Towns and Cities
Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is one of the most exclusive areas in Costa Rica, however budget hotels can be found. It started out as a tiny village that had a beautiful National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, next to it. As the park started to become more known more hotels started springing up. Because of Manuel Antonio’s size, or lack of size, hotels started building on the road to Manuel Antonio and many started taking advantage of the magnificent panoramic views. Soon very exclusive hotels arrived, thus bringing us to present day Manuel Antonio, however budget hotels can be found but most are found down near the beach. More expensive hotels have loftier, breezy perches and most offer off season rates. Many hilltop hotels may have steep steps; inquire. It can be a tough, hot walk back up the hill from the beach if you don’t want to wait for the bus, however this does run every half hour.

The National Park is small only 682 hectares however it epitomizes everything tourists flock to Costa Rica to see: stunning beaches, a magnificent setting with islands offshore, lush rainforest laced with a network of easy to walk trails, and wildlife galore. There is good chance that you will see monkeys (howler, white faced, and possibly squirrel monkeys), sloths, and coatimundis. Scarlet macaws do frequent the area however you may need a bit of luck to see them.

Despite Manuel Antonio’s size, it is one of the country’s most popular parks, with as many as 150,000 visitors annually in recent years. A few years ago the deluge of visitors threatened to spoil the very things they had come to see. Park Director Jose Antonio Salazar believes the park can withstand no more than 300 visitors a day. In 1994, the Park Service began limiting the numbers of visitors to 600 per day (800 on Saturday and Sunday), and the park is now closed on Monday. If you wish to do your bit to help preserve Manuel Antonio, consider visiting in the “green” or wet season. Litter and pollution are additional problems, pack out what you pack in.

Nonetheless, the park is too small to sustain a healthy and viable population of certain animals. If the monkeys do not have access to areas outside the park, the population will decline because they cannot breed. Corridors that allow the animals’ access to areas outside the park have been taken up by hotels, so that the park has, in recent years, become an island. As a result, the squirrel monkey (mono titi) population is declining. Fortunately, in 2000, a decree was issued to triple the park’s size to just under 1800 hectares, almost tripling the size of the park.
Province: Puntarenas
Zone: Manuel Antonio
 Located in a National Park
 Scuba - Diving
 Horseback Riding
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