||Manuel Antonio is one of the most exclusive areas in Costa Rica, however
budget hotels can be found. It started out as a tiny village that had a
beautiful National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, next to it. As the park
started to become more known more hotels started springing up. Because
of Manuel Antonio’s size, or lack of size, hotels started building on the road
to Manuel Antonio and many started taking advantage of the magnificent
panoramic views. Soon very exclusive hotels arrived, thus bringing us to
present day Manuel Antonio, however budget hotels can be found but most
are found down near the beach. More expensive hotels have loftier, breezy
perches and most offer off season rates. Many hilltop hotels may have
beach if you don’t want to wait for the bus, however this does run every half
The National Park is small only 682 hectares however it epitomizes
everything tourists flock to Costa Rica to see: stunning beaches, a
magnificent setting with islands offshore, lush rainforest laced with a
network of easy to walk trails, and wildlife galore. There is good chance
that you will see monkeys (howler, white faced, and possibly squirrel
monkeys), sloths, and coatimundis. Scarlet macaws do frequent the area
however you may need a bit of luck to see them.
Despite Manuel Antonio’s size, it is one of the country’s most popular
parks, with as many as 150,000 visitors annually in recent years. If you
wish to do your bit to help preserve Manuel Antonio, consider visiting in the
“green” or wet season. Litter and pollution are additional problems, pack
out what you pack in.
Nonetheless, the park is too small to sustain a healthy and viable
population of certain animals. If the monkeys do not have access to areas
outside the park, the population will decline because they cannot breed.
Corridors that allow the animals’ access to areas outside the park have
been taken up by hotels, so that the park has, in recent years, become an
island. As a result, the squirrel monkey (mono titi) population is declining.
Fortunately, in 2000, a decree was issued to triple the park’s size to just
under 1800 hectares, almost tripling the size of the park.