Manuel Antonio National Park is a small national park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas. It is well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails and includes 12 small islets just off the coast.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is a small National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas.
Established in 1972 with a land area of 1,983 ha (4,900 acres), which is the smallest of any Costa Rican national park, it is the destination for as many as 150,000 visitors annually.
Manuel Antonio National Park is well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails and includes 12 small islets just off the coast, where dolphins can sometimes be observed, as well as the occasional migrating whale.
The park has impressive landscapes and several coves with many white-sand beaches and lush foliage amidst great mountains and forests that reach the beaches. The four beaches that are contained within the limits of the park are Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Teloro and Playita.
It is located in a tropical forest. Principal habitats are primary forest, secondary forest, mangrove swamps, lagoons and beach vegetation.
Cathedral Point, with its forest topped cliffs, was once an island but is now connected to the coast by a thin strip of island. This land bridge now forms the spine separating the park's two most popular beaches, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio.
The southern facing beach, Playa Manuel Antonio, is a picturesque half-mile-long, white sand crescent bisecting deep green foliage to one side and a private, secluded cove to the other.
Although Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica's smallest national park, the diversity of wildlife in its 6.83 sq km (3 sq mi) is in a class of its own with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds.
Both the brown-throated three-toed sloth and the Hoffmann's two-toed sloth are major features, as are three of Costa Rica's four monkey species: the mantled howler monkey, Central American squirrel monkey and white-headed capuchin monkey. black spiny-tailed iguana, green iguana, common basilisk, white-nosed coati.
Many snake and bat species are also common in the park. Included in the 184 bird species are toucans, woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, turkey vulture, parakeets and hawks.