Travel Profile: Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica is located on the Pacific coast, in the Costa Rican province of Puntarenas. Though small, it’s the most visited park in Costa Rica — and one of the most beautiful.

What to Do:

Truly, Manuel Antonio looks just like a picture postcard. Every color is cranked up to full saturation, from the stingingly aqua water to the lime-green forest, with perfect strips of pale sand stretching between. Manuel Antonio boasts four beaches in total: Playita, Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, and Escondido. Take a hike along the narrow, sandy bridge to Punta Cathedral (once an island) for unforgettable Pacific views.

Stroll down one of the park’s several walking trails, and you might spy coatimundis, ocelots, sloths, monkeys (possibly even the endangered squirrel monkey), caiman, anteaters, along with birds of every shape and color imaginable. The offshore coral reefs bustle with marine life, including dolphins and whales—book a day trip out to Caño island for some prime scuba diving.

Manuel Antonio is so pristine, one would think it was entirely removed from society. But the hotels and cabins crowded along the park’s periphery offer fine dining, ample nightlife, and accommodations to satisfy most budgets.

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