Seven Things to Know When You Are Going to Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is the smallest and one of the most visited National Parks in Costa Rica.
The reason why is not really an enigma… It is very easy. It has beautiful white sanded beaches, surrounded by a thick and glorious rainforest, where animals such as monkeys and sloths are very easy to spot.
On top of that, it has good clean bathrooms and showers. It is a protected area, so you will not find an entirely commercial operation. In that sense, never mind the crowds. It is as pristine as it was a hundred years ago.
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However, there are some things to know about Manuel Antonio that are important to realize when you are going there:
1. Manuel Antonio National Park is better with a guide.
You may think you can stick to what other people’s guides are talking about or showing and that if all you want to see is a sloth or similar, you just look in the pointed direction… However, guides can see things you don’t usually see with your bare eye, from tiny lizards to amazing birds… But that is not really the reason why to hire them… The reason is that going into this luscious jungle without a guide is like going to a history and art museum without a guide… You can see, but you will never understand its wonders fully. Visiting the jungle is one thing… Trees, vines, plants all over, a spider here, a lizard there, a monkey jumping… Understanding the rainforest, its systems, its relations… That is another story! And it can be an astonishing one if someone explains it to you!
2. Manuel Antonio can be crowded!
And breathtaking! And precisely because of that… crowded. Several people from all over the world and all over Costa Rica had the same thoughts you had. So, prepare, especially in high season, for a crowd everywhere: restaurants, bars, public beaches, and National Park. Unless you are coming in the low season.
3. Better in the morning? Better in the afternoon?
Both schedules have pros and cons. Mornings are more crowded than afternoons; not a glimpse of doubt there. But! Afternoons are easier, with fewer people and more space… But nature is harder to spot (Not impossible… and is not a rule!). Wildlife is there, with all its splendor.
4. No shops or restaurants
Inside the National park, you will not find a single place to buy a water bottle or a coke. So, whatever you want to drink, you have to take it. In terms of snacks, you are not going to find anything either… And on top of that, you have to be careful with the snacks you take in as monkeys will take them from you… And no. It is not a good idea to bring snacks to feed the monkeys because you put them in grave health danger. But also, because they get pretty naughty when getting snacks from people, you might end up with a bite and a trip to the nearest hospital.
5. Eight hundred People limit.
The park only allows eight hundred people at Manuel Antonio, so sometimes, you have to make a long line to get in.
6. Choices, choices!
There are so many things to do in the region, staying there for a few more nights is always a good idea. Canopy, Rafting, Snorkeling, sunset sailing, rappelling, hot springs, rescue centers, and cultural experiences. Manuel Antonio and its neighbor Quepos Port, truly have it all! Don’t hesitate to book more nights than the one needed to check the national park.