Manuel Antonio National Park
The Manuel Antonio National Park claims that there are still more monkeys than tourist in the park. This is something that we believe but it the tourist seem to be growing in population. This is a very small park and measures only 1625 hectares on land and 55,000 hecatares. The Manuel Antonio National park is considered one of Costa Rica's best national Parks. This has to do with the access and foreign investment in and around the park making it a highly visited area. Our personal opinion is that it really can not be compared to many parks because there are waterfalls in Braulio Carrillo that 99% of us have not seen, Barbilla National Park is one of the most scenic views of virgin rainforest you could ask for with a terrain that only jaguars can write in guide books about.
Don't get us wrong we give a lot of credit to Manuel Antonio and we happen to love the park also and use it for many of our Costa Rica vacations. The simple fact is that it has become crowded and even though they close it on Mondays you must know the schedule to visit to avoid large crowds. It all depends on the time of year and the time of day. The afternoon can be just as active for animals and a lot less active for the human species in the park if you make 2pm your time of arrival. Who cares about the rain it is the rainforest? There are great hiking trails, bathrooms, some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and often very easy sitings of monkeys. One of the most exciting animals is the famous squirrel monkey which is only found in this area of the country.
The beaches are very calm and safe for swimming in. Although you want to be careful after heavy rains because the crocodiles in the nearby rivers have been seen riding the current out to the ocean and pass by the beaches on their way back to the rivers.
The Manuel Antonio National Park has been an area picked by tourist from all over the world since it's opening in 1972. The area offers a little bit of everything if you don't mind the heavy tourist scene. There are things to do like whitewater rafting, zipline, and even a rainforest spice tour.This is an easy place to arrive to and probably the most common national park on the pacific coast visited by locals. Because of this almost everyone in the country can point you in the right direction of what is an already easy place to find.