With its accessibility, teeming national park, turquoise marine reserve, white coral beaches and range of luxury hotels, Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica.
It has been considered a more developed coastal resort than others in the country but it has also managed to retain a small-scale charm with plenty of tranquility to suit those looking to relax, lots of adventure activities for the thrill-seekers and ample wildlife for nature lovers.
The Manuel Antonio National Park with 1700 hectares of protected rainforest and 136,000 acres of marine reserve it is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, but the second most popular. Green kingfishers, squirrel monkeys, butterflies, hummingbirds, collared hawks and howler monkeys all reside in its evergreen woods which crawl right up to the tide lines and are laced with expedition trails. Dolphins and whales can be spotted swimming in its bays and in between its 12 islands.
This region also has some of the most stunning white-sand beaches including Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio, the latter of which has a coral reef.
When to go
December to April is the dry season for Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, although you must bear in mind that the tropical climate of Costa Rica means that there is rainfall all year round.
What to do
- Sea kayaking
- Treks in the Manuel Antonio National Park
- Laze away on Playa Manuel Antonio
- Go scuba diving or snorkelling round the coral reefs
- Horseback riding
- Dolphin tours