Located 7 km from Quepos and 174 km from San José. It has an extension of 1625 kilometers and was declared a National Park in 1972. The park is closed on Mondays to protect the ecosystem in the park; the forest rangers only allow the entry of a maximum of 600 people a day during thr week and 800 during the weekend and holidays. Its seems that the name of the park comes from a Spaniard that lived and died in a confrontation with the indigenous: he was buried at the foot of a tree where somebody put a plaque with a cross that said: Manuel Antonio; the place was used some time ago as a cemetery; today there is no evidence to say he existed. It is an area with some of the most famous beaches in Costa Rica. This is one of the few places in the country where the tropical forest borders the ocean in some parts. The Espadilla beach in the north is the first of three that there are in the park. Its waters are quite dangerous because of its underwater currents, and it is recommended that you go with some care. A sandbank, which is covered with high tide, leads to the beach. Espadilla south beach and Manuel Antonio beach. Both are excellent and safe places to swim and scuba dive. In the park you can practice a variety of activities: sunbathing, surfing, swimming and even snorkeling. You can hire a horse and take a ride through the forest. The vegetation as well as the fauna, is varied and abundant. In the tropical forest and the plains of Manuel Antonio there are hundreds of species of plants. You can go mountain biking, go down the rapids, or float along the waves in the sea on a kayak. To the north of the park, on the cliffs that rise up behind the beaches, there are several signs that advertise different hotels, cabins and restaurants with international food. The majority of accommodation is on the side of the road that is facing the ocean. Many cabins and hotels are built on cliffs and guests have seaviews.
The Park Information Center Ph + (506) 2777-0644 / Ph + (506) 2777-5185, Ph + (506) 2777-0654. http://www.sinac.go.cr/ES/ac/acopac/pnma/Paginas/default.aspx Located before you get to Manuel Antonio beach. The park opens from 07:00 a.m to 04:00 p.m from Tuesday to Sunday; the guards carry out security walks at night time to make sure that nobody is camping. You can hire the services of a nature guide for 25 US$ per person for a 2 hour excursion. You can only use guides that belong to AGUILA in the park, it is a local association directed by the park administration and they carry ID cards, they are bilingual and are located at the entrance. The average temperature during the day is 27°C, you will need to take a lot of water, sunblock and insect repellent, and if you are going to spend the day, take food. Entry to the park costs 6 US$ per person per day.
Footpaths and Excursions
It is better in the morning, once you have paid the entry fee 6 US$, you have to walk for 30 minutes from the Forest Ranger post, you will need to go to the west of the post, a footpath goes through the rainforest to get to the isthmus that separates Espadilla south beach and Manuel Antonio. To the east there is something which is called tombolo which is a formation of sedimentary material between land and the peninsula, which previously was an island. If you walk along Espadilla Sur, there is a small mangrove area. A footpath surrounds the peninsula to Punta Catedral, a place where there are good views of the Pacific Ocean and several rocky islands and bird nesting areas. Among the sea birds that nest in this area there are the piqueros morenos and the pelicans. You can go round the Peninsula until you get to Manuel Antonio beach or even avoid the peninsula completely and cross the isthmus until you reach the beach. The beach is very attractive with white sand and is popular with bathers. Further away from the Manuel Antonio beach there is a footpath that leads off and leads to Puerto Escondido beach. This beach is almost completley covered during high tide, and so you need to be careful not to get trapped. The highest footpath goes up to a viewpoint that is on a cliff, and offers panoramic views of Puerto Escondido.