Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio region packs a lot of activity into one small area. It's a dream location for active travelers and adventure seekers, as you can combine coastal water sports with land-based excursions. Enjoy surfing at Playa Scull, scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling, all in one place. Then, take your adventures inland for activities like whitewater rafting, nature hikes, and horseback riding through the rainforests.

Getting Oriented

Manuel Antonio is one of the best places in Costa Rica to surf.

Manuel Antonio is a small region in Costa Rica and an ideal location on the central-Pacific coast. The protected Manuel Antonio National Park stretches from dense inland rainforests to picturesque coastlines and crescent-shaped beaches. And with this ecological diversity, you can combine many outdoor adventures into one compact space. Take advantage of the coastline and waterways with whitewater rafting excursions, plus surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. 

Take your adventures into the jungle with nature hikes and horseback riding, where wildlife spotting opportunities are endless—some of the best things to do in Manuel Antonio involve the region's adorable and interesting animals. End it all with a delicious meal and a Pacific Ocean sunset!

Water Sports

With its stretch of idyllic coastline, there are plenty of water sports to enjoy in Manuel Antonio. But you aren't restricted to just the surf, as the region is also home to picturesque Savegre River.

Savegre Whitewater Rafting

Navigate Class II and Class III rapids while surrounded by a scenic jungle ecosystem.

One of Central America's cleanest and most scenic rivers is the Savegre River, which twists and turns through a portion of Manuel Antonio National Park. The river features a range of waves: Class II and Class III rapids, plus riffles and easy-to-negotiate surges. This whitewater rafting experience is great for the entire family, including kids and beginners. Enjoy both an adrenaline rush of rapids and the gorgeous scenery that surrounds you. Read More

Surf Lesson at Playa Scull

Even as a beginner, you can learn how to stand up and ride waves at Playa Scull!

Learn how to surf at one of the most popular beaches on Costa Rica's Pacific coast: Playa Scull. This long stretch of sand offers the perfect waves for learning how to surf. So, with the help of a professional instructor, even beginners will stand up and ride a few waves by the end of the lesson. After the morning class, extend your board rental and enjoy practicing your newfound skills. Read More

Scuba Diving at Isla del Caño Biological Reserve

Experience one of the best places for diving and snorkeling in the world.

With exceptional visibility (30-100 feet throughout the year), the Caño Island Biological Reserve is one of the world's best spots for diving, snorkeling, and underwater photography. The reserve's 19 different coral species create the perfect home for marine life, including reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, pufferfish, sea cucumbers, octopus, and much more. Read More

Ocean Kayaking & Snorkeling 

Discover life above and below the surface by kayaking and snorkeling on the coast of Manuel Antonio National Park.

Although one of the smallest protected areas in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the country's most popular. With so much biodiversity and an abundance of recreational activities, it's no wonder the park attracts travelers. Combine kayaking with snorkeling to explore the water's surface before discovering life under the sea. You'll start kayaking at Pez Vela Marina and paddle along Manuel Antonio's unspoiled coastline. Then, enjoy snorkeling, relaxing, and picnicking on the beaches of Biesanz Bay. Read More

Plan your trip to Costa Rica
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Hike & Horseback Ride

Head inland to explore Manuel Antonio's rainforests—a large portion protected by Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Hike

Try to spot as many birds and mammals as you can in Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio National Park covers 1,680 acres (680 hectares), and much is best explored by foot. In one small area, lush rainforests run down from the hills to the coast, where white-sand beaches and coral reefs dominate. Follow a professional naturalist through the forest, where you can view some of the park's more than 300 species of mammals and birds. Then, end your easy hike at the famed crescent-shaped beaches. Read More

Horseback Riding to Nauyaca Waterfall

Horseback ride to the scenic Nauyaca Waterfall.

One of Costa Rica's favorite pastimes is horseback riding, and you can enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Nauyaca Waterfall. Set near Dominical Beach on the Pacific coast, this impressive grouping of falls plunge nearly 150 feet (45 m) into a lagoon that's perfect for swimming. You'll ride through the rainforest, have time to enjoy the lagoon and rock outcroppings, and savor a picnic before heading back. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Active Itinerary in Manuel Antonio

The beautiful scenery of Manuel Antonio.

You could easily fill your entire time in Manuel Antonio with active excursions and only need a few days to accomplish it all. It's a small region, but that doesn't mean you're limited! Thanks to its central-coastal location, the region pairs well with other areas of Costa Rica, including San Jose, Monteverde, the Osa Peninsula, and the Nicoya Peninsula. All of these different regions also boast exciting active adventures. 

As you plan your vacation, you might wonder how many days you should spend in Costa Rica. Of course, a lot depends on how much you want to see and do, but try to give yourself at least one week in the country. If you'd like to combine the regions above or add others like Tortuguero, Talamanca, or the Gulf of Papagayo, try to plan at least two weeks in Costa Rica.

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include active experiences in Manuel Antonio: