National Park

General information:
This wilderness area on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas, is located 157 km (98 miles) south of San Jose, by highway and 7 km (4.5 miles) south of the city of Quepos.

The park was established on November 15, 1972. Its area encompasses 687 hectares (1.700 acres) of land mass and 55.000 hectares (135.905 acres) of marine reserve.

This region was once inhabited by the Quepos indians from which comes the name of the city of Quepos. With the arrival of Europeans, the region was converted into cultivated cropland which later was purchased by the United Fruit Company The area which constitutes the park today, was acquired by foreigners who prohibited local people entering. This precipitated the formation of a pro?national park committee which convinced the municipal and national authorities to declare this area a national park.


Manuel Antonio National Park is a small biological oasis weighted down under the pressure of many and conflicting local enterprises such as: agriculture, livestock and a highly developed tourism. This national park contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. This humid tropical forest is home to many species of flora and fauna that are in danger of extinction.

At one time, much of this area was logged using a system called selective extraction to cut high quality lumber without clearcutting. Now, these areas of the forest are in a regeneration process.

Flora and fauna:

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is situated in a Humid Tropical Forest life zone. It protects primary and secondary forests, mangroves, beach vegetation and marine resources.

The most characteristic species of flora in the primary forest are the "guácimo colorado", bully tree, cedar, locust "surá", black locust a tree in danger of extintion, cow tree, "madroño", "cenizaro" and silk cotton tree.

The mangrove swamp which covers 18 hectares (44.5 acres) is composed of three species: red mangrove, buttonwood mangrove and white mangrove.

The beach vegetation consists mainly of manzanillo, which produces a milky extract, latex and poisonous berries; almond, tree mayflower and coconut.

Within the wildlife. some of the most common but impressive species are the raccoon, white?nosed coaties, agouties, the two?toed sloth, white?faced capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys (a subspecies of the park, which is in danger of extinction due to the destruction of its habitat and its exploitation as mascot). In this area you can also observe birds such as the "tucancillo", Brown Pelican. Laughing Falcon, Black-collared Hawk, Green Kingfisher and the Northern Jacana. Iguanas, snakes and thousands of insects also abound.


The park is located in region of high precipitation and temperature. The average annual rainfall is 3.875 mm (151 inches). The dry period is from January through March while the rainiest months are August through October The average annual temperature is 27° C (810ºF) with a minimum of 20ºC (68ºF).

Outstanding sights:

In addition to the flora and fauna, one of the main features of this area is the overwhelming beauty of the following attractions:

Playa Espadilla Sur: Extends between the northern limit of the park and Punta Catedral (Cathedral Point). During low tide it has a long wide beach, great for strolling or sunbathing. And although the surf can be quite strong. It poses no real danger to swimmers.

Playa Escondida: Is a small beach that can be found south of the administration buildings. Because one has to wade through some areas bounded by steep cliffs, accessibility to the beach depend on the tides. Please inquire with the park guards as to when and whether you should enter.

Punta Catedral: Is an interesting geological phenomena. It once was ,n island, and with the accumulation of sediments, over time, it united with the continental landmass forming a sandy strip called "tómbolo". The interior boasts primary and secondary?growth vest and excellent lookout points from which to view the various elands off the coast, Playa Blanca (White Beach), and the exquisite turquoise sea.


* If you need help or have questions, please ask the rangers; they are pleased and prepared to help you.
* All the living things, plants and animals alike, share this planet with you. Please respect them. : Enjoy the peace and natural sounds of the forest. Do not play: radios or make loud noises which could disturb the tranquility found here.
* Please keep to the trails. The signs are there for the benefit of all, do not deface or destroy them.
* This area is a natural preserve. We invite you to observe, enjoy and take as many pictures as you like. But please do not remove plants, animals, stones or other materials as souvenirs.
* Please collect your garbage and deposit it in the appropriate containers.
* Do not feed the wildlife. They can suffer serious health problems if they eat people food.
* In spite of its biological diversity, many animals living in Costa Rica are hard to observe because of their migratory or reproductive habits, because they are nocturnal or because the forest is too dense to see them clearly. Move quietly and sharpen your observation skills in order to better appreciate the richness of the area.
* All protected wildlife areas have rules which regulate the protection of resources and the activities of visitors. This park operates under these rules for public use and it is the obligation of all visitors to respect them.

Enjoy your trip !