PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

surreal landing
One of several planes installed around the PN Manuel António to serve as accommodation or bar.
Tombolo and Punta Catedral
The tombolo isthmus that connects the coast to Ponta Catedral.
Playa Manuel Antonio
The ever lush Manuel António playa.
Cetacean recreation
Baleia submerges again, off the PN Manuel António.
couple in party
Passengers on a catamaran admire the Pacific Ocean off the PN Manuel António.
Frigates share the top of an islet off Playa Espadilla.
guide in action
PN Guide Manuel António focuses on one of the many animals in the park.
lazy dawn
Preguiça moves along a tree in PN Manuel António.
flight of pelicans
Pelicans fly at high altitude over PN Manuel António.
Isle of Espadilla
Bathers enjoy themselves by an islet off Playa Espadilla Sur.
capuchin monkey
White-faced monkey hangs out with the beachgoers at Playa Manuel António.
risky steps
Bather walks on the reef at Praia Manuel António.
Reading Time
Bather reads about the sandy beach of Playa Espadilla Sur.
Cove next to Punta Catedral
Cove in the continuation of Playa Manuel António.
Sunset over Pacific Ocean
Catamaran passengers admire the distant sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Pelicans' Landing
Pelicans share a tree on a cliff of Playa Espadilla Sur.
Nook of Playa Espadilla
Bathers in the shadow of a corner of Playa Espadilla, the longest on PN Manuel António.
Viewpoint Trio
Friends enjoy the view from a viewpoint over Manuel António Beach.
boat at sunset
Speedboat returns to Quepos, heading between Sunset and East.
The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.

It had not been two decades since we first traveled through Costa Rica.

“Look, it's not like here” assure us Glen and Rose Marie, an American couple who live part of the year in Montezuma, where we met them. “We were looking for a house there for a long time. It was all too expensive. Furthermore, the more we searched the more we realized how developed and urbanized it was becoming.”

Already at the time of our inaugural journey through typical lands, the PN Manuel António was revealed to be the unavoidable but debatable destination that it is today.

From Quepos – the city that serves as its gateway, to the peninsula in the shape of a whale's tail, which extends into the park – a myriad of lodges, resorts, bars, tour agencies and almost other businesses followed one another. all dedicated to welcoming and serving the hordes of visitors arriving, above all, from North America and Europe.

Between the Christmas and New Year's Eve 2020, for the more than obvious reason for the Covid 19 pandemic, foreigners were sorely missed.

In compensation, in those days, the ticos flocked to the park and the beaches around it in droves.

At the Door of the Always Competitive Manuel António National Park

We installed half walls with the park. Whenever we got up, we came across a growing line, starting at the portico and extending to the right of the La Posada and Jungle who welcomed us.

Even though controlled by SINAC, the Costa Rican National System of Conservation Areas, the successive sold out places dictated that we postpone admission.

Thus, we give priority to the mangrove swamped with animals that surrounds the island of Damas, in the middle of the estuary of the Cotos river. And we strolled along the outer beaches, highlighting the long and crowded Espadilla, full of vacationers determined to make the last vacation of the year memorable.

Delivered to bathing picnics, lively conversations and the different radical and marine activities that local operators impose on them.

Tombolo and Punta Catedral, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica

The tombolo isthmus that connects the coast to Ponta Catedral.

At its southeastern tip, Espadilla beach borders the bobbin lace of these parts.

It is a tongue of sand formed by the accumulation of currents. In addition to the jungle, it is surrounded by a natural fortification of rocks, a small lagoon fed by a stream and a discouraging barrier of tropical vegetation.

In this green and shady corner, we find a marginal community that enjoys, at the same time, a privileged isolation and the invigorating energy of the place.

Vendors from slush and snacks.

As for the surf, a few curious adventurers climb rocks above bet to move to the southern extension of Playa Espadilla, already an integral part of PN Manuel António and, as such, supposedly safe from such intrusions.

We arrived on Monday, the day the park closes for the rest of Nature and maintenance and restoration work on the tracks and infrastructure.

Finally, Entry into the Lush Jungle of PN Manuel António

Already tired of waiting, on Tuesday, as soon as we could, we made the entry.

In a few moments, we are dazzled by what makes PN Manuel António worthwhile despite the excessive civilization that surrounds him.

We were instructed to join the group led by Sylvia van Baekel, a Dutch woman living in Costa Rica for sixteen years.

In the frenzy of access, we get confused and join another guide. It didn't matter. The guides at PN Manuel António have the good habit of sharing their findings with each other.

Okay, when at last Sylvia sees us pass and claims us to her core of followers, on a few hundred meters of trail, we've already spotted and appreciated two sloths, a basilisk lizard, and an elusive flock of howler monkeys.

Sloth, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica

Preguiça moves along a tree in PN Manuel António.

We were just getting started.

PN Manuel António is in fact tiny. Covers an area of ​​16 km2, while the PN Corcovado, which we would explore a few days later, covers 425 km2.

PN Manuel António. Tiny but Exuberant and Crammed with Animals

In its apparent insignificance, Manuel António concentrates a good part of the wild species characteristic of Costa Rica:

three species of monkeys, the howler, the capuchin monkey and the spider monkey and, from a total of 109 species of mammals, it also welcomes coatis, peccarys, armadillos and, offshore, dolphins and whales.

Among the 184 species of birds we find toucans, woodpeckers, parakeets, different hawks and red-headed vultures. Reptiles, we saw iguanas and snakes.

The end of the El Perezoso Vehicular trail passes by a bar/restaurant with its terrace. Right there, as we sat down to make up for the already problematic lack of breakfast, we spotted two sloths in the treetops above.

From there, towards the sea, the trail leads to the entrance to the bobbin lace well signposted by a fluttering Costa Rican flag and an observation tower overlooking the jungle.

The community of park guides is used to releasing their groups there and catching up on conversations about the fauna found and other topics in vogue.

Whoever receives the release order quickly finds himself in a kind of Costa Rican Eden.

A few steps take us from the sultry shadow of the jungle to the white, curved sands of Playa Manuel António to the east.

Even only accessible through the park, with a ticket that can be considered expensive, this cove of lush vegetation and gentle sea also welcomes more people than we expected.

Nor does the relative overcrowding diminish its verdant beauty, even more valuable if we take into account that the PN Manuel António was established in 1972 by the government as a resolution of a lasting conflict.

The Dispute That Aroused the Establishment of the PN Manuel António

The dispute arose when, under the United Fruit Company and its banana plantations, Noel Thomas Langham acquired the area between Espadilla Sur and Manuel António beaches and there decided to install a gate that prevented access to the sands that, at that time, visitors to the capital San José they had become accustomed to attending.

Intimidated by the unexpected opposition, Langham sold the property to Arthur Aimé Bergeron, an American-born French Canadian. The latter regained Langham's position even more uncompromisingly.

Visitors to San José were joined by young people from Quepos, who also love the disputed beaches, united in a nucleus of contestation and social justice, meanwhile called Grupo Pro-Parque, in keeping with the newly blossomed idea that that coastline becomes should become a state park.

Arthur Aimé Bergeron nurtured a dream of creating a tourist hub there that would enrich him. Accordingly, he fenced off the lands and defended them with aggressive dogs.

Dissatisfied, the young people of Quepos destroyed everything that prevented them from passing. For this crime some of them were imprisoned.

Now, it is known that the leader of the protest movement was called Manuel António Ramirez Muñoz (1940-1998) better known as Balu, descendant of one of the pioneering families of the park area, arrived in 1948, in full force of the United Fruit Company .

Herself - Host municipality de Quepos ratified the role of Balu. He honored him with a bust.

However, the authorities were sensitive to the reasons for ticos from Quepos and San Jose. A

Some time later, when Bergeron refused a mediation meeting, they decided to expropriate the property and transform it into the desired national park.

of the unusual Tombolo to Ponta Catedral

We continue along it, along the seashore, to the left end of the whale's tail that encloses the tombolo

In those parts, a couple entertains themselves with selfies and more selfies produced in a fragile balance on the top of an isolated cliff.

Other bathers use the staircase which, in a period of normality, begins the trail to Ponta Catedral, millennia ago, an island that silting joined the peninsula in front.

But it was just after the rainy season in Costa Rica.

As it did in much of Central America, Hurricane ETA caused damage to several areas of the Pacific coast, including trails, viewpoints and walkways, which were almost mandatory in this section of the park.

At the time of our visit, these same wooden steps were left to the inaugural viewpoint of the route.

At its base, a bunch of Capuchin monkeys, the most ruffians in Costa Rica, approached the bathers in search of deals.

Photo this, photo that, a member of your gang spots an unattended backpack.

In a flash, disappear with it into the branches of a tree. He only throws it down again, after searching the interior and concluding that it did not contain human treats.

From the viewpoint, we can enjoy the bay to the east of the bobbin lace and the density of the tropical forest that serves as its backdrop.

Returning to the beach, we cross the heart of the jungle to the more open, long and vacant beach of Espadilla Sur beach.

With a view of the main Espadilla, the adjacent forest and the civilization that dots it, raised by the extrapolated, more than justified fame of the Manuel António National Park.

Sunset over the Pacific, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica

Catamaran passengers admire the distant sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Article written with the support of:


JUMBOCOSTARICA code = -10% on all bookings, until 31-12-2022


Gandoca-Manzanillo (Wildlife Refuge), Costa Rica

The Caribbean Hideaway of Gandoca-Manzanillo

At the bottom of its southeastern coast, on the outskirts of Panama, the “Tica” nation protects a patch of jungle, swamps and the Caribbean Sea. As well as a providential wildlife refuge, Gandoca-Manzanillo is a stunning tropical Eden.
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
miravalles, Costa Rica

The volcano that Miravalles

At 2023 meters, the Miravalles stands out in northern Costa Rica, high above a range of pairs that includes La Giganta, Tenório, Espiritu Santo, Santa Maria, Rincón de La Vieja and Orosi. Inactive with respect to eruptions, it feeds a prolific geothermal field that warms the lives of Costa Ricans in its shadow.
Santa Marta and PN Tayrona, Colombia

The Paradise from which Simon Bolivar departed

At the gates of PN Tayrona, Santa Marta is the oldest continuously inhabited Hispanic city in Colombia. In it, Simón Bolívar began to become the only figure on the continent almost as revered as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

The Desired City

Many treasures passed through Cartagena before being handed over to the Spanish Crown - more so than the pirates who tried to plunder them. Today, the walls protect a majestic city always ready to "rumbear".
PN Tayrona, Colombia

Who Protects the Guardians of the World?

The natives of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta believe that their mission is to save the Cosmos from the “Younger Brothers”, which are us. But the real question seems to be, "Who protects them?"
Soufriere, Saint Lucia

The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

Perched above a lush coastline, the twin peaks Pitons are the hallmark of Saint Lucia. They have become so iconic that they have a place in the highest notes of East Caribbean Dollars. Right next door, residents of the former capital Soufrière know how precious their sight is.
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Fort-de-France, Martinique

Freedom, Bipolarity and Tropicality

The capital of Martinique confirms a fascinating Caribbean extension of French territory. There, the relations between the colonists and the natives descended from slaves still give rise to small revolutions.
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Henri Pittier NP, Venezuela

PN Henri Pittier: between the Caribbean Sea and the Cordillera da Costa

In 1917, botanist Henri Pittier became fond of the jungle of Venezuela's sea mountains. Visitors to the national park that this Swiss created there are, today, more than they ever wanted
Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Montezuma, Costa Rica

Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma

It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.
Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Ecological Refuge the Quakers Bequeathed the World

Disillusioned with the US military propensity, a group of 44 Quakers migrated to Costa Rica, the nation that had abolished the army. Farmers, cattle raisers, became conservationists. They made possible one of the most revered natural strongholds in Central America.
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

A Night at the Nursery of Tortuguero

The name of the Tortuguero region has an obvious and ancient reason. Turtles from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea have long flocked to the black sand beaches of its narrow coastline to spawn. On one of the nights we spent in Tortuguero we watched their frenzied births.
Fogón de Lola Costa Rica

The Flavor of Costa Rica of El Fogón de Lola

As the name suggests, the Fogón de Lola de Guapiles serves dishes prepared on the stove and in the oven, according to Costa Rican family tradition. In particular, Tia Lola's.
Cahuita, Costa Rica

An Adult Return to Cahuita

During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Muktinath to Kagbeni, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Kagbeni
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
Architecture & Design
Castles and Fortresses

A Defending World: Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Kente Festival Agotime, Ghana, gold
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kumasi to Kpetoe, Ghana

A Celebration-Trip of the Ghanian Fashion

After some time in the great Ghanaian capital ashanti we crossed the country to the border with Togo. The reasons for this long journey were the kente, a fabric so revered in Ghana that several tribal chiefs dedicate a sumptuous festival to it every year.
Rabat, Malta, Mdina, Palazzo Xara
Rabat, Malta

A Former Suburb in the Heart of Malta

If Mdina became the noble capital of the island, the Knights Hospitaller decided to sacrifice the fortification of present-day Rabat. The city outside the walls expanded. It survives as a popular and rural counterpoint to the now living museum in Mdina.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Sun and coconut trees, São Nicolau, Cape Verde
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

Forced matches like those that inspired the famous morna “soda” made the pain of having to leave the islands of Cape Verde very strong. Discovering saninclau, between enchantment and wonder, we pursue the genesis of song and melancholy.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Tokyo's sophisticated houses, where Couchsurfing and your hosts abound.
Couchsurfing (Part 1)

Mi Casa, Su Casa

In 2003, a new online community globalized an old landscape of hospitality, conviviality and interests. Today, Couchsurfing welcomes millions of travelers, but it shouldn't be taken lightly.
Aswan, Egypt, Nile River meets Black Africa, Elephantine Island
Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Sanahin Cable Car, Armenia
Alaverdi, Armenia

A Cable Car Called Ensejo

The top of the Debed River Gorge hides the Armenian monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat and terraced Soviet apartment blocks. Its bottom houses the copper mine and smelter that sustains the city. Connecting these two worlds is a providential suspended cabin in which the people of Alaverdi count on traveling in the company of God.
Willemstad, Curacao, Punda, Handelskade
Willemstad, Curaçao

The Multicultural Heart of Curaçao

A Dutch colony in the Caribbean became a major slave hub. It welcomed Sephardic Jews who had taken refuge from the Iberia Inquisition in Amsterdam and Recife. And it assimilated influences from the Portuguese and Spanish villages with which it traded. At the heart of this secular cultural fusion has always been its old capital: Willemstad.
St. Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia, Caucasus
Winter White
Kazbegi, Georgia

God in the Caucasus Heights

In the 4000th century, Orthodox religious took their inspiration from a hermitage that a monk had erected at an altitude of 5047 m and perched a church between the summit of Mount Kazbek (XNUMXm) and the village at the foot. More and more visitors flock to these mystical stops on the edge of Russia. Like them, to get there, we submit to the whims of the reckless Georgia Military Road.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Natural Parks
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Back to Danny Boyle's The Beach

It's been 15 years since the debut of the backpacker classic based on the novel by Alex Garland. The film popularized the places where it was shot. Shortly thereafter, the XNUMX tsunami literally washed some away off the map. Today, their controversial fame remains intact.
Aloe exalted by the wall of the Great Enclosure, Great Zimbabwe
UNESCO World Heritage
Big Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe, Endless Mystery

Between the 1500th and XNUMXth centuries, Bantu peoples built what became the largest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa. From XNUMX onwards, with the passage of the first Portuguese explorers arriving from Mozambique, the city was already in decline. Its ruins, which inspired the name of the present-day Zimbabwean nation, have many unanswered questions.  
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
New South Wales Australia, Beach walk
Batemans Bay to Jervis Bay, Australia

New South Wales, from Bay to Bay

With Sydney behind us, we indulged in the Australian “South Coast”. Along 150km, in the company of pelicans, kangaroos and other peculiar creatures aussie, we let ourselves get lost on a coastline cut between stunning beaches and endless eucalyptus groves.
Mtshketa, Holy City of Georgia, Caucasus, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Mtskheta, Georgia

The Holy City of Georgia

If Tbilisi is the contemporary capital, Mtskheta was the city that made Christianity official in the kingdom of Iberia, predecessor of Georgia, and one that spread the religion throughout the Caucasus. Those who visit see how, after almost two millennia, it is Christianity that governs life there.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Daily life
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Crocodiles, Queensland Tropical Australia Wild
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Australia

Tropical Queensland: An Australia Too Wild

Cyclones and floods are just the meteorological expression of Queensland's tropical harshness. When it's not the weather, it's the deadly fauna of the region that keeps its inhabitants on their toes.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.