Manuel Antonio National Park
In 1972, the people of Costa Rica decided to preserve, for future generations, one of the country’s most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world with the establishment of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Although it is the country’s smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares (1,687 acres) is unequaled.
Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. The beach is a picturesque, south facing, half-mile long, white sand, crescent shaped beach, which looks out to numerous small islands. The beaches are bordered by lush rainforest, allowing you to easily escape for awhile into the cool shade of wide-leaved almonds and tall coconut palms.
The rainforest is home for sloths, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys and many colorful, little crabs. The trail that winds around Punta Catedral (Cathedral Point), affords spectacular views. This points, with its forest-topped cliffs, was once an island, but is now connected to the coast by a thin strip of land. This land bridge now forms the spine that separates the park’s two most popular beaches - Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio. The parks coral reefs also offer excellent snorkeling opportunities.
Manuel Antonio Park is easy to get to. It is about 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of the bustling little town of Quepos, which also offers a good selection of hotels and restaurants. But we recommend staying at La Posada, where you are just a short walk away from all of the above. Standing with your feet dug into the sand, with waves crashing in against the rocks on either sides of this magnificent lagoon, it is easy to believe that you are a million miles from civilization.