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The Many Adventures of Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

When you are booking family vacations or honeymoons in Costa Rica, you may be excited to enjoy the many amenities of your resort or the tasty fare offered by nearby restaurants. The 5 star Costa Rica hotels offer plenty of activities & luxurious amenities, but nature lovers should be sure to plan a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. 

The natural splendor of this ecotourist destination will take your breath away, whether you decide to set out on a hike through the rainforests or simply lounge on the gorgeous beaches. Just under 90 miles southwest of San José & 43 miles south of Playa de Jacó, this park boasts a variety of ecosystems that are home to rare plants & animals, but also offers wide white sand beaches where visitors can relax under the forest's verdant trees. Here are the top three things you should do when you visit this park:

Spot the different animals The younger members of your Beach Bum Vacation will love seeing all the different animals that live in the primary & secondary forests, mangrove swamps, lagoons & beach vegetation. There are about 109 different animal species & 184 birds living in Manuel Antonio, so keep your eyes open! You'll likely see plenty of capuchin, howler & squirrel monkeys, as well as sloths & iguanas. Head down to the beach & set your sights on the horizon to see if you can spot dolphins. 

Explore the diverse underwater scene Under the surface of the water, there's just as much ecological diversity. If you plan on spending time on the beach, bring your snorkel, mask & flippers & swim out to the reefs. The two most popular beaches for swimming, snorkeling & simply spending time in the sun are Playa Espadilla Sur & Playa Manuel Antonio. Head to Cathedral Point, a former island that is accessible by a thin strip of land & separates the two beaches, for spectacular views of the coastline. 

Hike the dramatic trails The three major trails that wind through Manuel Antonio National Park make hiking the rainforests simple, but these trails are in no way boring. If you are experienced in rainforest hiking, you'll have no problem traversing this lush terrain, but everyone else should sign up for a guided tour through the verdant forests. You can sign up for a two- or three-hour guided trek for about $25 to $30 per person, & you'll be guaranteed to learn a ton about the habitats & plants & animals that call the forest home. 

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