Manuel Antonio National Park, in spanish Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, is a small National Park in the Central PacificConservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas, and 132 km (82 mi) from the national capital of San jose. Established in 1972 with a land area enumerating 1 983 ha (the smallest of any Costa Rican national park), it is the destination of as many as 400.000 visitors annually and well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.
Features of the park
This park has one of the most impressive landscapes in the world and has several coves with many white sand beaches and lush foliage amidst great mountains and forests that reach the beaches. Additionally, it is located in the tropical forest
For its excellent climate and scenic beauty is visited by large number of national and international tourism, for which it is currently developing an adequate infrastructure, with emphasis on harmony with nature, of quality but mimicked this to reduce the visual impact and under strict environmental protection, works designed by renowned architects bioclimatic Ibo Bonilla and Rafael Víquez, among which are the Visitor Centre, the Casa de Guardaparques, Lookouts and supporting infrastructure and Trails Master Plan that includes trails: Punta Catedral, Waterfall, Lookout, Beach Espadilla, Beach Manuel Antonio, Congos, Beaches Gemelas, Puerto Escondido, Manglar y trail Perezosos, with universal accessibility facilities, rest areas, scenic overlooks and scientific interpretation.
Four beaches are contained within the limits of the park: Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Teloro, 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 and offer the possibility of 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 Both brown-throated three toed sloth and Hoffmann`s two-toed sloth are a major feature, as are three of Costa Rica’s four monkeys species — the mantled howler monkey, 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.