Manuel Antonio National Park was born from the desire of the people in the region to preserve their access to one of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica. As David Rains Wallace describes it in The Quetzal and the Macaw, “Despite it’s relatively tiny size, it was still bursting with biodiversity in 1990. I’d rarely seen so much wildlife in a rainforest area. On a short trail leading from the beaches into the hills, three-toed sloths were visible every few hundred feet, draped like soiled scatter-rugs over cecropia trees. Troops of squirrel monkeys fed busily on swarms of green and black grasshoppers…”
The citizens of Quepos had enjoyed the area for generations until it passed into the hands of a series of developers. When one of them, Arthur Bergeron, began cutting trees and erecting gates on the road in preparation for constructing a private resort the locals reacted by requesting the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly to protect the area for all to enjoy.