Planning a trip to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and looking for a great place to go hiking within a rugged rainforest, see diverse and tropical wildlife, relax on a white-sandy beach, and visit a National Park all in one stop? Look no further. The Wandering Wheelers have you covered. We recommend spending the day (at least 4 hours) in Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio National Park Information

Manuel Antonio is located on the central Pacific side of Costa Rica along the coast. It lies just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas and encompasses roughly 682 hectares of land making it the smallest National Park within Costa Rica. In 2011, Forbes listed Manuel Antonio among the world’s most beautitful National Parks.

ryan and kira at manuel antonio sign

Hours of Operation


Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm (Costa Rica time – i.e. US CST)

Wednesday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Thursday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Friday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Saturday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Get there early as the lines form fast! This picture was taken at our arrival time of 7:30AM.

lines at manual antonio

Admission Fee

Adults –  $16

Children under 12 – Free

BRING CASH! While tickets may be purchased at the park entrance at Coopealianza with cash or Visa, Costa Rica is known for their credit card machines not working (i.e. they don’t want to pay the fee or the internet is down, which doesn’t let their machines accept credit card). At the time of our trip (Jan ’16), the machines were down and we HAD TO PAY WITH CASH.

Food Restrictions

Soda and waters are permitted, but alcoholic drinks are not permitted. You can bring packed sandwiches and fruit that is already cut. We brought in water bottles and packaged bars and they let us go through.

The park has a few public water fountains that we drank from as our water supply ran out fast due to the hot temperatures. However, if you are avoiding drinking the tap water, bring lots and lots of water. There is nowhere to purchase water or food inside the park!

manuel antonio regulations

Guided Tours

Since we did not use a guided tour, this information is provided directly from Manual Antonio’s site:
“Guided tours are available at $51 for adults and $35 for children. Private tours are available at $71 for adults and $55 for children.

All guided tours include round trip transportation from MA / Quepos hotels and vacation homes, entrance fee, bilingual certified guides with high tech telescopes, 2.5-3 hours of guided tour including time to spend at the beaches and tropical fruit.  You can choose to spend the rest of the day inside the park but might need to take the bus or a taxi back to your hotel.

For those visiting the park during Christmas, New Years and Easter, make sure to arrive as early as possible (7-8 am) in order to get in. It is recommended to visit the park in the afternoon (12-4 pm) as there are less visitors during that time.”

Wild Life

We saw some of the best wildlife in Costa Rica at Manuel Antonio National Park. There were sloths, monkeys, lizards, birds, butterflies, raccoons, and more. See a few of our buddies below 🙂

 manuel antonio monkey sittingmanuel antonio lizardmanuel antonio monkey drinking from the faucet








Rugged Rainforest

One of our favorite parts about Costa Rica in general is the beach terrain. The rain forest comes right up to the beach’s edge, providing a beautiful and unusual landscape.

 manuel antonio rugged beach terrain

Manuel Antonio’s White Sandy Beaches

Costa Rica is known for their beaches (often times very remote beaches). In Manuel Antonio you will experience beautiful white sand beaches (both remote and non-remote). The park has three major beaches: Playa Espadilla Sur, Playa Manuel Antonio, and Puerto Escondido

manuel antonio beach

Walking Trails

There were several great trails throughout the park. Basically, the whole park is a walking trail of some sort or another that will eventually lead you to the beach!

manuel antonio park trail map

manuel antonio national park trail


After spending the day at Manuel Antonio Nation Park, we highly recommend visiting the park if you are in, or near the area. While we mentioned above to allocate at least 4 hours there, we would recommend spending a full day (6 – 8 hours) there to see and enjoy everything the park has to offer. When you exit the park, get a coconut water from the street vendors (~$2). You won’t regret it!!

the wandering wheelers drinking out of a coconut



Jane Levere (2011-08-29). “The World’s Most Beautiful National Parks”Forbes. Retrieved 2011-10-04.

“Manuel Antonio National Park”. Retrieved 2008-02-25.