Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most beautiful and biodiverse regions within Costa Rica. The park was named one of the world’s 12 most beautiful parks by Forbes in 2011. Other things to know about the park is that it is family friendly, easily accessible, lush, vibrant and teeming with diverse wildlife. While it is on the smaller side of all the national parks in Costa Rica, it is one of the most popular due to its biodiversity. While hiking the park you will see toucans, sloths, capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, iguanas, lizards, butterflies, and so much more.
Due to recent efforts and initiatives within the Manuel Antonio community, the endangered squirrel monkeys and the scarlet macaws are now growing in numbers and can be seen regularly both within the National Park as well as within the surrounding community of Manuel Antonio. Kids Saving the Rainforest is one such initiative, a nonprofit whose aim is to plant trees, rescue, rehabilitate and release animals back into their natural environment.
As you enter the national park, you find yourself immersed in nature beneath the jungle canopy. There are several well kept trails within the park for visitors of all ages to easily explore. You can take the main path and at some junctures meet up with the shaded Perezoso (Sloth) Trail named for its most frequent non-human visitor. Official guides are available to give tours and help visitors find wildlife that they may not otherwise see.
Another gem within the national park is one of the area’s most beautiful beaches. It is a protected cove with white sand and turquoise blue waters. This is a great spot to kick back and relax after trekking beneath the jungle’s canopy. The water here is calm and it’s a great spot to cool off and go for a swim. You could continue from here to hike through the park up to Cathedral Point, one of the more scenic lookout points and loop the trail until you find some more hidden and tucked away beaches.
The park is a popular destination for good reason, it is beautiful, unique and truly a gem of a place!