Manuel Antonio National Park Blue Water White Sand
Lets travel to Costa Rica to Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica one of the most visited and popular national parks. What is so special about Manuel Antonio? It is a great escape into nature, experience a lowland rainforest with all the animals, birds, trees. The Pacific Ocean borders the western most edge of the park. And the BEST is the sandy white beaches , one of the few really white beaches in Costa Rica. The ocean is GREAT to swim, gentle waves and blue waters. The hiking trails are also well identified on this map. Upon entering the park, you will be approached by young men asking to be your guide locating the birds, animals, etc. Thats not really necessary and they charge a lot ($40.00). My husband and I went alone and we saw several different colors and sizes of Iguanas and white face monkeys playfully stealing bananas from the tourists backpacks. And we saw a slow moving sloth high in the rainforest canopy.
How long should you plan to stay in the park? Usually one day. Entrance fee $7.00 per person. Go early in the morning when the birds and animals are acitve. Park opens 7:30 a.m. and closes 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays but otherwise it is open all year including holidays. Take a lunch and drink in your backpack because there is no where to get food or a drink inside the park. There are bathrooms, but I found them poorly maintained.
The uniqueness of Manuel Antonio national park is the way the almond trees drape over the sandy white beaches. It’s easy to find a shade and just lay out your beach towel and simply relax. And of course the white sand, and the blue water. ( The Pacific Ocean tends to have a grey tint to the water, but here it is blue) It gives you a feeling a being in the South Pacific…more than any other place in Costa Rica.
Just before entering the park– along the road are hundreds of vendors peddling their wares, from local hand made jewelry to beach clothing.
What is the downside or is there a downside? Very crowded…over developed….. The main road approaching the park is just plain commercialism, and unattractive.
Getting there from San Jose and the central valley 5 hours by road, part is narrow winding mountainous terrain . .not easy..especially if you are in a rental car.
The main road from Jaco on down to Quepos-Manuel Antonio is very bad in some segments. Driving can be hazardous. Another way to get there:
the fastest is to fly in a twin engine plane from San Jose international airport by Sansa or by Tropical Air. Flight is only about 20 minutes. Or by public bus (and public transportation is excellent in Costa Rica)- around 6 hours from San Jose.
Hotels: too many to count. Mostly small hotels… And all price ranges…My husband and I choose the La Mariposa Hotel …..we paid $160 per night in low season of August, including a gourmet full breakfast. The room had a gorgeous ocean view. The French gourmet restaurant is a special treat. We had our best meal in Costa Rica here…baked snook in white wine sauce…pricey but worth it! A great wine list..French, American, and Chilean..at reasonable prices. ( No hotel in Manuel Antonio is situated right on the beach..instead one sees them sprinkled along the side of the rainforest covered mountainsides. ..and to get to the beach you have to drive approx 1 mile or take your hotel shuttle bus ..if they offer one.
What time of year should you visit? Mid November thru Mid April are driest months and of course when most tourists are there. Rainy season mid- April thru Mid November offers sunny mornings and rainly afternoons. Rates are lower during rainy season. Temperatures are warm year round. Hotels have air conditioning: however it is always wise to ask to be sure.