Manuel Antonio National Park: Ultimate Guide to a Day in Paradise - Tips for Unforgettable Adventures!

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Cindy Benavides

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  • Nature Escapes

  • Beaches

  • Costa Rica

  • National Park

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  • Wildlife

Manuel Antonio National Park: Ultimate Guide to a Day in Paradise - Tips for Unforgettable Adventures!
Curator’s statement

Are you planning a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica?

It’s an amazing place with breathtaking landscapes, gorgeous beaches and beautiful wildlife.

I’m here to help you make the most of your day in paradise!

In this guide, I’ll share some invaluable tips and insights to help you navigate scenic trails, encounter exotic wildlife and create unforgettable memories.

So, let’s get started and make your trip to Manuel Antonio National Park a truly amazing adventure!

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Where to stay

Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort

Where pristine beaches meet lush rainforests, creating the ultimate beachfront escape.

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1. To make the most of your day, I recommend getting an early start. The park opens at 7 am, so try to arrive by 10 am at the latest. Also, please note that tickets can only be purchased online.

2. Do not go on a Monday. The park is closed.

3. If possible, it is advisable to avoid planning trips during the holidays and school breaks. The large crowds during these periods can be overwhelming and make it difficult to fully enjoy your travel experience.

4. Continue driving until you arrive at the park entrance, then locate a parking spot. Do not fall for the tricks of men who insist that you must park in certain areas and that no other parking spots are available. The park provides free parking.

5. It's recommended that you wear your swimsuit before heading to the beach. Although there are places to change once you get there, they can get quite crowded. Wearing your swimsuit will be one less thing to carry into the park. Additionally, wear your hiking shoes since you can take them off once you get to the beach.

6. Remember to bring water and properly packed snacks when visiting the park. Check the park’s website for rules and regulations. Park guards will check your backpack to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. Animals in the park have become sick due to tourists feeding them. Do not bring chips, cookies or similar packages. Instead, opt for sandwiches or similar snacks. There is a cafe at the end of the forest trails before the beach, which offers meal and snack options.

7. If you want to see some amazing wildlife, I highly recommend hiring a guide! They have all the right equipment to help you spot animals, and they know all the best spots to look. Plus, you’ll learn so much about the local wildlife - it’s a wonderful experience!

8. Plan enough time to spend at the beach. Manuel Antonio has beautiful beaches that are private to the park. You can only visit them after you pay for the park's ticket, so you won’t want to miss them!

Sloth - Cindy Benavides

9. The park closes at 4 pm and they will herd you out, so make sure you leave enough time to enjoy the beaches. That is why it's important to come prepared to spend the whole day there.

10. The staff of the park (park rangers) work exclusively within the park, and their uniforms feature distinctive SINAC logos. Always remember to consult them if you need information.

Need to Know

I’m so glad to share this guide filled with tips for an amazing day in Manuel Antonio National Park. I hope that you feel inspired to go on a truly extraordinary adventure. With its beautiful rainforests, beaches and amazing wildlife, this Costa Rican sanctuary is the perfect place for a journey of discovery and wonder.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Costa Rica. In need of further inspiration? Check out Iftikhar Khan’s guide, 5 Days Costa Rica Jungle & Beaches: Manuel Antonio.

Travel advisor Cindy posing on a chair in red and white dress

Travel Advisor

Cindy Benavides

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