Manuel Antonio National Park, located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, has quickly become one of the most popular parks in the country. Boasting four beaches, a host of wildlife, and a dozen islands and islets, Manuel Antonio Park is the epitome of Costa Rican natural beauty. For those considering a visit to the park, it is a good idea to keep the following tips in mind in order to make the most of your visit.

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If you are planning to travel from San Jose to Quepos, the small town located about four miles north of Manuel Antonio, you will find that the DC-3 flight offered by the Costa Rican airline Sansa offers a convenient and quick option for doing so. It is possible to rent a car or even take the bus and travel overland, but you will be looking at a five-hour drive down a wending road. By taking the flight, you can reduce the journey to just 30 minutes.

Once at the airport in Quepos, you will be greeted by a minibus that is available for ferrying passengers into town at a fare of about $2. Taxi service is also available directly from the airstrip to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Keep in mind when planning your trip that high season here begins around the middle of November and will last throughout May. It is also important to anticipate the occasional temporada, or storm lasting several days. Most of the time; however, the weather is sunny near the park.

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Recently, tourist facilities in the park have been greatly expanded and tourists are now able to enjoy a variety of restaurants and accommodations. If you are interested in upscale luxury, there is the villa-style suites located at La Mariposa. Each of the villas features a bedroom appointed with two double beds as well as a living area, bathroom, and a balcony. For travelers who are on a more modest budget, hillside bungalows can be rented for approximately $35 per night. Featuring private baths and kitchen facilities, the bungalows are a good option for families.

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Visitors who enjoy birdwatching will certainly want to take advantage of the opportunity to rise and shine early to have a chance to catch sight of the 78 bird species that make their home in the park. Once you arrive at the park, there is an entry fee of about $1.

Where you start your journey once inside the park is a matter of personal preference. Many people immediately make their way to Manuel Antonio Beach, but there are also three other beaches, Puerto Escondido, South Espadilla, and Playa Playita. The beach taking its name from the park is easily the most popular since it is situated in a protected cove and is within a short walking distance of the park’s entrance.

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Of course, if you prefer, you can also immediately make your way into the jungle where everything is often quite still and you are encountered with the opportunity to meander down the path and soak up the lush natural beauty. Scattered throughout the area are campsites as well as picnic tables and even latrines that are very well kept. Open air showers are also available, although it should be noted that shampoo and soap are prohibited.

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Drinking water spigots are also conveniently located throughout the park. The water in Manuel Antonio, as is the case in much of the rest of Costa Rica, is quite safe to drink, but you may bring your own water, if you wish. There are not drink or food concessions located inside the park, so it is important to be prepared. Maps and brochures are often available in the park and bilingual personnel are typically on hand to answer any questions that you might have.

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Tips for Visiting Manuel Antonio National Park

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