Tips when visiting Manuel Antonio Natl. Park

If you’d like to have Manuel Antonio’s famous beach (the one inside the park) all to yourself, go early. The park opens at 7am, but most tourists go with a guide. These groups slowly make their way along the 1.8 km that lead to the beach, looking for birds, sloths, monkeys and all the diverse wildlife in the park. Hiring a guide is a good idea if you wish to see these hidden residents of the forest.

But if you want to be the first one on the sand, head straight for the beach, sit under a palm tree or walk along the edge of the ocean. You’ll have one of Costa Rica’s most famous beaches all to yourself, save for the white-faced monkeys, for a while.

If when the tourists arrive you still want some privacy, I recommend heading to Playa Espadilla Sur, about 50 meters from Playa Manuel Antonio. This beach is less visited, larger and there are plenty of good spots to set down you towel away from others.

Be aware that the monkeys and raccoons are watching your backpack, waiting to steal your food. I’ve seen them in action and they’re quite bold. Remember not to feed the animals.

About 50 meters before arriving at the main beach there are new restrooms with refreshing cold-water showers and toilets.

Remember that the park is closed Mondays.

Check out our recent photo album on Manuel Antonio National Park.

– Andres

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