It's no surprise that many nature enthusiasts make their way to Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio region. Located on the central coast, you get a little bit of everything here: white-sand ocean beaches, lush rainforests, mangrove estuaries, islands, nature parks, waterfalls, and more. Discover Manuel Antonio's nature with hiking, boat tours, snorkeling, wildlife safaris, and more.

Getting Oriented

Explore Costa Rica's nature by land and sea.

Although Manuel Antonio is one of the smaller regions in Costa Rica, you'll find endless opportunities to explore its idyllic natural surroundings. Set on the central coast of the country's Pacific side, Manuel Antonio National Park covers much of the region and combines hilly rainforests with white-sand beaches.

All in one compact area, you can go snorkeling off the shore and watch the sunset on a catamaran cruise, hike through the protected jungle ecosystem, enjoy a boat tour of the region's mangrove estuary, and ride horses to waterfalls. As a bonus, you can explore all of the area's picturesque landscapes while staying in unique boutique hotels and dining at delicious eateries

Inland Excursions

Although Manuel Antonio is known for its sandy coastline, there's plenty to explore inland.

Horseback Riding to Nauyaca Waterfalls

Ride horses through the jungle to the scenic Nauyaca Waterfalls.

Experience a favorite pastime in Costa Rica by horseback riding to Nauyaca Waterfalls, a cascade near Dominical Beach. This impressive grouping of falls plunges nearly 150 feet (45 m) into a lagoon that's perfect for swimming. After riding through the jungle to the cascades, you'll have time to spot wildlife, relax on the rocks, swim in the lagoon, and, if you dare, jump from cliffs. Read More

Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Hike

Try to spot some of the over 300 species in the park.

With the help of a professional naturalist, you'll explore some of the 1,680 acres (680 hectares) of Manuel Antonio National Park. Your hike starts in the jungle, where you'll try to spot some of the park's more than 300 species of birds and mammals. Then, end your trek on the crescent-shaped, white-sand beaches. Read More

Jungle Crocodile Safari

Visit the largest populations of American Crocodiles in the world.

The famous Tárcoles River is home to the world's largest American Crocodile population. This 1.5-hour boat ride takes you downstream and along the shores, exploring the wetlands and the mouth of the river. The area is near Carara National Park, which houses a significant scarlet macaw population. Other animals you might see include kingfishers, herons, and pink spoonbills. Read More

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Enjoy the Sea

Of course, no trip to Manuel Antonio is complete without coastal adventures!

Sunset Catamaran Cruise & Snorkeling

View the sunset on a catamaran cruise and while snorkeling in the ocean.

Enjoy a catamaran cruise that combines wildlife viewing with one of Costa Rica's incredible sunsets and active experiences in nature. As you admire the coastline, you may spot marine life, such as dolphins, migrating humpback whales, sea turtles, manta rays, and more. Then, head over to Biesanz Bay for snorkeling and end the day with dinner, tropical drinks, and a gorgeous sunset. Read More

Damas Island Boat Tour

The Damas Island mangrove estuary is filled with interesting marine life.

Explore the mangrove estuary on Damas Island, an area teeming with wildlife and one of the most popular sites in the region. The underground root system acts as a nursery for thousands of fish and crustaceans, harboring hundreds of unique amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Keep an eye out for oysters, sponges, majestic stingrays, baby black-tipped sharks, and large schools of fish, plus monkeys that may hop aboard! Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Nature Itinerary in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio has some of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

The essence of Manuel Antonio is its natural scenery, so it's easy to build nature excursions into your vacation. How much time you spend in Manuel Antonio depends on what you want to see and do, but the area is quite compact. Therefore, you can accomplish more than you think in just a couple of days. To make the most of your time, consider combining the area with another region, such as Arenal/La Fortuna or the Osa Peninsula, and spending at least one week in Costa Rica.

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