Quepos is well known by sport fishing enthusiasts. The blue water off this coast provides exceptional challenge and excitement for seasoned, as well as occasional, anglers. International bill fishing tournaments in these waters routinely tie and break world records. Manuel is one of the most beautiful parks in the country and the most popular, with locals and foreigners alike. The hilly evergreen forest provides natural shade from the tropical sun and lines two gorgeous white sand beaches sloping to the gentle surf. Several trails lead through dense jungle growth to hidden sandy coves and magnificent lookouts over the ocean and beaches. In addition to the huge variety of things to do – walking the park’s easy trails, white-water rafting, ocean cruising, and big-game fishing, to name but a few – this is one of the lushest places in Costa Rica, with spectacular white-gray sand beaches fringed by thickly forested hills home to; squirrel, white-faced, and howler monkeys, three-toed sloths, and other wildlife.
Despite its small size and great popularity, Manuel Antonio has managed to remain one of the premiere nature spots in the country. The rain forest and mountains literally meet the sea here and the ecosystem is teeming with land, sea and air species. If there is one place to visit in this country and be assured of seeing animals in the wild, this is it. Just a couple of hours walking the park’s trails are likely to present various colorful and majestic birds, white-faced monkeys, two and three-toed sloth, coatis, pacas, brilliantly colored land crabs, a variety of multihued butterflies, and interesting insects. The endangered squirrel monkey and a subspecies of the squirrel monkey endemic to Costa Rica are also frequently seen. In all, over 100 species of animals and nearly 200 species of birds have been identified in this park.
The area between Quepos & Manuel Antonio National Park has dozens of hotels and restaurants offering visitors a wide variety of accommodations and dining choices.
Near Manuel Antonio is Jardin Gaia which several years ago was named Costa Rica’s first official Wildlife Rescue Center. The Center receives injured and confiscated animals and attempts to rehabilitate them for an eventual return to the wild.
Just past Carara on the left is a road leading up to the mountain to Villa Lapas. Following this road another eight kilometers through rich forest and past breathtaking views brings you to a small tourist complex called La Catarata (The Cascade). Here you can take a four-hour trek on horseback through a private, reforested cattle ranch to a magnificent waterfall. Along the way you’ll see several expansive vistas and are likely to spot scarlet macaws, toucans, and monkeys. Herradura Beach is a small, quiet, protected cove with just enough infrastructures to make it comfortable. Sport fishing charters, visits to Tortuga Island, and romantic sunset tours round out a full fare of water-related activities including snorkeling, wind surfing, and water skiing.
How to get there Take the Interamerican Highway out of San Jose west towards Alajuela then exit onto Highway 34, which swings to the South and on down towards Jaco. From there the coastal road continues southeast. The road follows the coast out of Jaco providing spectacular scenery along the beaches. At the top of the hill is a great spot for a final look back on Jaco. A little further is a perfect view looking down on the long expanse of Playa Hermosa. There are many uncrowded beaches along this stretch, and many gravel roads provide access to these oases with names like Esterillos Este and Oeste. Climate Temperatures hover in the 80’s F. During the rainy season, May to November, the climate gets very humid but lends to the tropical atmosphere and tends to bring down the temperatures. Jaco Beach is what Herradura isn’t. This is where “Ticos” traditionally come to play in the sun. There’s plenty of infrastructure, shopping, nightlife and accommodations to provide anything one might want in a beach vacation.
Manuel Antonio Extreme Hike
Tubing Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio Mangrove Cayaking
Savegre River Rafting
Manuel Antonio National Park Hiking
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