Top 5 things to do in Manuel Antonio

photo by Beth Rankin on Flickr

Costa Rica has more national parks than many other much larger countries, and every single one of them deserves the attention of tourists interested in the country’s natural beauty. But if there’s one park that perfectly represents the sheer beauty and diversity of Costa Rica, then it is Manuel Antonio. Despite being the smallest national park in Costa Rica, over 150,000 people visit it every year, and it is widely regarded as one of the most stunning national parks on the planet. It is no use wondering what exactly is it that attracts people to Manuel Antonio – it’s enough to look at any picture of it to see the appeal – but if you are curious about the activities that the park has to offer, here are the top 5 things to do in Manuel Antonio.

Diving and snorkeling

Costa Rica is famous for its pristine and rich dive sites, and Manuel Antonio can boast of several world class scuba diving spots. One might think that there is not much difference between the various diving sites in Manuel Antonio, but the truth is that depending on where you choose to dive, you get to see very different underwater landscapes and selection of marine life. There are diving spots for every skill level in the park, as well as several snorkeling spots.


photo by Patrick Nouhailler

Wherever there is a path of lush cloud forest in Costa Rica, there will be some tour agency providing zip0lining expeditions too. Canopy tours are understandably very popular in Manuel Antonio, thanks to the exceptional state of the forest. You might not be able to observe every little interesting plant or butterfly, but the feeling of dashing over the forest at incredible speeds makes zip-lining one of the top 5 things to do in Manuel Antonio if you want a bit of excitement.


Sightseeing in Manuel Antonio is definitely entertaining, but after you’ve had your fill of attractions you might want to do something a bit crazier, like rafting for example. When you’re trying to stay afloat in the angry waters of the Naranjo or Savegre rivers you don’t get much chance to admire the scenery, but if you like extreme sports you’ll get a huge kick out of white water rafting in Manuel Antonio.

Mangrove tours

photo by Patrick Nouhailler on Flickr

The mangrove forests in Manuel Antonio National Park are rich in wildlife and very exciting for those who are interested in plants and animals. The mangrove swamps are filled with crocodiles and other more or less scary critters, but since you’ll be sitting on a boat there’s no danger of getting too close to the wildlife.

Horseback tours

Going horseback on the beach has become a classic travel experience in Costa Rica, and the lovely and secluded beaches of Manuel Antonio are just perfect for equine sightseeing. There are lots of tour operators that provide horseback tours, and some will take you to jungle trails, while others might stick close to the coast and allow you to explore the beaches.


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