Manuel Antonio National Park is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas, 157 km ( 98 miles ) ( 3 1/2 hours) south of San Jose, by highway and 7 km ( 4,5 miles ) south of Quepos City. By plane from San Jose it takes 25 minutes.
THE TOUR FROM MANUEL ANTONIO AND QUEPOS
Half Day Tour
Take a leisurely stroll or an intense hike with a highly trained, well-educated Costa Rican naturalist guide through our exotic, bio-diverse tropical rain forest preserved in our 32 year old national treasure, Manuel Antonio National Park.
The pace of this adventure is determined by your group’s abilities and interests, and the abundance of wildlife you want to stop and observe ( or learn about ) – all in its natural and breathtaking habitat. Watch sloths and numerous species of monkeys travel through the tree canopy, hunt for nocturnal silky anteaters and several types of non-poisonous snakes resting in the tropical rain forest, and listen to the songs of the various birds as they glide above your group, curiously looking for adventure.
See how many different kinds of flora and fauna you can spot just in the span of a 2 ½ hour nature walk or hike. And whenever you are ready, stop and enjoy some local fresh fruits and refreshments as you pause to savor your adventure thus far. If you so desire, hike additionally through the trails and enjoy unspoiled, un-crowded, pristine beaches after your guided educational adventure ends.Ask your guide if you want to stay at the Park after the tour.
7:30 a.m.– 12:00 p.m.
Easy walk or hike, depending upon your abilities and self-paced tour.You might want to bring water, a camera, sunscreen, bug spray, and your binoculars while you hike in the Park, and if you desire you can bring your bathing suit and a towel for a relaxing afternoon at the beach after your hike and guided adventure.
Transportation, bilingual guides and naturalists, entrance fee, snacks and drinks.
ABOUT THE MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK
This is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. Manuel Antonio National Park and was designated as one by the efforts and interest of the people of Quepos. The National Park has 2 of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the country. It is a romantic place of incredible beauty surrounded by a lush rainforest which imitates paradise.
The National Park is a small biological oasis weighted down under the pressure of many and conflicting local enterprises such as: agriculture, livestock and a highly developed tourism. The humid tropical forest is home to many species of flora and fauna that are in danger of extinction.The wildlife is varied; 109 mammal species and 184 bird species have been observed. One mammal that is very interesting for its small distribution range and the fact that is threatened with extinction is the beautiful and amusing squirrel monkey, endemic to Costa Rica. Besides enjoying the sun and sea, there are good trails where you can see white-faced monkeys, sloths, coatimundis and other animals and birds.
At one time, much of this area was logged using a system called selective extraction to cut high quality lumber without clearcutting. Now, these areas of the forest are in a regeneration process.
The park was established on November 15, 1972. Its area encompasses 687 hectares ( 1,700 acres ) of land mass and 55,000 hectares ( 135,905 ) of marine reserve. This region was once inhabited by the Quepos indians from which comes the name of the city of Quepos. With the arrival of Europeans, the region was converted into cultivated cropland which later was purchased by the United Fruit Company. The which constitutes the park today, was acquired by foreigners who prohibited local people entering. This precipitated the formation of a pro-national park commitee which convinced the municipal and national authorities to declare this area a national park.
The park is located in a region of high precipitation and temperature. The average annual rainfall is 3,875 mm ( 151 inches ). The dry period is from January through March while the rainiest months are August through October. The average annual temperature is 27 C ( 81 F ) with a minimum of 20 C ( 68 F ). The park is situated in a Humid Tropical Forest life zone. It protects primary and secondary forests, mangroves, beach vegetation and marine resources.
The most characteristic species of flora in the primary forest are the ” guacimo colorado “, bully tree, cedar, locust “surá”, black locust a tree in danger of extinction, cow tree, “madroño”, “cenizaro” and silk cotton tree.
The mangrove swamp which covers 18 hectares ( 44,5 acres ) is compossed of three species: red mangrove, buttonwood and white mangrove.
The beach vegetation consists mainly of manzanillo, which produces a milky extract, latex and poisonous berries, almond, tree mayflower and coconut.
Within the wildlife, some of the most common but impressive species are the raccoon, white-nosed coaties, agouties, the two toed sloth, white-faced capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys. In this area you can also observe birds such as the Fiery-billed Aracari, Brown Pelican, Laughing Falcon, Black-collared Hawk, Green Kingfisher and the Northern Jacana. Iguanas, snakes and thousands of insects also abound.
In addition to the flora and fauna, one of the main features of this area is the overwhelming beauty of the following attractions:
Playa Espadilla Sur: Extends between the northern limit of the park and Punta Catedral ( Cathedral Point ). During the low tide is has long wide beach, great for strolling or sunbathing. And although the can be quite strong, is poses no real danger to swimmers.
Playa Escondida: Is a small beach that can be found south of the administration buildings. Because one has to wade through some areas bounded by steep cliffs, accessibility to the beach depends on the tides. Please inquire with the park guards as to when and whether you should enter.
Punta Catedral: Is an interesting geological phenomena. It once was an island, and with the accumulation of sediments, over time, is united with the continental landmass forming a sandy strip called a “tómbolo”. The interior boasts primary and secondary-growth forest and excellents lookout points from which to view the various islands off the coast, Playa Blanca ( White Beach ), and the exquisite turquoise sea.
Manuel Antonio is a perfect place to spend the day, enjoying the sun and beach, or just lying down under the shade of a tropical tree watched by shy iguanas!