National Park

Surfer @ Manuel Antonio N.P.
"Early Surfer" photo © Monica Minguel

Comparatively small by national park standards, Manuel Antonio N.P. is very popular with visitors to Costa Rica for its myriad of flora and fauna, and beautiful beaches.

The park’s mission is the protection of the Speckled Butterfly Fish and the Squirrel Monkey — although many other animals have benefited from the creation of this wildlife refuge.

Geographically, the park is of interest due to its tombola — the joining of the island named Cathedral Point to the mainland by a buildup of sediment, thus creating a natural bridge.

Courtesy of (our official tourism department), please click the following link to view/download the –> bilingual brochure for the park.

Quick Facts

  • Created on November 15, 1972
  • Encompasses 4,900 acres of land and 12,900 acres of ocean


The area was previously inhabited by the Quepoa, an indigenous tribe who gave their name to Quepos.  Later when the Spanish colonists arrived, this region was cultivated as farmland.

In more modern times, the United Fruit Company owned much of the area.  The land was purchased by developers with the intention of making a private resort.  Plans fell through, so the area was declared a national park instead.

More recently, Manuel Antonio was hit hard by Hurricane Gert in 1993.  The primary rainforest that was destroyed has since been replanted and is thriving once again.


Beach Reptile
"Beach Lizard"
photo © Monica Minguel

There are 352 bird species found in the park, including pelicans, ospreys, herons, green kingfishers and toucanets.

Among the 109 species of mammals inhabiting the park, two and three-toed sloths may be observed, as well as, raccoons and both white-faced and squirrel monkeys.

Snakes and iguanas are commonly seen too amidst the 346 plant species, but who’s counting?  😉

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