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All the things You Have to Know Earlier than Visiting Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park in Costa Rica

If you’ve ever considered a trip to Costa Rica, chances are you’ve heard about Manuel Antonio National Park. It was the most visited national park in Costa Rica in 2021 and is on track to hold the same title for 2022. Located on the Pacific coast, this spectacular destination boasts not only lush rain forests […]



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Should you’ve ever thought-about a visit to Costa Rica, likelihood is you’ve heard about Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park. It was essentially the most visited nationwide park in Costa Rica in 2021 and is on monitor to carry the identical title for 2022. Positioned on the Pacific coast, this spectacular vacation spot boasts not solely lush rain forests however among the most gorgeous seashores within the nation. It’s no surprise why vacationers from all around the world flock right here. From the beautiful surroundings to the ample wildlife, it has lots of the issues that make Costa Rica such a spectacular place to go to.

Contemplating how many individuals come right here every year, I used to be stunned at how sparse the details about Manuel Antonio was on-line. As I deliberate my go to, I took some leaps of religion and even took some Ls so that you just don’t must.

That is every little thing it is advisable know earlier than you go to Manuel Antonio, with some insider suggestions that may assist you've got an incredible time there:

My Information to Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park

1. There are tons of hidden spots within the park.

Having Playa Gemelas fully to myself: heaven.

I explored Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park by myself, decided to traverse each path and discover each hidden spot there was. I used to be delighted to find that some trails led to some absolute gems, like Playa Gemelas. Since this small cove is on an offshoot from a foremost path, far fewer folks go to in comparison with the bigger Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Espadilla Sur.

Though Gemelas is clearly marked on the park map, it nonetheless seems like a hidden spot. Different locations the place I didn’t see a single different hiker have been the principle viewpoint, Mirador, and the howler monkey path, Sendero Congos.

2. The park is closed on Tuesdays.

The park is at all times closed for in the future per week. Presently, it's closed on Tuesdays, nevertheless it looks like the day adjustments all year long. Plan your journey accordingly by double-checking here.

On all different days, the park is open from 7am to 4pm. It's essential to purchase your ticket forward of time and point out the time you'll be visiting. Tickets are about $18 USD after taxes and costs, per day. The sooner you buy your ticket, the higher probability you've got at getting the time slot you need, particularly if you're visiting throughout dry season from December to April.

There’s a restrict on how many individuals can go to the nationwide park per day, though I used to be shocked to see how many individuals there have been once I was leaving round midday.

3. The sunsets are unreal.

As a result of I visited throughout wet season, I solely had one alternative to see an excellent sundown — and boy, was it value it. All the Pacific facet of Costa Rica is legendary for its sunsets, and Manuel Antonio has particularly gorgeous surroundings that solely amplifies them.

The very best seashore from which to look at the sundown is Playa Espadilla Norte, the most important public seashore in Manuel Antonio. It isn’t a part of the nationwide park, not like Playa Espadilla Sur, so you possibly can simply take the bus there to catch the sundown. Anticipate loads of different folks to be doing the identical, so if you wish to get a great spot, be sure to get there early. I visited in July, when the solar was setting at 6pm every night time, and bought to the seashore at 5pm, which was early sufficient to get a seashore chair.

4. Get to the park earlier than it opens.

I discovered shortly that timing is every little thing in such a well-liked place as Manuel Antonio. I needed to take pleasure in the fantastic thing about the park in peace, with out hoards of vacationers in massive tour teams. Since most excursions start later within the morning, round 8 or 9am, I opted to reach as quickly as I may. The park opens at 7am, so I purchased my ticket for that point.

I made a decision to take an opportunity and arrive on the gate earlier than the park opened, at 6:45am. I used to be pleasantly stunned when the guards let me go in a bit early, and I used to be the primary particular person there. The good thing about doing this was that I had a a lot better probability of seeing wildlife, particularly sloths. Since I used to be going and not using a information, I knew that discovering them could be difficult and I would wish all the assistance I may get.

It paid off, as a result of I used to be in a position to spot 4 sloths by myself, together with a deer, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, a Jesus Christ lizard, and loads of different critters. Do your self a favor and don’t hit the snooze button. Hit up Manuel Antonio very first thing within the morning for an unforgettable expertise — you gained’t be dissatisfied.

5. You’ll discover some gorgeous ocean views.

The view from Mirador Isla Olocuita

All through Manuel Antonio, whether or not you’re within the nationwide park or not, there are tons of locations the place you will discover unimaginable views of the ocean. That is because of the general hilliness of the world, so count on to climb a bit to get to those viewpoints.

My favorites have been contained in the park, the place you may get unobstructed views of Isla Luana (the island within the photograph above), the Pacific Ocean, and the plush rain forest under.

6. The park is completely doable and not using a information.

I felt an immense quantity of stress to rent a information. Individuals instructed me that there was no approach I'd be capable of spot wildlife by myself, and that hiring a information at a steep $60 per day was value it. Nevertheless, I trusted that attending to the park early and taking my time on the paths would give me an excellent probability at recognizing wildlife — and I used to be proper.

If Manuel Antonio is your solely nationwide park cease whereas in Costa Rica and you actually wish to make the most of the perception that having a information presents, go for it. Since this was simply certainly one of many locations I'd be visiting, I opted out, as a result of I heard that it was one of many best locations to identify wildlife with out one.

I additionally seen that guides who had teams have been plentiful, and each time they stopped to have a look at a sloth, monkey, or different animal, it was straightforward to pop over and get a search for myself. Some guides even waved me over to take a peek of their telescope to see what that they had discovered.

7. The primary seashores get tremendous crowded…

I made a decision to go to Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio after I had already traversed all the opposite trails within the park. By the point I reached this half, round 10am, there have been already many individuals on the seashore. There appeared to be actually tons of. If you wish to benefit from the seashores in Manuel Antonio with out so many crowds, both go to those two seashores very first thing within the morning, or follow Playa Gemelas.

8 …however they're nonetheless value it.

Regardless, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio are completely gorgeous. Between the comfortable white sand, towering cliffs, quaint enclaves, baby-blue water, and sprawling jungle behind them, these are among the most breathtaking seashores I noticed in Costa Rica. Even with hoards of individuals, I nonetheless discovered them to be gorgeous.

Earlier than you attain these two seashores, there's a toilet with showers the place you possibly can change and rinse off. You gained’t discover any seashore chairs or umbrellas, however there’s loads of shade from the bushes (if you may get there early sufficient to seize a shady spot). The water is pristine and ideal for a swim, with light waves and hardly any present.

9. You can't deliver any meals into the park.

Should you have been dreaming of bringing a picnic lunch to take pleasure in on the seashore in Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park, it's possible you'll be dissatisfied to know that you just can't deliver any meals right here. Guards verify luggage on the entrance and can confiscate any meals objects. You'll be able to deliver water and different drinks to the park — simply be sure to depart no hint and throw your trash within the bins.

The primary cause why they don’t permit meals within the park is that they don’t need folks to feed the animals. The monkeys may also steal luggage if they've meals in them, which is lower than superb.

10. Wet season doesn’t precisely imply fewer vacationers.

This was maybe essentially the most stunning factor to me. I deliberate to go to throughout Costa Rica’s wet season, with the hope that there could be only a few vacationers. I used to be mistaken, large time. Since a big share of Costa Rica’s tourism comes from the US and July is prime time for People to take holidays, Manuel Antonio was crawling with vacationers.

Because it rains nearly each afternoon throughout this season, there’s even much less time to get out and benefit from the park. Meaning much more folks packed in throughout these home windows of dry time. If I have been to go to once more, I'd plan to go in March or April (avoiding spring break), earlier than college is out for the summer season.

11. There are monkeys in every single place.

White-faced monkeys are in every single place in Manuel Antonio, inside and out of doors the nationwide park. These little guys are surprisingly unfazed by folks and don’t precisely preserve a good distance from them. They’re pesky and like to steal meals, however they're enjoyable to look at from afar.

Don't, underneath any circumstance, feed the animals in Manuel Antonio. Their habitat enormously advantages from them spreading the seeds of the fruits they eat within the jungle, and so they can’t do their half within the pure circle of life if people are feeding them.

12. There are particular trails for sloths and howler monkeys.

Should you’re most enthusiastic about recognizing wildlife, Manuel Antonio has two trails which can be good for you. The primary is the sloth path, which is likely one of the longest within the park and goes by the jungle for nearly a kilometer. I cherished strolling the path slowly, protecting my eyes open for the large balls of fur hanging within the bushes. I ended up discovering a couple of sloths and was in awe to see them within the wild.

The opposite path, Sendero Congos, is for howler monkeys. It’s shorter than the sloth path and extra of a detour, nevertheless it was certainly one of my favourite elements of the park. Howler monkeys are straightforward to listen to even from distant, however you don’t at all times get to see them. This path has extra howler monkeys than I noticed anyplace else in Costa Rica, and so they have been a delight to search out.

13. You'll be able to dine in an outdated airplane and get an incredible ocean view.

Restaurante El Avión is likely one of the most original eating places you’ll discover anyplace, not to mention Costa Rica. The aircraft itself is from the Eighties and has a fascinating story behind it. I had breakfast right here, and the meals was respectable, however I actually went for the view, which was spectacular. The restaurant boasts top-of-the-line sundown views in Manuel Antonio, however you’ll must get there early to get a great spot, because it tends to refill.

14. Put together for larger costs right here.

Although maybe unsurprising, contemplating Manuel Antonio’s reputation, the costs have been fairly excessive right here as compared with different locations in Costa Rica, even the capital metropolis San José. Put together to pay round $15 USD for a meal, and fork out large bucks for excursions. Excursions vary from $60 to $120, relying on the size, and lodging are onerous to search out underneath $100/night time. General, plan to spend about as a lot as you'd at any given seashore vacation spot within the US.

15. Don’t miss out on an evening tour.

This superior jungle night tour was the primary exercise I did upon my arrival to Manuel Antonio, and it didn't disappoint! The tour doesn’t happen in Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park, because it closes at night time, however as an alternative goes by the close by Rainmaker Conservation Park. It’s a personal park that has loads of trails you could take a look at throughout the day, nevertheless it turns into additional mystical at night time when the critters come out.

Evening excursions are particularly neat, as a result of there are various species of frogs, snakes, spiders, and reptiles which can be nocturnal and due to this fact almost unattainable to search out throughout the day. I loved trekking by the rainforest with my professional information, who was a professional at discovering animals after which giving us the inside track on every one.

16. Transportation is a breeze in Manuel Antonio.

Whereas it’s costlier than different locations in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is nice for backpackers as a result of there’s actually no must hire a automobile. There’s only one foremost street right here, and buses trip from Quepos to the nationwide park all day lengthy, passing each quarter-hour or so. I stayed across the midway level between the 2 and located getting round to be easy-peasy and not using a automobile.

One other large plus for Manuel Antonio public transportation is that it’s extremely low cost! It solely prices 300 colones ($0.45 USD) to journey the bus.

17. Probably the greatest seashores isn’t within the park (and it’s the city’s greatest stored secret).

Now for my favourite half, the place I’ll inform you about the perfect secret spot in Manuel Antonio. Although it’s not a part of the nationwide park, you possibly can’t go to this space with out trying out Playa Biesanz. I heard folks name this place “Hidden Seashore,” and now I do know why.

To start with, to get to Biesanz, you must move by Shana by the Seashore Resort. If you get there, you must ask for a day move, which additionally grants you entry to the resort’s pool. I assumed today move got here at a worth, however the safety guard gave it to me at no cost, together with a ten%-off coupon for the restaurant. Contemplating {that a} chair with an umbrella on the seashore prices about $10 USD, it was a rating.

There’s a path by a small patch of forest to get to the seashore, on which you would possibly be capable of spot some monkeys or different wildlife. On arriving at Playa Biesanz, you’ll see that it’s a comparatively small cove, capped with rocky overhangs on either side. The water is tranquil and crystal-clear, good for a leisurely swim. I noticed numerous households right here and bought the impression that they have been all company on the resort. Playa Biesanz is the proper place to loosen up with a e book, coconut in hand, and take in the stellar ocean views.

18. Select your lodging properly.

When selecting your lodging on your journey to Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park, remember how far you wish to be from the park and the way you'll be getting round city. In case you are counting on public transportation, go for a spot that's near the principle street and in Manuel Antonio (versus Quepos, which is additional away).

I stayed in this Airbnb, which fully exceeded my expectations. I can’t think about a greater place to remain, particularly for solo feminine vacationers. My host Lorena met me on the door once I arrived and gave me a handful of recommendations on getting round, eating places, and different locations to take a look at. At simply $27/night time (plus charges), it was even cheaper than staying in a hostel and had a full communal kitchen and lounge, plus a washer and dryer.

Different locations I'd contemplate trying out are Selina (for backpackers) or Shana by the Beach, for those who can splurge on a spot.

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General, I’m glad that Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park was a part of my Costa Rica itinerary. In addition to the crowds and excessive costs, the park itself was nonetheless effectively value a go to, because it was really one of the vital magical locations. It highlights Costa Rica’s spectacular biodiversity, incredible seashores, and heat hospitality.

Should you’re heading to Manuel Antonio, what are you most excited to do there?

Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!