Costa Rica is one of the most famously beautiful places found anywhere on the planet, a vibrant eco-diverse landscape of breathtakingly gorgeous cloud forests, beaches, and volcanos, yet the Manuel Antonio stands out as the crown jewel of the country’s national parks.
Although it is one of Costa Rica’s smallest national parks, the Manuel Antonio Park and adjacent beach areas are world-famous for their rich diversity of landscapes and wildlife. Located on the Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio was rated by Forbes magazines as one of the 12 most beautiful national parks on the planet.
The Manuel Antonio Park lies adjacent to the town of Manuel Antonio, creating a gorgeous area that draws in thousands of tourists every year. Thanks to forward-looking policies by the government of Costa Rica, the area blends human development with a lush natural landscape to responsibly promote conservation.
The Manuel Antonio Park has four beaches within its boundaries. Inside the park, more than 184 species of birds have been documented as well as more than 100 species of mammals, including both two-toed and three-toed sloths, three species of monkeys, three species of iguana, and the white-nosed coati. In the waters offshore, dolphins, whales, and hundreds of species of fish can be found, including valuable gamefish like sailfish and marlin.
Popular activities inside and adjacent to Manuel Antonio include horseback riding, whitewater rafting, hiking, bird watching, zip lining, driving ATVs and off-road vehicles, windsurfing, stand-up paddling, kitesurfing, catamaran sailing, surfing, and marveling at the rich diversity of flowering plants and wildlife while participating in nature tours.
Perhaps the most iconic draw of the Manuel Antonio region is the surfing spots located in and adjacent to the national park. A series of seven beaches offer surfers of all abilities a chance to enjoy year-round consistent swells featuring both left and right breaks. Whether it’s the area off of the Quepos River mouth, secluded beaches on uninhabited islands, or the main beaches stretching from Dominical up to the town of Manuel Antonio, the entire region is a surfing mecca.
Manuel Antonio Surf School and Camp (MASS) is the region’s premier surfing school. MASS offers personalized instruction with a team of highly experienced professional surf coaches that use video capture and wave motion technology to teach first-time surfers how to ride on their first day as well as assist experienced surfers how to improve their skills. MASS was founded by a local Tico surfer who wanted to share his love of the sport with visitors from around the world.