Manuel Antonio
National Park

Costa Rica’s second smallest national park is packed full of vibrant wildlife.

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About Manuel Antonio National Park

Astonishingly beautiful and alive with wildlife, Manuel Antonio National Park was gazetted a national park in 1972 in an 11th hour intervention saving the area being developed into an all-inclusive resort and condominium complex.

The park’s clearly marked trail systems wind through rainforests, along tropical beaches and across rocky headlands with views across the bay to outer islands. Monkeys abound and this is an excellent place to spot relatively rare, and incredibly cute, squirrel monkeys, as well as the more widespread capuchins and howlers. Aside from monkeys, sloths, agoutis, peccaries, armadillos, coatis and raccoons are regularly sighted.

At only 2,000 hectares (2 km sq) Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s second smallest national park. It’s also one of the most popular, so the odds of encountering a lot of tourists along with lots of wildlife is high.

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Top Reasons To Visit Manuel Antonio National Park

Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.

Best time to visit Manuel Antonio National Park

As with all of Costa Rica generally the best time to visit is the “drier season” from December to April, which Ticos (Costa Rican’s) refer to as verano (summer).

January in particular is a lovely time of year when the rains have ceased but the forest remains lush and green with dry sunny weather prevailing on the beaches. It is also one of the best times for wildlife as migrant birds head south from the north.

Best time to visit Manuel Antonio National Park

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Our Favourite Camps & Lodges

Between traversing across suspension bridges deep in the Costa Rica jungle, you’ll be given the opportunity to relax, unwind, and recuperate in homely eco-lodges.
Arenas Del Mar

This is the only luxury property in Manuel Antonio and enjoys direct access to the beach as well as stunning ocean views, rainforest, wildlife and Manuel Antonio National Park on your doorstep.

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Manuel Antonio National Park NEED TO KNOW

What animals will I see at Manuel Antonio National Park?

Manuel Antonio is one of the best parks to visit for wildlife. 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. Red backed squirrel monkeys are only found here and in Corcovado. The park is too small to support a viable population so aerial bridges have been created to allow the monkeys to travel to surrounding areas, hence why they, and sloths, are often seen in the gardens of the hotels that surround the park.

What is the accommodation like at Manuel Antonio National Park?

Between the town of Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park are a multitude of small and intimate boutique hotels artistically built into the rainforest hillside. There are few hotels that have direct beach access due to environmental concerns, but the hotels that we love and recommend have spectacular coastal views.  Among our favourites are Makanda by the Sea, Arenas del Mar and Tulemar Bungalows. Manuel Antonio is the gateway to the wild South Pacific Coast and tourism is relatively undeveloped.

Is it possible to combine a trip to Manuel Antonio with other areas of Costa Rica?

Yes, absolutely. Due to its proximity to San Jose and central position in the country, a stay in Manuel Antonio can be incorporated at any point into an itinerary, either as a wildlife destination or perhaps a place to relax in a beautiful villa overlooking the ocean at the end of your holiday.

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