Set on the Central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is possibly the most scenically beautiful national park in the country, with lush tropical forest fringing pristine white sandy beaches.
The park itself includes four sheltered beaches, which stretch along the undulating coastline. The first of these is separated by a natural land bridge or ‘tombolo’, formed over many years by sand accumulation.
A trail leads from the main entrance to the park, winding up through the forest to open out at Punta Catedral (100m), revealing stunning views across the jungle-covered tombolo and out to sea.
White-faced Capuchin monkeys clatter around in the treetops, while coatmundi and iguanas scurry about the forest floor. Other common sights include sloths, toucans and parakeets.
The park’s beauty has made this area understandably popular, and the village has grown in recent years into a bustling town, with a variety of cafes and restaurants.
Most hotels are located among the trees on the hillside overlooking the sea.