hotels between the park and the town of Quepos have their own restaurants, and for those staying either in a room with a kitchenette or in an area vacation rental, groceries can be purchased at one of the markets in Queopos.

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