Manuel Antonio & Central Pacific – Where Gorgeous Beaches Meet Incredible Rainforests
Combining sparkling blue surf, soft sand, wildlife-filled tropical forests, and a location just 3.5 hours from the capital, the Central Pacific with Manuel Antonio National Park is understandably one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations. Much of the activity centers on the small-but-unforgettable Manuel Antonio National Park, where lush green rainforests give way to pretty, golden-sand beaches, perfect for relaxing and swimming. A walk through the park reveals sloths, monkeys, and exotic birds darting through the trees. Outside the park, you can experience some of Costa Rica’s more active adventures, like hiking, river rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and horseback riding. Or, head for the ocean for snorkeling, surfing, or sportsfishing.
Just a few kilometres north is Playa Herradura, famed for sportfishing marlin, sailfish, grouper, snapper, and more. Only an hour from the San Jose airport, Herradura has a five-star marina and numerous highly experienced captains with well-equipped boats. It is also home to an 18-hole championship golf course, La Iguana.
For a break from the beach, or on your way to or from the airport, try Carara National Park, just 48 km/30 mi from San Jose and 24 km/15 mi north of Jaco. Set right off of the main highway, this rainforest habitat is home to numerous bird and wildlife species and one of the largest populations of scarlet macaws in Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio – Wildlife Watching, with an Ocean View
Located in Costa Rica’s central Pacific region, Manuel Antonio is one of the country’s smallest and most popular national parks, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, its rich, green rainforests blanket the hillsides of a craggy coastline that boasts white-sand beaches (some of Costa Rica’s finest) and small, rocky islands.
Manuel Antonio is a unique destination that offers a bit of everything: luxury accommodations, top-notch restaurants, and plenty of opportunity for adventure.
It’s a particularly dramatic scene at sunset. Squirrel, howler, and white-faced monkeys live here, as do sloths, coatis, raccoons, iguanas, and myriad bird species. Manuel Antonio is a unique destination that offers a bit of everything: luxury accommodations, top-notch restaurants, and plenty of opportunity for adventure, from sport fishing to hiking to snorkeling. Just a 3.5-hour drive from San José, it is easily added to an itinerary with other popular destinations, too.