Manuel Antonio National Park (Puntarenas)
Though this national park is the smallest in the country it is certainly not one to pass over, Manuel Antonio being one of the most biologically diverse and scenically beautiful places in Costa Rica. Here on the central Pacific coast just south of Quepos (132 km away from San Jose) your group will be able to explore the rainforest, white sand beaches, mangrove swamps, lagoons, and coral reefs, providing you with both educational and entertaining activities all day.
This park was established in 1972 and has been attracting a steady stream of curious and conservation-minded guests since then. The vast diversity of both plants and wildlife within the 680 hectares astound all who visit, as do the hiking trails and views around the park in general. There are a total of 12 small isles, each filled with different wildlife viewing and water recreation options. During your journey, you are likely to see iguanas, white-faced capuchins, and 3-toed sloths, as well as several rare tropical birds. There is a total of 109 mammal species and 184 bird species found throughout.
While here you can choose to hang out on a pristine white sand beach, the south facing Playa Manuel Antonio being a favorite with its ½ mile long white sand crescent shape, or maybe take a hike on any of the winding trails throughout. The Punta Catedral Trail is said to provide the best views atop its forest filled cliffs, and you can even spot the land bridge between Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio from here. There are guided tour options here as well, ranging from 2.5 to 3 hours with multilingual guides, as well as your common water recreation options such as white water rafting, tubing, kayaking, diving, and dolphin and whale watching.