White sand beaches, turquoise water and the abundance of a wide range of marine wildlife directly at the beach – sounds like paradise doesn’t it? Well, this certain paradise we are talking about is named Manuel Antonio. A small beach town at southern Quepos that has grown into on of the biggest touristic hotspots in whole Costa Rica. Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, though, it is the smallest, but most popular national park of the country. It bursts out of wildlife and attracts with its many beautiful beaches at the coast.
Manuel Antonios Beaches from North to South:
Playitas, or Little Beach, lives up to his name. It lies about 1 km north from the national park and only a stone through of rock formations beneath Playa Espadilla. This is good beach for surfing at high tide, but watch out for sticking out rocks at lower tide.
Coming from Manuel Antonio village you can’t miss this longed curved beach right next to various shops and restaurants. This is the perfect beach for sunbathing and relaxing a day. If you need something to eat or rest after hours in the sun, the next soda or café is never wide away. Playa Espadilla is also called Playa Primera or Playa Numero Uno by some locals.
Playa Espadilla Sur
The southern version of Playa Espadilla lies directly in the nationalpark. It is the last beach you reach by following the trail, very close to the exit. Beware for the current as it can get tough it. Playa Espadilla sur is also called Playa Dos or Playa Segunda).
Playa Manuel Antonio
Like you can relate from the name, this is kind of the main beach in town or at least the most frequented. It lies in deep, protected bay immediately south of Punta Catedral. Thus, the water is clear and the sand is white. This is the reason why some locals call this beach also Playa Blanca (white beach) or Playa Tres. But the beauty of this place isn’t really a well-kept secret. It gets very crowded every day. So it is best to come early in the morning, before 10 am.
Playa Puerto Escondido
Playa Puerto Escondido or Playa Cuatro is the most southern beach of the area. It reaches along the Sendero Puerto Escondido and got white horseshoe-shaped sand. But to enjoy it you first have to talk to the rangers about the tide. At high tide you won’t be able to get across the beach, nor enter it from the rainforest behind. No matter when, the rangers will tell you better not to swim here. The currents can get really strong and dangerous.
How to get to Manuel Antonio
As Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular destinations in whole Costa Rica. There are plenty of buses running down from San José every day and local buses departing from Quepos. You can also get on a domestic flight from San José that only takes about an hour.
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