Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is a small National Park located in the Central Pacific Conservation Area of Costa Rica. Established in 1972 with an area covering 4,014 acres (16.24 km2), the smallest of Costa Rica’s parks, it is a biological oasis and the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually. It is well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2012, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.
There are four beaches within the limits of the park: Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Teldoro, and Playita. With their large light sand berms, it is easy to see why they attract beach goers of all ages. The first is separated from the second by a “tombolo”, or natural land bridge formed by sand accumulations. Visitors may enjoy a roughly hour-long hike from Espadilla to the top of Punta Catedral (100 m). Both Manuel Antonio and Espadilla Sur contain tidal pools great for snorkeling.
Although Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica’s smallest national park, the diversity of wildlife in its 6.83 km2 (3 sq. mi) is unequaled with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds including the Fiery Billed Acari, Brown Pelican, Laughing Falcon and the Kingfisher.
Included in the 184 bird species are toucans, woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, Turkey Vulture, parakeets and hawks. Dolphins can be observed there, as well as the occasional migrating whale. Scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking provide opportunities to experience the tropical wildlife that enriches Manuel Antonio.
The Pacific Ocean in front of Manuel Antonio Park is also world renowned for its sportfishing. Inshore fishing can bring in Rooster Fish, Mahi Mahi and Snapper. Offshore angling will provide Amberjack, Marlin and Sailfish.
Both Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth and Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth (perezosos) are a major feature, as are three of Costa Rica’s four monkey species: the Mantled Howler monkey, Central American Titi (Squirrel) Monkey, and White-headed Capuchin monkey. Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Green Iguana, Common Basilisk, White-nosed Coati and many snake and bat species are also common in the park