White sand beaches, lush green rain forests, and some of the best Pacific sunsets you’ll ever see are what draw Costa Ricans and foreigners alike here every weekend. We of course are talking about Manuel Antonio, the most visited national park and beach in Costa Rica. Recently voted “one of the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks” by Forbes, this amazing area features a 1,700 acre national park with pristine rain forest, freshwater rivers, abundant wildlife, and gorgeous beaches all in one spot.
Manuel Antonio is historically referred to as ‘the sport fishing capital of Costa Rica.’ Now only 2.5 hours from San Jose and home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, there is no wonder why Manuel Antonio is the most visited destination in Costa Rica year after year. The entire area of Manuel Antonio is actually located in a huge cove along the Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast so the sea conditions are nearly always calm and ideal for fishing. Add to that the brand new Marina Pez Vela and you have made an already popular sport fishing destination that much more successful.
Besides the beautiful natural attractions found in Manuel Antonio, sport fishermen from all over the world flock here to experience the world class fishing found in these waters. Just twenty miles from shore you’ll see the depth sounder go from 200 ft to 1,000-2,000 ft and you’ll know you are at the continental shelf, and therefore the off-shore fishing grounds, already. Sailfish are so abundant that there are several billfish tournaments held each year in Manuel Antonio, including the annual Harry Gray fly fishing tournament in which the top boats gather to fly fish for sailfish and marlin for three days. The new Marina Pez Vela is bringing even more attention to the area as they hosted their first billfish tournament in 2012.
While famous for its year round billfishing, Manuel Antonio also has outstanding in-shore fishing as well. With several rocky islands and rivers emptying from the national park this is a prime spot for snapper, grouper, jacks, mackerel, sea bass, and of course roosterfish. If you like we can even have you fish for giant snook in the two river mouths that empty into the Pacific Ocean from the national park.
Manuel Antonio also offers countless opportunities for recreation, including guided tours of the park (which also happens to be home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the country), trips to nearby destinations ideal for snorkeling and surfing lessons on the main beach. Manuel Antonio is also popular for its boutique hotels, which range from the petite to the extremely luxurious.
- Playita (literally translated as small beach) is a private beach surrounded by beautiful rocky formations
- Manuel Antonio is popular for its world class spas where you can rejuvenate yourself with beauty treatments as the sounds of the jungle soothe you
- White-headed capuchin monkeys are Manuel Antonio’s friendliest inhabitants. There’s no way you will go back home without having seen a few of these
- Besides monkeys, this area is also home to adorable sloths who are always taking naps on treetops