The worst kind of journey is one not taken. More often than not the most difficult part of any journey is planning and organizing it. Even if I know what my destination is, I find that organizing activities can be the most nerve-wracking and frustrating part of it. With so many available activities, it is a hassle to decide on what to do. So, to help you decide on what to do in Manuel Antonio National Park, we have organized a list of the best things to do when you reach Costa Rica’s, Manuel Antonio.
This guide will take you from Quepos the gateway to the national park, through to Playa Manuel Antonio and various other activities and touring places. The Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica. In the park, you will find beautiful beaches, dense rainforests, and forest trails. The forest is bursting with flora and fauna. Manuel Antonio’s biodiversity is one of the reasons it was named by Forbes as one of the world’s most beautiful parks in 2011. However, remember that if you decide to go, it is closed on Mondays.
1. Visit Quepos
No trip to Manuel Antonio is complete without going through Quepos. This town is situated 15 minutes from the gates of the national park. It is just a 25-minute ride from the airport. It boasts many activities to do. You can try the local cuisine at the many restaurants and bars as well as walk through the streets to enjoy their selection of shops and markets. You may want to save your souvenir shopping for when you return. Instead, enjoy this relaxed Costa Rican tourist hub.
2. Do Some Sportfishing in Quepos
Quepos is world renowned for its sport fishing. The fishing sports is good all year round, earning it the title of sailfish capital of the world. You can catch various fish here, from tuna to snook and rooster-fish to name a few. However, be warned that the availability of different species varies according to the season. You can also plan a day or a half a day fishing trip with fishing charters.
3. Explore Manuel Antonio Beaches.
The park has three stunning beaches, but the most prominent ones are Playa Manuel Antonio and Espadilla Sur Beach. These beaches should definitely be on your things to do list. To get to the beaches you will first have to hike for about 30 minutes. The most popular beach is Playa Manuel Antonio. It is popular with the crowds because of its breathtaking views. However, if you go just a little further on the main trail you will come to Playa Espadilla Sur. This beach has fewer crowds than Playa Manuel Antonio but it is just as beautiful. These beaches offer many activities for you to do. You can go swimming, snorkeling, take surfing lessons or you can decide to just relax on the light sand beaches.
Sadly, you will not be able to get a hotel on the beachfront due to conservation restrictions. Instead, they are set into the cliff face, where you will get truly astounding views.
4. Damas Island Estuary
If you fancy a boat tour, you will be able to choose from a range of boat and kayaking tours to see the waterways of Damas Island Estuary. The island is only about 15 minutes away from Quepos and boasts its own unique ecosystem. Here you will see monkeys, sloths, snakes, and crocodiles going about their daily activities. You will have a professional guide to show you their natural habitat. This is an excellent activity for the whole family. You can choose between day or evening tours.
5. Hike Manuel Antonio Trails
The Manuel Antonio region is teeming with wildlife. You will see various animals during your activities in the area. But if you want to see some of the exotic rainforest animals, which tend to be shy, then go on a hiking tour of the Manuel Antonio National Parks trails. There are various trails within the park and it is recommended that you have a professional guide who knows and understands the ecosystem when you go. The two most popular trails are the main trail and the Punta Catedral. Choosing between the two depends on your hiking ability as well as who is accompanying you.
The main trail is easier. You will have about 1.3 miles of flat sandy hiking. It is also the link between the beaches. On the other hand, the Punta Catedral is a little more challenging, featuring a 0.9-mile loop that is moderately difficult and includes a few steep inclines. You can get on the trail from both popular beaches. It is better you start on the trails early, as you will see more wildlife and less crowds.
6. Discover Rainforest Wildlife
Of all of Costa Rica’s parks, Manuel Antonio is the smallest. Its size does not mean that it has less wildlife. Here you will see social butterflies, capuchin, squirrels and howler monkeys. They are the most social residents of the park. But REMEMBER: Don’t Feed Them! Also, keep a tight grip on your snacks. They are not the only kind of wildlife you will see. There are sloths, agoutis, iguanas and more species of birds than can be mentioned. Early morning park tours accompanied by a professional naturalist guide are best. The guides will be able to locate more wildlife.
Useful Manuel Antonio Travel Information
When planning any trip there is some important information you have to take into account. These factors are the climate, temperature ranges, what to bring as well as activities and things to do. A trip to Manuel Antonio national park is no exception. We have covered the things to do with everything from visiting Quepos to visiting Playa Manuel Antonio. The climate is driest from December to April while the wettest season is from September to October. May to November has moderate wetness. The average temperature is 92 degrees. Make sure to bring your beachwear, and most importantly be ready to eat the best local foods.
If you want more information on things to do in Manuel Antonio or want advise for planning a trip in Manuel Antonio feel free to contact us here.