Huddled between the lush rainforests roughly midway down the Costa Rican Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is one of the leading eco-tourism hotspots in the country. Manuel Antonio is mainly famed for what’s right on the doorstep: The Manuel Antonio National Park.
At just 1,983 hectares, Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest reserve in the country. But boy does it pack a punch…Come to see swinging howler monkeys, scurrying red-backed squirrel monkeys, basilisks, capuchins, and – who could forget – the famously lazy two-toed sloth.
The village of Manuel Antonio sits just to the north of the main entrance to the park. It’s now a bustling and vibrant place, complete with sport-fishing outfitters (elusive sailfish inhabit these waters, zip-line courses, and hiking guides.
The hotels in Manuel Antonio aren’t allowed near the coast due to conservation regulations, but that’s a gift in disguise – they stud the cliff tops instead, offering sweeping panoramas of the wave-smashed shoreline.
Talking of waves, plenty of good-quality breaks roll into the beach at Espadilla Sur to the south of the village.
In fact, you’ll find peaks for beginners and advanced surfers alike, with both lefts and rights on the menu. There’s also snorkeling offered around the rugged coves of Playa Biesanz, and sunset lookout points at the end of the steep 1.6-kilometer trek to Punta Catedral.