Manuel Antonio Tourist Attractions
This small village lies at the entrance to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Manuel Antonio is very popular with young international travellers. Good swimming can be had at the village's attractive beach, Playa Espadilla. Body boarding, horseback riding and kayaking are popular.The Manuel Antonio area is perhaps the most publicized stretch of coast in Costa Rica. The attractive area offers several upscale accommodations and restaurants, and visitation in the area is extremely high. Conservationists worry about the effects of the large number of visitors on the Manuel Antonio area.
Manuel Antonio National Park
While Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest in the parks system at 683ha/1687ha, it is definitely one of the most popular. The park features attractive ocean views, hiking trails and diverse wildlife and tropical beaches. Created in 1972, Manuel Antonio protects this attractive landscape from the hotel development that has overtaken much of the surrounding area.Several hiking trails lead through the forest and separate the beaches. There is a mangrove area and many scenic views of the Pacific Ocean from the trails. During low tide on one of the beaches, a semicircle of rocks is revealed that was arranged by pre-Columbian natives and believed to be a turtle trap.All the trails in the park present opportunities to spot mammals such as white-faced monkeys, sloths, agoutis, armadillos and coatis. Lizards, snakes and 350 species of birds are also present in the park. Monkeys are very commonly spotted. Snorkelling is also popular off a coral reef (visibility is a bit cloudy) where marine life can be spotted.An evergreen littoral forest is found just inland from the coast and contains several plant and tree species, including the manzanillo (little apple) tree that has poisonous sap and fruits. The park is under pressure from extreme visitation and the rangers often limit the amount of people hiking on a particular trail.
Rainmaker Aerial Walkway
The Rainmaker is a unique attraction featuring suspension bridges running through the rainforest canopy. The Rainmaker was the first such aerial walkway in Central America. The linked bridges stretch 250m/ 820ft, and the highest point reaches 25 stories.The surroundings are also very attractive; a rainforest trail leads along the bottom of a canyon to the bridges, passing streams and waterfalls. Boardwalks and bridges were built to protect the canyon floor. Other hiking trails are found in the 2,000ha/4,940ac preserve.
Quepos was named for the Quepoa Native tribe who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish. Warfare, enslavement, and European diseases brought forth the eventual decline of this group, and by the late 19th C full-blooded Quepoas had disappeared. Highland farmers colonized the area and Quepos prospered as an exporting port for bananas. Occasionally, cruise ships may dock at Puerto Quepos.In more recent years African oil-palms have become the major crop because disease has plagued the bananas. In order to spruce the economy Quepos has developed a year-round tourist infrastructure. Sportfishing is especially popular, and several companies offers excursions to nearby attractions.
Sportfishing in Quepos Area
The major attraction in Quepos is sportfishing, and several companies offer anglers a chance at sailfish, marlin, dorado, yellowfin tuna, amberjack and wahoo. Offshore fishing is best from December to April. Inshore fishing is good year round in the Quepos area, offering roosterfish, jack and mackerel.