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  • Katrina Julia

Costa Rica Adventure: Manuel Antonio National Park

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

Imagine visiting the most abundant park filled with wildlife at every turn on each path. Just when you think, it cannot get any more incredible, you discover limitless ocean views and experiences with three breathtaking beaches.

Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio National Park was established to protect the rainforest and animals from commercial development. While Manuel Antonio National Park may be one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica with 4,900 acres, it is one of the best parks for animal wildlife observation (Enter Costa Rica). My visit definitely proved to be filled with wildlife and wonder.

No matter how much time you are planning to spend in Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio National Park is a must see and experience for a half to full day of your visit. This is one Costa Rica Adventure you definitely do not want to miss.

Manuel Antonio Beach

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Shot on my Canon EOS M100

Visiting Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is located in Manuel Antonio, National Park. Visiting the National Park is a Top 10 Experience in Costa Rica for sure!

Manuel Antonio is located approximately three hours from San Jose, about three hours from Monteverde, along the west coast of Costa Rica. After my month in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, I spent almost a month in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I knew I wanted to spend a minimum of two weeks near the beach.

As a result of the pandemic and decreased tourism, the shuttle that did run daily from Monteverde, Costa Rica to Manuel Antonio did not reach minimums for the morning within the week I planned on leaving. I explored the possibility of taking a bus. However, with CoVid and having a suitcase, backpack and purse, I opted not to take the bus due to safety and ease. I reached out to Carlos, the Uber driver I connected with in San Jose and ended up having him drive me at a reasonable rate lower than Uber.

We drove for about 3-4 hours stopping along the way at Las Tarcoles River where we said hi to some fellow crocodile friends. The stop is right at half way between Monteverde and Manuel Antonio, as well as a great midway stop coming from San Jose, Costa Rica. The Crocodile Bridge gives you easy and safe views of our friends down below.

Quepos is the nearest town to Manuel Antonio Park you reach first coming from either San Jose or Monteverde. Once you reach Quepos, you drive through town and up a long windy road to reach Manuel Antonio.


Manual Antonio National Park is located in the center of Manuel Antonio. One day I went to explore, the manager, Jorge at my Airbnb dropped me off at the Quepos Bus Station. For 600 colones, about a $1, I took a bus for about 20 minutes to Playa Espadilla Beach for my surfing lesson in Costa Rica.

The stop at Playa Espadilla Beach is great for both access to the public beach, as well as walking distance from the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park. Whether you decide to surf or not, the walk to Manuel Antonio National Park is about 10 minutes from the stop.

When you arrive at the park entrance, you must put on your mask currently. If you forgot your mask, there is a stand where you may buy a mask, water, and pipa fria (cold fresh coconuts)! Keep in mind, you may only bring liquids in the park. Any type of food is now strictly prohibited due to the wildlife.

So, I finished my pipa fria before entering the park. I was able to easily bring my Herbalife Beverage Mix. I explained to the gentlemen checking my bag it is a protein powder to mix with my water.

Entrance Fee and Hours

As a non-resident of Costa Rica, the entrance fee for adults is about $18. Make sure you check the website for updates, and rates for residents and children as they are subject to change.

The hours are currently Tuesday - Sunday, 7 am - 4pm. The park is closed on Mondays.

Espadilla Norte