Manuel Antonio National Park

Coordinates: 9°22′32″N 84°08′09″W / 9.37556°N 84.13583°W / 9.37556; -84.13583
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Manuel Antonio National Park
Coastal formation in Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park area.
LocationCosta Rica
Nearest cityQuepos
Coordinates9°22′32″N 84°08′09″W / 9.37556°N 84.13583°W / 9.37556; -84.13583
Area1,983 ha (7.66 sq mi)
Governing bodyNational System of Conservation Areas (SINAC)
Manuel Antonio National Park is located in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park
Location in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio) is a small national park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas, and 157 km (98 mi) from the national capital of San José. It was established in 1972, when the local community sought conservation to prohibit development and destruction of the natural environment. They also protested the beach restrictions on locals by foreign owners.[1] The park has a land area of 1,983 ha (4,900 acres) and 25,634 ha (63,340 acres) of water area for a total of 27,587 ha (68,170 acres). Despite being one of the smaller Costa Rican parks in land area, Manuel Antonio is the most popular of the 30 national parks in Costa Rica, visited by 4,388,460 people from 2012 to 2022.[2]

In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes as among the world's 12 most beautiful national parks.[3] The park is known for its beaches, rocky islands, hiking trails, tropical forests, and a diversity of wildlife.

Features of the park[edit]

Trail Map of Manuel Antonio National Park
Aerial view of Manuel Antonio National Park

This park has impressive landscapes and several coves with many white-sand beaches and lush foliage amidst great mountains and forests that reach the beaches. Additionally, it is located in a tropical forest.

Known for its excellent climate and scenic beauty, the park is visited by a large number of local and foreign tourists. The park is currently developing adequate infrastructure to support visitors, with emphasis on harmony with nature to reduce visual impact and follow strict environmental protection. Some buildings have been designed by renowned bioclimatic architects Ibo Bonilla and Rafael Víquez, including the Visitor Centre and the Casa de Guarda Parques. The park is also crossed by a network of trails equipped with universal accessibility facilities, rest areas, and scenic overlooks.

The trails are adapted for people in wheelchairs.[4]


One of the park's beaches

Four beaches are contained within the limits of the park: Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Tesoro, and Playita. The first is separated from the second by a "tombolo", or natural land bridge formed by sand accumulations. It is a roughly hour-long hike from Espadilla to the top of Punta Catedral (100 m). Both Manuel Antonio and Espadilla Sur contain tidal pools and offer the possibility of snorkeling.

There is a lifeguard program, but precaution must be taken, as rip currents do occur.


Although the land area Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica's small, the diversity of wildlife in its 19.83 km2 (7.66 sq mi) area totals 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds.[5] Both brown-throated three-toed sloth and Hoffmann's two-toed sloth are a major feature, as are three of Costa Rica's four monkey species — the mantled howler monkey, Central American squirrel monkey, and Panamanian white-faced capuchin monkey. Other species found in the park include black spiny-tailed iguana, green iguana, common basilisk, white-nosed coati and many snake and bat species. Included in the 184 bird species[5] are toucans, woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, turkey vulture, parakeets and hawks. Dolphins can be observed there, as well as the occasional migrating whale. Scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking provide opportunities to experience the tropical wildlife that enriches Manuel Antonio.

Manuel Antonio was previously Costa Rica's second most visited park behind the Poás Volcano National Park which lies very close to San José, the country's largest urban area. However, due to recent eruptions, Poás Volcano is closed indefinitely, making Manuel Antonio the most visited national park in Costa Rica.[6]


Entrance of the park

The main access road route is through Route 618 from Quepos.

The park is open every day except Tuesdays. They are also open for holidays like Christmas, New Year's, and Easter; if the holiday falls on a Tuesday, it will be closed for that day.[4]

As of May 4, 2021, SINAC is the sole seller of park admissions. Tickets can only be bought online and with a valid form of ID.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Manuel Antonio National Park". SINAC.
  2. ^ Ruiz Leon, Francisco. "Estos son los parques nacionales mas y menos visitados de Costa Rica en los ultimos dias anos". El Financiero (Costa Rica). Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  3. ^ Jane Levere (2011-08-29). "The World's Most Beautiful National Parks". Forbes. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  4. ^ a b "Park Info: Manuel Antonio National Park Information Center". Manuel Antonio Park. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Manuel Antonio National Park". Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  6. ^ "Manuel Antonio National Park Tips for a Great Visit". Costa Rica Vibes. Costa Rica Vibes.
  7. ^ "Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica". Retrieved 2022-12-03.

External links[edit]