Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park has three white sandy connecting beaches and a forest filled with a variety of monkeys. It sits at the base of a mountain on a pennisula that eargerly stretches out to greet the Pacific Ocean beyond and boasts magnificent flora and fauna, as well as fantastic views both in and out of the park.
... You can´t say you ´ve visited Costa Rica unless you visit Manuel Antonio National Park. So it´s no wonder the smallest national park in the country is also one of the most visited - and there would be evene more people within the park grounds if the Park Service hadn ´t enforced a limit of approximately 600 people per day. Its big attractions are well-market hiking trials through the rainforest, some incredibly idyllic beaches and abundant wildlife - especially monkesy - including 350 types of birds, plus agoutis, sloths and large iguanas.
The area became a national park in 1972, just in time to prevent a large developer from building a resort. At the time it had just 687 hectares surrounding a three-fingered spit of land that divides three bays. As you come down to the end of the road from Quepos, low-rent motels and eateries crowd the roadside. The beach on your right is Playa Espadilla, which gets crowded with sunbathing tourists. Be careful swiming here; the surf can be very rough. At the end is a large rock formation and beyond that is the sand bar wash of a shallow estuary. Is is across this narrow stream you need to wade to enter the park. At the hide tide ir can be waist deep, and a at those times entreprenurial locals offer crossing in their small boats. Walk quietly on the path after the park entrance; monkeys hang out in the shady trees overhead here and agoutis often forage for tender roots in the underbrush. The Long beach on the right is Playa Espadilla Sur, a broad band of white sand lined with shade trees.