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Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Walk

Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Walk

Destination: Esterillos, Manuel Antonio, San Jose, Alajuela


  • Wildlife Close-ups via a telescope
  • Understand the sounds of the forest
  • Train your eyes to spot wildlife
  • Get a full insight of what goes on in a rainforest
  • Your ticket into the park is included saving you time in lines to purchase them


  • Tour length : 2 hours
  • Hours : 7 a.m. & noon  (Twice daily, except Mondays) Other times could be arranged
  • Price : $59 per person
  • What to Bring : something to eat if staying in the park after tour, binoculars, bottled water

Feed your senses with a Manuel Antonio National Park nature walk escorted by a naturalist guide who will  help you translate the signs and sounds of the rainforest for you and spot wildlife with a high definition  telescope or right under your nose.

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Start your easy one-mile- and 176-yards (1.8 km) hike on the gravel-and-dirt Main Trail and the Manuel Antonio Trail at a slow pace from the main gate of Manuel Antonio National Park. Your guide will have your entry tickets ready for you to enter the park.

With the naked eye you just see jungle, trees, bushes and at the same time hear sounds, songs, and weasels. It will be difficult figure out what those sounds are.  Your guide will help you focus your eyes to see bats, sloths, monkeys and more … and give you a close up experience with his/her telescope. You can use your phone to take pictures of the wildlife.  Your guide will be more than happy to help or take some pictures for you with you in or not in the pictures using his/her telescope.

Your guide will share with you interesting facts of the animals and birds you find as he or she interprets and identifies the sounds of wildlife in the rainforest for you. The hike ends at the Manuel Antonio Beach's picnic tables  where you will choose to continue on with the tour or stay and explore the other park trails on your own.

Choice #1: Continue with the tour: Swim, play in the waves and go for lunch

Take free time (20-30 minutes) to swim and play in the waves at Manuel Antonio Beach and/or explore marine life in the tidal pools on the southern end of the beach at low tide.

Join your guide in a walk out of the park to a local restaurant for a snack or lunch (depending on your tour options). Enjoy some local food and get back in the van for a ride back to your hotel.

Choice #2: End the tour and explore on your own the rest of the trails and play and swim in Manuel Antonio Beach

Your guide will tell you how to get around the park and give you tips to explore the other hiking trails and beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.

By the time you end the tour, your eyes will most likely be used to the forest and you may be able to spot wildlife on your own. Otherwise, your fellow travelers will tell you when they see something in the trails.

The safest and most popular beach to swim is Manuel Antonio Beach.  Playa Gemelas and Playa Espadilla Sur are great to stroll and sunbathe.

The remaining Trails

Cathedral Point trail (0.75 miles/1,215.5 meters):  A three-quarters of a mile loop moderated hike ascending to Cathedral Point. Steps go up and down to three outlooks with unparalleled southern coastal views of the islands and Manuel Antonio Beach.  It is the most popular and enjoyable trail.

The Trampa Trail (0.12 miles/200 meters): a short path that connects the beginning and end of Cathedral Point Trail, completing the loop.

South Espadilla Beach trail (0.10 miles/163.5 meters):  A flat-and-easy walk under the canopy forest of Manuel Antonio National Park along the beach stretch of South Espadilla Beach.

Las Gemelas (0.23 miles/350 meters)/Punto Escondido Trail (0.30 miles/480 meters): leads through half a mile through the forest with steps to two other beaches of the same name.  It is best to hike this path at low tide so the vast majority of the beach will be exposed and you can understand why the Gemelas Beach are considered twin. You can hike a bit of Escondido Beach too. On your way back take Los Congos Trail to Mirador Trail.

Los Congos Trail (0.18 miles/287 meters): A moderate shortcut path from the end of Las Gemelas Trail to a mid point in the Mirador Trail.

The Mirador Trail (0.6 miles /952 meters): A more challenging climb close to a mile long to a beautiful lookout point with great views of the southeast area of the park.

What to bring

If you are staying in the park, please bring lunch (sandwiches, bottled water, things that are practical and easy to carry). Be careful watching out for the raccoons and monkeys because they will take your belongings, knowing from previous experience that there is probably food in them.

Sunscreen, your camera or cell phone to take pictures to supplement your memory.

Park Rules

  • Respect nature, stay on the marked trails, keep your hands and body away from the railing.

  • Keep your distance from animals and share your food only with humans.  Human food is not healthy for animals and it is illegal to feed any animal in the park.

  • Take your trash with you out of the park and deposit it in the appropriate trash cans.

  • Food: Only prepared food products are allowed in the park for you to have lunch. An example of prepared is a sandwich or another already prepared lunch. The park will not let you take in nuts of any type, or individual items such as a pack of ham, butter, peanut butter, etc.

  • Park entry tickets can be used only once. If you exit the park, you will have to pay the $15 entry fee again.

Departure & Return

  • Departure point : Tour departs from all major hotels in Quepos and Manuel Antonio; Tour also departs from San Jose with a different price
  • Departure time : Hotel pickup is between 30 minutes before tour start time depending on hotel location. Tours from San Jose are picked up 3-4 hours prior the start of the tour
  • Return Details : Depending on your choices, tour returns to original departure point two to four hours after tour start time

Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Walk in Pictures

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