We badly wanted to visit another national park in Costa Rica, hoping for a great wildlife adventure. After all internet recommendations we chose Manuel Antonio.
Quepos- where to stay in Manuel Antonio National Park?
That’s what every guide says about Costa Rica – untouched rainforest, pristine beaches and protected areas. Manuel Antonio was another disappointment – crowded beaches, concrete paths through the forest. ! It is so different than Nicaragua which is perfect for nature lovers. One day is enough to visit the Manuel Antonio National Park.
We did know that and actually planned to stay there for few days. Visiting Manuel Antonio was the only the reason we drove from Nicaragua back to Costa Rica. At first we wanted to stay in one of the guesthouses in the park but it was too expensive. So finally we decided to stay in Quepos, the nearest city on the north of the park.
It’s comfortably situated city very close to the park. The buses from Quepos toward Antonio National Park run every 20 minutes leaving from a small bus station located in the middle of Quepos. You can make sure it’s a bus to Manuel Antonio asking a driver. The surprising thing was that online hostel prices were really high. Don’t ever book online – go around the city, Quepos is small with full of cheap nice hostels in tiny streets. We paid 25$ for a double room. While it was almost 50$ online for the same room.
Attractions in National Park
Bus stops in the main street along the coast. You just need to take a short walk to the park – no need to take the guide – unless you really enjoy bird watching through telescope. You can’t carry food with you when entering the park. There are few trails in the park which are doable in few hours. The famous beach is located in Punta Catedral peninsula.
The east side of the narrow isthmus is not that crowded and it’s possible to do great snorkeling. This trail is good for travelers of all ages. We were so lucky to see closely one of the most beautiful animal on earth – a huge iguana! I could not take my eyes of this amazing lizard.
Everyone will be encouraging you on the entrance to take a guide. They offer the telescope which might be a good idea if you want to see exotic animals. However – most of the animals are hidden. The trails are very clear, there’s no chance you’ll get lost. Manuel Antonio is really a touristic place.
The birds are almost inaccessible during a day time regarding the high temperatures. Monkeys are everywhere, so you don’t need a telescope to meet them. It’s up to you if you want to spend 25$ per person for watching the world through the lens. I would advice to take advantage and see the world in your eyes. We’re not an experts and we still managed to see a lot of amazing animals. 🙂 watch the photos.
Never feed the animals!