Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica. It’s July and rainy season in Costa Rica. We’re in the central Pacific region and have heard so much about this park, and are determined to explore it before the rain starts around 1 p.m. So we set out early, entering the park at 7:30 a.m., the moment it opened. After paying the $7 entrance fee, the park ranger gave us a very detailed map with the trails so well marked that we had no need for a naturalist guide, although several at the entrance gate offered their services for around $40.00. We walked slowly through a lowland tropical rainforest. A young deer was walking along side the path, almost like a pet. He wasn’t afraid of us at all. On up the trail a group of young tourist were huddled together looking intensely into a thicket. Their guide had spotted a hugh tropical spider with long legs and an orange body, said it is poisonous. So don’t get near that spider! Soon we heard the roar of the ocean and saw large powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean beating up on the white sandy beach. What a sight! A large green iguana ambled across our path, again unafraid of us, posing for photographs as other tourist quickly came near to capture the iguana moment.
Then the lure of the blue ocean was too much and we put down our backpack, slipped off our sandals, and shorts and into the water we went. Hearing a scrambling noise we looked toward our backpacks and a small pack of white face monkeys descended, ram sacking our backpacks, and stealing three bananas. So there goes our snack! It was late morning and we decided to hike to Cathedral Point, uphill and quite steep, leading us to the highest point in the park. What a view! We could see for miles across the vast blue ocean. Then, going down was definitely easier than coming up. We continued the hike, leading along a path bordering the lowland rain forest, home to the three toed sloth. But we weren’t lucky enough to spot one, apparently they are reclusive, hardly moving until they come down out of the tree tops to relieve themselves.
The shade of the almond trees which line this gorgeous stretch of white beach is too much to resist. We relaxed in the still quietness, only the sounds of the waves beating ashore.
If I were a bird I would be a seagull, soaring high. Off alone by myself beyond boat and shore. My wide white wings lifting me above the winds.
I don’t want to return to the real world of duty and stress. I want to be like the seagull, spread my wings and fly free.
Tell me the main reasons to include Manuel Antonio on my vacation plans to Costa Rica.
1. Manuel Antonio Beach is one of the few white sandy beaches in Costa Rica. The others tend to have dark sand and are not soft on the feet. The setting, where the almond trees grow close to the beach and drape it, provide a habitat for the white face monkey, iguanas, and sloths. The lowland tropical rain forest within the park consists of hugh trees that seem to grow to the sky and are home to the many marine birds such as the seagull. The hikes within the park are well marked and provide you with a good work out. Swimming in the Pacific ocean is great. Look on your park map for the beaches which are recommended for swimming. So go early, pack a picnic lunch, there is no food or drink sold within the park. Go for a swim, take a hike, watch the monkeys, and just relax. Park is closed on Mondays but is open all the days of the year (except every Monday)
What is the weather like? Dry season which is mid December to Mid April gets a lot of sunshine during the day, with infrequent showers. Temperatures during the day are hot, around 80-85 F. Nights are cool. Most hotels have air conditioners. Rainy season mid April thru November it rains almost daily. Sunny mornings with afternoon thunder showers. Temperature are cooler, 72-85 F With cool nights.
Driving distance from San Jose? Approximately 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Road is good most of the way, around 10 miles before Manuel Antonio there are some rough spots. A 4×4 vehicle is best but many people drive here in their automobiles. But, don’t drive at night, esp. in the rainy season.
Public bus leaves early morning (daily) from San Jose to Manuela Antonio-Quepos. Inexpensive and comfortable. I dont’ post the schedules here because they are subject to change. So check when in Costa Rica.
The above photo of the cute white face monkey was taken by Scott Wilkinson. you can see more of his beautiful photograpy at www.scottwilkinson.com
Please send me a short story about your vacation to the park. What was your favorite thing about it? My readers love to hear from other vacationers. To: firstname.lastname@example.org