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Manuel Antonio National Park is one of Costa Rica's smallest protected green spaces, but don't let its size throw you off. Within the park's 3 square miles, you'll find untamed beaches, secluded coves, nature trails and a thick rainforest. You can stretch out on the park's coastline or wander along one of the walking paths to spot rare birds, camouflaged iguanas and purple-and-orange crabs. If you're a lover of furry creatures, you'll be pleased to discover that this park contains so many monkeys that the park built a suspension bridge to grant them free reign of the area.
Travelers recommend visiting Manuel Antonio's remote white-sand beaches in the southeastern tip of the park where visitors can relax under palm trees. Reviewers also recommend bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy. However, you'll want to watch your food closely as the monkeys have been known to steal food. To enjoy the park's untouched landscape without the crowds, consider arriving right when the park opens at 7 a.m.
Manuel Antonio National Park is set in Costa Rica's Central Pacific region, about 100 miles south of San José. You can reach the national park by bus or car from San José; the ride takes roughly two to three hours. Some guided tours may offer transportation to and from the park. Public buses also offer service between San Jose and the park, though you'll want to make sure you're taking a directo (direct) bus to avoid a long trip with multiple stops. Visitors are welcome daily Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $16 for visitors over age 12. Admission is free for kids 11 and younger. Guided tours are also available, starting at $51 for adults and $35 for kids. For more information, visit the park's official website.
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