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Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica
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Manuel Antonio National Park was born from the desire of the people in the region to preserve their access to one of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica. As David Rains Wallace describes it in The Quetzal and the Macaw, “Despite it’s relatively tiny size, it was still bursting with biodiversity in 1990. I’d rarely seen so much wildlife in a rainforest area. On a short trail leading from the beaches into the hills, three-toed sloths were visible every few hundred feet, draped like soiled scatter-rugs over cecropia trees. Troops of squirrel monkeys fed busily on swarms of green and black grasshoppers…”

White faced capuchin monkey expresses his displeasure with hikers in Manuel Antonio (© R. Krueger-Koplin)
White faced capuchin monkey expresses his displeasure with
hikers in Manuel Antonio (© R. Krueger-Koplin)

The citizens of Quepos had enjoyed the area for generations until it passed into the hands of a series of developers. When one of them, Arthur Bergeron, began cutting trees and erecting gates on the road in preparation for constructing a private resort the locals reacted by requesting the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly to protect the area for all to enjoy.

Attractions
Manuel Antonio is the most popular National Park with Ticos. One reason for this is the unspoiled beaches that lie within easy walking distance of the entrance station. The overhanging palms are a refreshing break from the bars, discos, hotels and restaurants surrounding the park.

Butterflies are often seen at the edges of the forest, and congregating around drying puddles where salts concentrate. (© S. Krueger-Koplin)
Butterflies are often seen at the edges of the forest and
congregating around drying puddles where salts concentrate.
(© S. Krueger-Koplin)

Besides the spectacular beaches, Manuel Antonio offers several kilometers of very well maintained trails offering the easiest access in Costa Rica to the lowland rainforest.

Many Costa Rican school children visit Manuel Antonio on field trips. The park has an extensive education program for schools, organizations, and independent visitors.


In the region of Manuel Antonio
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In the region:
There are numerous agencies offering deep sea fishing excursions in the region. The competition seems to have driven the prices lower in Quepos than at the travel desk or in the lobby of the hotels near the entrance to Manuel Antonio.

Other activities available from your hotel desk or the tour kiosks in the area include day trips to Caño Island (snorkeling and scuba diving), white water rafting and kayaking (in the wet season only), surf kayaking, and canopy tours.

There is excellent mountain biking inland towards the mountaintop pueblo of Nápoles. Get someone (or hire a jeep taxi) to drive you up, then cruise down. We came in from San José by bicycle and only rode down this side, but can assure you that the ride up would be a tough one.

Half an hour south, Dominical is a surf hangout with a more laid-back, less commercial feel than Playa Jacó to the North.

Continuing south (35 miles, 58 km from Quepos) you'll reach the highly recommended Lodge at Rancho Merced National Wildlife refuge, and Marino Ballena National Park.


When to visit Costa Rica
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When to visit:
Closed Mondays.
Manuel Antonio is very popular. If you can visit in the low season, do. If not, try to arrive early in the day, especially on weekends and holidays. Overcrowding led the park service to limit the number visitors to 600 on weekdays and 800 on weekends and holidays.
The park receives approximately 151 inches (3,900 mm) of precipitation a year. January and February are the driest months; August through October are the rainiest. High temperatures average 81 °F (27 °C) to 86 °F (30 °C) year round.

Books and other resources
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit
Trails & Quick Guide | Books | Web

 

 

Resources
Books

Toucan Ratings Explained | Lowest Available Price
Why Buy from Us?

Quetzal and the Macaw: The Story of Costa Rica's National ParksQuetzal and the Macaw: The Story of Costa Rica's National Parks
by David Rains Wallace (Author)Publisher: Random House, Inc., (May 1992), ISBN: 0871565854

Delivers exactly what the subtitle promises. It's the story of the politics and personal efforts that brought one of the greatest systems of National Parks in the world into being. Not nearly as dry as it sounds.
rated four out of five toucans by Costa-Rica-Guide.com
Out of print but available used from Amazon and Barnes&Noble

 

Field Guide to the Wildlife of Costa RicaField Guide to the Wildlife of Costa Rica
by Carrol L. Henderson (Author), Steve Adams (Illustrator), Paperback, 559 pages, Publisher: Univ. of Texas Press; 1st edition, (2002), ISBN: 029273459X

Color photos, species accounts, and distribution maps, for almost three hundred species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, moths, and other invertebrates are complimented by general introductions to each group, the ecology of Costa Rica, and how to travel to see wildlife.
rated five out of five toucans by Costa-Rica-Guide.com
$US 27.97 from Amazon -or-
Barnes&Noble member price $US 30.36

Information on the web
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit
Trails & Quick Guide | Books | Web

 

 

Information on the Web

Canopy tours, sea kayaking and guided walks in the park are among the offerings from Adventures Manuel Antonio. You can view slide shows of activities on their web site.

Unbiased descriptions of lodging options with contact information, prices and some links are available from Let's Go Costa Rica for Manuel Antonio and Quepos

 

Map showing the location of Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
Location: 35 miles (56 km) in a straight line south of San José on the Pacific coast. 53 miles (86 km) by the shortest overland route (4WD required).

Visiting
Entrance fees—$US 6

HoursClosed Mondays, other days 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Arrive early; the park service has limited the number of visitors to 600 per day to reduce impact on the ecosystems.

Amenities:
Hiking trails—A trail map, route descriptions and highlights are provided in this pdf quick guide to print and take along.

Camping
—Camping is no longer allowed.

Tours and lodging
—Canopy tours, sea kayaking and guided walks in the park are among the offerings from Adventures Manuel Antonio. You can view slide shows of activities on their web site. There are dozens of tour operators in the area, and your hotel desk will be happy to make arrangements as well.

Getting there—Driving directions and information on transportation by bus, and air will open in another window

Quick Facts
Weather
—The park receives approximately 151 inches (3,900 mm) of precipitation a year. January and February are the driest months; August through October are the rainiest. High temperatures average 81 °F (27 °C) to 86 °F (30 °C) year round.

Size—1,685 acres (682 hectares, 2.6 square miles, twice the size of Central Park NYC, and 1/150th the size of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado)

Elevations—From sea level to about 160 feet (50 meters)

Established—Manuel Antonio National Park is named for a Conquistador who is buried there and was established in 1972 and expanded in 1980.

Habitats—Tropical lowland wet forest (rain forest), marine, beach. For more information on common mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians see the printable pdf quick guide.

 

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