Destination Overview

If you find the idea of a honeymoon in a tropical paradise with lush rainforest, waterfalls, wildlife, and sandy Pacific beaches appealing, Manuel Antonio National Park is the right destination for you. Covering just 7.7 square miles on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it has been rated as one of the 12 most beautiful national parks in the world by Forbes magazine. In the surrounding towns and communities, you’ll also have a chance to learn about Costa Rican culture and the sustainable lifestyle of pura vida or pure life.

Costa Rica is home to 6% of the earth’s biodiversity, and takes its stewardship of the natural world very seriously. This has led to the development of sustainable and ecotourism travel destinations, in consultation with the local communities. Manuel Antonio National Park has rainforest, mountain and ocean ecosystems with a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

You’ll see a variety of native wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, bats, and many species of birds. The park is one of the most popular destinations in the country and you can avoid a long wait by buying the tickets online in advance or taking a guided tour.
Beyond the park, you’ll find plenty to see and do in the surrounding communities. You’ll find adventure sports and activities of all kinds, including sailing, sportfishing, canopy tours in the rainforest, rappelling down waterfalls, whitewater rafting, ATV exploration, horse riding and more. Visit nearby towns and communities like Quepos and San Juana Mountain Village, explore the natural worlds of the Damas Island Estuary and Marino Ballena National Park dedicated to preserving the marine environment.

Enjoy discovering Costa Rican cuisine with fresh, local produce and seafood. Some of the best restaurants are to be found in the hotels. When it comes to choosing a place to stay, you’ll have plenty of options that are perfect for a romantic retreat amid the rainforest or on the beach, facing the ocean.


About Manuel Antonio

At a Glance

  • Manuel Antonio is located less than 5 miles from the town of Quepos and offers several different environments to explore. You can walk the trails through the rainforest, relax on a sandy beach, and watch wildlife with a certified naturalist guide.
  • The park is home to three species of monkeys including the endangered squirrel monkeys, bats, amphibians and birds.
  • The number of people entering at one time is limited, and it is best to get an early start. If you arrive at 7 a.m., you’ll have plenty of time to see everything and avoid the afternoon thundershowers.
  • You’ll find of accommodations just outside the park, for all budget ranges and tastes. These include everything from luxury resorts to romantic, private villas to ecolodges built into the rainforest hillsides.
  • Because of the emphasis on conserving biodiversity, there are restrictions on what you can bring into the park with you. The following items are not allowed: cigarettes, chairs, umbrellas, awnings, beach balls, hammocks, camping tents, or bicycles.
  • Visitors are not allowed to bring any food into the park but snacks and drinks are available at a small cafe near the entrance.
  • Outside the park, you’ll find a world of jungle and ocean adventures waiting for you, with surfing, fishing, zip lining, dolphin watching trips and more.
  • Check out nearby activities like kayaking or boating on the Damas Island Estuary. Make a day trip to the mountain village of Santa Juana to experience the campesino lifestyle.
  • The nearby Marino Ballena National Park is home to one of the largest coral formations and a popular site for snorkeling. You can also watch the humpback whales on their annual migrations, which happen from mid-July to October, and in the reverse direction from December to March.

Honeymoon Hints

  • Spend a day at the laid-back beach town of Quepos with its restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. It’s also famous for sportfishing excursions.
  • Visit a nearby vanilla or coffee farm, and bring home some aromatic souvenirs of your visit.
  • Take a catamaran sailing trip out from Quepos. Spend the day on the water, or head out for a romantic sunset cruise.
  • Stay at a quiet villa, rainforest lodge or oceanfront cottage for a quiet, private retreat, and enjoy the simple luxury of the pura vida life.
  • Crete your own story of romance in the rainforest with zip line adventures and bathing in a waterfall.

Travel Tips

  • GETTING THERE: The two major airports in Costa Rica are Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San Jose and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, with service from most major US airlines. You can get onward connecting flights from both airports.
  • GETTING AROUND: You can take domestic flights within Costa Rica or hire a rental car for the duration of your trip. Manuel Antonio is about two and a half to three hours by car from the capital city San Jose. You can also book private transportation and most hotels have shuttle buses to popular tourist destinations.
  • DRIVING: Driving in Costa Rica can be an adventure. You don’t need any special documents apart from your US driving license to drive in Costa Rica. If you plan to go beyond the major highways, you may need a four wheel drive vehicle. Also, remember that it gets dark early, around 6 pm and it’s best not to drive after dark.
  • WEATHER: The coastal rainforest climate has year-round average daytime temperatures of 85F. The dry season is from the middle of December to April, and the rainy season is from May to November, when it rains almost every afternoon.
  • WHEN TO GO: While the dry season is the most popular time for travel, you can travel to Manuel Antonio at any time during the year. Costa Rica is to the north of the hurricane zone, so you don’t have to worry about bad weather.
  • Remember that the park is closed on Mondays.
  • TIME: Costa Rica is in the Central Time Zone.
  • CELL PHONES: Most US cellphone services work in Costa Rica but there may be little to no reception in mountainous or forested areas.
  • SAFETY: Do heed the warnings posted around the park. Don’t feed the monkeys because they may try and snatch more food from you. Some beaches have rip currents that can be dangerous to swimmers.

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