Manuel Antonio National Park Guide

Rich with biodiversity combined with a wealth of activities and stunning views, Manuel Antonio National Park is a premier holiday destination that offers something for everyone. 

According to gadventures, this national park sees 150,000 visitors a year. This number might seem smaller to you as compared to other national parks, because the park limits the entry of visitors in a day.

So if you want to visit this national park then in this guide, we’ll see the best things to do in the Manuel Antonio National Park, along with the best time to visit, where to stay, weather, what to bring, and more. Let’s get started.



ParkManuel Antonio National Park
Things to doSnorkeling, Scuba Diving, and many more
Hotels near Manuel Antonio National ParkJungle Vista Boutique Hotel, Tulemar Resort
Entry Fee$2.70-$16
Camping LocationsNot Allowed

Where Is Manuel Antonio National Park?

Manuel Antonio National Park is located in Costa Rica. To be precise, it is situated in Manuel Antonio, which is the central pacific part of the Puntarenas province, 105 miles (170 kilometers) from San Jose.

To get to Manuel Antonio National Park in the quickest way, you can take a bus from Quepos bus station, or you can simply drive to the park if you are traveling by car or any other means.

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About Manuel Antonio National Park

This Park is the smallest national park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area, Costa Rica, that offers a perfect blend of nature and beaches.

Comprised of four stunning beaches, casual hiking trails, and wildlife, it serves as one of the main coastal attractions in Costa Rica. 

Due to its diverse landscape and incredible wildlife, the park was listed among the world’s 12 most beautiful parks by Forbes in 2011.

Covering only 16 kilometers of land, this Park is perfect proof that size doesn’t matter. 

The beauty of the park attracts so many people that officials have to limit the number of visitors to 600 people on weekdays and up to 800 people on weekends and holidays. 1 


History Of Manuel Antonio National Park

This Park was established in November 1972 due to Costa Rica’s booming tourism industry.

The purpose of the park was to protect the impressive landscape of the park, lush rainforest, and natural habitat of the wildlife.

Over the years, the park’s infrastructure was developed in harmony with nature under strict environmental protection.

The famous architects behind the stunning lookouts and infrastructures are. Today, the park is famous for its scenic beauty and excellent climate.

It attracts Ibo Bonilla and Rafael Viquez more than 150,000 national and international tourists to explore its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. 

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Best Things To Do In Manuel Antonio National Park

This Park offers tons of things to see, as well as many off-the-beaten-path things to do in the nearby town.

Here’s a rundown of the best things to do in the park: 

Relax On The Beach 

This Park combines the magic of beach and greenery in one place, resulting in the natural paradise on earth.

The park is home to five fantastic beaches including Playa Espadilla, Playa Manuel Antonio, Playa Biesanz, Playa Gemelas, and Puerto Escondido.

Visitors can enjoy various activities, including surfing, swimming, and scuba diving. Make sure to pack your sunscreen as the beaches are incredibly sunny. 

Snorkeling And Scuba Diving 

This Park is a great snorkeling destination that attracts local and international tourists.

Discover the incredible underwater world of the Manuel Antonio dotted with stunning volcanic formations and coral reefs hosting a variety of marine life, including starfish, crabs, angelfish, and eels.

The park’s most easily accessible snorkeling area is Playa Manuel Antonio, situated inside a deep cave with calm waters.

Visitors decide can enjoy beach snorkeling on their own or take a guided boat tour. 

Flora And Fauna 

In addition to beaches, this Park protects the tropical forest and mangrove habitats, marine environments, and a lagoon of 14 hectares.

Despite being one of the smallest parks in Costa Rica, the diversity of flora and fauna is unparalleled anywhere else.

With 184 birds, 109 species of mammals, and more than 80 species of fish in the surrounding waters, this park is one of the places for plant and wildlife observation. 

Backpacking And Trekking

If you enjoy backpacking, this Park offers some of the most excellent hiking trails for adventurous souls.

The park offers several kilometers of hiking trails that give access to the lowland rain fore and lead through the jungle and to the Playa Manuel Antonio, one of the most stunning beaches in Costa Rica. 

White Water Rafting

For those looking for an unforgettable experience full of adrenaline, this Park is an epic destination for white water rafting.

Visitors can enjoy white water rafting excursions just 30 minutes away from the Manuel Antonio and Quepos, in the spectacular rafting rivers with gushing waterfalls.

The Naranjo River has breathtaking views of the forest and tropical birds views amidst the excitement of exploding white waters. 2

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Travel Tips From Reddit Users

Manuel Antonio National Park
by u/TommyTrickerr in CostaRicaTravel

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit this Park lies between mid-December and April (dry season).

During these months, the weather is most comfortable, making it the ideal time to hike and sunbathe. Try to arrive early to see more active wildlife and avoid crowds. 

Map Of Manuel Antonio National Park

Whether you’re are planning for a one-day visit or several days, make sure to download the printable PDF map of this Park that displays all the beaches, hiking trails, wildlife zones, and other points of interest.

To find the most detailed and accurate park map, visit the

Hotels Near Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio has no shortage of palaces to rest your head and enjoy all the comforts and amenities of a good home.

Here are some best hotels to stay near the Manuel Antonio National Park worth considering a stay:

  • Jungle Vista Boutique Hotel 
  • Teva Hotel & Jungle Reserve
  • Shana By The Beach Manuel Antonio
  • Tulemar Resort 
  • Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
  • Gaia Hotel & Nature Reserve 

Camping Locations At Manuel Antonio National Park

Unfortunately, camping is prohibited in this Park to protect its beauty and keep the animals’ natural habitat intact.

But, you can find some private campgrounds and free RV campgrounds on popular beaches like Manuel Antonio, Jaco, and Tamarid and at the Arenal Volcano.


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Weather Of Manuel Antonio National Park

The weather in the Park is stable throughout the year and mostly stays between the high 80s to low 90s.

The warmest month is March, with an average maximum temperature of 93°F, an January is the coldest with an average maximum temperature of 87°F. October is the rainiest month of the year and should be avoided if you’re not a big fan of rain.

Make sure to check the current weather before planning a visit to avoid any surprises. 

Entry Fee & Reservations

The entrance fee of this Park is $2.70 for the citizens and residents and $16 for non-residents and foreigners.

Please be aware of the fake guides and imposters selling the entrance entry and tour tickets.

They are dressed like official park rangers and sell the overpriced tickets to the visitors.

Makes sure to buy your tickets online from the online reservation platform of Manuel Antonio National Park. 

Checklist Of Things To bring

Here is a checklist of things you should bring with yourself while visiting this Park:

  • Hiking Daypack
  • Comfortable moisture-wicking clothing
  • Sturdy hiking shoes 
  • Swimwear 
  • Towels
  • Binoculars
  • Rain gear 
  • Tent or enclosed hammock
  • Binoculars
  • Rain gear 
  • Tent or enclosed hammock
  • Snorkeling equipment 
  • Disposable Water bottles or filtration system
  • Trail mix 
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • First-aid kit
  • Bug spray
  • Map


How much do I need in Manuel Antonio National Park?

Ideally, 2-3 days are enough to enjoy all the pleasures of Manual Antonio National Park, swim and relax on the beach, as well as enjoy other fun activities in the nearby town. 

Is it safe to swim in Manuel Antonio National Park?

Yes, all the beaches in the park are safe for swimming, surfing, and scuba diving.

It is also an excellent place for big game sportfishing for novice and expert anglers. 

Is the Manuel Antonio National Park worth visiting?

If you want to experience the phenomenal landscape, beautiful sights, tons of wildlife, and variety of outdoor experiences like nowhere else, Manual Antonio National Park is an absolute must-visit. 

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