Just south of Quepos on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, you’ll find Manuel Antonio. This national park is home to more monkeys than people, numerous bays with white, sandy beaches and over 180 species of birds.

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica at only 1,983 hectares or 4,900 acres.  The park ranges in elevation from sea level to 160 meters.  It protects rainforest, beach, and mangrove habitats.  There are hiking trails in the park that lead through the jungle and to one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Manuel Antonio.

Manuel Antonio is one of the best parks to visit for wildlife observation.  Howler, squirrel, spider and white faced monkeys all inhabit the park.   Two-toed and three-toed sloths are abundant as are raccoons, coatis, pacas, anteaters, and occasionally ocelots.  There are many reptiles including crocodiles, iguanas, boa constrictors and many lizards.  Over 350 bird species have been identified within the park including toucans, aracaris, various parrots and parakeets, hummingbirds, trogons and more.

Manuel Antonio National Park is managed by the Costa Rican government.  The park is open from Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays) from 8 AM – 4 PM.  There is a ranger station at the park entrance.  The fee to enter the national park is $16 per person.  There are no overnight facilities within the park; however there are plenty of hotels in the Manuel Antonio area.

More about Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio is the most popular beach destination in Costa Rica.  However, due to strict building regulations, most of the hotels and restaurants are spread out along the jungle lined hillside.  Other than the national park and beaches, there are many activities available.

There are four main beaches in the area; Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, Playita, and Teldoros. You will find great snorkeling in the rock reefs off the islands and rocky coves that are heavily populated with various aquatic life. The easiest place and best time to go snorkeling is from December through April at Biesanz Beach.

At a glance

Region: Central Pacific
Closest town: Manuel Antonio
Size in hectares:  1,983 (4,900 acres)
Year established: 1972
Elevation in meters: 0 – 160 (0 – 525 feet)
Private managed: no
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: yes
Overnight facilities: no
Public restrooms: yes
Entrance fee: $16pp
Days: Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Mondays)
Hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Hiking trails: yes
Boat tours: no
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 70 - 90
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 3,840 (151 inches)
Habitat: beach, rainforest, mangrove

How to get there

From San Jose, take Rt. 27 west until you reach Rt.34.  Take Rt.34 south along the coast all the way to Quepos.  When you reach Quepos, bear right and drive in to town.  After crossing the bridge, follow the signs to the national park.

Weather and packing list

Manuel Antonio is a jungle beach area that is usually hot and humid.  Daytime highs are typically in mid-80s to low 90s and overnights lows are normally in the low to mid-70s. As it is a rainforest area, you can expect at least some rain.  The area receives an average of 3,840 mm of rain per year.  The driest months are typically December through April, July and August.  The heaviest rains are usually during the months of September and October.

Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.

Fun Fact: Though considered the rain season, May through August are a great time to visit Manuel Antonio as the rains are generally limited to brief late afternoon showers, but prices are much lower than the rest of the year.

Nearby Destinations

Manuel Antonio1 km
Hermosa de Jaco62 km
Jaco70 km
Dominical45 km
Uvita64 km

Location

Latitude: N 9° 22' 32.02". Longitude: E 84° 8' 8.99"

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