When Forbes magazine chose Manuel Antonio National Park as one of the most beautiful in the world, it was just publicizing what Costa Ricans already know. With its secluded coves, branching trails, and lush rainforest growing right up to the water’s edge, this Pacific paradise effortlessly seduces with its natural abundance.
Flora and fauna are the star attraction in Manuel Antonio. Here you’ll meet camouflaged iguanas and three-toed sloths, orange-and-purple crabs and white-faced capuchin monkeys. The latter, in particular, are so abundant here that authorities have built them their own suspension bridge to allow them to swing freely through the terrain.
The park features other bridges as well: tombolos, the natives call them, and they’re made from natural sand deposits that connect the crystalline beaches with the striking headlands. Here, you can go snorkeling in the tidal pools, or watch the sun set amidst a blaze of clouds.
Costa Rica’s Pacific coast boasts other treasures. Nearby is the Damas Islas Estuary, where open-seat kayaks take you to the exotic ecosystem of a mangrove swamp. Here you can float beneath the shade of tall mangroves, while watching sloths and howler monkeys scurry through the tree canopy. The inland waterways are also home to nocturnal silky anteaters and non-poisonous mangrove snakes, as well as boa constrictors, manta rays, and baby black-tipped sharks.
Tropical skies, lush jungle, blissful beaches: Manuel Antonio is truly one of the jewels in the chain of beauties that make up Central America’s “Rich Coast.”
Learn more about this destination at Visit Costa Rica.